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HPPA Industry News

  • 22 Jan 2023 7:06 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Kate Nash, director of sales and marketing at supplier Raining Rose, has joined the PromoCares board.

    • Kate will help the board with its mission to inspire, educate and provide actionable strategies to encourage social and environmental responsibility in the promotional products industry and our communities.
    • “In a world where change occasionally seems impossible, and the headwinds keep mounting up, PromoCares has consistently worked to educate and act,” Nash says. “This organization embodies the traits that I love so much in our industry – creativity, movement, progress, and impact. I’m so excited to join the PromoCares board and work alongside leaders I admire, on projects that are essential to our future.”
    • “The PromoCares Board is overjoyed to welcome Kate to our team,” says Roger Burnett, PromoCares co-founder. “We continue to attract some of the best and brightest to our efforts, and it’s abundantly clear Kate will follow in the footsteps of previous members joining the Board with purpose in mind, a knack for moving initiatives forward and the heart to make a difference in elevating the perception of our marketplace.”
  • 22 Jan 2023 7:03 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Geiger has promoted Robert Wozniak to the position of chief financial officer.

    • Wozniak’s promotion is concurrent with the retirement of former CFO Bob Blaisdell, who will join Geiger’s Board of Directors.
    • “Rob’s insightful perspective and diverse experience in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions will position Geiger for long-term growth on a global scale,” says Geiger President & CEO Jo-an Lantz.
    • Wozniak joined Geiger in 2021 and previously held the multifaceted role of vice president of finance, M&A and FP&A, a role that included deal pipeline creation, advancing Geiger’s international footprint through acquisitions, and working with the leadership team on long-range financial planning and analysis.
  • 16 Jan 2023 10:01 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    American Solutions for Business has announced new members joining their Vendor Advisory Board, effective January 1, 2023.

    Since 2019, the Vendor Advisory Board has continued to assist in propelling American into a future that successfully collaborates with suppliers and distributors in a way that both sides are heard and appreciated. Although the inaugural team served an extra year, members moving forward will serve a total of two years.

    “We feel great about where this board has brought us thus far,” says Dana Zezzo, VP of Marketing, Vendor Relations & Events. “The impact that these individuals have already made towards our approach to the relationships we’re building with our suppliers is incredible.”

    Incoming members for 2023-2025 include: Kim Newell (Gold Bond), John Abbott (Abbot Label, Inc.), Mark Gammon (Cap America), and Kevin Mullaney (PDF Print).

    They will be joining the following members that will be rolling off in 2024: Marc Held (alphabroder), Dan Taylor (BamBams), Melissa Ralston (Koozie Group), Beth Marston (Navitor), Jarod Thorndike (SAGE), Kevin Walsh (Showdown Displays), Roni Wright (The Book Co.) and Bob Saunders (Wise).

    Members rolling off the board after serving from 2019-2022 include: Steven Osterloh (Ennis), Scott Leonard (Hit Promotional Products), Phil Sperling (Print Co.) and Miles Wadsworth (Logo Mats, LLC).
  • 16 Jan 2023 1:01 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Pennsylvania-based supplier Pro Towels and Palmetto Blankets, in partnership with Web Services Pros PromoLink and ShopWorks, has launched the following endpoints for the Pro Towels Catalog, live with PromoStandards integration standards:

    • Product Data 2.0.0
    • Inventory 2.0.0
    • Product Pricing and Configuration 1.0.0
    • Media Content 1.1.0

    “We are so very proud of our key partnership and working relationship with Web Services Pros and ShopWorks in taking our information technology integration to the next level,” says Kevin Nord, CEO and owner of Pro Towels.

    The integration is expected to make the Pro Towels and Palmetto Blankets products, catalog and inventory more easily accessible to all users.

  • 16 Jan 2023 12:59 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Top 40 supplier Starline announces the promotion of Brian Porter to Chief Revenue Officer. Porter has held the position of senior vice president of sales and marketing since joining Starline in 2018. The company is on track to double its sales under his leadership, achieving record growth in 2021. In his new position of CRO, Porter will take on a more strategic sales and marketing leadership role within the organization.

    Brian Porter, new CRO of Starline

    “Brian understands the important role that technology and operations play into the evolving sales and marketing industry landscape,” says Jon Norris, Starline COO. “I look forward to working with him in this new role as we drive Starline forward as a continued industry innovator and leader.”

