Murphy Tower: Where Wireless & Wireline Solutions Connect
Murphy Tower Service is a turnkey Wireless and Wireline Construction Company with 30+ years of industry experience. While initially focused on construction, over the years, the company has evolved into a multi-disciplinary company. Murphy Tower Service’s complementary business units (Murphy Network, Murphy Communications and Murphy Electric) offer turnkey, custom solutions for their customers.
The 200+ employees at Murphy Tower Service are not pigeon-holed into one area of expertise. In fact, their competence in wireless and wireline services are complementary since as the adage goes, you need a lot of wires to make wireless work.
Murphy Tower specializes in new construction of telecom systems including macro sites and small cell installation and performs maintenance for tower owners and cellular carriers to keep systems running at top performance. Murphy Network installs, troubleshoots, repairs and inspects wireless systems, ranging from older 3G equipment to the newest state-of-the-art 5G technology. Murphy Communications handles everything from emergency splicing to horizontal directional drilling, specializing in fiber-optic and electrical cable installations and maintenance. Lastly, Murphy Electric is a licensed, full-service electrical team, supporting all Murphy Tower divisions and acting as a stand-alone commercial construction subsidiary.
“These additional business units were opportunities to better serve our customers and allowed us to provide turnkey solutions,” Pat Murphy, CEO, said. “The customer doesn’t have to manage multiple vendors during projects; it simplifies the process for them.” Murphy Tower Service handles everything from initial site construction to final testing and maintenance.
A Connection to Construction
Murphy Tower Service has deep family roots. It all began when Larry Murphy created Murphy Construction Co., Inc in 1960. Fast forward to 1990 when he built his first cell tower. Larry’s children, Pat Murphy, Clyde Murphy, and Lin Sheehey were all on different professional paths. Pat was in pharmaceutics, Lin in finance, and Clyde in aircraft mechanics. But they reunited, harnessing their father’s industry expertise and entrepreneurial spirit, and in 2004, established Murphy Tower Service in Carlisle, IA. Larry was able to retire but maintain his legacy.
“We have been in construction pretty much all of our lives,” Pat said. “We got up in the morning and went to work with our dad all the time. We already understood the business, so coming back into the industry, and construction in general, was not a hard change.”
Construction was just the beginning, however. The commitment to being disciplined led Murphy to bring a broad range of services in-house, so it could maximize quality control and expand its offerings.
“The additional business units help us eliminate the need for subcontractors,” Pat said. “Our specialized teams can come in and do the underground, network, electrical and fiber work for any cell site, which allows us to maintain authority of the work.”
Although Murphy Tower Service is still the main revenue source, the diversity of services help smooth the inevitable ebbs and flows of the industry. “The additional business units complement Murphy Tower Service, which is fantastic,” Pat said. “But those business units, themselves, are diversifying and now have their own projects outside of the tower construction and service business unit.”
As broadband expands across the nation, Murphy Communications has seen an increase in business helping ISPs and ITCs build out their networks across Iowa. Many customers are Empower Rural Iowa grant recipients. “It’s extremely important to us that we’re good stewards of that grant money and we’re helping those companies utilize those funds in the most efficient way possible,” says Pat. Another area of increased demand, he adds, is in-building and outdoor DAS.
Despite lower carrier capex budgets, Murphy is seeing surging demand in 2023, after a record year in 2022. “I don’t think the lower carrier capex has really impacted our market as much,” Pat said. “The diversity of services that we offer from a turnkey perspective plus the reputation that we’ve earned over 30 years of being in business helps us tremendously in keeping the funnel pretty full.”
Murphy has also diversified geographically over time. In 2021, it acquired East River Tower of Gary, SD, which broadened its service region into the Dakotas and western Nebraska regions. In January of this year, Springfield, TN became the company’s ninth physical location. The new facility, located 30 miles north of Nashville, enabled the company to better cater to its customers in the southeast. Today, Murphy’s locations allow the company to serve 18 states.
Murphy Tower’s Geographic Coverage
“Those acquisitions have helped us expand into new markets seamlessly. We’re always looking for good acquisition opportunities if it helps us grow in our target markets,” Pat said. “Murphy now has 200+ employees, and we’re planning to continue our national growth, especially in regions where we’re seeing significant demand.”
Murphy Tower’s dedication to quality, safety and our environment is recognized with ISO certifications for three standards: ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System; ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System; and ISO 45001:2008 Occupational Health and Safety Management System. ISO certifications are extremely important to the company in order to maintain excellence, according to Pat.
“We are a very process-oriented company, which is why we went toward getting standardized certifications from the International Standardization Organization (ISO),” Pat said. “We create the process, bring it in house, internalize it, and then we can monitor and control it better. It’s better for the customer. It’s also better for our company.”
“Continuous improvement in all areas of the business is the goal,” said Pat. “The certification process involves every single employee to ensure all parts of the company work together smoothly and effectively so we can consistently improve our policies and processes.”
Working for both public and private sectors, Murphy is deploying the 5G revolution to give faster internet connectivity across its service areas. This latest generation of wireless technology, along with fiber wireline, allows it to help bridge the digital divide and bring equity to all communities. Regardless of the challenge, Murphy’s values — safety, integrity, quality and expertise — can be found throughout the work it does.
By J. Sharpe Smith, Inside Towers Technology Editor - Click here to read this article on Inside Towers' website.