Fiber Optic Cabinets, Cables, Pedestals and Terminals

The switch flipped and now we’re in summer. April seemed like January here in the Midwest, so our spring was delayed by 30 days…and then it was instant summer, with temperatures approaching 100°F in May.

Every spring, an anticipation energizes us to get our projects started. My to do list of projects is longer than normal this year as a few were added for helping out the extended family. I did a concrete sidewalk for my mom and dad, and I am currently helping my daughter and son-in-law build a deck on their new house.

For me, this year feels different. Six months ago, I had open-heart surgery to replace a valve and to repair my aorta. In the past, these projects were mere tasks that needed to get checked off my list of things to do. I have always been a very physical person (I’m the guy everyone called when they had a piano that needed to be moved). It was a blessing to have that physical capability taken away for a while. A second chance at appreciation. Appreciation for my health and abilities. We all get lulled into complacency and take things for granted. So instead of the concrete sidewalk job being a chore that had to be done, I now see it as an opportunity to spend time with my dad and collaborate on the best way to build it. The deck build is now not something to dread, but instead, treasured time with my daughter, son-in-law and grandson.

This may not make sense, but getting my chest cracked open was one of the best things to happen to me.

This time of year, our industry also has its list of things to get done. We need to make hay while the sun shines. Our business has limited resources. We have seen veteran telecommunications professionals of the baby-boom generation start to retire and contractor resources become unbalanced quickly, with over-builders sucking all the oxygen out of the room when they decide to build a few cities at the same time. This leads to higher construction costs and/or lower quality work as contractors scramble to hire “less-than-qualified” labor.

Clearfield® is leading the charge with innovations to help ease that pain. Labor Lite products that streamline and simplify. Plug-and-play options, such as the YOURx Flex Box, that speed deployment and eliminate high-skilled (expensive) limited resources.

We are now into the busy build season and Clearfield has responded by hiring some veteran industry professionals. I’m part of the application engineering team that provides field support for our customers when they need a helping hand. When I started at Clearfield 13 years ago, 3 of us were on the team. Now we have 12, none with less than 20 years of experience, and my 40 years isn’t even tops in seniority in this group.

Our industry has had its chest cracked open with mergers and acquisitions activity, technology upheavals, legacy cash-cow products and services (landlines) evaporating, rural high-cost line settlement changes and on and on....

The only sure thing in life is that it will change. I will be there to help in any way I can. And I will not take my ability to help for granted.

By Jim Pilgrim

Jim Pilgrim has 40 years of experience in telecommunications with Northwestern Bell/US West, Fujitsu and Clearfield. His work experience includes Central Office switching, fiber optic transport, Fiber to the Home (FTTH) and engineering. Jim currently works as an application engineer at Clearfield, where he helps customers design Fiber to the Home networks across the country.