Q&A with Dave Price, Tower Climber Who Makes the LeVeque Tower Glow

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

How did you get into this line of work? I worked for a company that was into two-way radios. One thing led to another-somebody needed antenna work done, so I started climbing antenna towers. They first put lights on the LeVeque in the early '90s, and the electricians didn't want to go out on some of these areas, so they said: "We'll have Dave do it. He's crazy." Heights have not been an issue for me. What kid doesn't climb trees? It's all in the mind of the beholder, I guess. My partner and I both wear harnesses and are strapped in.

How do you change the light colors? We use theater gels they get out of California. We cut them to size and fit them over the light fixtures with a special grade duct tape. We do 60 fixtures over three different levels-the 34th, 39th and 42nd floors. It takes about five or six hours on a decent day. We're up there seven or eight times a year now. There are holiday colors, pink for breast cancer, teal for ovarian cancer, red, white and blue for Fourth of July.

Any horror stories? We've been up there in the winter when there's ice on the fixtures, crawling across ledges on our hands and knees in two feet of snow. The tape can melt and get gooey in the summer, or it won't stick at all if it's raining. We're up there with rags wiping off the fixtures, holding umbrellas over our heads. The only constant hazard is you get approached by avian creatures every once in a while, namely peregrine falcons. Actually was hit by one once. Come down and got me on top of the head. The guy who was with me said, "Look out!" Then, bam! I was bleeding all over the place. It's one of those things you sort of deal with it.