Border cameras

The new owners plan to keep all 140 local employees of Marana-based International Towers, which builds and maintains surveillance towers like this one near Nogales. “Everyone’s staying,” says Doug Gratzer, president of the local company.

Marana-based International Towers Inc. is looking to accelerate growth in its communications tower business after being acquired by a Montana company.

S&K Technologies Inc., a company owned by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, announced Thursday that it had acquired International Towers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The new owners plan to keep all of the roughly 140 International Towers local employees and management, said Doug Gratzer, co-founder and president of the local company.

“Everyone’s staying, and we’re all about growth,” said Gratzer, who said he has signed a five-year employment contract with S&K. “This is going to give us the ability to grow a lot more quicker.”

Gratzer said his partner, International Towers vice president Ed Marue, is also being retained by the new owners. The company was formed in a merger of tower companies owned by Gratzer and Marue in 1997.

S&K Technologies CEO Chad Cottet said in a news release that the acquisition of International Towers opens up new opportunities for the company in the cellular and broadband communications, tower and broadcast infrastructure, and security markets.

International Towers already has been on a steep growth curve, benefiting from demand for new wireless communications technology and work for Israel-based Elbit Systems on surveillance tower systems in Southern Arizona along the Mexican border.

Those U.S. Customs and Border Protection programs include the ongoing Integrated Fixed Tower Program and the Remote Video Surveillance System Program, which involves tower-mounted cameras and sensors.

International Towers also recently completed a sustainment program for existing border tower systems and a mobile radio upgrade program for CBP.

Founded in Tucson, International Towers moved into a new headquarters building on West Tangerine Road east of Interstate 10 in 2017.

International Towers will keep its name and operate as a subsidiary of S&K, with plans to enter the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) development program, which assists small businesses whose owners are disadvantaged, S&K said.

S&K operates four businesses under its name, offering aerospace maintenance, engineering services, logistics and aircraft sustainment. It also owns Adelos Inc., a Montana company specializing in fiber-optic sensor systems.

Contact senior reporter David Wichner at dwichner@tucson.com or 573-4181. On Twitter: @dwichner. On Facebook: Facebook.com/DailyStarBiz

Senior reporter covering business and technology for the Arizona Daily Star/Tucson.com