Upcoming events

Donation goal

To track your fundraising efforts, you can add a donation goal to a page on your site. The donation goal gadget displays a progress bar that measures progress towards your financial goal.
Goal: $100.00
Collected: $0.00

Follow Us

Log in

HPPA Industry News

  • 2 Aug 2022 9:45 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    ShopWorks, a promotional products business software, has added shopping cart integration to their OnSite system’s offerings via their API (application programming interface) integration with SAGE, a leading provider of product research and business management solutions to the promotional products industry.

    ShopWorks already allows OnSite customers to source over 1 million promotional products from over 4,300 suppliers through their integration with SAGE. ShopWorks users can paste SAGE product IDs into their OnSite system, and all product details, pricing, and vendor information are transferred with no duplicate data entry.

    Now, ShopWorks customers can seamlessly import their shopping cart transactions from their SAGE Website or SAGE Company Stores into their OnSite software, where the order process will be completed. This new integration saves ShopWorks’s customers valuable time and eliminates potential mistakes from rekeying orders.

    “We are excited to expand our integration with ShopWorks to help alleviate some pain points for their customers,” said Jarod Thorndike, Vice President of Business Development. “We continuously strive to improve our relationships and build on the comprehensive services we can offer our integrated partners.”

    ShopWorks’s OnSite customers will need an active ManageOrders subscription to import transactions from their SAGE shopping carts. They can request their URL details from support@shopworx.com.

    For more information on SAGE, ShopWorks’s users can learn more at www.sageworld.com.

  • 2 Aug 2022 9:26 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Alan Peterson is stepping up into a new role at PPAI and taking on greater responsibilities. Peterson, who joined the Association in 2016 as its vice president of business development, will now serve as senior vice president, with expanded oversight of PPAI’s operations and programs.

    Peterson joined PPAI with an extensive background in business development and strategic management, trade shows and business-to-business media. During his career, he has held senior leadership roles at several prominent exhibition management and trade publication firms, with a direct hand in the success of numerous shows and publications serving a wide range of industries.

    As the Association’s vice president of business development, Peterson oversaw the business development, sales and marketing efforts of PPAI. In his new role as senior vice president, his responsibilities grow to include a larger share of the organization’s initiatives to help achieve member and association success.

    “My responsibilities will change significantly,” Peterson says. “I will be responsible for a number of new departments and will evaluate how we add key talent and find creative ways to reset expectations.”

    Looking ahead to the challenges and opportunities of his new role at the Association, Peterson says, “In response to COVID and all of the unfortunate aspects of the pandemic, PPAI and promotional products businesses have had to completely revamp how things are done. While I am sure I am not alone in preferring that the pandemic had never happened, the silver lining is that it allows us to create new products, elevate our colleagues and explore creative ways to serve our members.”

    But up first will be a fresh assessment of where PPAI stands. Peterson says, “My immediate goals are to dig deep on what are our key offerings, benefits and access to market that will provide our members with a trusted association focused on growing the market, industry and their businesses.”

    Now more than six years into his tenure in the promotional products industry, Peterson reflects on what he’s discovered about the field and the professionals within it, particularly over the last few tumultuous years.

    “It has been interesting learning more about the promotional products industry and how the engaged professionals, both at PPAI and in the industry, adapt,” Peterson says. “It amazed me how quickly both PPAI and companies changed the way they go to market and how they created products that were a small part of the spend within the industry—things like masks, Zoom, packaging, working from home, etc.—quickly became part of how business was conducted. Suppliers who never sold masks had them in their inventory within weeks to keep their people working and selling the product that distributors needed.”

  • 2 Aug 2022 6:11 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    The largest distributorship in the promotional products industry is not resting on its laurels. On Monday, Sterling, Illinois-headquartered HALO (PPAI 106462, D15) announced three key talent acquisitions aimed at strengthening the company for the future.

    Hemant Kumar will take on the role of executive vice president, chief financial officer. Amit Gaur will be the company’s senior vice president, chief information officer. And Rose Arendarczyk joins the organization as senior vice president of business transformation.

    The Additions:

    Each of the hires is meant to grow the company’s technological strength. HALO CEO Marc Simon said the moves “will enhance our cultural emphasis on ingenuity and innovation.”

    • Kumar will report directly to Simon. He has worked across a variety of industries and in organizations around the world, most recently serving as CFO of Sol-Millennium Medical, a high-growth global healthcare company. Previously, he held senior finance leadership roles for Baxter, American Express and Delphi Automotive Systems.

