Countdown to iWireless Solution’s 10th Anniversary – Week Four of Ten
This week we have the third of our “memories” stories from Gareth Pendry, one of our Design Engineers. You can read his interview below.
Job title upon start: Technician
Current job title: Design Engineer
Question: How has your job changed from when you started at iWireless Solutions?
When I joined iWireless Solutions, I started with not much comprehension of what my job would be. I applied through an agency for an Admin role and after my interview I accepted the role of Technician – I really felt the company had lots of potential. Within a week I was sent to sites with a laptop and phones (Queen Alexandra Hospital was my first) to do walk testing. I then started being the support and legs (literally) for the engineers, doing their walk testing and taking measurements on site. That was a steep but very useful learning curve, which helped me gain all my radio knowledge. Now, I get our more junior technicians to do the tests for me – I know first-hand how much you can learn through this approach. Somehow, I have somehow become one of the longest term members of staff. I am mainly in charge of, or specialise in, commissioning the larger, more complex sites (Hampden Park, O2 Arena, etc.).
Question: What are your Top 3 lessons/skills learnt at iWireless Solutions?
I joined iWS with no knowledge of anything Telco related. I didn’t even know what a schematic was.
The top skills learned are the baseline skills and knowledge I need to do my job:
1. Radio fundamentals – how radio works in what environments, the differences between technologies and frequencies, what ‘dBm’ is.
2. Microsoft Office tools – seriously, the stuff you can do on PowerPoint is amazing if you use it right
3. Radio Testing tools – TEMS, Seehawk, Transmitters and scanners, BTS master – all essential items that we are always making sure new team members learn and understand.
Question: What key projects have you worked on over the past years?
- Nearly every Olympic venue (Olympic stadium, Aquatics Centre, Basketball Arena, Handball Arena, International Broadcast Centre and the Riverbank Hockey Arena, amongst others)
- Major stadiums – Twickenham, Hampden Park, St James Park, Sunderland
- The O2 arena
- A high profile central London department store
Question: What was your most memorable project and why?
I suppose the Olympic projects were a huge turning point. I worked on nearly every Olympic venue early on – I remember each one vividly. I was still fresh and nervous and running around like a mad thing trying to get to grips with all these new programs, 2am phone calls, early morning drives and the whole Telecoms universe. I remember clearly doing a lot of testing there and some of the longest walk tests I have ever done at the Olympic Stadium.
Question: What is your best memory/anecdote of your life at iWireless Solutions to date?
I get reminded of several…even by people who were not even around. I know some stories about me have spread to other companies now as well. These include but are not limited to:
The time I dropped a laptop down the steps at Ricoh Arena on one of my first days on site
The time I left my work laptop on the roof of my car and our Managing Director found it.
But let’s not talk about those. I remember a site with an issue that could not get resolved. There were several conference calls about it and test plans and methodologies with important people. I went to site and just had a hunch and found 2 cables crossed over with wrong labels. This taught me that more often than not, it is a very simple problem with a simple solution.
I also clearly remember doing several tests at once which required a big backpack with a pole and wires sticking out of it and a hard hat with 2 mobile phones velcroed to my head. I definitely got some funny looks in that get-up!
Question: How has iWireless Solutions grown or changed over the years?
iWireless started with just Sarah Hunt being an employee and all the rest contractors. I was the second employee and the only junior in the company. Since starting, I have seen several changes, some of the earliest company members are now managers, which is fascinating to see. iWireless invest in young and local talent, which is how I started. However, the business has also invested in some more senior roles, to support the younger recruits and to raise the profile of the company in the industry.
Question: What – if anything – makes iWireless Solutions special for you?
It was my first full-time job and I have been here 5 years. It is basically who I am now.
Question: Describe iWireless Solutions in 10 words or less.
A young ambitious company with a clear focus on delivery and getting the best out of its employees.