Steve Handmaker started Prime Tower Development, based in Alpharetta, GA, with business partner Keith Peck in 2008, with a new tower build in a challenging environment: Alaska. Using a sophisticated RF/mapping site, they determined where locations were needed and contacted the carriers accordingly.
Since then, Prime has built 27 more towers, adding them to its inventory centered in Louisiana to Northern Virginia, although the challenges have not gotten any easier.
From dealing with solid rock footprints near quarries, hauling monopoles up mountains and facing the vagaries of urban zoning restrictions, no two projects have been alike. “They’re like snowflakes,” Handmaker said to Inside Towers, “every site has its challenges.”
Handmaker began his career in telecom in 1996, doing “site acq” in the northeastern U.S. handling major carriers as clients. While he was learning the tower business, his future partner Keith Peck was building a reputation in the telecom real estate field. They eventually joined forces to create Prime, a company that prides itself on its flexibility with it clients.
“Carriers like dealing with us,” Handmaker said, “because with us there’s no red tape like they might experience with the major towercos,” he told Inside Towers. The result, according to Handmaker, is the job can be done quickly and efficiently. “We use the same vendors from job to job for our engineering and environmental studies,” he said, “which creates consistency. The carriers appreciate that and know we can deliver a good product in their time-frame.”
Handmaker said the market has changed since Prime’s inception with less focus on new builds and more on retro-fitting existing sites. But the future is no less bright as Prime has many new projects on the slate and sees an uptick in developing urban “fill- in” sites for their carrier client base.
Prime Tower Development is a member of the Georgia Wireless Association and frequent sponsor of Women in Wireless functions.
December 1, 2016