1948 - 1988
  • James F. Derse founded The Derse Company in the back of his mother’s garage in 1948.
  • Over the next 40 years, product lines grew to include outdoor advertising, interior and exterior signage and trade show exhibits.
  • The company grew from one person to approximately 110 employees working in three locations – Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Racine, Wisconsin; and Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • The Derse Company was sold to a group of senior Derse officers and managers.
  • The company produced approximately $11 million in sales.
  • The company averaged 33% growth in each of the next seven years.
  • A full-service division was established in Las Vegas and a sales office was opened in downtown Chicago.
  • A full-service division was established in Dallas and a sales office was opened in Phoenix.
  • The interior and exterior sign businesses were sold to focus on Derse’s core business – trade show exhibit marketing.
  • A full-service Atlanta location was established.
  • To meet growing customer demographics and needs, Derse moved its full-service Racine operation to Chicago.
  • Derse acquired some of the assets of Design South (an Atlanta-based exhibit company) and Cosmos (a system rental operation).
  • A system rental division was established in Atlanta.
  • A system rental depot was opened in the Las Vegas facility to meet customer demand.
  • A full-service division was opened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  • An in-house Experiential Marketing team was established and Derse expanded its service offerings to include experiential program development and the execution of measurable, results-oriented face-to-face marketing.
  • An in-house Measurement & Research team was established to assist clients in analyzing and improving their face-to-face marketing results.
  • Derse opens a Minneapolis-based sales, design and warehousing facility.
  • Derse opens LEED Silver certified new national headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
  • New sales offices are opened in Los Angeles, New Jersey, and San Diego.

Today, Derse is a face-to-face marketing company with an experiential approach to immersing audiences — generating excitement, learning, building brand awareness, and buying interest for its clients' target audiences. Derse employs over 400 people in full-service divisions in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh.