This month’s insights from our leaders around the world comes from Phil Carrow, CEO of Signal Point. Signal Point is the leading telecommunications infrastructure provider focused on U.S. military bases and was recently acquired by Mobilitie, becoming part of the wider BAI Group.
Phil’s telecoms career began 34 years ago as an Airman in the U.S. Air Force. He has subsequently worked for Motorola and SkyCell, later joining Signal Point in 2014. He is also a Board Member for the National Veterans’ Memorial and Museum.
What’s the most important development happening in our industry and what does that mean for business?
At Signal Point, we focus on the US Department of Defense (DoD) and bringing connectivity to military bases where it’s needed most for those living and working on these bases – this includes cellular, internet, public safety, and official use telecom needs.
The most exciting development in recent years is that each of the service branches are working with industry to develop advance used cases for 5G, and industry is responding as the DoD lowers bureaucratic obstacles to approvals and permits by deploying connectivity. This leads to opportunities to work with the DoD on creating the ‘Smart Military Base’ vision for the future.
What inspires you most in the work that you do?
Telecommunications is an ever-evolving aspect of life that we all have become dependent on in order to function in our daily jobs and personal life. The world thrives on instant gratification, staying connected, and living vicariously worldwide on a platform that teleports them virtually across the globe.
Level up on that connectivity and I am inspired daily as a part of an organisation that hands-down surpasses expectations in the wireless industry through development and deployment strategies for each military base, improving the quality of life for the U.S. Military personnel who live and work on those very bases. As a U.S. Air Force veteran, it gives me great joy to know that we get to focus on improving connectivity on DOD bases every day.
What is a technique you use to be more effective in your work?
Keeping in a state of being proactive, never dropping the ball and keeping them in the air. Follow-up, follow-through, and don’t go dormant. In the DoD telecoms world, you must have the long view, so persistence is critical.
What’s one of the ongoing challenges you face at work and how do you manage it?
Military installations, in most cases, have been underserved by the commercial carriers. Not for their lack of desire or effort, but because siting on those properties is different than public space, more complex, and the processes are more loosely defined and have many different levels of control and authority.
As a team, we manage through this by using agreements, advisors, and a lobbying team that bring the expertise and know-how that will allow us access to DoD segments of the telecoms infrastructure world that we did not previously have. We believe that master planning each military base will give us a significant market advantage in deploying all telecom infrastructure.
What is your advice for proactively managing your career?
First and foremost, it is ensuring a work-life balance. From there, in the fast-paced, ever-changing telecom industry it is maintaining visibility, keep current, committed, and don’t let obstacles and barriers slow you down. Stay transparent and find your passion – at work and in your personal life.
Who has been the greatest influence on your career and why?
How much time did you say I have?! In all seriousness, there have been many in my life. Starting with my parents and siblings, and many mentors and guides even to this day, but I would always come back to the U.S. Air Force and the opportunity/career they gave me by training me in Secure Communications as a 19-year-old.
This is why my job is so much fun and passion-filled, as I get to work with the Air Force, Navy, Marines and Army and give back what they trained me to do so long ago….Thank you, Air Force!
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
The reason I am sometimes a minute or two late to turn my video on during conference calls is that my two Irish Wolfhound puppies (100+ lbs) still think they are lapdogs and want to be in the video and I have to escort them out of my home office.