    • Gaur will report to Kevin Pollack, HALO chief operating officer. He brings more than 20 years of technology, e-commerce, and omni-channel retail experience. He previously served as chief information officer for On-Campus Marketing and has held senior level technology roles at Cherrydale and Fanatics.

    • Also reporting to Pollack is Arendarczyk, whose role will have her overseeing a new function at the company with an emphasis on enterprise project management, business technology and organizational change management. HALO calls her a veteran leader in business transformation, who most recently was vice president of the enterprise project management office at Trustmark Companies.


    • As of the spring, HALO was estimated to produce roughly $850 million in revenue for 2022, but an announcement from 4Imprint suggested that the digitally focused Wisconsin-based competitor could push for the spot of largest distributorship, potentially reaching $1 billion in revenue this year.

    • In May, HALO made a key strategic acquisition to strengthen its presence as a preferred partner within the technology market, absorbing San Jose, California-based BrandVia.

    • HALO underwent a reshuffling of its executive management team in April, when it announced three other moves. Former PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone was named senior vice president of customer experience; sitting PPAI Board Chair Dawn Olds, MAS, was named senior vice president of industry relations and DEI; and Cathie Hernandez came onboard as senior vice president of drop ship operations.

    What They’re Saying:

    In a press release, Simon called the additions of Kumar, Gaur and Arendarczyk a result of HALO’s financial growth.

    “Our growth has allowed us to both attract and invest in additional experienced leadership,” Simon says. “We are thrilled at the immediate and longer term impacts they will provide to the growing services we provide to our clients.”

  • 2 Aug 2022 5:31 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Polyconcept North America (PCNA) is excited to announce a partnership with Hydro Flask, an award-winning leader in high-performance, insulated stainless steel drinkware and soft good innovations. With the addition of Hydro Flask, PCNA strengthens its industry-leading lineup of over 50 retail brands, just as distributors are gearing up for year-end gift season.

    “This is a brand our distributors have been looking for, and we couldn’t be happier to have it for them,” says Liz Haesler, PCNA Chief Merchandising Officer. “We’re committed to offering distributors the best, most diverse assortment of leading retail brands, so Hydro Flask is a perfect fit.”

    Founded in 2009 in Bend, Oregon, Hydro Flask inspires active outdoor lifestyles with two simple words: Let’s Go! From being a top seller of water bottles in sporting goods and outdoor (according to third-party data) to soft good innovations, Hydro Flask’s delightfully simple designs and go-anywhere durability deliver the perfect temperature when you need it. With its bold, bright colors and high-performing products, Hydro Flask has put more than 50 million reusable water bottles into the hands of consumers to foster a connection to the outdoors through the joyful, healthy, and environmentally conscious lifestyle it represents.

    “Partnering with PCNA is a no-brainer,” says Michelle Bertocchi, Hydro Flask Sales Manager, Customization. “As one of the world’s top-selling brands of reusable water bottles, we wanted to partner with one of the world’s top promotional products suppliers. We trust that PCNA will offer an unmatched ability to customize our products and quickly deliver orders to distributors and their customers.”

    PCNA is bringing five of the most popular Hydro Flask styles to the promotional products market: three bottles, a coffee mug, and a tumbler. Inventory will arrive in mid-September, but distributors can see the new products and find information about preordering now on PCNA.com.

    Haesler adds that Hydro Flask gives distributors an opportunity to capitalize on several key gift trends in the promotional products space: retail brands, premium quality, insulated drinkware, and products for the outdoors.

    “The trend in corporate gift-giving has clearly shifted toward well-made, premium-quality products, even at slightly higher price points,” Haesler says. “Choosing these types of gifts – gifts people would buy for themselves – creates a real connection that’s well worth it.”

    Hydro Flask will also be part of ProudPath™, the PCNA platform that helps distributors meet their customers’ environmental and social responsibility objectives. Along with reducing single-use plastic water bottles through its #RefillForGood platform, the Hydro Flask giving program, Parks For All, supports nonprofit organizations focused on building, maintaining, restoring, and investing in public green spaces so people everywhere can live healthier, happier, and more fulfilled lives.

    “We’ve made a commitment to only partner with retail brands that share our commitment to environmental and social responsibility,” Haesler says. “This is just one more way that Hydro Flask is a perfect fit, and we couldn’t be prouder to partner with them.”

