WATERTOWN, S.D. — The late Bill Carlson, founder of Tower Systems and a leader in the tower solutions industry, was honored during a celebration. Watertown, South Dakota, Mayor Sarah Caron proclaimed May 4 as Bill Carlson Day.

Mayor Caron read from the proclamation, citing Carlson's military service, his love for hunting and, that he was the first-ever representative of the tower industry to be inducted into the Wireless History Hall of Fame.

“My dad would have been humbled by this day, but he would have enjoyed every minute,” said Kari Carlson, president and CEO of Tower Systems and Bill Carlson’s daughter. “He would be the first to credit his success to the team of people behind him. This day was for all of them.”

The day also included a “We Rise” rebrand launch and ribbon-cutting to celebrate the 30-year history and success of Tower Systems in Watertown. The event touched on the significant role South Dakota plays in advancing 5G technology and the importance of backing strong broadband initiatives. Speakers included U.S. Sen. John Thune, U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, President and CEO of NATE Todd Schlekeway, Kari Carlson, and Caron.

“‘We Rise’ is a great motto for this company,” Johnson said. “Not only do you rise, but you also lift. You have lifted your great employees. You have lifted the communities where you reside. You have lifted societies by enabling the kind of connectivity that we all know we need more of.”

Bill Carlson passed away in 2019 after dedicating decades to being an advocate for the tower solutions industry. He was involved in creating higher safety and quality standards as the co-founder of NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association.

“It is appropriate today that we focus on the continued rising of Tower Systems,” Johnson said. “You are not making this trip alone. You are taking so many of us with you.”

“In applauding wireless workers,” Carr said, “what people lose sight of is that this is real work. This is a real infrastructure effort. It takes work to have the leading broadband networks that we have in this country, and it’s thanks to all of you.”