The President's Series - Christopher M. Starke
Scott Brown, Director of Business Development for the W-T Family of Companies, dives into the professional experience and lives of our company presidents. Next up: Christopher M. Starke, Senior Vice President of W-T Communication Design Group, LLC (WT-CDG).
Let’s talk cell phones. Since starting in the industry, I’m sure you have seen some monumental shifts, in a relatively short amount of time. Can you give us the reader’s digest version of major advancements in the industry?
Back in the heyday of it all, 1998-2000, we were fortunate to be involved in the major build/developments of the major carrier networks like Sprint and US Cellular. Now it is a bit of a scratch and claw scenario; with so much competition, we need to be more careful than we have ever been with our products. We are now doing carrier site upgrades and providing full engineering services to smaller tower owners who are soliciting tower and ground space to the major carriers.
You haven’t always been in the communications business. What were some of your prior roles, and how does that experience help you today?
I first started out in what was the civil department at the time doing project management and site design work for school additions, gas stations, fast food chains, etc. I did many of the site layouts, grading, utility design and lighting specifications. Moving from the civil department with guidance from my ‘gas station’ and W-T mentors, Scott Triphahn, Ron LaFriske and Art Leimetter helped me understand all that goes into site development and design.
I hear that you are in a band. Tell us more!
Actually, I’m in three of them and will play for anyone who needs a drummer. I have been playing since the 6th grade and haven’t quit yet, I am afraid it is in my blood.
Distributed Antenna Systems, more commonly known as DAS, has become a sizeable part of W-T Communication Design Group’s business. What do clients look for in quality DAS design?
At this point it is all about the cash. They want to know that our designs will generate accurate contractor bids so the carriers can budget accordingly and owners don’t get dinged with change orders.
Communication towers are a great way for public and private entities to add value to their land and create additional revenue. This decision is driven by the providers, but what can a property owner do to position themselves as a candidate?
Great question, which does happen from time to time. A land owner can call us and we can forward the request and opportunity to our local contacts. If they have a need for coverage, they will analyze the area to see if there is a demand for coverage or find a hole in the coverage to fill.
When you aren’t managing W-T CDG, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I definitely look forward to spending my time at home with my family and I have a little patio in the backyard that I try to render myself useless on as often as I can. I always enjoy drumming and backgammon and happy hours at local establishments are also a go-to Thursday night option - join me!
Christopher M. Starke
Senior Vice President
Mr. Starke has twenty (20) years of experience in civil engineering and communication site design. He specializes in site grading and storm water management. Since January 2000 as a member of W-T Communication Design Group, LLC, Mr. Starke has been responsible for the design of numerous communication sites. His responsibilities include day-to-day client communication as well as overseeing site design and preparation of contract documents, specifications and all duties through the design phase.