What aspect of the industry do you think has the most potential for growth, and, on the other hand, which aspect do you think needs the most improvement?
5G is clearly a game changer. Not only is it a driver of growth within the communications infrastructure sector, but it will also fundamentally change the way businesses operate. Five and 10 years from now, we will be talking about new companies and new industries we can’t even imagine now. Companies that are being formed today that harness the promise of 5G will be the Zooms and Ubers of tomorrow.
To bring 5G to reality, there has to be a massive upgrade of today’s mobile networks. Every component supporting these networks is in high demand — increased need for fiber, edge colocation, and wireless siting. The growth in sharing physical infrastructure will expand to the sharing of virtual infrastructure through shared spectrum. We see this evolution through the emergence of CBRS [Citizen's Broadband Radio Service], a democratization of spectrum.
Ironically, to enable communications, the industry needs to do a better job communicating with our communities. Too often we hear concerned citizens questioning the health and safety of these deployments without understanding the technology being deployed. Building infrastructure in our communities isn’t always pretty — streets need to be dug up, radios need to be installed, power needs to be connected — but the result is a robust network that brings along significant economic and social benefits. When a mobile network operator deploys 5G radios in a community, that community now benefits from ultra-fast, high-capacity connectivity. Since wireless networks require wires, that community will now have additional network connectivity that alternative service providers can leverage to provide high-speed internet access to homes and businesses. The deployment of these networks creates jobs: jobs to deploy, maintain, and upgrade the physical infrastructure as well as new jobs created by businesses attracted to these technology hubs. Helping our local leaders understand these benefits while also giving them the tools to communicate the health and safety risks associated with RF signals is crucial for the successful deployment of these networks. It comes back to transparency and respect. If we can be transparent with the communities in which we deploy and provide the people living there with the respect, we can deliver on the promise of 5G and help bridge the digital divide in communities across America.
When you imagine the future of the technology industry, what does it look like?
When I think about the future of the technology industry, I end up thinking of the past. I think about my dad’s first car phone, the sound of the dial-up modem, my first cellphone, the first time I learned about an “SMS," the first time I saw a grainy picture text, and the iPhone (OMG)! I go back in time and imagine myself in those moments. Back then, I couldn’t have imagined sitting in my home office in 2021 on Zoom calls all day, seeing alerts on who is coming to my door from my Nest app, ordering groceries for the week through Instacart. It reminds me that I have no idea what technology will look like in 10, 20, or 30 years. What I do know is that it will be a step function from where it is today. I also know that the changes we’ve seen as consumers have come from the rollout of new generations of mobile network standards. So, as we begin the rollout of 5G, all I know for certain is this generation of the mobile network will bring about a shift in technology that is unimaginable to many of us today. I’m excited to enable it and watch what blooms from the infrastructure we build.
What is the most valuable life lesson you have learned so far and how has it helped you in your career?
My mom often says, “No one gets through life unscathed.” Everyone everywhere encounters a major challenge in their lives. I’m not talking about the day-to-day ups and downs; I’m talking about the massive, knock-you-off-your-feet, out-of-the-blue whammy. I’ve witnessed my family and friends experience these moments and have had one or two myself. Even in these moments, the world keeps moving. It’s taught me two things.
1. You never know what someone is going through, so, when possible, try to give people a little grace
2. When it happens to you, the world will go on. You will go on.
What three adjectives come to mind when you think about your future path?
Fulfilling, bright, and connected.