Josh Stephens, an Employee at Surfnet, Shares Insights into His Experience at the Company
Recently, I had the delightful opportunity to speak with Josh Stephens, an employee of Surfnet, about his outstanding two-year tenure with the company and his favorable experiences there. As a field technician, Stephens was responsible for installing, repairing, and upgrading fixed-wireless internet equipment for customers across the Santa Cruz Mountains.
“I would also occasionally help my supervisor with the repair and building out of our access points as well, and I assisted in the permanent location for the access point that was destroyed in the CZU August Lightning Complex Fires of 2020.” Stephens shared.
Josh shared that his proudest achievement was a project he completed for Byington Winery. The winery required internet access in its cave, where they kept their inventory, for efficient operation, but the cave had no signal reception. By using a combination of routers and various signal-relaying devices, Josh successfully provided internet access to the cave, transforming it into a highly functional wireless hub.
“Not only did I assist in upgrading their internal network,” Josh said, “but I also extended wireless internet to previously unreachable or hard-to-reach areas that were located hundreds of feet away from the nearest power source.
” Another noteworthy achievement was his aid in establishing wifi for a home-based brewery. The brewery’s tasting room was located at the bottom of a hill, and they needed internet to control lighting and provide their customers with internet access.
He also restored internet service for the Capitola Soquel Little League, which had lost its antenna. “They use our internet service to power their concession stand point-of-sale terminals,” stated Josh, “and that one was challenging since I was working with such a large piece of equipment!”
Working for such an innovative company provided a platform for Josh to grow professionally in several ways.
“I was able to expand my knowledge working with internal networks, and I also had the privilege of learning how to splice fiber, courtesy of our team in the San Luis Obispo branch,” he said.
When asked about the most interesting and rewarding aspect of working at Surfnet, Josh expressed: “The people we serve make the job the most interesting.” “They come from all walks of life, and you never know whom you will encounter.”
He relished working with these customers, as they were deeply rooted in their community and looked out for one another. In fact, one of Josh’s clients even gifted him a jar of Santa Rosa plums they had recently harvested from their backyard plum trees.
“It was surprising to see that people moving from San Francisco to the Santa Cruz Mountains were often shocked to find limited internet options, but Surfnet was able to provide a solution by offering reliable internet service that made these customers feel more at home,” Josh shared.
Working with a talented and motivated team that exudes good leadership was definitely a perk of being an employee at Surfnet.
“I would say that if it weren’t for the excellent leadership offered by both the CFO Ken and the CEO Mark, I would not have known what it means to work for true leaders.”
Josh understands the significance of Surfnet’s aim to offer trustworthy and quick broadband access to underprivileged communities in coastal and mountainous regions. This objective aligned with his moral values, and he expressed his appreciation for Surfnet’s endeavors to bring internet connectivity to these communities and to grant them the freedom of choice.
Recently, while servicing one of his clients during the intense storms in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Josh encountered a poster at a junction box, which read,
“AT&T, hook up the internet! Wires on the ground for more than 20+ days!”
“That gives the perspective of how these communities get left in the dark,” Josh explained. “Our competitors are focused on in-town operations and not the mountain communities.”
He took pride in connecting individuals with a superior internet option and breaking the hold of the underperforming cable and traditional telephone duopoly in the Santa Cruz Mountains region.
However, Josh is moving on to a new opportunity that offers closer proximity to home and the chance to work with a wider range of technologies.
“I felt a great sense of purpose while working at Surfnet,” Josh stated. “Their leaders really allowed me to be myself and bring my best self forward.”