  • 28 Jul 2022 11:56 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    After 14 illustrious years, PPAI Executive Vice President Bob McLean, CPA, CAE, CEM, is stepping down from his role at the Association and embarking on a new chapter as a consultant. He will continue working with PPAI in that capacity through 2022 while also collaborating with clients in a wide range of business management areas.

    “Fourteen years ago, I didn’t even know there was a promotional products industry,” McLean says. “Today, I have grown to love and respect the industry and the hardworking and creative professionals in it.”

    Looking back at almost a decade and a half in the promo industry, several significant accomplishments dot McLean’s tenure with the Association. PPAI’s “Power of Two” agreement with SAGE—an industry service provider of information, marketing, and business management solutions and PPAI technology partner—stands among the most visible, long lasting and successful.

    “As the primary contact between SAGE and PPAI, I am proud to say that our relationship with SAGE continues to remain strong,” McLean says. “The Power of Two agreement with SAGE allowed us to more than double our membership and increase revenue significantly. More importantly, it has given PPAI a stronger foundation on which to build its other initiatives. For example, our voice in Congress is louder by virtue of representing many more members, and our outreach to buyers is broader, allowing our Promotional Products Work campaign to be more effective.”

    McLean also played an instrumental role in shaping the structure of PPAI. He established the Association’s business development department when he became executive vice president. McLean says, “Prior to that move, our sales efforts were very disjointed. Consolidating all those points of contact allowed us to provide a more consultative sales approach with our members, improving their access to the market and also improving our bottom-line.”

    More recently, McLean’s leadership was a major factor in PPAI’s navigation of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on industry and Association.

    “When COVID hit, we had to make tough choices,” McLean says. “But we continued focusing on what our members and the industry needed. Our staff was amazing in identifying how to help our members, whether it was providing education about what was happening with COVID and the impact on our industry, developing a virtual Direct-2-You platform to take the place of Expo, or to just being there to answer our members’ questions. In the middle of this, Paul Bellantone, our CEO and president and my mentor, decided to move on, and I was given the opportunity to lead PPAI as interim president for a short while.

    “I could not have been prouder of the way our staff stepped up and supported the Association and industry during that challenging time.”

    While stepping down, McLean will continue to be a fixture at PPAI and in the promotional products industry through at least the end of the year in his role as a consultant for the Association. He is also joining Axiom Plus, LLC, a woman-owned consulting firm started by his wife, Sandra Cepeda McLean, MBA, SPHR. McLean says, “She is certified as a Senior Professional Human Resource and is working with small to medium size businesses providing HR and organization development services. I hope to be able to help diversify the company’s revenue stream.”

    McLean started his career in accounting as a CPA and then received his MBA in finance while working full time. Looking ahead, he will focus his consulting work on clients’ accounting, financial planning, strategic planning, business valuations and mergers and acquisitions needs. He will also continue working in association management.

    “I love working with PPAI’s board and volunteers,” McLean says. “I have realized that one of the best traits of working in a not-for-profit association is the volunteer leaders who have dedicated their treasures and their talents to their industry. I would love to continue working in that environment.”

    McLean’s background also sets him up as a valuable contributor in the promotional products industry. He says, “I love the people in this industry, and I would miss not being a part of it. After spending 14 years in the industry, I think that I bring some insights, connections and skills that would make me a valuable resource.”

    McLean has been a cheerful, positive presence at PPAI headquarters since he joined the Association, who seemed to always have time to stop for a “hello” and check-in as he moved through the building. He is also a regular and welcome participant in PPAI’s various staff activities, including the annual chili cook-off, where he led a valiant but doomed effort to bring the Texas-based staff around to Cincinnati chili. “I have grown to accept that I will never win a chili contest with chili made with cinnamon and dark chocolate and served over spaghetti. I am in the wrong state for that to happen.”

    An accomplished professional volunteer in his own right, McLean has carried the Association and the promo industry’s perspectives to several professional organizations, oftentimes in leadership roles. Most recently, McLean was named the 2020 & 2021 board chair of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, the world’s largest association serving the exhibitions and events industry, with a membership of show organizers, exhibitors and exhibition suppliers. He was also the 2019 chair of the Center of Exhibition Industry Research, among other achievements.

    His time at PPAI also included several stand-out moments for McLean, among them his first PPAI Expo in 2009.

    “Walking on the show floor for the first time, I realized what a credible and viable industry I had joined,” McLean says. “I was impressed with the variety of products and decorating methods available.”

    McLean is also taking with him what he learned about the character of the promo industry. He says, “Never have I worked in an industry where the members were so supportive of each other, so compassionate, so caring.”

