Trenchless Technology

JAN 2019

Trenchless Technology is the premier communications vehicle for the trenchless industry. Through our multiple platforms, readers receive insights into the trenchless industry, as well as keep connected to the latest news, products and projects.

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50 T R E N C H L E S S T EC H N O LO GY JA N UA RY 2019 F I B E R O P T I C S C R E AT E O P P O R T U N I T I E S I N C O L O R A D O By Kayla Breja T H E M A S S I V E U N D E R TA K I N G of delivering high- speed internet around the country is about more than giving people faster access to in- formation. In rural America, it 's about creating viable employment options in small communities and helping their citizens prosper. The North Fork Valley on the West- ern Slope of Colorado is one of those rural , close-knit areas benefiting from the expansion of fiber optics. For more than 120 years, the area's coal mines have been the main employers for the people living in the area. However, in the last several years, mines in the area have started shutting down, sig- nificantly impacting the people living in these coal communities. Forced to look for new occupations, the expan- sion of America's vast fiberoptic in- frastructure is helping many of those people stay in their homes and is even helping some communities grow. Meet the Neals Eric and Teresa Neal , owners of Lightworks Fiber & Consulting LLC have lived in the North Fork Valley most of their lives and are good friends with many of the people impacted by the reduction in coal mining . In fact , after running his own small fiber- splicing business from 1997-2009, Neal took a three-year hiatus to work at one of the area's coal mines. "Coal mining provided stability for a lot of people for years," Eric Neal explained, " but the fiber/telecom in- dustry was always something that I enjoyed doing . So, when an old customer approached me about do - ing some fiber testing and splicing around the fall of 2011, my wife and I decided it was the right time to get back into the business, and we started Lightworks Fiber & Consulting with our son Dakota Coats. The new family-owned company started small, primarily picking up

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