President, Watkins Outdoor Advertising Inc., 3622 E. Sheffield, Springfield. The company offers outdoor advertising in the Springfield area that allows any advertiser to "cherry-pick premiere individual locations with high traffic counts that will work best for them. You no longer have to purchase quantity to get quality," Watkins said. Watkins Outdoor's system allows advertisers to target their individual messages with state-of-the-art, computer-generated, photo-quality flex vinyl that all the company's signs are retrofitted for. "My advertisers can reach the maximum number of their targeted audience at the lowest cost-per-thousand ... So, even the small advertiser can look as large as his competitor and get his message out to his customers and the public in the most efficient way." Watkins started his company in February after running several other outdoor companies across the country. "My company's slogan plays off the real estate adage of 'location, location, location,'" Watkins said. Watkins serves on the board of directors of the Springfield Advertising Association; is a member of the American Advertising Federation; member of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America; and serves on the board of directors of the Developmental Center of the Ozarks.
No. of years in Springfield/area: Six.
Education: Graduate, Marine Corps Officer Training; Graduate of Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville with a degree in public relations and journalism; attended Webster University for post-graduate studies.
Early career: Began his career in outdoor advertising 16 years ago with Martin Outdoor Advertising in St. Joseph. Since then, he has advanced in his career, going to Yuma, Ariz.; Topeka, Kan., Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Kingston, N.Y., before eventually joining Pioneer Outdoor Advertising in 1992. Watkins' most recent post was as assistant general manager with Pioneer, where he controlled more than 1,200 leases and developed $1.2 million per year in billing. Watkins started his own company after six years with Pioneer when Pioneer was sold to a large, publicly held company. "I felt the time was right to pursue my goal of having my own outdoor advertising company," Watkins said.
Current projects: Looking for additional key locations for billboards throughout Springfield while also scheduling for the second phase of construction starting Aug. 10.
Management philosophy: "To be actively involved in the community both professionally and civically, and provide the same courteous and professional service after the sale as before it."
Spare-time pursuits: Spending time with family mostly trying to keep up with his daughter, Kelsey. When time permits, he also enjoys golf, skiing and an occasional book.
Family data: Has been married to Cindy for 16 years; daughter Kelsey is 4. "Both keep me hopping," Watkins said.
The Gochu LLC opened at Nixa food hall 14 Mill Market; HOA Management Specialists changed hands; and Chick-fil-A launched on the north side of Springfield.