Members of the Vertical Bridge executive team donated more than $1.1 million from their personal funds to to Warriors4Wireless and the Tower Family Foundation, a statement from Vertical Bridge said.
The executives made the donations in support of the work that the non-profit organizations perform to help veterans enter the telecommunications industry and to support the families of those injured on the job, the company said.
“We set out to build a firm where commitment to philanthropy was core to our business of building the wireless infrastructure supporting current and next gen communications technology,” said Alex Gellman, VerticalBridge CEO and co-founder. “As a company, over the past seven-plus years we have been able to support hundreds of organizations that our employees, partners and clients care about through the Vertical Bridge Charitable Network, and as leaders we wanted to directly support the incredible work these two organizations do for the people in our industry.”
Warriors4Wireless was formed to bridge the gap between the demand for trained and deployable wireless technicians, and the thousands of qualified service men and women eager to transfer the skills they have learned in the military, Vertical Bridge said. It said the organization provides training, advanced certification and transitional support to veterans so they have the building blocks they need for a career in the telecommunications industry.
“Our veterans leave military service or return from deployments with tremendous skills but face difficulties re-entering the workforce,” said Gellman. “It is estimated that 8,000 to 10,000 open positions will need to be filled in the next 18-36 months to support the nationwide 5G buildout. Warriors4Wireless helps our servicemen and women bring their skills to a growing industry.”
The Tower Family Foundation provides financial assistance to family members of a severely injured, permanently disabled, or deceased tower worker, Vertical Bridge said.
“Tower workers are an important backbone of our industry, and the Tower Family Foundation’s dedication to helping them and their families is admirable,” said Bernard Borghei, VerticalBridge executive vice president of operations and co-founder, who serves on the Tower Family Foundation board of directors and is also chairman of the Foundation’s Endowment Committee. “We are proud to be able to support this worthy cause, and I am honored to serve alongside my colleagues in the industry on the board of this vital organization.”
According to Vertical Bridge, it is the largest privately owned and operated communications infrastructure company in the United States. The company said that in 2020, the it donated more than $1.5 million to 149 causes chosen by its employees. Since its inception, the company said, it has given more than $7.65 million and contributed nearly 4,000 volunteer hours to 501(c)(3) organizations selected by its employees.
Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Bryan, Texas, on June 3 for the donation of an indoor prop monopole cell tower.
“The tower precisely replicates what a veteran will see when they are out, climbing a 200-footer. For them to be able to learn, in this beautiful facility, under the cover, they can learn 24/7, 365, right here in this hanger, how to climb towers, get all those hand skills and equipment skills down,” said Kevin J. Kennedy, president and CEO of Warriors4Wireless (W4W). A charitable organization, W4W helps veterans find careers in the 5G wireless communications workforce.
The W4W partnership with TEEX and with W4W’s other training partner at Aiken Technical College provides veterans with a training opportunity that has proven to connect them with employment, not merely with a set of certifications, Kennedy explained.
Regarding the tower at TEEX, Kennedy said that T-Mobile, US Tower and TelTech joined in the fall of 2019 to address a training need in the facility at TEEX.
“These three decided they would build and equip a 20-foot training monopole specifically to be used in the TEEX training facility,” he said. “Over a period of six months, they designed, built and delivered all the parts and pieces to the facility in the spring of 2020 when the United States had moved into COVID lockdown. It took another year to work through the pandemic and its implications to get the tower installed into the facility, with the generous support of Wireless Horizon.”
According to Kennedy, the ribbon-cutting event celebrated the W4W mission and put into perspective the value the contribution. He said that during the past 40 months, the W4W program has included 60 tower tech training courses that trained 600 veterans. Reflecting the effectiveness of the program’s coaching team, Kennedy said, 90 percent of the course graduates decided they wanted to pursue a tower tech career. He said that 94 percent of these seeking a tower tech career receive job offers within 30 days of course completion.
“The valuable training program helps connect veterans seeking a 5G workforce career with hiring partners wanting to hire veterans,” Kennedy said. “This contribution showed the power of our mission and the metrics of our processes to contact, coach and then connect veterans to actual employment opportunities in climbing careers as tower technicians. The event also gave us an opportunity to speak about our ongoing efforts to replicate these processes to create similar opportunities for veterans desiring a non-climbing career in the 5G workforce.”
