On May 1, 2003, Heath & Company (founded 1948) and Federal Sign (founded 1901) joined forces to create one of the largest and strongest brands ever assembled to serve customers throughout the world. Both organizations were already well known as two of the oldest and most respected industry leaders providing customers superior products, strong maintenance/service capabilities and having the ability to support multi-location needs with “turnkey” solutions effectively and efficiently. This combination proved to be a significant event with two industry leaders coming together while competitors were shrinking.
With all the excitement about our new company there were still many hurdles to overcome, both internal and external. A new executive leadership team was assigned to guide the new company through the critical transformation and integration requirements while establishing a unique vision for a successful future. It was a bit challenging and stressful in the early days as many difficult decisions had to be made. With combining companies we found many overlapping functions, processes and people that had to be addressed and properly aligned with the adoption of best practices. Customers were notified of the exciting news. In some instances, we had common prior business relationships that had been managed by both of the earlier organizations which now had to be rationalized and realigned with the client(s). We had many suppliers and vendors that were impacted and who had worked previously with both organizations and now required adjustments.
The key to our early success hinged on the flexibility and trust of all members of the new company embracing change and believing in the clear and achievable vision to move the company forward. Our people made the transition successful. While striving to fulfill our new company’s vision, selected assets of Zimmerman Sign Company were purchased in October 2005, bringing the capacity to provide thermoformed sign face products, a capability that wasn’t present in either Federal Sign or Heath previously. This had a significant impact within our industry and has proven to have been a solid business decision and firm step forward for us. Similarly, in October 2006, we purchased assets of Sign Strut Milwaukee bringing additional product technology to support our Petroleum market, in particular, with the addition of fascia, canopy and various pump elements into our array of product offerings. Then, in March of 2015, Federal Heath acquired selected assets of DuraColor, a high-end digital print company, bringing yet another product offering not provided by the company previously.
Together, we’ve done a great job in establishing our leadership in the visual communications industry. Each of us should be extremely proud of our past and very excited for the future we have together. I anticipate additional company acquisitions and increased product/service offerings as we move forward. We have thrived and grown by four times the initial size of our company in 2003. And now, we look forward to more anniversaries and continuing success as we continue to get better together.
Chief Operating Officer