Don Allman joined Titan Worldwide in 2002, a year after it was founded by William Apfelbaum, the former head of TDI (now part of CBS Outdoor). At the time, Titan had 12 staffers in New York managing seven billboards and ads on 300 phone booths. Just five years later, the company claims it's the fourth largest OOH company in the U.S., and the fifth largest globally, with 20 offices and 800 employees.
Apparently, Allman and Apfelbaum make a formidable team. Example: Last month, Titan bested CBS Outdoor to win the advertising for the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART), the fifth largest all-rail public transit system in the U.S. CBS had the BART contract since 1998.
When the BART contract kicks in Oct. 1, Titan will have five of the six biggest U.S. transit contracts. "We got such a kick out of building this company," says Allman. "We focused on sales and client relationships, and we began to compete for the transit contracts we had at TDI."
The company's breakthrough came in June 2004 when it won back its first transit contract with New Jersey Transit's bus and rail system. "That was a seminal moment for us, a David and Goliath scenario," Allman remembers. Since then, Titan has picked up 13 U.S. transit contracts.
Aggressive in sales, Titan has also been innovative with new products. While at TDI, Allman and Apfelbaum came up with the concept of wrapping buses and train cars. A more recent innovation is the tactic of "station domination," giving advertisers the ability to dominate a space with signage.
Titan still sees a lot of growth in transit, with plans to add a digital component. "We have averaged compounded 100 percent to 125 percent revenue growth every year. Every contract we've taken over, we've grown by double digits each year," Allman boasts. "We want to make this a billion-dollar sales company, and we're well on our way."