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NATE announces new Public Safety Agency membership category

The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE), a non-profit trade association in the wireless infrastructure industry, announces a new membership category designed to serve industry members in the government and public-safety arenas.

By Todd Schlekeway

The current expansion of broadband and wireless infrastructure technologies plays a critical role in the nation’s economic well being, global competitiveness and the ability to upgrade vital services such as utility and public safety communication networks. In fact, I have heard long-time industry executives compare the significance of the current wireless-technology deployment cycle to the development of the interstate highway system and the creation of rural electrification.

The National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE), a non-profit trade association in the wireless infrastructure industry, is recognized as the industry leader in promoting safety, standards and education. NATE members have access to safety resources and best practices information in order to help promote a culture of safety within their respective companies. Today, NATE is dedicated to providing a unified voice for tower construction, service and maintenance companies, boasting approximately 700 member companies, including tower-construction firms, general contractors, tower owners, wireless carriers, engineering firms, manufacturers, distributors and training companies. 

Public-safety entities continue to play an extremely important role in the wireless infrastructure industry, and NATE is proud to recognize their contributions by establishing a new Public Safety Agency membership category. Effective immediately, the Public Safety Agency membership category is classified for any entity that receives public funding whose affiliation with the communication tower industry includes contracting with tower construction, service and maintenance firms and/or providing public-safety services.  

We are pleased to offer the new Public Safety Agency membership category, as it serves as a validation of the vital services that public-safety agencies provide to the wireless infrastructure industry every day. NATE encourages all entities involved with public safety at the federal, state, local and tribal levels to take advantage of this unique opportunity to join NATE and access all of the membership benefits and safety resources we have to offer. Examples of the federal, state, local and tribal agencies that qualify for the new membership category include: emergency management, EMS first responders, law enforcement and fire departments. Dues are $500 annually for agencies that fall under the new membership category—less than half the commercial rate.

The establishment of the Public Safety Agency membership category was the logical next step for the association, as many NATE member contractors work in the public-safety arena on a daily basis and the public-safety community continues to play a vital role in rescue operations and responding to incidents that occur at tower sites.  

Consider this situation that occurred in July 2014 at a tower site in Florida: Local city and county fire department officials were dispatched to the tower site rescue a tower technician who became immobilized due to heat exhaustion that unfortunately occurred while the tech was working around the 260-foot level.

Ultimately, the city fire department’s search and rescue team climbed the tower, harnessed the technician with safety gear and lowered him to the ground. This story has a happy ending due to the effective work of the local fire department personnel that were on the scene.

The authorization and development of FirstNet, the first nationwide broadband network dedicated to public safety, was also instrumental in NATE’s decision to offer the new Public Safety Agency membership category. NATE member contractors are in a unique position to respond to FirstNet’s upcoming RFP process and potentially partner with FirstNet to provide the safe and quality buildouts necessary to accomplish this ambitious nationwide initiative.

NATE appreciates our long-standing relationship with IWCE and IWCE’s Urgent Communications. The platform and resources you provide to the communications technology industry and your advocacy for public safety communications is making an indelible impact. Keep up the great work!

Todd Schlekeway is the executive director of the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE). His e-mail address is Public-safety stakeholders interested in joining NATE are encouraged to visit to complete an official membership application or contact the NATE office at (888) 882-5865.

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