At Day Wireless our veteran service technicians are legends; they have accumulated decades of invaluable knowledge that cannot be easily replaced. However, as they transition out of the workforce, we are looking for the next generation of talent with technical aptitude, a modern skillset, and a customer-focused charisma we like to call Tech 2.0. We caught up with Day Wireless Assistant Service Manager Bradley Ponder, to discuss what makes him tick and the attributes that make a Tech 2.0.
When Bradley Ponder grew up in Alabama, he had no future plans of becoming a two-way radio technician. He worked in his grandfather’s restaurant for over sixteen years performing a number of jobs before departing to work as a handyman, general laborer, and in construction. He attended community college to work as a mechanic and clothing merchandiser. At exactly the end of this list, around 2008, Mr. Ponder found himself recruited by Sharp Communications of Alabama as an entry level radio technician.
The opportunity to study and work with Sharp’s senior techs opened up a dream career Mr. Ponder never knew he always wanted, and the opportunities were limited only by the Motorola technology he could teach himself. He soon found himself working in vehicle upfitting, tower climbing, migrating radio systems, and 911 center dispatch ops service. By 2009, he was the primary on-call for a local EMS dispatch, and when a tornado ripped the roof off their building, downing their critical communications tower, Mr. Ponder reached their location within about ten minutes. He helped the dispatch operator from under a tarp filled with water, cut the antenna from the grounded tower, and reattached it to a higher point on the broken tower, restoring the e911 dispatch communications signal.
“Everyone else dials 911; 911 dials me,” Mr. Ponder joked when relating the story.
After working for Sharp for about eight years, Mr. Ponder wanted new challenges. After considering a few opportunities, he chose Day Wireless Systems (DWS) for many reasons: its West Coast location, the diversity and breadth of technology and applications of work, and the family-run business, which is more agile than other companies. Not only is DWS a Motorola Platinum Channel Partner and the largest dealer in the western US, DWS are integrators and work with multiple vendors and manufacturers, with the opportunity to gain knowledge of cross-operation and pollination with many systems and types of equipment.
Many Days at Day
Since working for DWS as first a Senior Radio Technician, and then a Senior Systems Technician, Bradley Ponder has enjoyed the opportunities he’d hoped to have and then some.
“It’s allowed me to see inside almost every vein of society: manufacturers, hospital rooms, semiconductor factories, from very small to large organizations,” he related. “I work with people who want to make an impact globally, locally, in public safety, in cellular and two-way radio technology. Working for DWS has been challenging and rewarding.”
Talking with Mr. Ponder, we found the old cliche about ‘service with a smile’ is not only true, it means that happy radio service techs create happy customers.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of his work has been the opportunity to engineer creative solutions. Once a service tech gets to a job site, unexpected needs or challenges often surface. Mr. Ponder believes the creativity part is undervalued: how to resolve issues on the fly, how to meet the customer’s true needs, how to move technical conversations forward and meet the rigorous criteria of the customer can be challenges that often require the finesse of a master artist. But with the right aptitude (and attitude) the work is fulfilling.
Working at Day Wireless
Like a lot of employees at DWS, people who enjoy hard work and problem solving find growth opportunities. After eight years, Mr. Ponder is in his third position as Assistant Service Manager. Another reason he’s thrived is Mr. Ponder has found DWS Service to be supportive between techs and shops. “Everyone wants to help each other, and that’s also true with management,” he reflected. “Service is always trying to make service better with unification of support, and providing the same excellence of service throughout.” In addition to support from the team and the service, Mr. Ponder enjoys DWS people and the family atmosphere.
Considering the atmosphere at DWS, it’s not surprising the biggest challenge has been the aging workforce. Since turnover is low, many valuable members of the Service department have spent their career at Day Wireless and are retiring, taking their decades of expertise with them. (Although most remain on-call as consultants.)
And so, part of Mr. Ponder’s new assignment is to train new radio technicians, and because it’s nearly impossible to know everything there is to know about working with radio systems, he employs a technique that he has learned from other senior service techs and managers: rather than show someone how to do something, tell them how to think about it. Creative thinking, again, is a skill that unlocks more answers than the answers themselves.
Speaking of the skills required to be a service technician, if you think being a radio service technician might be an interesting field to explore, you don’t necessarily need to have RF or radio background. Other helpful skills or interests might include network systems administration, HAM radio operators, and people who like technical things, are good at figuring out systems, or enjoy working with wires. Coding can be a valuable skill for service techs as well. Public safety agency employees who might be seeking more challenge or opportunity could find a good career transition. Limited apprenticeship programs are also available, often for individuals at technical colleges.
Ideally, DWS techs also feel comfortable talking to customers and authority figures. But the best future employees are flexible and like to learn and figure things out.
Day Wireless Systems would like to hire more radio techs like Bradley Ponder, we’d clone him if we could. As the DWS business continues to grow, Mr. Ponder 2.0 might also look forward to travel opportunities, such as overseeing jobs in Paris or London, as he recently has. We offer a competitive salary and benefits. For the right candidate, working in Service at DWS is likely to make you–and our customers–smile.
If you’re interested, please send us your resume and let us know what interests you about working with Day Wireless!