Sunday, April 20, 2008

Jobs with LUS

Looking for work? LUS is looking for workers.

Lafayette City-parish Government (LCG) has posted job opportunities for those wanting to work in the utility system's now-building Fiber To The Home (FTTH) network. You can scan through the listings on the LCG website—where you'll have to go to download the PDF application forms should you decide to apply. A quicker way to get a sense of what is being offered currently can be found at careerbuilder; they've pulled together most of those that seem to have something to do with fiber or technology. (But the master list is at the LCG site.)

Some examples:
SYSTEMS ANALYST (FIBER).......$3,569-$4,647/MONTH/DOE Responsible for project management, cost analysis, implementation, upgrades, and troubleshooting of information systems, server software, and other network related system software such as OSS, BSS, DNS, and network management systems. Will serve on multiple projects as team leader. Bachelor's degree in Computer Science or related and considerable experience with software applications required.

CHIEF COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS OPERATOR (FIBER) .......$3,404-$5,098/MONTH/DOE Responsible for supervision and participation of technical operations and maintenance of a communications center which include plant, equipment, antennae, power supplies and all other network, video, and data equipment and operating systems required to deliver telephone, video and data services. Vocational technical training electronics and telecommunications. Experience with Cable TV head end, high speed Internet, or telephone switch operation required.

COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM OPERATOR (FIBER) .........
SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK TECHNICIAN (FIBER).....

Also accepting applications for Equipment Operator IV (Backhoe, Motor Grader, Excavator, Gradall, Dozer), Engineer II (Electrical & Civil), Power Plant Machinist, Power Plant Technician, Engineer III (Electrical & Civil), Engineering Aide II (Rodman), Equipment Operator II (Tandem Dump Truck), Planner II, Network Administrator, Programmer Analyst (GIS), and others.
It looks like they are looking for experience more than for certificates...and it looks like they're hoping to hire from the competition.

Working for LUS, by all accounts that I've heard, is a good experience. But beyond that working for your community carries its own satisfaction. One of the reasons that we can still fill jobs for teachers and policemen is that there are still folks for whom that matters. Most of us get to the point sooner or later where what we do and why we do it becomes more important than how much we are paid or how comfortable a job it is. If you're working in an allied field and would like to get a job where you could learn about the latest & coolest AND get a job where you'd be working for your own community this is your chance.

---There are, if the server stats are too be trusted, a lot of folks who read this blog, as determinedly local as it, even though they don't have a direct interest in Lafayette's struggle. (Thanks, incidentally!) Maybe you, or someone you know would like to come and live in city where community is still a palpable thing, where culture exists outside of museums and performance halls, and the foodways are firmly planted in the local landscape. It's a community that is willing to stand up on its own two feet and fight for the sort of network it wants. If you're sympathetic with that impulse maybe you'd like to live somewhere where it is possible. Lafayette is an exciting place that is only going to get a lot more interesting for people committed to tech and community life. If you'd like to contribute we'd love to have you.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

What are your takes on the following article by the Daily Herald in Provo, Utah titled "The case for UTOPIA and iProvo: Double down or cut bait?" and how it relates to the FTTH project by LUS?

http://www.heraldextra.com/content/view/263223/18/

The part I am most interested in is the following:

"Now, unexpectedly low subscriber counts and revenue shortfalls are threatening UTOPIA's ability to continue to make its bond payments. Tax revenues haven't been tapped yet, but if UTOPIA fails, the 11 cities could be on the hook for up to the full $202 million, the Utah Taxpayers Association warns."

John said...

anonymous person,

I'm curious as to what your remarks have to do with jobs in Lafayette.

That said, I think that Utopia, and iProvo too, are having exactly the sorts of problems that the incumbents hoped for when they had the legislature forbid communities in Utah building utilities and forced them to become wholesale businesses without a direct connection to their customer/citizens.

Of course, the ignored issue in your question is the unquestioned successes of some muni fiber projects--success that certain folks once said were impossible. So, why do some public networks struggle initially and others take off immediately? In a nutshell: public utilities need to be allowed to really be public utilities. It is informative to look Bristol and Burlington. In Virginian and Vermont the community has built their own telecom utility and offered not-for-profit services locally as community utilities. Their citizens are supporting it enthusiastically with take rates above 50%. On the other hand the state stepped in and forbid the utility model in Utah at the behest of the incumbents. Consequently in projects like the ones in Utah the people are asked to support small, unknown, for-profit organizations with, too often, marginal competencies and service problems that the public owners have no way to correct. Frankly, the private portion of these public-private networks did not carry their weight.

Lesson: Letting your competition write your business plan is ALWAYS a bad idea.

Lafayette's system is like Bristol's or Burlington's in that it is a public utility, not a wholesale business mandated by some guys in the capital.

Lafayette's system differs from the Utopia model in another way as well: it is entirely built on revenue bonds. The city of Lafayette, is NOT "on the hook" for a penny--the investors are. The Utopia model included backing by some of the cities...you got prioritized construction if you committed to backing the bonds --and the idea was to get lower interest rates. Lafayette did not go that route.

In addition, though saying this ought not be necessary: seeking refinancing is a perfectly normal business practice. If this were ANY private telecom company seeking to restructure a loan it wouldn't even make the financial pages. It is only because it is a public enterprise that such is made into news.

Finally, slow uptake is a bad sign but it isn't even nearly terminal. If this were Verizon a lower than projected initial take-rate would only be of interest to financial advisors. Oddly, when Verizon's take-rate reached reached 16%-20% criticism of its FTTH program subsided among financial analysts. It must be nice being a private company. Verizon responds to criticism of its adoption numbers in exactly the way that Utopia does: they're going to focus on wealthier areas first and they're going to do a better job of promoting their product. (Not that this makes the digital divide advocate in me happy in either case.)

Long story short: It's distressing that the Utah projects aren't raging successes. But only raging successes escape criticism that seems unreasonable from my vantage point across the continent. (So we don't hear about Burlington or Bristol since they are now unquestionable successes....)

The lessons for Lafayette is to at all costs avoid letting your competition devise your business plan. Lafayette hasn't, by and large, but should watch the legislature whose subservience to corporate interests makes it dangerous to local communities in telecom questions. (Watch the current state video franchise sausage making for what I predict will be a very illustrative example.)