03 May 2019
Special Feature - The Story of MOUNTAIN's In-House Engineering Team

Special Feature – The Story of MOUNTAIN’s In-House Engineering Team

The evolution of services and capabilities at MOUNTAIN has grown considerably in the last 40 years, as can be seen in our recent feature, but even the last 5 years has provided us with some of the biggest changes we have ever seen. As we have grown, we have seen the need for a fully featured turnkey service from conception to implementation for clients. One of MOUNTAIN’s primary services includes employment opportunities, which includes a full-armed recruiting department that searches for the best engineers in the business. At times, we are presented with a project so large, complex, and new, that we have to think outside the box to create a solution that we never could imagine would be a part of our company, but that is what makes this particular story so exciting.

In 2015, we received a project that required additional engineering work in Idaho. Finding the appropriate resources to conduct proprietary systems training over the long-term presented a challenge to the ongoing goals of both MOUNTAIN and our client, so one of our recruiters traveled to Idaho to receive this training to become an in-house expert on these systems. When he returned to Maine, MOUNTAIN started what would eventually become our in-house engineering team from a single trainer to a full-fledged department with over 10 engineers.

Back in January of 2017, one of our first big social media features was on Henry’s trip to ID, detailing his training and adventures each week. Our first post on Henry read

Henry on his trip to Idaho
Henry Brown, Engineering Services Lead during his trip to ID to receive special engineering training in 2017.

As MOUNTAIN, LTD. continues to develop as a strategic partner for all our clients, we have an exciting announcement to make! Our very own Henry Brown made his way to our newest MOUNTAIN, LTD. office in Meridian, Idaho last week to spend several weeks training in some of the newest and most innovative GIS and facilities management systems in the telecommunications field. Henry started with us as a Recruiter in May of last year after completing his B.S. in Electrical Engineering but had previously worked as an Engineering Assistant for MOUNTAIN in 2015. When he returns home, he will become a valuable resource to expand the knowledge base of our recruiting team and enable us to offer multiple echelons of support for our client base. So, take a trip up the mountain with us as we follow Henry during his training and his travels in Idaho!

— Henry The Mountaineer: Week 1 —

Good Morning from Idaho! I hope you guys are faring well without me, holding back the tears and what not. My first week here has been BUSY! From learning the new systems to trying to figure out how to drive on the ice here. Did you know they don’t use salt on the roads in ID? How do they even?!
I’ve been enjoying my time here in the office, having a blast learning some new skills. I think I’m doing pretty well, and Brady [Regional Training Director] has been a great teacher! I’m certainly hounding him with questions, so hopefully, he doesn’t kick me out early!

I’ve explored a bit of downtown, and actually made a trip up to Garden Valley – We were recruiting up there for a few opportunities back in the September or October timeframe, and I did a bunch of research on the area. It’s as beautiful as the internet says! In general, ID has been a real hidden gem of a state, I never knew that the foothills they have would be so pretty. On my ride home from the office, they linger behind downtown Boise creating a really cool scene to go home to every day

Check back next week for more!

A lot has changed from that first post on Facebook and Twitter. 2 years later, Henry helps manage an ever-growing engineering team that has been foundational in the success of several high profile MOUNTAIN projects.

This story is from the perspective of that, Henry Brown, Engineer Services Lead.

Engineering a Team, Henry Brown

The development of the current Engineering wing here in Maine started, at least from my perspective, back in 2015 with Steve Sanborn leading a group of recruits through our client systems to verify addresses for engineering packages in Washington. This finished up late in 2015, but several members of that team ended up coming back in later years to work on other projects, including myself.

The current iteration of the team started in January of 2017 – I was a recruiter with a newly minted Bachelor’s Degree in Engineer who was tapped to fly out to Idaho and learn some of our client’s proprietary systems. When I came back I started working on a largescale project in Arizona that became one of MOUNTAIN’s biggest sources of revenues during its lifetime, and as the jobs started to roll in we acquired more and more people. We got the nickname “The Configurators” based on the systems we were working in, which stuck around long after we had finished with this work.

Our focus on this project earned the team a lot of experience – We started branching out into not only ordering the cable, but designing the route it took (Design/Layout), and accounting for the houses being served. The growth of the team continued, and even though the project started to die down by late 2017, we had a great group of engineering assistants with a lot of experience. The team branched out, and we ended up working with another one of our large clients, initially doing work in Idaho & Washington, eventually working on CAD out of AZ and even taking on some rather technical engineering packages from other states. 

Photo of Meridian, ID
Meridian, ID

The team has been trained in a myriad of systems and utilities. Engineers are learning AutoCAD, in-depth, as well as proprietary systems utilized by our clients. Our ability to become experts, train, and execute work in client systems make MOUNTAIN a unique provider of telecom engineering services. IKE systems were also utilized for the fielding and the presentation of data that our team would interpret to calculate Make Ready. Various systems were used for the calculation, processing, and presentation of the data that the team would interpret and process.

In 2018, we had an eventful year with the team growing to meet the increasing expectations of our clients and the introduction of two new clients gave us hundreds of miles of work throughout Utah, Idaho, and eventually Arizona. CAD work continued in full force with over 400 projects completed. We received additional work the detail ISP (Inside Plant) engineering arena, pushing the team to learn the ISP heavy side of telecom. We also completed over 200 projects on the CT Pole Project (featured last month LINK LINK), calculating Make Ready for Pole Attachments throughout Connecticut for CLEC’s in the region looking to attach to ILEC utility poles. This growth increased the in-house engineering team in the New Gloucester, Maine office, moving us from a small conference room to an entire wing of headquarters. 

The growth seen in the 2018 is continuing into 2019. We’ve picked up multiple new engineering assistants, expanding the team to 10 full time employees, with more recruits in the works. The work keeps expanding as well, giving the future of our “configurators” a proud home in our MOUNTAIN office.

From a single member going to Idaho for some training to a full-fledged engineering team, we have to say we are proud of Henry and everyone who has helped bring this vision to life.

Star Wars Day at MOUNTAIN HQ
The current engineering team celebrating “May the 4th” – an event they coordinated at MOUNTAIN HQ

Thank you, Henry, for the perspective on the evolution of this department. With the addition of these engineers, MOUNTAIN is able to offer clients the ability to handle certain work immediately with a much quicker turnaround than our competitors.