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SAC Wireless LLC: Providing Telecommunication Solutions From Planning Through Implementation

With the ever-growing telecommunication industry, SAC Wireless LLC (SAC) is one of the nation’s leading contractors for building and operating wireless networks. SAC, headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., provides services nationwide for major telecom operators, including AT&T Wireless, Clearwire, Cricket, GoGo, MetroPCS, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

SAC was founded in 1996 by a group of partners who cooperatively ran the company until deciding to sell to a private entity in 2008. Bill Koziel, president and CEO of SAC, initially joined the company in 1997 after spending time at Whalen and Company. Koziel returned to SAC after a three-year stint at CH2M Hill North American Wireless Organization (CH2M) in the early 2000s; he rejoined the company in his current capacity.

“I returned to help them take the next step,” Koziel says. “I helped SAC become a diversified wireless services organization focusing on wireless carrier, enterprise and government infrastructure initiatives.”

Koziel holds a bachelor’s degree in education and social policy from Northwestern University. During the years he left SAC, Koziel was responsible for strategy and market development at CH2M. Since returning, Koziel has been responsible for the strategic planning, development and execution of corporate initiatives at SAC.

The company has about 350 employees who serve as project and construction managers, tower climbers, technicians, attorneys, architects, engineers, project controls, zoning and regulatory specialist and real estate professionals. Having a diverse team allows SAC to self-perform the majority of work it does for clients. In addition, the varied skill set ensures the company is capable of developing in-house solutions for even the most complex issues.

“The No. 1 thing that sets us apart from our competition is the breadth of our services and that we self-perform all critical services,” says Koziel. “When it comes to the networks we’re touching, we just believe it’s critical to self-perform the work to assure quality and workmanship.”

Array of Services

SAC team is well diversified, enabling the company to provide a full-range of services, from planning to implementation. Services offered by SAC include: site development, architecture, engineering, construction, technical services, both indoor and outdoor DAS, operation and maintenance.

In the planning phases of a project, SAC is able to identify appropriate sites for projects, negotiate leases and review regulations, zoning and permitting. The company will also set up a project team for strategic solutions for an ever-changing industry, thus ensuring clients’ needs are met. SAC clients report the team’s collaborative approach is appreciated.

SAC staff also includes well-experienced architects and engineers. SAC’s licensed employees are able to handle the planning and design of tower projects and distributed antenna system networks, as well as determining rooftop structural integrity. The architecture and engineering departments are equipped to handle high volumes with fast turnaround for even the most complex projects.

SAC is a leader in the wireless industry for executing site construction, so even after the design and planning phases are complete the team is ready and able. The company’s construction team keeps in mind scope, schedule, cost and resources when working on new construction or modifications alike. SAC provides project managers, site supervisors, civil, electrical and tower crews to execute each job safely, and with SAC’s high quality in mind.

Once the project is up and running, SAC is also able to provide technical services, operations and maintenance. The company’s technicians are certified experts in installing and commissioning microwave radios, broadcast equipment and cellular base stations. A separate team of troubleshooters is on-hand to work with landlords, perform inspections, repair antennas or lines, or replace radios in the base station. SAC maintains 60,000 square feet of warehouse space to store materials and spare parts so maintenance can be done as needed without delay.

Consumer-driven Industry

“Probably 98 percent of our business is commercial in nature,” says Koziel. “There’s a really interesting thing happening in our business right now.”

The providers SAC works with are investing billions of dollars into new technology to provide a 4G network to customers. “Telecommunication is a consumer- and device-driven commerce now,” Koziel says. “Customers are using smartphones and tablets to connect with the world. Customers connect through a smartphone or iPad through wireless connections. As more people buy these devices, naturally they want it to be faster and easier to use.”

SAC has grown along with the telecommunication industry and is seeing more growth in the future. In Koziel’s opinion, this only emphasizes the importance of self-performing the services SAC provides.

“There is so much more to be developed that I think it’s going to be a challenge for all of us,” Koziel says. “The ability to self-perform and really control the resources out there is just at a critical stage.”

While SAC wasn’t spared the struggle during the country’s recent economic downturn, Koziel admits things look good for the business. “We’ve had a good run,” he says. “We’re looking to expand, but being a company that performs the work, that is always a different challenge.”

In the next few years, Koziel will seek the balance between expansion and maintaining a healthy level of work. All the while, Koziel and his team will ensure SAC Wireless LLC successfully continues to uphold a self-performing business model.