Can you hear me?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 23, 2009

NATCHEZ — Stout and Company is in the business of helping people hear more clearly, hear more clearly on the phone that is.

The Natchez-based company owns, operates and builds communication towers across the United States.

Owner Guy Stout got his start in the communications real estate business with Cellular One, as the manager of real estate for the company, before going into business for himself in 2000.

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“I’ve been directly involved in hundreds of towers across the United States in my tenure,” Stout said. “At the present moment, we are working on a couple of dozen towers in various states.”

Locally, Stout and Company employs five people with dozens of subcontractors spread across the country, Stout said.

“It helps to have a knowledge of zoning and codes in the areas we are working,” he said. “Through experience in the industry, we’ve built up a pretty secure network of (subcontractors) that we know can deliver with the quality and speed the market requires.”

The process of constructing a new communication towers is multi-faceted, Stout said. The process begins with locating a problem area.

“It starts with carrier relations where we receive information on where they need coverage,” Stout said. “Then my company goes outs and does the necessary land acquisition, zoning and permitting to develop a tower site from there.”

Business is based mainly in the gulf states of Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Florida, but does on occasion branch out. Stout said he is currently working on projects in Michigan and Indiana along with more local ones.

But the job isn’t done once the tower goes up. Stout also works in various capacities to service and maintain the tower sites his company develops.

“We will provide various services to support carriers on adjacent structures,” he said. “There are any number of rooftop and special applications that we provide support to carriers for.”

In his early career with Cellular One, Stout located in Natchez because it was central to his region. And when taking on his private venture, Stout decided to stay in Natchez.

“I love the small town simplicity that Natchez has,” he said. “My family is here and we are plugged into the community.”

And with the advances in wireless technology, Stout said its easy to run a business that is spread all over from right at home.

“With today’s virtual office applications, you can pretty much operate anywhere,” he said.

Stout now has a front row seat to the ever-changing world of wireless technology, a world that he said isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

“Wireless has seen a transition from a luxury to a way of life,” he said. “It is an ever evolving industry, and I think the amount of growth it has seen in the last 10 years is equal to the amount of growth we will see in the next 10 years.”