  • 25 Jul 2022 11:17 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    SAGE, the leading provider of information, marketing, and business management solutions to the promotional products industry, announces the release of SAGE Mobile 11.1. The app, available for iOS and Android devices, allows industry distributors easy access to all their critical research and business management operations while on the go.

    This update introduces several new features and enhancements to product research, project management, file center, and SAGE Chat. SAGE Mobile 11.1 users will see more fields and filters to align with the recently updated capabilities of SAGE Online™ and SAGE Web™, enabling Total Access customers to manage their business across platforms from anywhere, effortlessly.

    "We know our industry is always on the go. Because of that, we are committed to providing our customers a seamless experience whether they are using SAGE Online, SAGE Web, or SAGE Mobile to give them the flexibility they need to run their businesses in the most efficient and effective way that works for them," said SAGE President David Natinsky, MAS.

    Some of the new features in the SAGE Mobile 11.1 updates include:

    Product Research

    • Addition of new search fields, including EQP, Social Good, and Compliance
    • The product detail screen now includes all additional charge information Now includes a new shipping section with an icon linking to the shipping charge estimator

    Project Management

    • New filter option in Project Management to filter by Project Owner
    • More filter options in the activities section, including filtering by workflow steps or notes
    • Also, in the activities section, new actions have been added, including copy to clipboard, edit, toggle client visibility, or delete

    File Center

    • Added functionality to be able to rename, copy, move, see properties, and delete files

    SAGE Chat

    • Now able to search entire chat threads by word
    • Able to save a draft of chats per person
    • New action to email, copy or save today's transcript

    SAGE Mobile 11.1 is available now. Current SAGE Total Access subscribers can download SAGE Mobile free from the Apple App Store, Google Play, or the Amazon App Store. The update will download automatically for users who have their app updates turned on.

  • 22 Jul 2022 10:24 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    PPAI is pleased to announce the promotion of Ellen Tucker, CAE, to Vice President of Revenue and Expositions.

    In her role, Tucker will be working across all departments to ensure the Association’s revenue goals are met and opportunities to generate revenue to fund the Association’s efforts for the industry are identified and optimized. Tucker will directly lead PPAI’s Business Development department, responsible for supplier membership and non-dues revenue, as well as the Expositions department, responsible for PPAI’s in-person and virtual tradeshows including the industry’s leading tradeshow, The PPAI Expo. In this comprehensive leadership role, Tucker will also take an active role in PPAI’s overall membership strategy as well as driving forward the mission and vision of the Association.

    “I’m so fortunate to work for such an amazing organization,” says Tucker. “People from my team make the tough days easier, and the best days better.” She continues, “No matter where you work, it’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, but I enjoy stepping back and realizing that my team and I have a real impact on growing the businesses of our membership, and that is so rewarding.”

    Tucker’s impact has been significant at PPAI, including consistently driving non-dues revenue increases and market-share growth. In 2020, when Covid-19 impacted the industry significantly, she was able to make strategic decisions that benefitted members, including collaborating with other departments to facilitate a virtual tradeshow, PPAI Expo Direct-2-You in 2021. The show engaged over 14,000 industry professionals and was 84% more profitable than an average virtual event. Most recently, she helped move the industry forward with the return of The PPAI Expo in January 2022.

    “Ellen has shown tremendous leadership skills in more than eight years with PPAI,” says Dale Denham, PPAI President and CEO, “In addition, she has been critical to our ability to nimbly navigate the challenging times we faced as an organization.” He continues, “I’m gratified we are able to recognize her contributions with this promotion as well as give her opportunity to create an even bigger impact.”

    Tucker graduated from Austin College in Sherman, Texas with a bachelor’s degree in business. Her previous experience includes key roles at Mohanna Sales Reps, an organization focused upon generating non-dues revenue for trade associations. She enjoys travel, exploring cultures both domestic and abroad, and sports, namely soccer and the Green Bay Packers. If she had to choose a promotional product personality, it is the multi-tool, so she’d always have the right tool at the right time.

  • 22 Jul 2022 8:48 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Supplier Arch Promo Group, LLC, headquartered in Roxana, Illinois, has announced the acquisition of Hudson Valley Umbrella Company, which does business in the promotional products marketplace as Stromberg Brand.

    • Stromberg Brand was founded in 1942 and specializes in umbrellas made by hand. Its production facility is located in Valley Cottage, New York.
    • Helen Stromberg, the former owner of Stromberg Brand, will continue to lead the umbrella supplier as general manager.
    • The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

    The acquisition is the most recent example of Arch Promo Group’s growing family of suppliers in the promotional products industry. Earlier this year, the company purchased print product specialist Drum-Line.

