Working together on the Sudlersville project are Craig Hill (L), sales manager, Vernon E Stup Company, and Chris Smith, project manager, BRS Electrical.
With so much of the nation relying solely on cell phones, it seems that landlines could become obsolete sooner rather than later. But in some areas of the country, cell phone reception is sketchy and hard to come by. Such is the situation in Sudlersville, a small town on the eastern shore of Maryland. The historic little town that brims with Americana bills itself as the “most beautiful and progressive town on the eastern shore.”
In order to keep Sudlersville up-to-date, Verizon Wireless is having a 185-ft (56.3 m) self-support cell tower and communication shelter built on-site in the town by Teltronic Towers, Capitol Heights, Md. Before those towers can go up, there is a great deal of underground work to be accomplished and BRS Electrical Contractor LLC, Glenelg, Md., has stepped in to handle this complicated job.
Bryan Sisk started BRS Electrical in 2001. “I have been in electrical construction since 1988. I started in cell tower construction in 1994. We install electric, telco and lighting protection for many of the cellular companies such as Verizon Wireless, U.S. Cellular, AT&T and Sprint,” Sisk said.
BRS Electrical specializes in three things that are needed on this project: electrical, telco and grounding work on towers and digging through difficult areas where obstacles such as existing underground utilities can interfere with a job. On this job the company is responsible for the installation of telephone and electric service conduits for the facility, as well as the lightning protection, a project that should take approximately six days.
“We had to excavate 2,900 feet from Church Street until we got to the new tower facility for the telco service, and install Quazite boxes every 500 feet,” said Chris Smith, BRS project manager for the project. “When we finished that digging, we had to work on the ground rings, which are 24 to 36 inches deep, and the piping to provide electric and telco service. This amounted to another 500 feet of intense digging.”
For more than seven years BRS Electrical has relied on Vernon E. Stup Co., headquartered in Frederick, Md., for equipment able to handle the tough digging the company has become known for.
“We have Case mini-excavators on this job digging quickly and working their way through difficult situations. We can dig and put the dirt right back into the trenches quickly and effectively for us to excavate. At times the dirt was very hard and then would became very soft and these Case minis worked perfectly for us no matter what the conditions. We have two Case CX17s working right now and they are marvelous. We also have a Case CX14 and a Case CX36,” Smith said.
“This is smaller equipment, which is great for the jobs that we do because we need to be especially careful with existing utilities underground. On this job, for example, we were excavating alongside high-voltage cables. With these Case machines our experienced operators were able to feel things in the ground and that was a big plus,” continued Smith.
Sisk agreed, stating that, “After using our machines you definitely gain a feel while digging in the earth and what might be buried there.”
Smith reported that despite the historic ground BRS was digging on, no artifacts were unearthed.
“Other than finding horse shoes we have nothing special to report. No Civil War artifacts or anything like that,” he joked.
But the company did use one old-fashioned trick to get the job done.
“We used number two wire to locate unmarked pipe or wire underground. When the wires cross, it indicates that there could be something underground. This helped us avoid a number of situations that would have slowed us down. Well drillers use this method to find water,” said Smith.
The one unavoidable issue that BRS encountered on the job was extremely heavy rain, but Sisk stated that his crew worked steadily in the bad weather and kept the project on schedule.
Smith applauded both the crew and the Case iron for performing so well in adverse conditions.
“Normal rain will never affect us but this rain was really heavy. Our guys were only slowed down a bit and our machines were barely affected by the rain, which was great. We have purchased many machines from Vernon E Stup Company in Frederick, Md. Those guys are always there for us and we have had a great relationship with Craig Hill, our rep. When we need something he gets it for us quickly and at whatever sacrifice must be made to make us happy,” Smith said.
“Our relationship with Craig Hill and Vernon E. Stup is great,” Sisk added. “We are treated with great respect and the few times there have been mechanical problems, they were unbelievably helpful and willing to do whatever it took to get our machines up and running. In my opinion, no one comes close to competing with Craig Hill and Vernon E. Stup service.”
Hill, who has sold BRS more than seven Case machines through the years said, “This company is a prime example of guys who care about people and care about what they do and it is an honor to work with such a company and have a close relationship with them over the years.”
Indeed, throughout the communities in Maryland and the greater mid-Atlantic area that BRS serves, the company has worked hard to earn a reputation for hard work, precise work and good old-fashioned customer service filled with honesty, all of which are important company standards.
At the time of the interview, BRS had been on the project for four days and were on schedule despite almost flood conditions in the area.
“As soon as the ground work is completed, the tower will be erected and Verizon Wireless will set the shelter. BRS will make final connections with electric, telco and grounding for completion of the job. This project is really great for Sudlersville and the surrounding areas,” Smith concluded.