AT&T Keeps People Connected in Death Valley
Death Valley is remote, rugged and hot — mostly really hot. Temperatures can hover around 120 degrees for weeks on end. It’s an unrelenting heat that sucks the moisture out of every living thing.
In this brutal environment, network technicians Eric Banks and Kenton Crooms work to keep our customers connected. They see themselves as detectives of sorts. They spend their days digging through clues about service problems in a place like no other. “The thing I like best is coming up with a solution nobody thought possible and getting the customer back in service,” Eric said. “We just don’t give up out here. When we sink our teeth into something, we get it done, no matter what.”
And it really is the hottest place on Earth. The air temperature reached 134 degrees on July 10, 1913. That’s still a record today. The highest ground temperature ever recorded was 201 degrees on July 15, 1972.
These extreme network techs dress for safety — sunscreen, undershirt, long-sleeved shirt, boots, jeans, a big hat and sunglasses. Staying covered up promotes sweating, which cools the body as the sweat slowly evaporates. Eric uses an umbrella for extended stays outside. And of course, water. Kenton said he drinks between eight and 13 gallons of ice water every day. “You can feel the sun stinging your skin up to about 110 degrees,” Kenton said. “As the temperatures rise higher, though, it feels like another body on your back.”
“It’s extremely satisfying to work in what is one of the most unique environments in the world and solve our customers’ issues,” Eric said. “Keeping the customer connected, regardless of the conditions — that’s what it’s all about.”