“We wanted to create a business that would allow us to find a balance between family and career…it was critical to us that we have both,” Lisa White, President of Wes-Tec, Inc, told Inside Towers. “And we achieved it.”
In 2003, White—who has a degree in Industrial Engineering—and her sister-in-law, Cindy White, had been in telecom for several years and each faced choices about staying with bigger companies.
Preferring a smaller-company feel and wanting more control, they decided to go out on their own. Wes-Tec was born.
Verizon was their first contract. Starting with just three people, they began bidding jobs and hiring on small crews as they needed them. Today, they have 65 employees with offices in Orange County, CA, Portland, OR, and Atlanta, GA. Wes-Tec has always focused on quality work. White shared that then, as now, they are not the lowest-priced game in town. “People hire us when they have a challenging project that needs to be carefully thought out from an engineering perspective and the quality of the work has to be top-notch. That’s what we’ve built our reputation on.”
When they started out, they concentrated on technical services at macro sites. Now they do everything it takes to design, construct, install, integrate, optimize, operate, monitor, and maintain the network.
Even though they’ve grown, the founders continue to focus on balance for their teams. “We are only as good as our employees. If they aren’t happy, they can’t produce quality work. If they’re worried about a sick family member, they can’t be focused…then safety becomes an issue. We put as much effort as we can into making sure that our employees have a happy, healthy, and safe work environment. And in return, they work incredibly hard and we are fortunate to have very low turnover rates.”
In fact, their employees voted Wes-Tec a Top Workplace in Orange County in 2018. “It speaks to the relationship we have with them and the environment we provide,” White said.
They also shares profits with their people. “They have ownership of the projects they work on and benefit when we’re profitable,” White shared. “They don’t waste time. They don’t forget materials or equipment. They do it right the first time.”
Incentivizing efficiency also helps with the biggest challenge she sees right now: doing more for less in order to compete. White explained the industry is resource-constrained, so hourly rates are more expensive. But with so many sites that need to be built, carriers are looking for the lowest prices to control infrastructure costs.
“Efficiencies are critical to making sure we don’t have waste. We’re always trying to find new ways to build sites more efficiently,” she said. “How can we do this better and faster?”
In addition to being named a “Top Workplace,” Wes-Tec has been named a “Top Women-Owned Business in Orange County (CA)” for several years in a row. White shared that she never felt disadvantaged heading a female-founded company. “I know some women don’t have that same experience. But I always saw it as an advantage.” She explained, “When I go to a sales meeting, I’m confident—sharing what I know we can provide, knowing we will deliver. I believe that, coupled with being a woman, makes me memorable.”
White has also served as a Board Member on the California Wireless Association for over 10 years and she’s a member of the Women’s Wireless Leadership Forum. Over the years, she’s watched more and more women enter the industry.
“It is refreshing to see women involved with technology. I have seen them in the board room, at industry events and in meetings. Women have a great opportunities in the wireless industry,” she said. “I hope more jump in and take advantage of the dynamic business and exponential growth we are all experiencing.”
By Kristen Stelzer for Inside Towers
July 19, 2019