Rising Stars of the Tower Industry

In early 2018, TowerXchange, the international professional Association of infrastructure companies, launched the project TOP 21 most promising young managers of the tower industry. To do this, it appealed to the world leader of tower business with a proposal to nominate their best and brightest young managers under the age of 35 years.

The results of the project were published as part of the 3rd annual conference TowerXchange Meetup Europe 2018, which took place in April 2018 in London. The winners are the best of the best, experts who develop Telecom infrastructure around the world. Three managers of Russian Towers Group entered TOP 21. In the article our rising stars told about their experience, their achievements and ambitions.

Alexey Kiryanov, Key Account Manager
Having graduated in 2007 from the Moscow Technical University of Electronic Technology, I began my career in telecommunications at the fixed line telecom operator Sovintel (known by the Golden Telecom brand). In the first year of my telecommunication practice, I worked as an engineer, which allowed me to develop my technical skills as well as communication skills with key corporate clients. After a year of engineering experience, I was promoted to the position of business development manager with to focus on the search for and engagement of partners for the expansion of the company’s footprint in the Russian regions for which I was responsible.

In 2011, Sovintel was acquired by the major Russian mobile operator VimpelCom, which resulted in the restructuring of the department where I worked. At that time, upon the recommendation of my former colleagues, I was invited to an interview at Russian Towers. I succeeded and became a part of the ambitious and professional team of Russia’s No. 1 operator of independent infrastructure.

I started at Russian Towers as a sales manager. My duties were very wide ranging since, at that time, we were at the beginning of expanding our infrastructure sites. The key goals included obtaining the maximum possible number of orders from MNOs for construction of the new infrastructure, as well as bringing new tenants to the existing sites. At that time, we had to build business processes from scratch, to devise and launch any new instruments that allow handling a large amount of data, measuring the coverage quality for the assessment of commercial appeal. However, the most challenging goal was to persuade the telecommunication operators that we were working with that an infrastructure company is more efficient. To that end, we had to change the established mentality of MNOs and persuade them that a placement on an infrastructure operator’s sites is more advantageous than the construction of their own.

Our first sites were mainly constructed outside the large cities and constituted the capital towers of, on average, 70 meters. In the first years of my work at Russian Towers, I travelled, in the truest sense of the word, across the entire country and visited its most remote places. For example, during the summer 2011, I visited five seas at the furthest points in Russia. For over six years at Russian Towers, I managed to work with all key clients in various regions. In 2016, after the introduction of the account management system in our company, I took charge of the relations with one of Russia’s largest clients’ MTS.

The company’s first progress reports prepared by us contained sites already constructed and being under construction as indicated on Russia’s map. At first, there were dozens, then hundreds and now there are thousands of sites. The present-day map of our sites is certainly the greatest source of pride for me, looking at it and understanding that the number of Russian Towers™ sites by far exceeded 3,300 in 2017, I am aware of my involvement in these achievements of our company. I am also proud that, despite the very fast growth rates and the increased number of sites, we manage to keep the high tenancy ratio, which is a very important indicator in the infrastructure business.

I believe my key achievement as a Key Account Manager in 2017 is a 40% rise contracts from my client.

All of us see with a keen interest how fast and sometimes very unexpectedly the modern world changes itself. This is especially visible in the information technology sector. Construction of 5G networks, Elon Musk satellite internet, machine intelligence and unmanned vehicles. All of these areas give rise to new requirements to the infrastructure, its scale and rollout tempo. I plan to use all of the skills I’ve learned to date to work in this area.

Artem Nevleninov, Senior Engineer
I graduated from the Moscow Polytechnic Institute majoring in Production Engineering. Prior to joining Russian Towers, I worked in different telecommunications companies, where I got valuable experience and insight into how the Russian mobile communications industry operates. In 2014, the fast development of Russian Towers drew my attention. The solid experience that I received by that time helped my success at the interview with Russian Towers.

In 2007, I graduated from university. My first job was a production engineer at an aviation plant. After one year there, I decided to try myself in another industry. By that time, several friends of mine had already been working in the mobile communications industry. That’s how I became interested in it as well. Russian mobile communications were viewed as one of the industries that could compete with the other developed countries in terms of technology and various applications. For 6 years, I worked at corporate contractors of mobile communications operators, in the telecom operator divisions (Veon) and for a vendor (NSN/Nokia). Over the last three years, I have been with Russian Towers, specialising in control over the placement of the equipment and verification of the project solutions. I also take an active part in new business development projects of our company such as the new types of infrastructure solutions, camouflaged solutions, etc.

My job is to design the telecommunication infrastructure. And of course, I am proud to be involved in its this kind of work: developing the drawings of various technical processes for the manufacture of parts, assembly drawings that are further used in construction, etcetera. Our team has implemented over 80 projects for the placement of new base stations.

My cross-disciplinary experience, achievements, trials and (I have to admit) errors help me take on new tasks with optimism. One of my mottos is – there are no unsolvable tasks and it helps me to move always ahead and relentlessly pursue success in everything I do.

I really want my company to be the first one to launch the completely new service – RAN Sharing – provided by an independent infrastructure operator.

I am also interested in developing my professional skills in the company’s other business areas in telecommunications where our company is a first-mover as well.

Dmitry Popov, Director of Construction
I graduated from Moscow Engineering Physics Institute in 2008. Since 2006 I worked in the construction industry. At that time my main specialization was the organization of works on construction sites, mainly power lines and outdoor lighting. In particular, I was responsible for planning of works, updating schedules and preparing reporting plans for customers to ensure the delivery of milestones, as well as the timely supply of construction sites with the materials and equipment.

In 2011 I accidentally came across a vacancy for a project manager at Russian Towers and decided to apply. I knew nothing about the infrastructure business, but, nevertheless, after two interviews, Russian Towers decided to hire me. I got into the construction department which at that time consisted of just two people: Director of Construction and me as a Project Manager.

The company grew as the number of projects being implemented increased and the department gradually expanded. In April 2012 I was promoted to the position of a Deputy Director of Construction. That period was extremely difficult from the technical point of view as the Company had to accomplish an infrastructure project along the high-speed railway Sapsan. Its ultimate goal was to provide coverage in the high-speed trains along all railway from Moscow to Saint-Petersburg (700 km) and from Moscow to Nizhniy Novgorod (400 km). The project was implemented under my supervision. The complexity of this project was that to ensure quality connection we had to put towers every 5-10km on the territory of the six Russian regions in conditions of swamps and forests without any approach roads available. Despite all these difficulties we managed to complete the construction in timely manner and nowadays the passengers of the Russian high-speed trains enjoy Wi-Fi during their trips.

In July 2013 I was promoted to Director of Construction in recognition of my contribution to the company’s success. Since 2013 the department has grown to 13 people and has undergone changes in the approach to organization of work processes: tasks within the department are carried out on the basis of a conveyor principle. These changes allowed us to build more than 750 sites in 2017 (in total we now have over 3,300 sites across 55 regions). Having achieved excellent results, our team continues to evolve and increase the pace of construction for the subsequent periods, while decreasing CAPEX. Also, we plan to migrate fully our department’s processes and tasks to our corporate IT system which will enable us to process incoming data more quickly, increase our operational efficiency and create more value and benefits to our customers.

The full version of the article on TowerXchange website

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