Team Fishel – Henderson brings 5G connectivity to Las Vegas Valley

July 06, 2020

Team Fishel's Henderson, NV division opened for business in 2017 after being awarded a large multi-year project in the Las Vegas Valley. Through the efforts of an outstanding group of Teammates, the Henderson operation has adapted quickly to the customer's needs and continues to meet or exceed the customer's goals.

This project is a huge fiber network build that will ultimately support 5G service in many cities throughout the United States. In Nevada alone, the original project called for 900 miles of new fiber optic infrastructure throughout the communities of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, and Clark County. Through value-engineering, we have been able to scale the project down closer to 600 miles. While some of that mileage will utilize existing third-party conduits, the majority requires new construction. Team Fishel has been building the new fiber backbone since late 2017, placing new conduit, installing fiber optic cable, splicing, and connecting to 5G cell sites in many areas of the Las Vegas Valley.

"The new infrastructure will replace, or in some cases augment, 4G service," said Johnnie Lara, Division Manager for Team Fishel's Henderson operation. "This type of network will ultimately support advanced wireless communications such as autonomous vehicles, telemedicine and the Internet-of-Things."

The scope of Team Fishel's work has expanded as the project evolved. Construction of an Optical Distribution Network (ODN) overlay was added in 2019 to extend the network and provide more efficient use of fiber capacities. And this month, the Henderson division will also begin constructing Network Extension Drops (NED), extending the fiber network to 5G small cell sites or directly to business sites as directed by the customer.

Henderson Division overcomes growing pains

Tackling a project as large as this always presents challenges. For the Henderson operation, the biggest priorities were hiring and acclimating new employees to Team Fishel's culture. An aggressive recruitment effort increased manpower and helped build a strong local team. However, approximately 90% of the Henderson Teammates have experienced the Team Fishel culture for less than two years.

"One of the primary goals for the division was to build locally, which we were fairly successful in doing," said Tim Griffin, Team Fishel VP (Las Vegas), "But building the culture has been the biggest challenge."

Through Team Fishel's onboarding program and training protocols, as well as adjustments in workforce responsibilities, the Henderson team adapted quickly to the Fishel culture, achieving significant improvements in both safety and productivity. Today nearly all of the work, including administrative responsibilities, is handled by Henderson-based Teammates.

"We have very good success if we can find the right spot for somebody and then unleash them," said Lara. "They don't necessarily have to do something the way that I would do it. As long as they find a safe and effective way of accomplishing the task, they can thrive."

Delivering Results

Most importantly, the Henderson division has delivered outstanding results for the customer. In 2019, Teammates placed 248 miles of fiber optic cable in the Las Vegas Valley, making the area one of the highest performing markets for the customer. Since the project began, Team Fishel has completed 350 miles of new infrastructure, more than half of the new build projected for the entire project.

In addition to continuing the infrastructure build-out, the customer has focused on getting their 5G network up and running in 2020. To help achieve that goal, Team Fishel is responsible for completing 118 5G small cell sites this year. The work is significantly ahead of schedule.

"As of April, we have turned up and transitioned 87 of the 118 5G sites that the customer wants for this year," Lara noted. "We are nearly three quarters of the way there."

Looking Ahead

What does the future look like for the Henderson operation? Very bright! The Las Vegas project is expected to remain active as the 5G rollout continues. Additionally, many Henderson Teammates bring significant experience from the Natural Gas industry, providing a foundation for serving the natural gas segment as well. As always, Team Fishel looks forward to embracing new opportunities and helping its customers succeed. In that spirit, the Henderson division exemplifies the qualities that make Team Fishel the Best Choice for Utility Engineering, Construction, Installation and Maintenance in the nation.