John Gatesman

CEO, Founder

Client Warrior. Servant Leader. Business Builder. Proud Dad. Raging Optimist.

Under John’s leadership and direction, Gatesman has grown to be one of the most successful independent agencies in the Northeast, having been named one of the nation’s fastest-growing companies for nine years running, along with recognition as one of the top 100 independent agencies nationwide and as one of the Best Places to Work for eight years in a row.

He identified and led the successful acquisitions of digital firm Quest Fore in 2014 and Noble Communications in 2017, which expanded agency operations into Chicago and the Midwest. His passion, devotion to our clients, and relentless pursuit of their success continues to be the driving force behind our agency’s mantra, “Good enough sucks.”

Early on, he realized the role that data and technology must play in marcom development and reengineered the agency model to maximize their role in its development. The agency’s Hacking Human Behavior™ approach is at the forefront of marcom planning today.

John’s leadership has guided and cultivated teams across a diverse array of notable brands such as UPMC, Northwell Health, Coen Children’s, Del Monte, UNIFI-Shop ‘n Save, Cub Cadet, PNC Bank, PPG, Swedish Match, Pittsburgh Penguins, Milton Bradley, Disney, USG, Pace Transit and CFA Institute. He began his career with Ross Roy Group after being selected as one of only six people nationally for its Executive Management Training Program. He then moved onto management positions with Ogilvy, Doner, and Ketchum before joining BNY Mellon as senior marketing director and Brunner as VP of Client Services before founding the agency in 2006.

John has been active across numerous organizations including serving as president of the Pittsburgh Ad Federation and as a board member of the American Red Cross and Variety Children’s Charity. He has been cited in numerous publications, including Adweek, Ad Age, Chicago Business Journal, Pittsburgh Business Times, Profile, and Mergers & Acquisitions. Most recently John spoke at the 4A’s annual conference regarding agency models of the future and how Gatesman has transformed to meet today’s complex challenges being faced by clients. He currently serves on the service committee of the Pittsburgh Rotary Club, and the board of directors with AMIN Worldwide.  

John continues to help shape the evolution and direction of the agency to ensure our clients remain competitive and at the forefront of marketing as it is redefined in the ever-changing dynamics of the marketplace.