VCA Adds Staff, Brings in Dozens of Contractors
Keeping up with demand for broadband
PAHRUMP, Nev. (Jan. 9, 2017) – Valley Communications Association continues to add staff to keep up with the growing demand for wireless broadband service.
Photo Caption: Crews from Sturgeon Electric, a Denver-based company serving utilities in the West for more than 100 years, will be working in the VEA service territory for much of 2017. One of the Sturgeon crews includes, from left, Bruce Weekes of Rexburg, Idaho; Josh Severson of Boise, Idaho., Moises Avelarpalacios of Los Angeles, Fernando Ocho (in driver’s seat) of Los Angeles; Kyle Beachler of Evanston, Wyo., Dave Cook of Lehi, Utah, Richard Owens of Temecula, Calif., and Dan Martins of Albion, Idaho
More than 2,000 members and customers have been connected to wireless broadband since June with dozens more being connected each day, said Thomas H. Husted, CEO of Valley Electric Association, the parent company of VCA.
"It is difficult to keep up with the overwhelming demand for broadband from our members, and we are very sensitive to the fact that the wait can be frustrating," said Husted. "Our teams are working long days to get members connected as fast as we can. We are bringing on extra crews so that as we continue to get busier and busier, we have the resources to accommodate those eagerly awaiting service."
VCA currently is in the process of hiring more broadband installers, said Husted. He estimated that the number of installers has doubled in order to accommodate all the requests for service. "We are even using additional contractors to help stay on schedule and meet the needs of current and future consumers not only in Pahrump, but in outlying districts as well."
Contractors have been brought in from as far away as North Dakota, Wyoming and Idaho to perform make-ready work on power poles, which carry the fiber-optic cables for VCA. “Because of the weight of the cable and clearance issues, some poles have had to be replaced,” said Matthew Moffitt, Manager of Engineering for VEA. The contract crews have been busy replacing power poles so that VEA and VCA linemen can perform service and maintenance on existing facilities.
Moffitt estimated that approximately 40 additional contractors, mostly broadband installers, will be on board by the end of January. In addition, VEA has 20 electrical contractors performing make-ready work.
It was only 15 months ago that VCA hired its first employee; now it has more than 40. Many of the new hires have included broadband installers, telecommunications fiber technicians, broadband coordinators and I.T. engineers.
The surge in requests for broadband service has provided an economic boost for Nye County in 2016, according to Paul Miller, Executive Director of the Nye County Regional Economic Development Authority.
“You can’t underestimate the effect that is having,” says Miller. “First, you have a lot of hiring going on.” As such, VCA was the fastest growing business in the county in 2016, says Miller. The effect is similar to a new business with dozens of employees starting up in the area, Miller said.
About Valley Communications Association, Inc.
Valley Communications Association, Inc., (VCA), is a wholly owned subsidiary of Valley Electric Association, Inc., (VEA) a nonprofit electric utility headquartered in Pahrump, Nev. Much like VEA did 52 years ago, VCA is bringing critical infrastructure – fiber-optic and wireless broadband – to the communities in its vast 6,800-square-mile service area along the Nevada-California border that were under served by commercial communications providers. VCA is a partner in the long-haul fiber-optic network between Las Vegas and Reno and will expand into VoIP, IPTV, SmartHome and I.T. services in 2017. Long term, VCA’s goal is to expand modern broadband to rural communities of Nevada. For more information about VEA, please visit www.vea.coop.