Today I talk to Kathy Brand, CEO and founder of Tower Safety and Instruction. She worked for AT&T doing outside plant and CO work for years. In the interview she talks about how the lack of respect for safety training was commonplace. This encouraged her to start the school for one of the most dangerous jobs, tower climbing. She feels here school stand for workplace safety by showing the students the value of safety. Kathy has done a great job building this school from scratch. Being a woman owned business in a male dominated industry has been challenging to say the least.
I have put what I could in the blog, but listen to the podcast to get to know how she got this far and how she deals with challenges in the tower training industry. Just a warning, there are a few swear words in this and adult language, so be prepared when you listen.
There are so many training schools in the tower industry, what makes one stand out? Kathy tells us that its 1) honesty – being aware of the challenges that the climber will see on the job, 2) Accountability – proactively taking action and making changes when needed, and 3) Integrity -, inspiring and coaching coworkers to perform safely. Training coverage includes tower safety and rescue, CPR/First Aid, and OSHA 10. Maybe you need. Kathy understands that companies make training decisions around budgets of money and time. We can’t always send people away for a month to be trained, but we do want them to be trained properly by a reputable school, preferable one that is state accredited.
Today’s tower installation industry calls for the tower tech to learn so much on the job. The RFP process in carrier work has made training tough because the payback is so low. Some of these RFPs and reverse auctions are literally a race to the bottom that discounts the cost for safety.
So what Tower Safety and Instruction will do is make the training personal. They not only will train their students, but Kathy will stay in touch with them well after the class. The support after the class is very important because we all know that in this industry the learning only begins with the training. Anyone in the field should be trying to sharpen their skills weekly. It doesn’t always mean in the class room but on the job. If you need a resource, then you have someone to call for support. This is very important for the tower climber to grow their skills.
The students in this school are learning by doing more than reading and climbing a tower. The classes are interactive where the students tell stories of what they really see out there in the real world. While the learning environment is fun it shows the climbers what real world problems they may run into and helps them prepare for the day when they may have to make a decision of whether to do something stupid or not, which (sadly) usually is a decision of keeping your job or quitting. We have egos, especially among climbers, but the goal should be to become better and make our fellow climbers better for knowing us.
Training is serious business and Kathy makes every effort to make her students take it seriously. That doesn’t mean you can’t make jokes and be light-hearted, but make a point to take the safe part seriously.
One more thing, this school had drone training for the wireless industry, how cool is that? I think it’s a breakthrough for the industry to have a resource for drone training.
So let me know what you think, email firstname.lastname@example.org when you think of something to say!