The Gateway story begins in 1937 when its first billboards were constructed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Gateway grew over the next 50 years and by 1990, the company operated billboard plants in four states. That was also the year Gateway was acquired by Craig P. Heard. Since the acquisition, Gateway has expanded into 20 states with over 3,500 billboards and many transit properties, having the exclusive rights to place ad's on buses, benches, rail systems, bus shelters, and convenience store advertising in the U.S. markets and Canada.
Craig Heard 's strategy has been to continue the growth of Gateway through acquisitions, and aggressive expansion into transit and c-store advertising. The expansion coupled with aggressive sales efforts has diversified the advertiser base beyond the traditional users of outdoor. Gateway is bringing both national and local clients who had never before considered Out-of-Home in their media plans. This effort is also evident in the explosive sales growth of new transit properties versus the prior operators' sales performance.
Gateway's strategic plan has always looked to the team philosophy for success, with every employee a key member of the team. Each member of the Gateway family has a vested and personal interest in Gateway's success. Servicing our clients is not just a job, it's our corporate mission.
The Gateway partnership approach spills over into the market-place forging strong working relationships with advertisers, transit authorities, and the communities in which we do business. These partnerships are an important factor in our success and the success of our client's advertising programs. Working closely with the client enables Gateway to understand their goals and creates a synergy that makes those goals attainable.
As an industry, Out-of-Home represented approximately over $8.0 billion of total advertising expenditures in the United States in 2018. Gateway's future continues to be in the billboard, transit, bench and convenience store segments of outdoor advertising. Out of Home advertising experienced growth of 1.8% in 2017 and industry experts projected strong growth as the economy rebounds in 2019 and over the next 10 years.
With new categories recognizing outdoors' potential, and existing advertisers increasing their outdoor budgets, Out-of-Home spending promises to remain on the rise.
Craig P. Heard, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gateway has over 30 years experience in management, sales, and marketing.
He holds a BS and MBA in finance from Farleigh Dickinson University . He is a recipient of numerous public service awards and has been nominated for Inc. Magazine's Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Heard has managed over 250 transit advertising franchises throughout the United States . As CFO and President of the Winston Network (TDI/now Outfront Media), the largest transit advertising company in the United States , he grew the company from gross revenues of $40 million into a $120 million leader in the Out-of-Home industry. Heard left TDI/Winston in 1989 and pursued the acquisition of Gateway Outdoor Advertising, founded in 1937, which he completed in June, 1990. Gateway, as Gateway was originally, is now a Heard family owned business and proud of our Gateway family of employees. Many of our Gateway team members have been with Heard and Gateway for over 30 years.
Formula For Success
Experience alone does not breed success. What makes Gateway unique is that we've combined our experience with a corporate flexibility that brings every Gateway employee into the sales process. Each employee has the opportunity to succeed and the support to make it happen. They're encouraged to stretch their abilities with an entrepreneurial approach to problem-solving and to selling new clients. Understanding the client's needs, listening to their marketing problems, proposing solutions that work and backing them up with the Gateway team are all part of our commitment to our clients' success.
Flexibility is a concept we take seriously at Gateway. We go to great lengths to fill our clients' needs. "Can't do that" is not in our corporate vocabulary. Whether its unusual posting dates, new forms of outdoor, last minute changes or a new advertiser's different approach, we will not try to make your campaign fit our mold; rather, we'll change that mold to fit your campaign.
Service the client beyond their own expectations has always been the cornerstone of our philosophy. Gateway's respect for our clients is reflected in our commitment to the partnership we build with them. Once awarded a contract from an advertiser, the Gateway team immediately begins to prove that commitment. For example, we'll suggest the best locations for your target audience, provide proofs of performance, an invoice and sample photos recording your ad upon installation or copy change. And of course, post your ad on time.
This approach to the client's needs and sensitivity to their objectives has helped develop a loyal advertiser base . To that end, Gateway has been successful by increasing new local and regional advertisers while expanding its national diversification. Presently, corporate revenues are 60% local and regional advertisers, and 40% is national business.
We also have a commitment to the communities where Gateway and our clients are doing business. We have orchestrated campaigns to support local retailers, asking residents to "buy locally" to local Community programs, like sending 80 foster family children to the Circus in Westchester County.
This formula breeds success. Over 95% of our customers have renewed business with us in the past three years. Many new national and local advertisers have found in Gateway an advertising partner to expand their markets and move their products off the shelf and into the hands of new customers. Our transit authorities see the benefits of Gateway as a partner with significant increases in revenues over previous operators. The communities in which we do business are beneficiaries of our partnership as we reach into the heart of the neighborhoods and bring the good message home.
HFT Management Inc