Van Thompson, a cell tower development pioneer, passed away quietly at his home in Annapolis, Maryland on January 5. He was 66.
Originally from Atlanta, Texas, Thompson was known as a founding force in managing, developing and implementing wireless infrastructure in the mid-Atlantic region.
A self-made man, Thompson started a career in 1981 as a purchasing agent for fiberoptics in Texas and then moved to the Chicago area in 1991 with B&E Associates, securing real estate for Cellular One tower sites. The following year he moved to the Washington/Baltimore Market for an 18-month project and stayed for 30 years.
By 1997 through mergers, acquisitions and hard work, Thompson became American Tower’s mid-Atlantic Area general manager. In this position, he managed and led the development of hundreds of tower development projects for what would become one of the leading tower companies in the world.
After leaving American Tower, Thompson continued his tower development journey by opening TARA Communications. He also started and sold Invisible Towers and HTS Towers with business partners, which led him to semi-retirement.
Remembered as an inspiration, friend and mentor to many infrastructure experts in the wireless industry, Thompson was known for his generous, humble personality, his strength of character, his faith and his ability to motivate others.
He is survived by Nancy, his wife of 46 years; two children, Amy Marshal and TR Thompson; son-in-law Tim Marshal and daughter-in-law Nicole Thompson; and seven Grandchildren.