In an industry moving toward larger tower development companies, local know-how and one-on-one communication is a premium, one that MidAmerica founder and president Jay Panozzo has relied upon since 1989.
“The bigger tower companies just don’t have the time, they’re too busy taking care of zoning and permitting and appeasing their carrier friends,” Panozzo said, highlighting the directness in communication that MidAmerica provides its customers.
Panozzo’s company is self-funded and does not rely on private equity firms that other tower companies in the industry rely upon. He said this has enabled MidAmerica to steadily focus on growing its inventory, which Panozzo said ideally is around 40 towers.
“I try to keep it around that mark so I can manage it myself,” Panozzo said.
MidAmerica purchased its first tower in 1993 and had early success building out paging networks in Northern Illinois. The company’s focus shifted to wireless carriers and Panozzo began expanding beyond the Midwest in the mid-2000’s.
In addition to tower development and management, MidAmerica is unique in the fact that it performs its own tower construction, which provides turnkey services to potential tenants.
“Nobody cares about the tower as much as the owner does,” Panozzo said while discussing his hands-on approach in the development or repurposing process.
MidAmerica does not rely on search rings from carriers, rather they construct or buy existing towers on speculation that tenants will choose to install equipment on the structures, a difficult business model that requires intuition and good business sense.
“It takes a little more time to get customers,” Panozzo said, discussing his company’s approach to obtaining tenants on its sites. “But if you get one of the big three carriers, the others are probably going to follow.”
Currently, MidAmerica owns sites in nine states in several different regions of the country—as far east as New York, south as Alabama and west as Oregon.
For more information MidAmerica Towers, check out the website.
By Benjamin Horvath
March 2, 2017