Growing as Fast As Your Network
Md7 serves 25 different carriers in thirteen different countries on four different continents in ten different languages. We of course also serve the supporting OEMs, tower companies and other organizations that also operate within the wireless industry.
Md7 supports these operations from our North American headquarters in San Diego and our European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland as well as 27 additional regional, and field/project offices across the USA, Europe, Africa and Oceania.
2015 was a year of rapid growth for Md7 and that trend continues as we approach the end of the first quarter of 2016.
In the last fifteen months we have expanded our effort to offer turnkey site development with the addition of DAS, engineering and construction management services. We have localized our operations through the acquisition of Lexcom Development Corp in Seattle, Portland and Sacramento as well as opening regional offices in Austin and Atlanta and field/project offices directly in our key markets. Internationally, within the last six months, Md7 International Telecommunications Limited (MITL) commenced operations in Cairo, Egypt and launched LTE upgrade projects in the Netherlands and Germany in addition to formalizing relationships with local expertise that we can leverage on-demand.
The wireless industry is going through major changes. The proverbial hockey-stick growth in demand for data, increased price competition and penetration of over 100% is creating the need for more cell sites that are deployed better, faster and cheaper (BFC) than ever before. Although conventional wisdom has always suggested that a company must choose two of those at the expense of the third, we believe our innovative processes and tools offer a no-compromise solution that allow our customers to tick all three boxes.
Md7 is committed to continue to evolve and grow at the pace of wireless worldwide.
Md7 Uses Federal Law to Reduce Deployment Times
Daniel Goodrich and Sean Maddox
Md7 Land Use Department
In 2012, Congress passed a federal law to reduce site deployment timeframes for modifications and colocations (often referred to as “Section 6409”). Although the industry was excited about the possibilities under this new law, carriers and municipalities have been unsure how the regulation should operate in practice. Even today, uncertainty persists despite the FCC’s 2015 clarifications in the law, because 6409’s “shot clock” requiring local municipalities to streamline approvals has a lot of bark, but no bite.
The challenge presented by 6409 is that the FCC asks carriers to be comfortable deploying new equipment relying only on a notice letter to the jurisdiction stating the project is “deemed approved.” At Md7, we have found that clients prefer to have a document issued by the municipality confirming that the project is approved, as opposed to a “deemed approved” notice on carrier letterhead.
We have taken a practical approach to this challenge by working with jurisdictions in some of the toughest markets in the U.S. to harmonize outdated and onerous zoning processes with the streamlined timeframe mandated by federal law. The result: collaboration, not contention.
Working with local municipalities provides peace of mind for our clients because we deliver a tangible approval document issued by the municipality in what can often be half the traditional timeframe under the existing siting process.
The following examples highlight Md7’s recent approach and success in significantly reducing client deployment timeframes across modification and new-build colocation projects:
Village on the North Shore of Long Island, New York
Municipality estimated a 60 day turnaround for zoning approval. Md7 obtained zoning approval in 35 days.
Background: Located on the north shore of Long Island, NY, this affluent village maintains a stringent zoning code and approval process for “aesthetically displeasing” telecommunications facilities.
For a relatively simple modification to an existing water tower, the Village initially required an approximate 90 day process, including: (1) a building permit application; (2) a building permit denial; (3) a Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) application; (4) an in-person pre‑submission conference; and (5) ZBA and building permit approval.
Approach and Result: Md7 collaborated with Village counsel to educate municipal officials of the Village’s obligations under the new federal requirements. As a result, Md7 successfully obtained an outright waiver of the ZBA process and an approved building permit simultaneously, which Village counsel advised “had never been done before.”
Historic Waterfront Community in New York
Municipality estimated a 120 day turnaround for zoning approval and building permit approval. Md7 not only obtained zoning approval, but also building permit approval within 67 days.
Background: Bordering New York, Connecticut and the Long Island Sound, this historic waterfront community also traditionally presents quite a challenge to telecommunications modification applications.
For a relatively simple modification to an existing smoke stack, the Village initially imposed 3 separate public meetings/hearings to span over 90 days, not to mention approximately an additional 30 days to obtain the building permit.
Approach and Result: Md7 communicated with the Village Attorney and Planners, ascertained the Village’s position and motivations regarding 6409, and compromised to shave approximately 60 days off the entire zoning and permit application process.
