Ricardo Espinoza

Ricardo Espinoza, Electrician

Ricardo Espinoza is an Electrician specializing in 5G network installations. He is currently based in California.

What is your favorite part about your job? What do you find most challenging?

I love many aspects of my job! I actually like that it’s a dangerous job, and people always tell me, “I can never do what you do’. Knowing that I have the courage to do what others don't will make my day sometimes. Being in the telecom industry is challenging as we are constantly pushed to complete projects. The most challenging thing for a supervisor such as myself is to lead with safety in mind and have your men get home safe every single day.

You have mentioned you'd like to go back to school to get a degree in engineering. In what specific field would you like to work in the future as an engineer?

I’m not only fascinated with engineering in general, but having to build projects and consult with many civil, electrical, and mechanical engineers, has convinced me to go into civil engineering mainly because I have more knowledge in that field, and civil engineering deals encompasses industries that I like working and interacting with.

What other long-term objectives and projects do you have for yourself?

I have so many things I want to accomplish in life. I hope that in the next two years, I can start my own electrical business in telecommunications. I have dreamt of running my own company since I was a young boy, but it has taken me this long to figure out in what field to build my own business. Another long-term objective for myself is also to learn how to fly a plane. I've enjoyed the times my uncle and I have had when he takes me flying.

You travel a lot for work. Have you learned anything unexpected about places or people during your travels?

I do travel about 90% of the time, and because of that, I get to see many different places. In a town called Eureka in the Fort Humboldt state historic park area, we had a site in an abandoned town where we had to go at night because locals did not let us pass a certain roadblock — they claimed it was haunted! I took it as a prank initially, until an incident where my entire crew of six heard the voice of a woman yelling and screaming, but no one was there. We were about 4 miles from the nearest town, and let's just say we finished that project two days ahead of schedule.

When you started working on top of tall towers, did you have to overcome any fears, or did it come easily to you?

Ironically, I am terrified of heights. But I enjoy my work so much that I pay no attention to the height itself as I'm doing the work I'm tasked with. As a supervisor, I’m more afraid of one of my guys getting hurt. 

"One of my biggest sources of inspiration is my 12-year-old nephew. He wants to get into the same trade, and having had to overcome many obstacles to be where I am now, I would like to make it easier for my nephew to succeed in life."

What do you like to do in your free time?

I thoroughly enjoy the outdoors, and I love to take the time to enjoy nature. I spend most of my free time running, working out, fishing, and rock climbing. Since I travel a lot for work, I don't get to enjoy time with my family very often, so when I do get the chance to be with them, I spend most of my time with my mother and the nephews doing whatever they like to do.

Do you find any differences between supervising older versus younger workers?

Yes, plenty! Most seasoned workers are hard to convince about new or improved ways of doing things, while younger workers who have little to no experience are willing to learn new tricks! On that same note, given their experience, more seasoned workers require less supervision, on average. Another difference is that younger people usually tend not to take criticism personally as older individuals do.

Do you think workplace safety is given the importance it should have (by individuals and companies)?

I do not believe this to be true in telecommunications in general, but on the site level, other supervisors and I make an extreme effort to keep these guys safe every day. I have witnessed someone fall 118 feet from a cell tower, and that has made me look at safety as a major part of what we do every day. There should be more emphasis on training at all levels, including those mandated by individual states.

Who or what inspires you?

One of my biggest sources of inspiration is my 12-year-old nephew. He wants to get into the same trade, and having had to overcome many obstacles to be where I am now, I would like to make it easier for my nephew to succeed in life. He makes me want to be the best at what I do and eventually teach him all I know.

Are there any common misconceptions about your job?

There are many misconceptions about the telecommunications industry. One of the biggest is that we are fearless and not scared of heights; this can be debunked very easily if you ask most tower workers. This fear subsides very easily when you have your brothers/coworkers to worry about on the tower. Most of my guys have families who they provide for, so fear isn’t something we worry about much when we are 200ft up in the air.

What is your favorite part about your job? And what do you find most challenging?

The most challenging part of telecom is meeting the timeline of the big carriers who most of the time do not see the small obstacles we come across on the site every day. This ranges from not having all the materials we need to complete a job and sometimes being a step removed from direct contact with engineers at the office.

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