Scaling Up: Mobilitie Founder Gary Jabara Named Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2012 Real Estate, Construction and Lodging Category Award Winner Jabara honored for creating new business model for the telecommunications industry - combining a traditional real estate investment model with a carrier-centric operating structure
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Nov. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Gary Jabara, Founder, President and CEO of Mobilitie, LLC, has been named the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2012 Real Estate, Construction and Lodging Category Award winner. The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award is the country's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The award encourages entrepreneurial activity and recognizes leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment as they create and build world-class businesses.
Jabara was recognized for bringing together his deep knowledge of the telecommunications infrastructure business and his vision to fundamentally change the way infrastructure was being developed, operated and financed. He was honored at the Entrepreneur Of The Year gala, the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum® in Palm Springs, Calif. The Forum is the nation's premier gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. Awards were given in nine additional categories. All Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners were selected by an independent panel of judges from 244 regional award recipients.
"By combining his vision and desire to do things better with his deep knowledge of the industry, Jabara changed the way the telecommunications business thought about cell towers, creating a new approach that saves money and allows scalability for current and future technologies," said Bryan Pearce, Americas Director, Entrepreneur Of The Year, Ernst & Young LLP.
Gary Jabara: a fresh perspective
After years in a consulting firm's telecommunications infrastructure practice, Jabara decided to strike out on his own. He saw inefficiency in the way infrastructure was being developed, operated and financed, and he knew there was a better way. With an idea to do things better, a desire for both a rewarding career and a more balanced life and the drive to make it all happen, Jabara founded Mobilitie to take a different view of cell towers, or "Towers of Babble" as he calls them. Rather than continue with the industry view that cell towers were simply a means of providing telecommunications service, Jabara realized that cell towers are actually "vertical real estate," much like commercial office buildings, whose usage and performance metrics lend themselves perfectly to a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) business model. By adopting a view that tower space constitutes "rental units" that should collect a fixed price, Jabara created a business model that saves owners money by producing economies of scale, increasing and retaining "tenants" and allowing scalability for current and future technologies. In just six years, he has built Mobilitie from an idea into the fastest-growing owner and lessor of wireless telecommunications infrastructure assets in the United States.
Focus on people and relationships
Rather than call himself an entrepreneur, Jabara calls Mobilitie an "entrepreneurial organization," crediting people and relationships as the differentiators that have made Mobilitie a Cinderella success story. He built Mobilitie on two basic principles: Be transparent with clients and treat employees like family. Jabara personally devotes significant time to developing and mentoring people, and he has branded Mobilitie around its people and culture, rather than infrastructure or technology as competitors do. He's also a champion of work-life balance – having embarked on his entrepreneurial adventure after being personally frustrated by a lack of this. Jabara has even been known to reprimand employees for coming to the office on their birthdays, and he understands that commitment to family comes before the business.
Staying five steps ahead
In April 2012, Mobilitie raised $1.1 billion in capital through a sale of over 2,300 U.S. and Latin America tower and DAS sites to SBA Communications. Jabara will use the proceeds from the sale to pay off debt and re-invest in the company. Current plans for growth include migrating the company from the "nuts and bolts" side of telecommunication infrastructure to the "bit and bytes" side, such as carrier-grade Wi-Fi.
National Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2012 Retail and Consumer Products finalists
In addition to Jabara, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Real Estate, Construction and Lodging national finalists were: Will Gruver, President and CEO, USP&E, based in Celina, Texas, a turnkey energy services company that delivers cost effective and efficient power station solutions to a global customer base in emerging growth markets, specifically West Africa; Len C. Rodman, Chairman, President and CEO, Black & Veatch, based in Overland Park, Kan., who led the company's move from partnership to employee-owned corporation, helping to strengthen the company's balance sheet. Ron Moelis, CEO, L+M Development Partners Inc., based in Larchmont, N.Y., a double bottom line firm, where success is measured not only in financial returns but also by its positive impact, that develops, builds and manages affordable, quality housing for low and middle class income families.
National Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2012 Overall Award winner
Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder of Chobani, was named the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2012 Overall Award winner.
Video and photos
To view video clips of all of the Entrepreneur Of The Year winners, please visit ey.com/us/eoy. Photos of the winners are also available by request.
Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored in the United States by SAP America and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
About Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year
Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 140 cities in 50 countries.
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