Major Maryland City in the Process of a Complete Overhaul of its Zoning Code
Municipality estimated a 90 day turnaround for zoning and building permit approval. Md7 not only obtained zoning approval, but also building permit approval within 44 days.
Background: While the City offered, at first glance, a streamlined zoning and permitting process (i.e., a “one-stop-shop”), a new carrier’s colocation on a downtown rooftop proved to be more challenging from a zoning perspective than initially anticipated.
Md7 submitted a single application electronically; the application passed every departmental review, only to arrive at the zoning department, which flagged the application for a public hearing. In practice, the City interpreted its Code to subject all new antenna installations to a public hearing.
Approach and Result: Md7 persuaded the City Zoning Administrator to recognize that the colocation qualified for expedited treatment, and the City soon thereafter waived the public hearing, administratively approved the application, and issued the final building permit, saving the client approximately 45 days on its build schedule.
Through a practical approach to 6409 challenges, Md7 continues to build on its reputation as an innovator in wireless real estate portfolio management by expediting traditional site acquisition timeframes while providing our clients and municipal constituents with clarity in the wake of new federal law.
Integrating Our Core Values in an Acquired Company
Human Resources Director
At Md7 we take our 6 Core Values – Integrity, Respect For The Individual, Extreme Service, Continuous Improvement, Balanced Life and Giving Back – very seriously. They are not merely posters on the wall or statements in our Employee Handbook; they represent ways of thinking and behaving that we want all Md7 employees to emulate every day. To this end, all employees receive annual Core Values training in small groups to share experiences and discuss the virtues and challenges of a work culture that embraces these tenets.
So when we purchased Lexcom in July 2015, it was imperative that the 30+ employees in Lexcom’s Seattle and Portland offices learn about and integrate our Core Values into their daily work practices as soon as possible. Cheryl Bobbitt, Director of Corporate Responsibility and myself designed a 4 hour interactive training program that incorporated the topics of Core Values, Harassment Prevention and Conflict Resolution. We sensed the Seattle and Portland offices would be receptive, warm and welcoming to this training initiative, but you’re never sure until you’re in front of the group. Having been through several mergers and acquisitions in my time (on both sides of the transaction) I knew very well the skepticism that potentially awaited us.
As it turned out, it felt like the session in the Seattle office went great, as did the program in Portland. Experienced trainers like Cheryl and I can sense when things go well (or not!) but sending anonymous and confidential post training surveys and receiving the results from all attendees would confirm or dispel any trainer impression. Our perceptions were correct – participants overwhelmingly felt the content of the training and our expertise as instructors exceeded their expectations. But the strongest positive answer was in response to the question “The training session helped me feel more connected to Md7.” 100% of the participants agreed with the statement, 70% of them stating they strongly agreed!
Working effectively in a Core Values driven organization more likely happens when experienced employees model the desired way of doing business and new employees are sought out and actively engaged in the beliefs of the organization. Posters on the wall and statements in the Employee Handbook are nice, but they don’t influence employee attitude and behavior like high quality, interactive and ongoing communication and training. It’s how we roll at Md7.
What does the name “Md7” Mean?
By Tom Leddo
We get asked a lot “where did the name Md7 come from?” or “what does the name Md7 mean?”
Well before we answer that question, let’s countdown the top five things that are not related to our company name.
- We are not “seven doctors” – That would be “7 MD’s”
- We do not manufacture Cosmeceuticals – That’s “MD-7”.
- We are not located on Maryland Route 7. – That’s “MD 7”.
- We do not manufacture an Ultra Long Excursion High Power Dual 18″ Subwoofer – that is JBL.
- We are not “Moorish Delta 7” (aka MD7) – the UK Hip-Hop group from Birmingham, England.
Actually, the name comes from the initials of our Founder and CEO, Michael David Gianni, or MDG. But the “G” was changed to “7” because it is the seventh letter of the alphabet.
Eric LeVine, the graphic artist who also designed our logo came up with the name. Michael and Eric were friends who had taken a number of annual surf trips together along with several other friends that met at San Diego State University.
Michael approached Eric to create a logo and business cards, as he was about to incorporate the company but told him he was still working on the name. Shortly after, Eric sent Michael a draft of the logo. Michael really liked the logo but even he didn’t understand the play on his initials at first. Eric had to explain it to him too.
