Bridge Accident

Tempe Town Lake Bridge Fire – We Find a Way!

On July 29, 2020, a bridge over Tempe Town Lake caught fire and partially collapsed after a train derailed. Tempe Fire Department officials said the derailment happened around 6:09 a.m. and involved a Union Pacific train.

The BPG splicing team had just finished their normal night shift when Kory Setzke, our Project Manager,  received a call from one of our clients. The client, the BPG Construction and Tech Teams were well aware of the severity of this accident and the potential outages for client due to fiber breaking, especially since this involved long-haul network connectivity. Long-haul fiber is usually built along railroad tracks as it connects other cities and states such as Tucson and California, unlike the metro fiber network. At the time of the accident, no fiber strands had broken, but the BPG teams understood that the fiber would be sheared in half once the rescue workers removed the damaged train from the accident site and valuable time could be saved by prepping accordingly. BPG was tasked with rerouting the Long-haul fiber into the Metro Fiber Network to bypass the damage.

Our Project Manager immediately started to reach out to the splicing team to gather a team to respond to the incident. The splicing team met at the yard to pick up four of our splicing trailers. They then met the construction team close by the crash site by 9am. The construction team was already doing their part to assess the situation and to begin trenching new conduit to allow the connection of new fiber cable between the long-haul and Metro fiber network.

Throughout the day, while prepping, splice crew members were taking breaks in the trailers to get out of the heat and even to take short naps, since this was going to be a long day and night, after having worked a full shift already. At 10 pm the rescue team started moving the damaged train cars, and the fiber went down as anticipated. Three Network Cabling Companies were affected. Our client, who works exclusively with BPG was the first one to be up and running again! Great job, BPG!

“This was one of the most unique fiber outages I have experienced,” our Project Manager explained. “I was extremely impressed with the construction and splicing departments for their teamwork and their willingness to do whatever it took to get the job done. It is awesome to see how the BPG team provides turn-key services for our clients, even in emergency situations. Our client was on site the entire time and even with the splicing team during the cutover to help determine the best possible splicing plan. We had not had such a fire drill in quite a while, and it was very encouraging to see the entire team step up and work together so well.” 

Jason Larez - Working from home

COVID-19 and Working from Home – an IT View of Things!

Here at BPG, we are of the lucky few who are considered essential workers during the COVID-19 quarantine, yet most of us get to work from home and stay safe and healthy. Setting up approx. 150 employees to work from home within three days proved to be challenging at times. Luckily, we had all the resources, leadership and employee support we needed to get it done! The work performed by the IT Department was a collaboration of the entire IT team with the full support of the Leadership Team.

Here is a timeline of the events:

Monday evening, March 16, 2020: The Executive Leadership Team decided to have everyone work remotely to avoid the spread of the disease. A timeline was sent to the IT Department along with the approval to purchase as many VPN licenses as needed. That night, the IT Department pushed through the night to test that VPN was working correctly and to work with outside providers to make it all possible.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020: The Executive Leadership team identified the users to work from home and approved the purchase of additional VPN licenses. The first 38 employees were fully operational to work from home and an additional 23 users were capable of remote work with remote assistance. The IT Department fielded over 50 IT support tickets that day. And again, the IT Department worked long hours that night to test that our VPN could handle this many users and more.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020: An additional 118 users were fully operational for remote work, and the IT Department fielded over 110 IT support tickets that day. This work was done in phases, as divisions and departments were prioritized on who would move from our facilities in the three states first. Careful planning determined which teams to send home first. It was obvious, due to workstations being close in proximity to one another, our design and engineering division was first. The next few days were spent on testing, helping people with login issues, and planning next steps.

It is easy and routine to come to work every day, turn on your computer, enter your password and start working. Working from home, learning all the steps just to log in, learning how to solve VPN issues and learning how to fix crashed computers proved to be a giant learning curve for individuals. Supporting the teams remotely was also new and extremely challenging for the IT Department. Within two weeks the daily questions became less and less and one month later, we have no more questions!

Considering the little time we had to test the process through to a successful end, issues that arose were fixed surprisingly fast with the support of the whole BPG team. Individuals figured it out; the IT Team figured it out! #oneBPG! #BPGstrong!