Kennedy said that today, W4W begins a two-week training program to help veterans earn three nationally recognized fiber-optic technician certifications. Then, Kennedy said, W4W would strive to connect them to hiring partners looking for entry-level workers with these skills.
Don Bishop is executive editor and associate publisher of AGL Magazine.
On Wednesday, August 22 at 10:00 a.m. CDT, Kevin Kennedy, President and CEO of Warriors4Wireless (W4W), will conduct a live NATE webinar entitled How W4W and the Wireless Industry Can Team Up to Help Veterans.
This session with Kevin Kennedy will provide an overview of how:
Over 1,200 veterans successfully transitioned into wireless industry careers since 2014.
Over 50 industry hiring partners obtain contact information for interested and skilled veterans free of charge.
In 2018, 100% of climbing veterans trained received job offers within 35 days.
The Veteran’s GI Bill investment into tower technician training means hiring superb entry level technicians.
To register, please go to:
May 2, 2017 —
The nonprofit that recruits, trains and places veterans into the wireless industry, Warriors4Wireless (W4W), is set to dramatically increase the amount of seasoned talent that it infuses into the development of broadband networks, Major General Kevin J. Kennedy, president of the nonprofit, told an audience at the Wireless West Conference in April.
“In the past three years, W4W has placed 1,000 veterans in the wireless industry. Based on the needs in the wireless industry we could triple that,” Kennedy said. “We are trying to take what Kelley Dunne (Executive Chairman and Co-founder) did with W4W and scale it up. It not only does great things for veterans but it does great things for the wireless industry.”
Kennedy joined W4W in February as Senior Advisor to the CEO and just recently became president of the organization. His 32 years of wartime service included tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and more than 3,600 hours of operational flying, including 145 hours flown in combat. In addition, he served as Director of Joint Strategic Planning at U.S. Strategic Command, Senior In-country Air Force Strategist and Advisor to the Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, and Commander of the U.S. Air Force Global Cyberspace Integration Center.
Kennedy noted that veterans receive $100,000 to $200,000 worth of training during their tours in the military, making them potentially highly skilled assets. He told a story about meeting a man who was working for a moving company, but during his active duty he served the Air Force climbing towers and as a certified electrician maintaining systems at a base overseas.
“When I told him what he could do in the wireless industry as opposed to the moving industry, he jumped at the chance,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy wants to begin a dialogue with the wireless industry concerning its personnel needs. For W4W to be a successful conduit to funnel veterans into the wireless industry, he said, it must have up-to-date knowledge of the positions that need to be filled. He called out to the industry to inform him of their labor needs.
“It all starts with our industry partners telling us what types of jobs that you would like to hire a veteran into,” he said. “We then go back to the military and line up people, put them through the right training so we can place them with you. I need you to help me if I am going to help you.”
Verticom Helping with W4W Training
Verticom, which designs, develops and maintains broadband networks, has been selected as the southern regional training facility by W4W. Jeff Lewis, president and founder, noted that the wireless industry is going run into a labor shortage as next generation networks are built out and filling the openings will go beyond tower climbers to include a spectrum of communications technicians and professionals.
“We are taking the tower climbers that they want to be trained, but we are expanding the program to include the whole ecosystem, including fiber splicers, fiber testers, project managers and coordinators, civil, electrical and installation technicians, and more,” Lewis said.
Beyond tower climbers, the industry needs to focus on adding engineers and real estate professionals, he added.
“For 5G and IoT, we need real estate professionals with pole attachment and rights of way experience,” Lewis said. “With the training we are doing at Verticom, we are trying to look 12 to 36 months out when the big demand for labor in wireless is going to hit.”
As a volunteer for W4W, Lewis is putting together the business model that will allow the organization to grow through the addition of regional training centers located across the nation.
“I think it is something great for the wireless industry,” he said. “Returning vets are sometimes forgotten. We are trying to give them purpose and meaning again for their lives, placing them in the industry so they can provide for their families.”