“The PCS auctions had just happened. We had the two incumbent carriers at the time telling us where they needed towers. And there were more regional entrants coming into the market,” said Jackie Horvath, President and Founder of Horvath Communications, Inc. (HCI). “We were in the right place at the right time and jumped on the opportunity.”
“It was nerve-wracking early on…putting my life savings into towers. But it paid off,” Horvath told Inside Towers. HCI began in 1996, with just a few towers in Indiana. Since then, it has built over 1,000 towers throughout the United States. “We’ve watched towers change from mostly for paging to what they are today.”
While raising capital was a challenge early in the business, Horvath explained the biggest challenges now are competition and uncertainty.
“We’re in a very competitive market,” Horvath said. HCI differentiates itself by emphasizing customer service. “We’ve always tried to be the best at working with our customers and we have a very good reputation with the carriers,” she said. “We react very quickly to their needs and we’re fair on pricing.”
To combat uncertainty, Horvath keeps an eye out on industry changes so HCI can adapt. Looking forward is why HCI recently started a Neutral Host DAS Division. “We see an opportunity there.”
HCI’s history, future reputation, and longevity are important to Horvath. “I’ve brought my daughter up in the industry so she can take the helm someday.” Horvath’s daughter, Erin Horvath, is Vice-President and CMO of HCI.
Staff at her company is balanced between men and women, but Horvath explained that is not intentional. “Everyone brings something different to the table. I always just look for the best person for the job.” And that is how she expects to be considered as well, noting that if her gender was ever a factor for others—either positive or negative—she was not aware of it.
Outside of the industry, Horvath is quite politically minded, not surprising given her degree in Political Science. “It’s a big interest of mine,” she said, adding that a future in politics is something she’s considering.
For now, though, Horvath is focused on the future of HCI. “You can’t know all of the changes that are coming. Even if you do, you can’t be certain what’s going to happen as a result. Those realities can give you pause. But you find a way to work through it. You find the opportunity.”
By Kristen Stelzer for Inside Towers
August 26, 2019