ARCTEK’s fleet of five satellite trucks travel across the country capturing important moments in history, but the story behind ARCTEK began right here in Minnesota.
Owner Brian Stanley was aiming for a job at the top level of broadcasting. After graduating from St. Cloud State, he operated a satellite truck at CONUS Communications, which would later be known as ARCTEK.
At age 24, Stanley was traveling across the country in his vehicle and attending high-profile events like the NBA Finals or the World Series to broadcast the events to televisions across America.
His truck, called CONUS One, was the first satellite truck in service, according to Stanley. He was later inducted into the Newseum, an American museum dedicated to news and journalism located in Washington, D.C.
“I drove the first truck ever built. Now that’s cool, because I’ve been in the industry for 30 years, so I’m the de facto expert,” Stanley said.
Stanley bought ARCTEK in 2016, making him sole owner of the White Bear Lake-based company. Since then, Stanley has taken its five satellite trucks around the country to cover major news, music and sports events.
Major television networks like CBS and NBC will call Stanley to request a truck for an event. One of its engineers will drive anywhere in the United States or Canada to cover the occasion.
With the ability of ARCTEK’s trucks to travel nationwide, approximately 90% of ARCTEK’s 500 annual bookings are located out of state. One of ARCTEK’s trucks took part in every Sunday night football game. Most recently, ARCTEK covered Super Bowl 2022.
However, ARCTEK still has a few local jobs covering Hockey Day Minnesota, numerous basketball and Gopher hockey games, and a few years ago the 2017 Super Bowl.
Behind the wheel of each satellite truck is a satellite uplink engineer like Nick Hendrickson.
“We’re the way out of production,” Hendrickson said. “The satellite we reach is about 20,000 miles away, but above all we are a one-man show. There are five operators in total, and they all go out and travel, sometimes with another person and sometimes doing productions from the trucks.
Hendrickson, another St. Cloud State grad, started out in audio production and then moved into video, which he says worked well for his engineering mind, as he enjoyed solving problems on his own- same.
“It’s definitely not a normal office job,” Hendrickson said. “I attended many historical moments like the funeral of Muhammad Ali or George W. Bush Sr. We also covered riots. We are on the front line. »
For such a wide range of events, Stanley’s team is only about eight people. In addition to Stanley’s team of engineers, his wife, Julie, is instrumental in arranging all trips and keeping everyone on budget.
“It’s the Minnesota work ethic that we bring to the networks on every coast,” Stanley said.
Starting with the very first satellite truck, ARCTEK has been at the forefront of broadcast technology and continues to invest in video and coding technology. There are plans to add a new truck, which will go live in May.
That means more local engineers like Nick will bring national sports and news to the comfort of your home.