Since March 29, I have had the opportunity to visit jobsites with Houston Project Superintendents Jeovanny Alvarenga, Bryan Peltier, and Nicole Flores. These visits are named ride-along on my calendar and they occur three times per month. I just go to whatever job site Jeovanny, Bryan, or Nicole is visiting. I listen-in and see what they see and just be part of a normal workday. I got the opportunity to see Houston technicians Nicholas Batres, Rene Sandoval, Leo Martinez, Luis Muchado, Andre Hernandez, Javier Solis, Alex Sanchez, Ernie Chavez, and Marco Hueras on various site visits over the last eight weeks.
I mainly observe and ask a few questions. When walking Houston Methodist Woodlands (Vaughn Const.) with Leo Martinez, I asked about elevator waiting time which can be significant on some days. Leo also explained about protection of work completed. With so many trades on the floor, he needs to go back daily to view work completed to verify and sometimes fix if our work was disturbed by other trades. When visiting with Marco up at Houston Methodist Fondren 11, he showed me how the electrical contractor being four days behind can hold-up the show. I asked about an exposed circuit board in a shower area that was awaiting grout from the tile installer. It is easy to bypass with so many devices, but there are some things that are more easily observed from an outside perspective.
My main reason for scheduling these trips is to keep connected to our product service and delivery. In my previous role in the engineering group, I would be out in the field a couple times of month either assisting in troubleshooting, commissioning, or walking a site. As we became a more mature company my time in the field was needed less. My skill set is not needed in the field, but I want to see what's going on at the site to get the full picture what's happening at Lone Star Communications. One part of the picture that is clear is our purpose: keeping our communities safe. I saw the work we were doing in both challenging and standard conditions, and it's clear that everybody takes what we do pretty seriously. I see pride in workmanship and care to see the system down the line for programming, commissioning, and beneficial client use. None of that can happen until you establish a pathway and get the cable plant from controller to endpoint.
My visits proved that we continue to look toward continual improvement. One example was superintendents working with Philip Cerna to obtain additional Nitroset guns (https://www.nitroset.com/product/tool) to deal with how spread out we are. Also, our superintendents were chasing the few wire pulling ceiling end-caps in an attempt to get them to the right projects. We had a precious few available and some in disrepair, stolen, or misplaced. Phillip placed an order for each lead technician to have two on their truck. This is not a cheap method, but working inefficiently costs us more.
I first stepped onto a jobsite as a communications apprentice in 1981. I spent time in tight spaces and those memories came back as Javier Solis brought me up to a wire pull origination location above a clinic at the VA Houston. I discovered that you need to be a gymnast to be up in the VA interstitial space. I also rediscovered that while much of the technology has changed, the basic project premise has not changed in all these years. Understand your scope and surroundings and manage your part of the project all the way to the end. Now back to my stretching so I can do the limbo on my next visit to the Houston VA interstitial.
-Ronald F. Kruse, Chief Operating Officer, Houston