Quite often we get asked about the meaning of the name “Md7” from new employees on their first day on the job. Aaron Rodrigo, a Project Manager who focuses on the D-A-CH Region of Europe and works in our office in Dublin, Ireland recently emailed Md7’s CEO, Michael Gianni, with the following.
I would like share a funny story with you guys. You know that our office is in the post code area number 7 of Dublin, right? This area has a reputation as a traditional Irish working class neighborhood. We had an induction day recently for our new starters, and one of my questions was what the name “MD7” stands for. I was hinting that it is relating to the name of our CEO, Michael D. Gianni. One of the new guys was instantly saying: “Ah of course, yes that makes total sense”. I was surprised by that confident, quick response, so I asked him to explain himself.
His answer: “Well, it must stand for Michael from Dublin 7”.
How to Sell Cuckoo Clocks in Different Cultures
At Md7 we do a lot of training.
In addition to training for specific jobs, we also put a lot of emphasis on training around our Purpose & Vision statement as well as each of our six core values. We believe that by doing so we strengthen and reinforce our culture and make the workplace more enjoyable over the long-term.
Currently, Md7 operates
in thirteen different countries in ten different languages so cross-cultural communication is very important to us.
The Netherlands, introduced us to the Lewis Model. Md7 first met René during his 17-year career at Vodafone in Europe.
Best known for his book “When Cultures Collide”, Richard Lewis developed the Lewis Model as an attempt to help people learn to interact with people from other cultures. Currently, Md7 operates in thirteen different countries in ten different languages so cross-cultural communication is very important to us.
As noted in an article in Business Insider, “Lewis plots countries in relation to three categories:
- Linear-actives — those who plan, schedule, organize, pursue action chains, do one thing at a time. Germans and Swiss are in this group.
- Multi-actives — those lively, loquacious peoples who do many things at once, planning their priorities not according to a time schedule, but according to the relative thrill or importance that each appointment brings with it. Italians, Latin Americans and Arabs are members of this group.
- Reactives — those cultures that prioritize courtesy and respect, listening quietly and calmly to their interlocutors and reacting carefully to the other side’s proposals. Chinese, Japanese and Finns are in this group.”
Here is the illustrated version of the Lewis Model with more details about the three cultural types.
The idea behind this training was teaching our European team members how to interact and improve their communication across the many nationalities that operate in our European offices. According to Mark Christenson, President of Md7 International, we have since experienced a greater appreciation for our colleagues, and the different cultural backgrounds that each person brings to the team in our European offices. In addition, we have begun being more intentional in trying to align our communication with customers and prospective customers in ways that align with their general culture.
We have found it to be quite beneficial in our international sales effort. Pascal Bubeck, Head of Business Development for Md7 in Europe, was raised in the Black Forest Region of Germany, which is in the most southwestern part of Germany and boarders on Switzerland. Just as Switzerland is known for the excellent craftsmanship of a Swiss watch, the Black Forest region is known for its precision and craftsmanship in glass blowing and manufacturing of wooden cuckoo clocks dating back to the 17th century. In terms of the Lewis Model, because Pascal comes from this region of the world, he would be a true Linear-Active—a precise planner, who sticks to the facts and is very results oriented.
Pascal often travels for business to all parts of Eastern and Western Europe including Italy, Spain and even a couple of recent trips to Moscow. These areas tend more toward the Multi-Active section of the Lewis Model. Through this training, Pascal began to understand his Linear-Active tendencies and became more aware of the Multi-Active and Reactive personalities of many of our customers with whom he interacts on a regular basis. He tailored one meeting, in particular, to focus more on personal discussions about family, something that would not be considered “normal” business practice in more Linear-Active business cultures. However, after discussing personal stories for 45-50 minutes of the allotted hour, the customer took the proposal, which had sat unmentioned to that point, and stated that it was very important and aligned with what they were trying to do and he was going to hand-carry it to his boss to ensure it received the proper attention.
In other words, through application of the Lewis Model, Pascal found that he became much better at meeting the needs of Md7’s European customers by recognizing and respecting their cultural backgrounds, demonstrating Md7’s core value of Respect for the Individual, part of Md7’s corporate DNA.
Md7 and CalWA
Md7 is proud to announce the appointment of Lynn Whitcher to the Board of Directors of the California Wireless Association. The California Wireless Association (CalWA), a State Wireless Association (SWA) program under PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association, promotes the wireless industry at the state and municipal level, educating consumers and public officials about the wireless industry and the critical role it plays in economy, safety, and society. California’s onerous zoning laws are well known for stalling site deployment and modification schedules, making CalWA’s mission of outreach critical to the future of wireless siting in the Golden State. CalWA’s leadership is comprised of representatives from wireless service providers, tower companies, law firms, and industry consultants.
