A Personal Message for OAAA and OOH

My Turn

Poet Chaucer made the profound point, “All good things must come to an end.” As I prepare to pass the baton to a new OAAA leader next week, I’d like to share three sentiments.

First, thank you. Second, we share confidence in the future. And third, your trade association is in good hands with new OAAA President & CEO Anna Bager.

Fletcher with Reilly

Thank You

Serving as president & CEO of OAAA has been an extraordinary professional experience. Not a week goes by when I don’t reflect on the outstanding people in this business: OAAA members, clients, suppliers, consultants, supporters, and friends. I am thankful to have spent my career with people I respect and admire.

Through it all, the ups and downs, the OAAA Board of Directors has been a rock, and the OAAA Board chairs during my tenure have been exceptional: Sean Reilly, Bill Reagan, Wally Kelly, Mark Moyer, Paul Meyer, Kevin Gleason, Kevin Reilly Jr, Mike Bowlin, Bill Nassau, and Tom Norton. Each of these leaders belongs in the OAAA Hall of Fame, and most already are.

OAAA Staff

You may notice an astonishing consistency in OAAA staff over the years. I was blessed with extraordinary people at OAAA when I arrived: Marci Werlinich, Ruth Segal, Myron Laible, counsel Eric Rubin, and lobbyist Vern Clark. I was lucky to fill in with talented people who came and stayed: Ken Klein, Stephen Freitas, Kerry Yoakum, Steve Nicklin, and Nicole Randall. Close staffs that have worked together for a long time develop a shorthand that just makes the enterprise run more smoothly. I am grateful to have been surrounded by smart colleagues I trust and whose interest is your interest.

Confidence in the Future

When I arrived at OAAA in 1991, the out of home (OOH) industry was comprised primarily of billboard companies generating $2 billion in annual revenue – and those companies were fighting for their very existence on Capitol Hill. Today the OOH industry has entered a golden era and is poised for unprecedented growth and a strong future. Since 1991, revenues have quadrupled to more than $8 billion annually with expanding formats and audiences, and the industry has entered a time of legislative stability.

OOH has attained 37 consecutive quarters of revenue growth since the recession while all other traditional media has declined. OOH revenue is growing because of your achievements in digital screen deployment, smart data, cutting-edge technology, unrelenting innovation, and unmatched creative impact. The industry has committed to making OOH a more strategic medium by accelerating its transformation. This transformation will pay huge dividends; in fact, I predict that in 10 years the two dominant US media channels will be internet/mobile and OOH.

New Leader, Anna Bager, at OAAA

Anna Bager

I am confident that Anna Bager is the right person at the right time to lead OAAA and the industry into the future. She starts September 16, bringing trade association know-how from the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) and global experience in digital transformation.

I will stay at OAAA through the end of 2019 to help Anna in any way I can. Look for her high-profile role at Advertising Week New York and Digital Signage Week. Look for her to reach out to you and your colleagues. Her first stops – in a heavy travel schedule – include DDI Media in St. Louis, a Mile High and Pacific Outdoor company meeting in Phoenix, and Lamar Advertising Company in Baton Rouge.

As we prepare to welcome our new leader, I think back on a generation of change. When I arrived at OAAA, George H. W. Bush was in the White House, the internet was in its infancy, and the only definition of a “tweet” was “the chirp of a small bird.” When my tenure as chief executive ends next week, I will have worked at OAAA more than 10,000 days (and I will have tweeted more than 15,000 times…. that’s not something I ever expected to say.)

With due respect for Chaucer and the inevitability of change, I know I will miss my time with you, but I leave with a happy heart knowing the OOH industry will thrive in new and unprecedented ways.

I leave saying “thank you” for all that has been – and “yes” to all that is yet to come.

Please continue to reach out with comments, feedback, and questions. Through the end of the year, you can reach me at [email protected] or call OAAA at (202) 833-5566.

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Modified: 2 years