LBA Group focuses on providing solutions for the telecommunications industry. It is comprised of Lawrence Behr Associates, LBA Technology, and LBA University. Over the last 57 years, the group of companies has evolved and adopted new technologies and utilized its experience to move from radio to television to telecommunications.
LBA Group started as Lawrence Behr Associates in 1963, providing broadcast station RF consulting and maintenance services to regional clientele. “At the time, cutting-edge technology was AM broadcasting. We became one of the top AM broadcasting consulting firms in the country, and then we transitioned to FM radio when that became available,” said Behr. “We then transitioned to television, which birthed the LBA Technology division to enable us to provide various hardware solutions.”
After working in television for many years, Motorola invited LBA to get involved in the “brand new” cellular industry. “Of course, we accepted,” said Behr, which led to LBA Group planning dozens of early cellular systems in conjunction with Motorola.
Nearly a decade ago, LBA University was formed to provide education and training. According to Behr, many users complete existing online courses, and leverage tailored training packages to satisfy safety manager requirements. “We have clients that provide us with their training requirements for employees or recruitment efforts. We’ll customize training for individuals with various levels of experience. LBA manages the entire process for the client up to the standards needed for an employee to complete his or her job.”
LBA University offers over 100 courses that have trained over 20,000 students and can be accessed “anywhere, anytime.” Topics range from OSHA 10 and 30 hours to health, safety and environmental management.
LBA Group maintains a forward-looking approach as new technology is continually introduced to the marketplace, with Behr – and his plethora of expertise – at the helm. He serves as a Fellow of the Society of Broadcast Engineers and RCA, in addition to sitting on the Board of the International Association of Radio and Telecommunications Engineers.
“For many years, RF Safety was well-known in the industry but didn’t trickle down to the public until recently. Now, as small cells are becoming more prevalent, more and more people are becoming aware of RF and educating themselves on the risks and safety, which is a double-edged sword depending on where they’re getting their information,” said Behr.
LBA Group is an advocate for proper education and debunking conspiracy theories about telecom technology. They intervened on a well-known situation in Ripon, CA last year when an “expert” was quoted by various media outlets as to the harmful effects of tower-generated microwave emissions, in this case, being attributed to students’ cancer diagnoses. The theory spread like wildfire. The monopole’s owner, Sprint, took down the tower under pressure to appease residents.
LBA Group helped determine that the RF “expert” was using an unqualified meter from a German bio-science institute that sold certifications and was calibrated to be 1,000 times more sensitive than what the FCC requires.
Subsequently, it was announced that the groundwater in Ripon had high elements of TCE, a residual chemical from a Nestle factory that had been operating near the school. Further studies released have cited the soil vapor containing PCE, a carcinogenic solvent found in dry-cleaning as a leading contributor to local cancer-causing occurrences.
“There is misinformation circulating that demonizes RF, particularly as it relates to 5G. The fact is that nothing has changed,” according to Behr. “We’re still using the same radio waves, the same frequencies. The fact that there’s more activity in millimeter waves, with 5G, has grasped the public’s attention.”
With nearly 60 years in the business and a wall full of awards, LBA Group has worked throughout the United States and all over the world, including Latin America and the Middle East, and its spectrum of offerings extends beyond RF safety. Behr was honored with the Medal of Freedom after the Gulf War for repairing broadcast systems during the conflict. LBA Group is also the sole supplier to the U. S. Military for lightning protection for the F-35 Fighter Jets.
LBA Group provides lightning dissipater arrays, mast systems and copper ground system materials. It’s also paved the way for shielding systems with the development of EMFaraCage®, faraday cages that serve as custom electromagnetic shielding enclosures.
The team also designs AM colocation sites – which is unique – but because of its robust background with AM, LBA is particularly suited for this undertaking. “We know how to put cell antennas on existing (‘hot’) AM towers without interference. Plus, we have a whole line of proprietary products that allows lower power FM transmitters to go on AM towers. We’ve installed several hundred of these throughout the country, and our dual-technology knowledge-base comes together within FCC regulations,” explained Behr.
How does one know if their tower requires detuning? LBA Group offers a free online AM Protection Tool to determine what, if any, action might be required to be compliant with FCC Rules when an AM radio station is nearby. This free screening application evaluates your site for compliance with current FCC AM regulations.
To thrive in the marketplace for nearly 60 years, LBA Group has remained innovative, with a portfolio of intellectual property and many patents under its belt. Behr is also committed to keeping LBA employees certified in emerging technologies like CBRS.
In August, the company’s technical team consisting of both field and office personnel completed the course work and obtained the Certified Professional Installer (CPI) credentials required to set up and certify CBRS installations as mandated under the rules in FCC Part 96. The CBRS band is expected to be widely used for a host of non-carrier private LTE and 5G systems, as well as for some carrier offload. The fast implementation time and lack of licensing hurdles can provide great flexibility and rapid time-to-market deployment in large office or residential buildings. With the its national technical field team certified to provide SAS compliance, LBA Group is now well positioned to support these deployments.
The LBA Group, Inc. is a CVMSDC certified minority-owned Hispanic small business based in Greenville, NC. For more information about LBA Group and its products and services, visit www.lbagroup.com.
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