“Luck is what you have left over after you give 100 percent.” – Langston Coleman
Vertical Bridge Senior Vice President Bob Paige said he has been lucky, and it is easy to see why. He chose to enter telecom finance in 1987, when deregulation and wireless technology were both just starting to affect the industry. He earned his MBA while working full time and helping his wife care for their first child, an experience in multitasking that he said prepared him for helping to start Vertical Bridge.
The Vertical Bridge opportunity came to Paige through a chance encounter with the company’s CEO, Alex Gellman, at a 2014 industry conference. Paige congratulated Gellman on the sale of Global Tower Partners to American Tower. “He looked at me and asked, ‘What are you doing for the next 10 years?’” Paige recalled.
Paige is now starting his eighth year as senior vice president of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) at Vertical Bridge. He said that market values of infrastructure assets have increased 40 percent to 50 percent during that time, adding that he also pays close attention to the increasing value of what Vertical Bridge calls its most important asset: people.
“We definitely like to keep people engaged,” Paige said. “After three years or so, I like to have the discussion about moving up or out. … I don’t want people to get complacent in a role.”
Paige shared details about Vertical Bridge’s corporate culture and his leadership style when he joined Md7 General Counsel Lynn Whitcher on the second installment of AGL Presents: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. As did Whitcher’s first guest, Leticia Latino of Neptuno USA, Paige used a sports analogy to describe his company’s approach to diversity.
“We are a meritocracy, so we’re always looking for best athletes,” said Paige. “I don’t care what you look like or what your sexual orientation is or what your gender is. I’m really focused on getting the best athletes on the field.”
Paige, who often rises at 3 a.m. to go biking, has full days. He said that one thing he does not spend much time thinking about is diversity, which has come naturally to Vertical Bridge. “I think 40-plus percent of our company is not Caucasian,” he said. “I think we’re 20 different countries that people originate from — in fact, on my team alone, I’ve got five countries. … I think you make a lot better decisions by having that kind of diversity around the table.”
Martha DeGrasse is a contributing editor.