With experience gained in the US Navy, Rhys Fernandez developed extensive technical knowledge which was to prove invaluable for a career in the wireless communications business. Joining Talley Inc. 16 years ago, he started as an Account Executive and, is now Director of 5G Applications at the major US distributor.
“I aspired to be a programmer but kept gravitating back to my strength – wireless, which I felt was the way the industry was heading,” he says. “I remember attending a Next Generation Mobile Networks conference and hearing how each ‘G’ was on a timeline of about 5 to 10 years, but then from 3G to 4G, it was cut in half. Now it’s apparent it’s happening faster and faster – much like how computers evolved.”
Without doubt, Talley Inc. is at the forefront of digital transformation, providing products and supply chain solutions for organizations involved in Public and Private Wireless Networks. He says the company’s economic position is “very healthy” with clear growth forecasts based on organic growth of existing customers, and the acquisition of new customers building new networks or expanding existing networks. Talley is focused on providing ease of ordering, product availability, and ‘top-notch’ customer service as a means to achieve its goal of Service Excellence.
“It’s amazing how fast technology advances, Talley is still providing the products and services required for today’s networks, the products have changed and continue to change” he reflects. “With the advent of 5G technology, we’re going to be seeing more automation and more intelligence nearing the edge of the network – think IoT and Smart Transportation. As the intelligence gets closer to the edge, more backhaul and mid-haul will be implemented to support the robust nature of network edge devices requiring more bandwidth and minimal latency.”
He emphasizes the expansion of spectrum use, highlighting how higher frequency is key to bandwidth in the 5G architecture of wireless communications, continuing to provide better and faster services.
“Traditionally, our customer base varied broadly, our goal was to get more focused. We took a long list of customer types and organized them into three main groups – carriers, land-mobile radio and specialty group. This allows us to zero in on applications specific to their needs.”
When it comes to vendor rotations, Talley carries ‘best of breed’ products, partnering with great companies that value integrity and offer support. As a distributor, we’re like the Home Depot of the wireless application world,” he says.
Value is a key focus, and previously as training director, his mission was multi-faceted. “I wanted every salesperson to understand the customer and competition, the applications we support and how to engage with customers,” he says.
Competition has evolved from a fixed set of competitors to a realm that is constantly changing. “We must understand who we are and who we serve,” he says succinctly.
During our interview, he listens intently, smiles constantly and describes his leadership style as conscientious, honest and understanding. “Mindset is very important to us, he says. We have incorporated a program with the objective to be the premier wireless distributor in the USA. Culture is the foundation of any successful team. Our motto is ‘Empowered Employees Delivering Service Excellence’.”
Talley represents over 300 vendor manufacturers, one that stands out for Fernandez is CommScope. With the acquisition of ARRIS and Ruckus, its combined company provides even greater technology, solutions and employee talent, with broader access to new and growing markets.
“They’ve done a remarkable job in providing infrastructure components for wired and wireless networks for decades. They provide leading-edge technology and support a variety of applications that are future focused.”
Ceragon, a leading wireless transport vendor, is highlighted as Talley’s identified wireless backhaul solution. “Wireless backhaul is a great tool to get fiber-like speed from one point to another over distance, in a cost-efficient, fast time and deployable manner – eliminating the dependency on fiber availability and feasibility.”
FreeWave Technologies role is in the Control Systems space, supporting SCADA and IoT applications. Looking broadly at our partners, we have a portfolio of OEM’s that are best of breed in their respective product sets. Our solutions address; support structure, signal transmission, power and grounding, the base elements of any network.
“It’s paramount to have the right vendor, we have a specific and focused number of applications we support, and we want to do it profitably for the Customer, Talley, and the vendor,” he said. “The key to sustaining the relationships is transparency and communication.”
The two main developments in 2020 have been ‘working remotely’ and ‘working in person’ for those in operations, says Fernandez. Fortunately, the US Federal Government recognized Talley as an essential business, enabling it to keep businesses and schools connected.
“All the packing, shipping, receiving still took place. How did we overcome it? Through our IT team, which installed new programs for communication. We’re a big Microsoft house, and IT took it to the next level. Operations made adjustments to ensure we can get products to customers safely, and HR put standards in place and made resources available.”
He believes the industry is going to get back to normal, but it will be ‘a new normal’. “We talk about vaccines around the corner and more positive testing. The experience has shown we can get more done remotely. I’ve worked remote for some time – but for Talley and the industry, another benefit is the attention to detail necessary, when it comes to procedures. We can become even stronger over time.”