Managing Director, Founding Partner
John Stanton is a pioneer of the wireless industry and led four of the top wireless operators in the United States over the last three decades. During the 1980s, John served as Chief Operating Officer and Vice Chairman of McCaw Cellular, which became the largest wireless operator in the US. In the late 1980s, John began acquiring rural wireless properties with partners Mikal Thomsen and Terry Gillespie. These properties, along with other merged entities, formed Western Wireless Corporation, which John led as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer through 2005. He also served as chairman and CEO of VoiceStream Wireless, which was spun out of Western Wireless and eventually acquired by Deutsche Telecom in 2001 and renamed T-Mobile USA. Most recently, John served as a director, Chairman and interim CEO of Clearwire Corporation.
John is Chairman of our sister company, Trilogy International Partners, and co-founder of Trilogy Search Partners. John also serves on the board of directors of Microsoft Corporation and Costco Wholesale and previously served on the board of Columbia Sportswear Co. In addition, John serves as Chairman and Managing Partner of the partnership that owns the Seattle Mariners. He previously served on the boards of Trilogy Equity portfolio companies Immobli, Firethorn, PrePlay and GameChanger Media.
In the last decade, John has chaired or co-chaired the Business Partnership for Early Learning, the United Way of King County campaign, Whitman College, the Washington Roundtable and the Regional Transportation Commission. He currently serves as the Chairman of Year Up of Puget Sound and a board member at the Institute for Health Metrics Evaluation.
John received his BA in political science from Whitman College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. John and his wife Terry Gillespie have two sons.
I think we’ve got a great group of people. You start off with the fact that I think everyone enjoys each other, they like each other. You know I’ve worked with investors where the partners don’t feel that way and I think it affects the culture and it affects the relationship that they have with the companies in which they invest. You can see the effect of that when we get our CEOs together and when we get our CEOs together with our partners. There’s an interaction that’s comfortable, that’s open, that’s candid. I think that’s essential to create success. There are bumps in the road in every company. They’re manifest and if you can’t work together to get past those problems, it becomes a huge issue as the company scales.
So from our point of view, we want to build businesses over time, but we want to build businesses that we’re proud of and that we’re comfortable with.
The secret sauce, if there is one, is that most of our partners have run businesses or large parts of businesses. We bring the perspective of someone who actually has been there, done that and that benefit is we know that it’s not easy. We know that people problems, which is almost always the first issue, aren’t easy. We know that dealing with Board members and investors, including us, is not easy. We know that there are issues with customers, that the customer recognizes that you’re a small business and therefore wants to take advantage of you. We know that you’ve got to find a way to manage that. And we know, because we’ve been there.