James F. Derse founded The Derse Company as it was named then in 1948. He began the business in the garage of his mother's home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Over the next sixty-one years the company's product lines grew to include: outdoor advertising, interior and exterior signs, specific information signs, tradeshow exhibits, and face to face marketing. From that humble beginning, the Company has grown from one person to over 350 employees working in 7 locations.
Derse-WHBS has been the sole contractor for Wisconsin's Specific Information Sign Program since the program's inception in 1986. Derse-WHBS is an active member of the Motorist Information & Service Association (MISA). A group made up of state and federal DOT officials, Canadian officials, program contractors and officials from the various state tourism departments who work to enhance and standardize specific information sign programs throughout the country and Canada.
The SIS Program is offered through Derse-WHBS on behalf of the State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation . As the State contractor for this program, Derse-WHBS is responsible for marketing, selling, installation, maintenance and operations.