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Employee Spotlight

Profile of Excellence

Meet Andy, a Team Player Who Takes a "Roll-with-It" Attitude Toward Challenges

IMG: data comm technician adjusting a cable rack

Multi-tasking, team work and communication -- three skills that are critical to the work of our Data Communications Technicians and three skills that Andy Kihn knows will help get projects done on time and make customers happy.

Andy has been with Lemberg's data communications team since 2016 but in the industry for his entire career. He is responsible for overseeing data communications projects from the field. Andy collaborates with the project managers and acts as their job site liaison to the customer and field team.

“I make sure it all gets done,” he said. “I keep track of what everyone on our field team is working on. I make sure they are busy and that the project stays on track.”

As a field team foreman, Andy strives to anticipate the unknowns on a project as much as possible. His observant nature and ability to see the big picture help when trying to foresee the changing needs of the job. Andy is continuously growing a set of skills that he can rely upon when those challenges arise.

The project details aren’t the only things changing. The use of technology in buildings requires Andy and his contemporaries to see their roles differently. From integrated building systems that are automated and controlled by a single source to a growing set of systems relying on low voltage cabling, data communications technicians are at the center of important industry changes.

As technology changes the industry, technicians need updated skills in order to stay ahead of the curve. Andy was recently filmed along with veteran technician and project manager, Craig Hoppe, in a tutorial on fiber optic fusion splicing, a tool that saves time and increases accuracy in the field.

Challenges and changes that are inherent in every project. Andy approaches those changes from a pragmatic point of view and with a sense of humor that hints at his ability to shake off adversity and, in his words, “roll with it.”

“Every job is different. Each one comes with its own set of challenges,” he said. “You need to be able to adapt quickly to keep the customer happy.” He joked that a cold beer after work helps too!

What is most apparent is Andy’s pride in what he does.

“What keeps me coming to work every day is watching a project come to life from a stack of paper prints to a finished product,” he said. For Andy, that successful completion is a source of pride.

Notes for a New Generation of Data Comm Specialists

Like many in this industry, Andy is an avid outdoorsman enjoying sports like hunting, fishing and camping in his off time. He prefers a hands-on approach to learning and an uncomplicated environment. However, that laid-back style belies the professionalism with which he approaches his work.

He has no trouble outlining and enforcing the necessary skills to be successful in this ever-changing data communications and structured cabling industry. Besides being mechanically inclined and learning the hard technical skills, Andy holds the visualization and the softer interpersonal skills in high esteem as well.

Topping Andy’s list is being a team player. Data communication and structured cabling work happen alongside other trades. Technicians need to show up on time and be ready to work. They need to communicate and collaborate with other trades so each trade has the time and space to do their very best work -- and that positively affects the project for everyone, especially the customer.

“You’ve got to be able to visualize the finished product,” he said.

When everyone from the office to the field works together, projects get done on time and without issue and the customer is happy.

That’s the goal.

His Path to Lemberg and the Data Communications Field

Because high school counselors haven’t traditionally marketed the trades to students, Andy had no idea that the data communications and structured cabling industry was a viable option. He was aware of the construction industry in general after taking a class in building construction, but it took a family friend to personally introduce him to the data communications industry and to Lemberg after high school.

“But, my mom knew I’d be in this industry,” he laughed. “When I was very young, I was always curious about the electrical cords in the house.”

Though the industry is now implementing a formalized training program, most of Andy’s training was hands-on and on-the-job under the mentorship of a senior technician.

“Having a mentor is really helpful. You work in small groups and learn that way.”

As he looks into the future, he sees himself also mentoring a new generation of data communications technicians and possibly helping to develop training as well.

“Construction is a booming industry and an excellent alternative to college,” he said. “This is a great career with great benefits.”

Lemberg is a full-service Milwaukee sign, electric and data communications company, proudly serving Wisconsin. Contact our experts for a free quote today, 262-781-1500.