Donahoe Kearney - April 2020

DC SUCCESS STORY CRAIG TURNER

GOING WHEREVER THE WIRE TAKES HIM

Craig Turner is an impressive guy.

An avid long-distance cyclist, he worked hard to get back to work and back on the road, a yearlong process. What’s it like coming back from such a serious injury? In Craig’s words: “I’m still doing the same work, but I don’t do it as much anymore. The copper wire customer base is shrinking ... copper transmission lines are leaving and going to fiber optics. As far as physically,

The physical demands on a telecommunications worker, with the technical expertise required to handle copper wiring and fiber optics, should make us all more grateful that we have people like Craig climbing up poles, crawling around up on the roof, descending into manholes, and squatting in front of jacks to make sure that what we take for granted nowadays — family FaceTime, video meetings, even simple texting — all function properly. It requires a ton of work, strategy, and implementation, which all goes on behind the scenes. As Craig explained, it's all about the maintenance of infrastructure. The towers that transmit service to the cell phones were originally supplied by copper phone lines. That's why they were only able to give you a certain speed. Fiber optics and other technology are changing that, of course. So now, you might have an issue with the internet at your office, and the trouble might be somewhere in New England because a piece of routing equipment fails. As an insider, Craig worries that as technology accelerates more and more, the individualized, community connectivity will be lost and the levels of service will go down. He says, “They have some very capable people in this industry — people who have been around for 30-plus years and seen the system grow and change; they know how to move from one system to another. They know how things work. It's the saving grace in all this. But when people in management start specifically and

there are still days when my lower legs feel really tired. Both Achilles’ tendons were torn and had to be reattached. So, I’m looking forward to someday doing some work that’s not quite as intense physically. I’d like to eventually work with the backbone of the infrastructure, like building out the 5G system and getting into that aspect.” When I asked what advice Craig would give to people who are dealing with a serious work injury right now, he shared this: “It can be a mind-numbing process if you are trying to handle it yourself. I recommend getting an attorney who knows the workers' comp system. There were times when I wouldn't get a workers' comp check — I would just call you guys and you took care of it. That is really comforting. “And you never expect it to happen — you get injured trying to do your job, and lost wages can put you in a predicament where you are homeless. Let’s face it, people are a few paychecks away from being destitute. “You guys do very good work. You make it easy. Frank took the time to come out to visit me when I was in a wheelchair after surgery. It was illuminating when Frank came by and talked with me ... things started happening. I got a wheelchair sent to me, and then I had this easy boy chair; then, somebody came over and said, ‘Can we send a nurse to you?’ “But you would never know you could get any of this from talking directly to the workers’ comp insurance people yourself.”

“FRANK TOOK THE TIME TO COME OUT TO VISIT ME WHEN I WAS IN A WHEELCHAIR AFTER SURGERY. IT WAS ILLUMINATING WHEN FRANK CAME BY AND MET WITH ME ... THINGS STARTED HAPPENING. I GOT A WHEELCHAIR SENT TO ME, AND THEN I HAD THIS EASY BOY CHAIR; THEN, SOMEBODY CAME OVER AND SAID, ‘CAN WE SEND A NURSE TO HELP YOU?’”

exclusively chasing revenue for shareholders without regard for service, that's what you have to look out for.” And that’s what Craig does — he goes “wherever the wire takes me” to fix it. He loves the challenge of getting a customer’s service back, which to Craig is “like a puzzle, figuring out each specific piece to make it work.” And that’s what he was doing when he had a devastating injury, tearing both of his Achilles’ tendons when a ladder collapsed, putting him in the hospital with surgeries and a long rehab ahead.

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