    In recent years, Arch Promo Group has grown by bringing in Gemini IndustriesTK Cups-Sorg’sProRose and F&H Ribbon.

    • “For 80 years, Stromberg Brand umbrellas has been known for producing the highest quality, helping to build their customers’ brands throughout North America and beyond,” says Arch Promo Group’s National General Manager Steve Ehlert. “Stromberg Brand umbrellas will continue to print and supply its products out of New York, and we will invest in making our combined company stronger and offering a broader product line.”

    • “I am very pleased to partner with Arch Promo Group,” Stromberg says. “Arch shares our commitment to delivering outstanding products at a great price. Our customers will benefit from a larger partner with a wider product range, and our employees will continue to enjoy working for a growing leader in the industry.”
  • 22 Jul 2022 8:47 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    While negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) employer group and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) remain under a media black-out, reports coming out of the discussions on the West Coast longshore labor contract suggest that the two parties are likely to reach a deal in the August-September time frame.

    The labor negotiations between the PMA and ILWU represent more than 22,000 dock workers and 29 West Coast ports from California to Washington—accounting for approximately 40% of U.S. imports. The talks began in May ahead of the existing agreement’s July 1 expiration. While that date has since passed, work at the docks have continued with little disruption.

    The negotiations between the PMA and ILWU cover hours, wages and working conditions, among other issues.

    • Automation is reportedly one of the remaining sticking points in the talks. The PMA is unwilling to cede ground won in 2008 negotiations on port automation—such as autonomous vehicles and cranes for moving and stacking containers—and in May released a report emphasizing its efficiency. Long a hot-button issue—only a handful of terminals have implemented any sort of automated process—the ILWU points to automation as a job killer and that reports of increased container through-put hide losses elsewhere.
    • Unresolved local grievances are also expected to be a factor in the discussion. For example, an outstanding dispute over promised ILWU jurisdiction over maintenance and repair work at Terminal 5 at the Port of Seattle.
    • Opening a door to a potential solution to disputes, record profits the container lines enjoyed in 2021 and this year could support significant increases in dockworker wages and benefits.

    Despite the sticking points in the negotiations, The Journal of Commerce reports that most stakeholders are optimistic that the PMA and ILWU will reach an agreement within the next few months.

    Prior to the expiration of the existing contract, the two sides issued a joint statement noting, “While there will be no contract extension, cargo will keep moving, and normal operations will continue at the ports until an agreement can be reached between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union.”

    And cargo continues to flow through the ports in record volumes. The Port of Los Angeles reports that in the month of June, 876,611 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) moved through the facility, the largest volume of cargo moved through port in any month of June in its 115-year history. Year-to-date, 5.4 million TEUs have flowed through the port so far in 2022.

    Further supporting optimism over the negotiations is the active involvement of the Biden Administration. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and White House Port Envoy Stephen R. Lyons are both engaged in the talks, speaking regularly with labor and management.

  • 18 Jul 2022 8:33 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    SAGE, the promotional products industry's leading business services provider, announced registration is now open for all verified promotional product distributors to attend Promo Live, a brand-new interactive online event from August 30-31st , 2022.

    Promo Live will be held on the SAGE Digital Events platform, an exclusive digital experience for users to interact one-on-one with other distributors, suppliers, and presenters.

    During this new event, attendees will hear from supplier partners on the main stage as they share new products, creative ways to sell their products, and highlight their best sellers for the upcoming holiday season. Plus, attendees will learn about the latest in product trends and much more during the roundtable sessions with distributors and suppliers.

    Promo Live includes an interactive main stage with learning sessions, consultations with SAGE experts, on-demand sessions, product pavilions, and supplier rooms with live demonstrations and Q&A with top industry suppliers.

    During the live discussions, distributors can contribute and interact with the presenters and fellow attendees to brainstorm ideas, ask questions, and more. Distributors will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with suppliers via chat or video conferencing throughout the event.

    "We are thrilled for this new opportunity to help distributors learn, collaborate and connect at our new digital event, Promo Live," said David Natinsky, MAS, President of SAGE. "We look 2 forward to offering this experience for distributors with exclusive content from our experts here at SAGE and top industry leaders nationwide."

    Registration is free for all verified promotional product distributors. For more information on SAGE, please visit https://www.sageworld.com/promolive/

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software