For more than three decades, Fulton Technologies, Inc. has provided turnkey solutions to the telecom, utility, and enterprise industries. In providing these end-to-end construction and integration solutions, safety and compliance have always remained priority.
Steven Pickerd and Derek Denman, Quality/Safety Managers at Fulton, are OSHA 500-certified to conduct both OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 safety courses and are certified National Wireless Safety Alliance (NWSA) examiners. In addition to in-house safety training, they conduct third-party training under the auspices of RAKM Tower Rescue Training and serve as a valuable resource for Fulton’s subcontractors.
“We’re doing training for our in-house, company people, and we can offer training for our subcontractors and anybody else that comes through…they don’t have to wait for the next available slot with other trainers. They can schedule with us, and we’ll facilitate the training,” Denman said.
Having both Pickerd and Denman under its roof gives Fulton a unique advantage. While many firms have in-house instructors, it’s unlikely those instructors can also provide on-demand training for subcontractors.
It allows them the flexibility to work as a team or as individual trainers, according to the situation. For example, in early August, Denman spent two weeks filling in as instructor at Texas A&M University for the Warriors4Wireless program. Warriors4Wireless is a non-profit that bridges the gap between industry demand for trained professionals and qualified military veterans.
When they are not training outside the company, Fulton’s broad geographic footprint – and its dedication to the highest level of safety standards – keeps its quality/safety managers busy.
“We spend so much time in the field with our crews,” Pickerd said. “We’re constantly doing audits on our crews, but when we are unable to get there, our construction managers also do site audit reports.”
“We want them to have the best training available,” Denman added. We like to get out and see them working in their normal atmosphere, actually performing in the field…that gives us the chance to retrain, reeducate, and keep them up to speed.”
In addition to training and workplace safety, Fulton keep tabs on the company’s work vehicles and employee driving habits. A tracking system records and reports sudden acceleration, braking, and driving over the speed limit – and helps Fulton avoid accidents and excessive wear and tear on its fleet.
Fulton’s safety team has begun testing the effectiveness of a simple piece of equipment inspired by their military experience: the battle board. Created to save paper and streamline the transfer of forms from the field, Fulton’s battle boards feature a clear acrylic cover. Crewmembers slip a laminated blank form under the transparent cover, use a dry erase marker to complete the form, snap a photo, and send the form wirelessly on its way.
Another innovation that works for Fulton is an employee incentive program. The company recognizes excellent performance, such as passing several safety inspections in a row. Rewards are high-quality items crewmembers want and can use on the job, like Oakley ANSI-rated safety glasses.
At Fulton, there’s a clear path to the top for tower techs who want to move up through the ranks. Denman called it a “roadmap for success.” They have developed a set of manuals that clearly outlines the path from greenhand to crew lead. The manuals have lists of tasks, tests, responsibilities, and timelines for each level to guide advancement. The company has empowered its employees to sign off on their lower-level coworkers’ achievements; for example, a Tower Tech 2 can approve a Tower Tech 1’s advancement.
“Once someone has completed his book, we will have a review board, where we sit down and go over questions about tasks,” Denman said. “If the employee scores 75% or better, we will sign them off. The tech gets advanced, gets a pay raise, and starts working on the next manual. It’s all laid out for them; there’s no favoritism or advancement based on length of service. It’s what you know, not who you know.”
Pickerd said there’s a big-picture, motivational mindset at Fulton when it comes to training and advancement.
“We’re trying to train everyone within the company to take our jobs,” he explained. “The guy out there in the field, he should strive to take that construction manager’s job. Construction managers should strive to take that project manager job. That’s the way we teach it.”
Fulton Technologies is wholly owned by ADDvantage Technologies Group and is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Fulton’s leadership team has completed over $3 billion in telecommunications projects. For more information or to contact a representative, visit fultontechinc.com.