Richard Cassel is the type of guy who writes letters. The man has an opinion.

He’ll write letters to the editor at his local newspaper or even call a restaurant manager to convey of his high-quality dining experience.
Cassel isn’t going to hold back.

The 53-year-old’s story is one that shines on an individual’s ability to accomplish something at the local level, through all the bureaucratic processes.

The story began after Cassel read a July 2007 article in his local newspaper in Calabasas, Calif. regarding the building of a cell phone site in the residential neighborhood in which he lived.

As he does best, he began drafting a letter.

In his letter, Cassel recommended better cell phone coverage would be provided to more if a site was built at Calabasas High School, where his daughter had just began school.

Cassel’s family, all T-Mobile wireless customers, could not get cell phone service at the school. His daughter would have to borrow a friend’s phone under a different wireless service to call home for a ride.

For obvious reasons as a father, Cassel wanted to be able to reach his daughter when necessary.

Cassel wrote in his letter to the editor: “If the city is going to authorize cell sites to benefit a relative few, why not make it a condition of access to the limited site that the carrier provides coverage at the high school where there is truly a benefit to the community at large in an area already covered with multiple utility poles?”

After reading the letter to the editor, a representative from T-Mobile contacted Cassel with hopes of addressing his needs.

“Two-thousand students were limited to just one cell service,” Cassel said. “It would be a much better use of time and money to build a cell tower to access more people.”

The solution: Build an inconspicuous cell-phone tower on the top of a light post at the high school’s football field. In addition, the school would receive $2,500 a month from T-Mobile to host the site.

Cassel then took it upon himself, as a third party, to meet with a field engineer from T-Mobile and then to educate the school and superintendant about the potential of a site on campus.

“I wanted better cell phone coverage for my family and I realized it was a great benefit to the school itself for the lease money of the site,” Cassel said. “There’s not many situations with competing interests where there is no downside on one side. But this was a win-win.”

The tower was built and is currently providing superior coverage for his daughter. Soon, it will provide coverage to his younger daughter who is soon to attend the high school.

“Without his focused and driven efforts to fix a neighborhood problem – and create additional income for his school district – T-Mobile area customers, the school staff and students, like his daughters, would have continued to have limited to no service due to difficult siting options in the area,” said Luke Lucas, a T-Mobile Senior Manager of West Region Development and Strategic Coverage.

Cassel acknowledges he is pretty good at making sure his voice is heard as a consumer.

“They read and responded to my comment,” Cassel said. “I applaud T-Mobile in being so open-minded in rethinking what they were going to do here.”