Phil Whisenhunt

Owner and President

Communication Management Specialists

Little Rock

Phil Whisenhunt

When torn ligaments and tendons in his hip sidelined Phil Whisenhunt as a football player at the University of Arkansas, he dug ditches for a year and a half.

Then, in 1984, he graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in civil engineering and worked for AFCO Steel and then Vratsinas Construction. In 1992 Alltel Mobile hired him to “accelerate the build-out of wireless networks.”

He struck out on his own in 1995, betting that the Communications Decency Act of 1996 would spur growth in the communications industry and develop an outsourcing trend.

“I’ve pretty much done this totally on my own experience,” Whisenhunt said of Communication Management Specialists, which he has shepherded into one of Arkansas’ fastest growing companies with 2000 revenue expected to hit $60 million.

This year CMS will build 500 to 600 wireless sites in Arkansas and 26 other states. “We also build the switch facilities — everything it takes to get the job done,” he said.

CMS plans to patent a system to strengthen monopoles to support up to five wireless carriers.

Whisenhunt turned 40 on Aug. 18, barely squeaking by the Aug. 1 deadline to qualify for Arkansas Business’ 40 under 40.