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Telecom Network Restoration Heroes

Feb. 1, 2018
Providers Give Kudos to Those Who Went Above and Beyond — At the time of writing this, the toll from the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season is still being remedied. However, according to […]

Providers Give Kudos to Those Who Went Above and Beyond —

At the time of writing this, the toll from the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season is still being remedied. However, according to Wikipedia, this deadly, and extremely destructive season featured 17 named storms, ranking alongside 1936 as the fifth-most active season since records began in 1851, and the most active since 2010. "The season also featured both the highest total accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) and the highest number of major hurricanes since 2005. All 10 of the season’s hurricanes occurred in a row, the greatest number of consecutive hurricanes in the satellite era. In addition, it was by far the costliest season on record, with a preliminary total of over $369.76 billion (USD) in damages, which is nearly 3 times the cost of 2005’s total, and essentially all of which was due to 3 of the season’s major hurricanes: Harvey, Irma, and Maria. This season is also one of only 6 years on record to feature multiple Category 5 hurricanes, and only the second to feature 2 hurricanes making landfall at that intensity."*

To help combat some of Mother Nature’s force, telecom teams spent countless hours trying to repair the wireline and wireless networks in the affected areas. Caring technicians, managers, and others, invested time and energy to help those affected. And while we can’t thank all of them personally, we ask you to read about a few select individuals and teams we applaud for going above and beyond.

After reading this, please take a moment to thank your own network teams for investing more than we can really know to help others throughout the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.


By Andrew Buchert, VP of Field Services

Many of Southern Region Field Services Manager Robert Coontz’s team, chose to stay behind during Hurricane Irma to help keep the generators fueled and restore services for our customers. 21 technicians, including contractors, arrived in St. Marys, Ga., to clear fallen trees and protect generators. Thank you to the team for your
preparedness, putting employee safety first, and all your efforts in the recovery process.

Supervisor of Direct Sales Dave Ferch (left) and Direct Sales Representative Rennie Moore (right) wanted to do something for the hard-working techs, so they grilled up hamburgers to show their appreciation. The leftover hamburgers were distributed to the State Troopers and police at the exits and traffic lights that weren’t working.  They were very appreciative because they hadn’t eaten anything while on duty.

Leaving behind a path of destruction, TDS’ technicians worked to remove debris and fallen trees to restore phone, Internet, and TDS TV service as quickly as possible.

In mid-September, Hurricane Irma hit land, including St. Marys, Ga., an area served by TDS Telecom.
By Bill Huber, Senior Vice President of Technical Field Services (TFS), AT&T Technology Operations
Lance Torres, Electronic Technician, AT&T, volunteered to ride out the storm in a Key West central office during Hurricane Irma. This CO supports communications for the city and hospitals in the area. After the storm, there was no water available to cool the air conditioner, making the office heat up rapidly. To prevent the equipment from heat failure, Lance worked with the local fire department to pump water from the community pool into the truck, and then into our office. Working through additional issues simultaneously, Lance kept multiple offices and services running.
As the water began to rise, Hector Carrillo, Communications Technician, AT&T, waded through 3 ½ feet of water to a central office in Pecan Grove. Hurricane Harvey caused the generator there to be at-risk for flooding. With waders, a life jacket, and some 5-gallon buckets in tow, Hector disconnected the power supply to the generator and using a handheld pump, worked to get the water out of the tank. He made more than 20 trips throughout the night, carrying 32 pounds of water to be carried off. Hector saved the generator and we were able to continue service for the community.

By Melanie Williams, Senior Vice President-Operations for Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina

Emmett Larry, Local Manager in New Port Richey, Florida Emmett Larry played a critical role in getting Frontier and our customers through Irma. He made sure our network was protected, and he was very effective in working with all the other teams engaged in their respective responsibilities. Through it all, Emmett kept his composure. He was poised, with a laser-sharp focus on ensuring everyone did what was needed to protect our network. Emmett understood that being able to communicate during a storm is critical to our customers’ well-being and public safety.

By Pedro Correa, Senior Vice President-Operations for Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Utah

Cort Petterson, Director-Operations in League City, Texas Throughout our preparations for the storm and Harvey’s aftermath, Cort Petterson’s commitment, passion, and support, made a world of difference. Through great leadership, he kept the focus on our customers and on our employees. His solid reputation and strong belief in teamwork helped him manage the multiple Frontier and external organizations involved in such a large effort. Despite the hectic pace and the many demands caused by this disaster, Cort still made time to volunteer in his community to help with rescue and recovery.

By Lanita Richardson, Area Operations Manager

David Morris, Communications Technician, didn’t hesitate to help restore services impacted by Hurricane Harvey, despite his own house in Port Aransas sustaining 5 feet of water and his family needing to be relocated. David was the first to arrive back on the island once access was allowed and was determined to keep CenturyLink’s central office running on a generator while power was out. David’s perseverance kept critical government services operational, during the hurricane and the clean-up.
The first Sprint strike team arrives in Puerto Rico eager to begin network restoration efforts following Hurricane Maria.
Sprint engineer Scott Jacka was part of the initial strike team sent to Puerto Rico immediately following Hurricane Maria. He and the team began quickly assessing damage and working to restore backhaul and power in the most populous areas of the island.

An engineer with Sprint’s Emergency Response Team deploys a satellite (VSAT) link for backhaul to restore service to nearby cell sites in Puerto Rico.

In addition to network restoration efforts, Sprint delivered food, water, and first aid, to devastated towns in Puerto Rico, including restoring power and donating devices to the Christian School and Chapel for the Deaf in Luquillo.

By Stuart Burson, Associate Director, Satellite Solutions Group

While deployed to the Florida Keys following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Chris Mundorf, an engineer with Verizon’s Satellite Solutions Group, heard from a large Verizon customer needing restoration help in Puerto Rico.

For 2 weeks, Chris and a team the customer had assembled, made site visits to 45 locations and "MacGyvered" together antennas to restore critical satellite services at each site.

On more than one occasion, the customer questioned whether Verizon would be able to get the site restored, based on the condition of the equipment. But in every case, Chris and the team proved the customer wrong!

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ISE Staff