Md7 has been a strong supporter of CalWA. Sean Maddox (Land Use) is Co-Chair of the CalWA Regulatory Committee, of which Ms. Whitcher, Cynthia Hanson (Land Use Counsel), and Daniel Goodrich (Land Use) are members. Ms. Hanson and Ms. Whitcher are assisting in the efforts to form a Legislative and Legal Affairs Subcommittee.
Ms. Whitcher also serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Wireless Leadership Forum.
Alcatel-Lucent extends support for indoor and outdoor small cell deployments as Md7 and other new members join Site Certification Program
Paris, France, June 09, 2015
Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) is expanding its Site Certification Program with the addition of new member companies to help mobile service providers quickly deploy small cells where they need greater coverage. New members of the award winning program, will increase support for outdoor small cell deployment while adding expertise to solve the challenges related to indoor deployment – often in the workplace.
Mobile service providers want to increase coverage and quality in busy, high-traffic areas, or where the radio signal is obstructed. By continuing to expand program membership as well as focussing on critical coverage challenges inside buildings, Alcatel-Lucent can help them accelerate deployments in public or privately owned premises. This will allow mobile service providers to address an in-building market opportunity which is growing from US$4.3 billion in 2014 to US$9.4 billion in 2020 – a market with less than 10% penetration today.
The Site Certification Program has already successfully accelerated the deployment of outdoor small cells. Originally focused on boosting coverage in dense urban areas and large venues such as busy shopping centers and outdoor stadiums, Alcatel-Lucent has tripled the number of program members since launch. With the addition of new specialists the program now provides access to over one million sites across the globe including North America, Central and Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
New program members, including Argent Associates, Colt Technology Services, DecisionOne Corporation, Eiffage Energie, Mastec, Inc., Md7 and Syscom Telecom, each bring unique capabilities and assets to help operators rapidly deploy small cells outdoors and in-building and meet the coverage needs of subscribers.
New program members, including Argent Associates, Colt Technology Services, DecisionOne Corporation, Eiffage Energie, Mastec, Inc., Md7 and Syscom Telecom, each bring unique capabilities and assets to help operators rapidly deploy small cells outdoors and in-building and meet the coverage needs of subscribers. Their specialized market knowledge in a range of industry types include access to indoor sites, some in hard to reach locations for power and backhaul, as well as lease negotiation.
Jim Cocito, Senior Vice President, Wireless Services, Alcatel-Lucent said: “The in-building market is a large and untapped opportunity for mobile operators. With people increasingly using their own devices at work and more acceptance
of BYOD, enterprises have the opportunity to move to the ‘Mobile Office’, using their IT infrastructure for mobile communications and removing legacy land lines. With the Site Certification Program we can help service providers get small cells into the places to meet their customers’ needs more rapidly and efficiently.”
Nick Marshall, Research Director at ABI Research, said: “Since 2013 when it was first announced, Alcatel-Lucent’s Site Certification program has been solving complex and time consuming small cell deployment challenges for outdoor and venue locations. Now with this announcement the company and its Site Certification partners are applying their specialist know-how to the challenges of deploying small cells indoors.”
About the Site Certification Program
Alcatel-Lucent has an extensive portfolio of small cells solutions and over 130 contracts spanning more than 78 operators in 54 countries. Launched in December 2013, the Alcatel-Lucent Site Certification Program aims to help service providers accelerate small cells deployments to meet their customers’ ultra-broadband needs more easily by:
- Offering access to a large database of small cell-ready sites, including on-net buildings and multiple certified program members.
- Reducing deployment time by 30-40% in terms of site acquisition and building lease and power and backhaul access.
- Lowering deployment costs by at least 20% by leveraging the program members’ cell site assets.
- Lowering service providers’ capital and operating
expenditure related to site acquisition, leasing, backhaul, power and maintenance.
- Providing training to the member companies to ensure that their workforce can participate in the deployment of small cell networks.
ABOUT ALCATEL-LUCENT (EURONEXT PARIS AND NYSE: ALU)
Alcatel-Lucent is the leading IP networking, ultra-broadband access and cloud technology specialist. We are dedicated to making global communications more innovative, sustainable and accessible for people, businesses and governments worldwide.
