CEO Dave Wood Introduces Us To Verde Outdoor
Updated: Oct 11
Many of our readers have asked us about a newly formed out-of-home company called Verde Outdoor. They’ve created some buzz in the OOH market with two significant acquisitions in the latter half of 2021. We reached out to Dave Wood, President and CEO at Verde Outdoor, to learn more about Dave and this new venture.
President & CEO at Verde Outdoor Media
Dave, can you share your background and what led you to the OOH industry?
I’m originally from Phoenix, but went down to Tucson for college, where I attended the University of Arizona on a football scholarship. After my college career, I was incredibly fortunate to be drafted by the San Francisco Forty-Niners. My NFL career was short, and I was released and re-signed multiple times. The saying, “Third time’s a charm” rings true because it was that third time that, then Head Coach, Bill Walsh put my childhood dream of being an NFL star to rest. In most cases being told, “We have to let you go” is a very one-way conversation and lasts about 30 seconds. But this time, Coach Walsh asked me to sit down and talk. After the dreaded 30 seconds, he spent 20 or 30 minutes telling me that I could either bounce around the league, or I could pursue a business career because he saw something in me there. It turned out to be great advice. He offered to help me in any way he could, and in fact, wrote a very nice reference letter that I still have to this day.
I had a summer job for a few years working in operations for Eller/Gannett rotating, scraping old sections, building new structures, and doing other odd jobs the regular guys thought I should do as the rookie. My crew and I would often watch the sales team, and we all thought they would hardly work and go to lunch all the time. Years later, after joining the sales team, I would often hear, “The crew is too slow,” or “Why can’t the painters do more?” It’s funny how each side had such different views.
While I continued to pursue a business career, I was introduced to an Arizona alum, Arte Moreno. Arte was just starting Outdoor Systems at the time and graciously offered me a sales position with his team. I had other offers in other industries, some even starting at a higher salary, but those offers didn’t compare to the pull I had towards OOH, and specifically toward Arte and his new team. I accepted on the spot, and it was the best decision I could have made.
So how did Verde Outdoor get started?
Arte Moreno and Ernie Garcia have been good friends for a very long time. I met Ernie through their friendship several years ago and would see him every now and then. Ernie’s success in business is well known, and he continues to pursue and grow new ventures, and OOH was one of his most recent efforts. One of his first ventures in the OOH space was Verde Outdoor Capital, which is a lending company specializing in OOH and capital solutions. They’ve got a great team right now led by Rico Strom, who is a veteran lender in the OOH space. Rico and his team have done incredible things already. Verde Outdoor was then created in 2021 from discussions we had earlier that year.
Ernie Garcia II has been a significant player in the retail auto business. I noticed that you are sharing office space at DriveTime, one of his companies?
As a startup, we have the great fortune to be headquartered at DriveTime with the ability to share tremendous resources including Recruitment, HR, Legal, Finance and many others – so many great people. This puts us at an advantage that a typical startup may not have and is so helpful, likely won’t share forever, but it’s been great for now!
As of today, no web site is up for Verde Outdoor. Will we see a web site from you soon?
We have a meeting on that today. It’s one of our top goals and something we’re actively building out. We didn’t want to come out with a web site at the beginning when we didn’t have much to talk about, but now that our acquisition efforts are continuing to ramp up, we know how important that visibility is. Our team is working hard to grow the brand and the site will continue to evolve as we grow, too.
Dave, Verde Outdoor has quietly, but effectively, made two significant acquisitions. Can you tell us about those purchase?
The first acquisition we made was Renfroe Outdoor, led by Jed Renfroe and his team. A modern plant with outstanding distribution of both static and digital assets offering coverage from Savannah, GA through Charleston, SC. Verde did this as a partnership with Renfroe, with Jed and his team leading the way. One of our key strategies is to not only look at assets, but the people on the team. Verde is new, and we want to grow, and we also need great people in the market with great reputations, and luckily Renfroe exemplifies just that.
Our second acquisition, Avery Outdoor, is based in Sioux City, Iowa, with tremendous coverage of Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska, and southern Minnesota, and is a third generation owned company that had both a billboard and a sign division. Again, a great group of assets and a very experienced management team. In this transaction, the Avery family kept the sign business, and we acquired the entire billboard portfolio. This is invaluable for Verde to retain the bulk of the team, bringing great leadership, market knowledge and talented team members who were 100% working in the billboard plant. Deb Brobst is one of the team members who has over 30 years of experience at Avery, and she has recently been promoted to General Manager.
Will Verde Outdoors’ focus continue to be identifying quality well run assets of size around the US?
We are very intrigued by opportunities that have both outstanding assets and a great team of people running the operation. A solid management team can grow good assets into great assets and a growth company. The team in place often knows more about their specific market than I will ever know. We want to give them the tools and opportunities to grow as we go forward.
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