History

Personal. From the beginning.

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History

From small town events to global reach. Our rich history is built on personal connections, innovation, and commitment to customer service.

90th Anniversary Celebration

Our Evolving Legacy

“Our 90th anniversary isn’t just about looking back on where we’ve been; it’s about where we’re going, and how, on behalf of our clients, we are transforming our business and the industry as a whole. Our success was built on the relationships we’ve had and continue to have with our clients and partners, and those relationships have built us up, defined us, and given us the license to challenge, define, and innovate our industry. We are tremendously grateful for our clients all over the world – it is because of their steadfast loyalty and trust that we are able to lead such transformative change.”

-Carrie Freeman Parsons, Vice Chair

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The Freeman story

Freeman was founded to bring people together.

It all began with a party. While pledging a national fraternity at the University of Iowa, young Donald S. "Buck" Freeman discovered his passion for party decorating and parades. Buck saw an opportunity to use his enthusiasm for bringing people together to create meaningful experiences.

A true visionary, Buck firmly believed in creating personal relationships in an impersonal world. As Freeman grew from a humble decorating company to servicing trade shows, conferences, and events across the country, Buck’s commitment to building these meaningful customer relationships became infused throughout the organization. Our never-ending drive to meet customers’ ever-changing needs — and to do it better than anyone else — has grown Freeman to one of the world’s largest B-to-B brand experience companies and driven innovation across our industry.

I was never really focused on being the biggest, simply being the best.”

Buck Freeman

Founder of Freeman

Freeman today

Make It Personal

Almost a century after Buck threw his first college party, the customers and venues have changed, technology has evolved, our reach is far greater, and the services we offer far more expansive. Yet even as Freeman continues to grow, our commitment to making meaningful experiences remains the same. From the beginning, we’ve made it personal.

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1927

Donald S. "Buck" Freeman opens the first Freeman Decorating Office in Des Moines, Iowa to service local trade shows, fairs, parties, and events.

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1941

Trade shows and fairs are banned during WWII, so Buck pivots the company to support the war effort. For the next four years, employees paint barracks, hospitals, and camouflage on airports.

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1950

To provide more personalized service for several clients exhibiting at the Texas State Fair, Freeman opens a Dallas office. The Dallas location transforms quickly into company headquarters.

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1961

Freeman takes the first step towards becoming a full-service organization for clients. Freight and rigging become a core service in 1961.

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1966

The company creates a new division to offer a full range of exhibit design, construction, and management services. Aisle carpet and special decorating becomes more popular at trade shows.

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1975

Always at the forefront of emerging technologies, Freeman expands to include cutting-edge equipment and expertise to enhance the sound, visual presentation, and experience of events.

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1980

Freeman introduces an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, inviting employees to become part owners of the company. Today Freeman continues to be one of the world's largest ESOP organizations.

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1981

Freeman has grown into a nationwide organization, with the company's reach now spanning coast to coast in the U.S.

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1988

The company's first Canadian division opens, which is the first of many international offices and expansions to come.

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1995

Freeman develops a high-tech tool for clients and becomes the first industry leader to create an online ordering system for exhibitors.

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1997

The company produces the 200 largest trade shows across the United States and becomes the market share leader.

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2000

As clients request more complex theatrical-level productions to motivate audiences, Freeman establishes a division that specializes in professional exhibit and event rigging.

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2001

Freeman continues to expand its suite of services in Canada and begins offering audio visual services in Canada.

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2002

Staying true to Buck's original vision to leave no client need unmet, Freeman grows its team to include event technicians who offer full-service electrical services.

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2003

To service large clients who have larger-than-life visions for their events, Freeman now offers high-end staging services.

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2007

Freeman expands its service line to include creative and strategic solutions, now partnering with clients to help establish their brand and strategic presence at events.

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2009

The company expands into the hospitality industry by creating audio visual solutions specialized for hoteliers.

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2013

Freeman launches its brand experience agency to help our clients create meaningful digital and face-to-face engagements with their target consumers.

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2013

The company continues its international expansion by opening offices in the United Kingdom.

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2015

Freeman expands into China, Singapore and Australia, becoming the global industry leader with nearly 90 locations worldwide.

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