Our mission is to invent and deliver trusted networks to help our customers unleash their value. Every success has its network.
For more information, visit Alcatel-Lucent, read the latest posts on the Alcatel-Lucent blog and follow the Company on Twitter: @Alcatel_Lucent.
Md7, LLC acquires Lexcom Development Corporation, a cellular site development company in the Pacific Northwest
SAN DIEGO, CA – July 1, 2015 – Md7, LLC announced that it has acquired Lexcom Development Corporation, L.L.C., a Seattle based site development company with a strong presence and trusted reputation in the states of Washington, Oregon and Northern California.
The asset purchase of Lexcom’s operations in Seattle, WA; Portland, OR; and Sacramento, CA fits into Md7’s strategy to grow its site development services in the cellular industry. Through this acquisition, Md7 will substantially strengthen its efforts to offer a variety of à la carte and turnkey services in the Pacific Northwestern, United States.
“Lexcom has a significant opportunity to scale their current operations and Md7 uses a centralized approach to site acquisition that allows us to complete high volume projects at lower than typical prices. Together, we believe Lexcom and Md7 will be able to substantially grow market share in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California much faster than either of us could operating alone” said Michael Gianni, Chairman and C.E.O. of Md7. “And while both companies offer site acquisition services, our expertise is complementary.”
Md7, LLC, based in San Diego, California and Dublin, Ireland is a real estate portfolio management and consulting company serving the wireless telecommunications industry. Its experience and proprietary systems create greater efficiencies and significant cost savings for the largest wireless operators in the world. Md7 has provided a variety of site acquisition and real estate related services in ten different languages, in 13 different countries in North America, Europe, Africa and Oceana.
Two Great Companies, Now Together, and Better: Md7 and Lexcom
The wireless industry is constantly changing and so is Md7.
Exponential data growth, 100% handset penetration and flattening revenues require a new network deployment model, one in which wireless operators must significantly grow network capacity at lower price points while improving reliability and delivery speed. Together, the wireless technology companies and service providers who support the operators must develop that new model.
In response to this need, Md7 continues to innovate. Since our inception in 2003, we have developed and implemented our internal tracking software, known as LiveTrack™, to manage thousands of negotiations simultaneously from our central office in San Diego. We have mastered high-volume lease negotiations and, in the process, improved the overall quality/consistency of the lease documents delivered while keeping rents down. Subsequently, riding the LTE build-out wave, Md7 also scaled zoning, permitting and site acquisition management services, completing tens-of-thousands of site modifications and new builds.
Lexcom was founded on the perspective of an industry veteran, who, after decades of building teams, managing large-scale carrier programs and working with hundreds of site acquisition firms, sought to create a better site development model. Joining with other industry veterans, they started with a simple idea that great people will do great things with the right vision, motivation and systems.
While focused on streamlining processes and eliminating inefficiencies, Lexcom also emphasized its core values-respect, trust and integrity. In just over three years, this focus and philosophy fueled growth and enabled Lexcom to become a leading site development service company in the Pacific Northwest.
With a strong focus on continuous improvement and a need for superior systems, Lexcom became an Md7 customer when it began utilizing LiveTrack™ to manage deployment projects for its customers. While working together, it became apparent that the two companies had much in common, including:
- A similar vision of the direction and coming needs of the wireless infrastructure business
- A similar desire to offer our customers a better and faster level of service at lower price points
- A common customer and employee-focused value system with a desire to be a stable, growing and innovative company in a highly competitive market
Thus, it simply made sense to combine Md7’s centralized efficiency with Lexcom’s localized know-how.
Spotlight on Core Values – Integrity
by Tom Leddo
“In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.” ~ Warren Buffet
Dictionary.com defines integrity three ways:
- adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty,
- the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished, and
- sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition.
When most people talk about integrity, they are referring to the first definition – honesty. Obviously honesty is at the crux of the Md7 core values. But the second and third definitions above are equally important because, much like the structural integrity of a cell tower, each of the Md7 core values must have its own integrity in order to successfully carry its assigned equipment plus a bird or two.
To achieve “structural integrity” at Md7, we promote six core values:
Just as with the cell tower, each of the Md7 core values must have its own integrity to be true. If a member of the Md7 Team exemplifies all of the first five values, but lacks integrity – the values as a whole are worthless.