Joe Ryan has come full circle. Thirteen years after joining small, but growing, American Tower as director of acquisitions, he has joined the small, but growing, CTI Towers as VP of acquisitions.
The hiring of Ryan at CTI Towers is evidence of the companys intention to aggressively grow, purchasing the Comcast towers it manages and beyond. CTI Towers wants to grow “as quickly as we can, whether it is through acquisitions, merging with other companies or building towers,” according to Ryan.
Joe knows tower growth. As M&A director for American Tower, he oversaw transactions involving thousands of towers. When he left American Tower, it had grown to be a giant with 66,000 towers. While Ryan extols the virtues of his old company, he wanted to move to a smaller, more entrepreneurial company.
“When I started at American Tower it was a small company. We succeeded and did so well that now it’s a $40 billion company. It kind of outgrew me,” he said. “I like [CTI Towers’] atmosphere more than the giant corporate atmosphere. When the opening came at CTI Towers, it reminded me of those old days at American Tower.”
In addition to hiring Ryan, CTI Towers announced that it has completed its second third-party acquisition in just five months, adding four new towers from NTCH in Amarillo, Texas, to its portfolio.
Before entering the wireless industry, Ryan worked as a lawyer and litigator, until one day after a trial, he read about the tower industry in the Wall Street Journal. Just before that, he’d read a book by Warren Buffett that talked about the importance of the underlying support companies that are big parts of the economy, such as railroads.
“Buffett noted that the only people who made any money in the California Gold Rush were the boot makers and Levi Strauss & Co.,” he said. “I thought tower companies are one of these support companies that Buffett was talking about.”
Ryan saw the potential in developing cell towers, and joined American Tower in 2000 as director of acquisitions. He believes there is still a lot of room for future growth and plans to guide CTI’s pursuit of more towers in strategic, high-demand regions.
“Cell site densification is going to be the driver for our growth on the existing towers, and it will drive acquisitions from cell tower developers as well as the development of new towers by us,” he said. “The last few years have seen growth centered on amendments, and that growth area will continue, as well.”