    Porter’s industry experience spans nearly 30 years, including positions at Pro Towels, Spector & Co., and Barton Nelson (Bebco). He has also served as chair of the Promotional Products Education Foundation and is a longtime volunteer for the Promotional Products Association of the Midwest regional association, serving as its president in 2016.

  • 16 Jan 2023 12:58 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Austin, Texas-based distributor Boundless Network has acquired PromoAdvantage Marketing Group, a Twin Cities-based promotional products distributor founded in 2001.

    “The acquisition of PromoAdvantage adds exceptional in-house capabilities to Boundless in warehousing and kitting,” says Dave Klotter, CEO of Boundless. “The addition of these capabilities to the Boundless platform continues to fulfill Boundless’ mission to be the industry’s leading distributor partner to the best sales professionals in the promotional industry.”

    • PromoAdvantage was founded in 2001 by experienced promotional products executives Bill Cobbs and Phil Osheim with a core competency in providing warehouse and fulfillment options.
    • PromoAdvantage will continue to provide dedicated fulfillment and kitting services from its facility in St. Paul, Minnesota.
    • PromoAdvantage sales partners will be integrated into the Boundless team. Cobbs will remain with PromoAdvantage as a sales partner post-transaction, while Osheim will be retiring after a transition period.

    “As a sales team, we are excited to partner with Boundless. PromoAdvantage and Boundless are both grounded in culture, care for customers and core values,” says Cobbs. “The combined company will allow our sales partners to continue to grow their businesses and better service their customers at scale.”

  • 16 Jan 2023 12:56 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    SanMar announced its Spring 2023 Fresh Takes launch featuring more than 120 new styles across 15 brands.

    • From expanded retail offerings in TravisMathew and Russell Outdoors and trend-forward looks from District and Port & Company to an exclusive licensing partnership with Brooks Brothers, SanMar is ready with new Fresh Takes on products for any branded merchandise needs.
    • To get into a springtime state of mind, SanMar is adding 13 breezy new workleisure styles from TravisMathew that balance style and functional comfort for teams who believe in looking good and having fun! There are also 14 new looks from Port Authority inspired by the golf resort lifestyle – think effortless uniforming with polished polos, cotton-rich comfort, crossbody bags and woven throws.
    • “This spring, our new product offering ranges from tailored to casual, outfitting teams in the workplace, outdoors or at play,” says Shel Renning, vice president of merchandising at SanMar. “What all of our new products have in common is that they help our customers expand the definition of comfortable want-to-wear apparel.”
  • 16 Jan 2023 12:55 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    PromoHunt has partnered with PromoCares to power its new print-on-demand fundraising online merchandise store.

    • Profits from this store’s purchases will support the Planet Water Foundation, a non-profit focused on bringing clean water to the world’s most impoverished communities, through the installation of community-based water filtration systems and education programs.
    • For a limited time from now through January 12, if you purchase a Water is a Human Right Tee for $25, 100% of your purchase will be donated, thanks to S&S Activewear’s blank tee donation, Supacolor’s digital transfer donation and PromoHunt’s donation of its decoration services and print on demand online store platform.
  • 16 Jan 2023 12:53 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Monday morning, thousands of promotional products professionals entered the Mandalay Convention Center in Las Vegas for the start of The PPAI Expo, looking to forge new connections and apply new skills and knowledge to their businesses.

    Monday night, the PPAI Chair’s Leadership Dinner recognized four men and women who have set a standard for excellence in the world of promo – not only as successful entrepreneurs, but as industry ambassadors who have given back to their profession and their communities.

    The night also included a salute to the Promotional Products Education Foundation and 2022 PPAI Rising Stars.

    Late in the evening came a traditional ceremony at The PPAI Expo, the passing of the gavel from PPAI Board Chair Dawn Olds, MAS+, to Incoming Chair Kevin Walsh, CAS.

    Olds' term will expire at the conclusion of The PPAI Expo. She opened the evening with a welcome to all attendees, and over the course of the night gave way to Walsh, who wished everyone a successful experience at The PPAI Expo 2023.

    In addition to the induction of new Hall of Fame members, the night was also a reunion of six previous Hall of Fame inductees and numerous former PPAI Board Chairs.

    The PPAI Hall of Fame Inductees: Carol D. Aastad, MAS, and Mary Ellen Sokalski, MAS

    Aastad and Sokalski, both industry trailblazers, made history Monday night as the first two women ever inducted into the same PPAI Hall of Fame class.

    A promo veteran of nearly 30 years, Aastad didn’t join the industry until her 40s but quickly found her calling as an entrepreneur and volunteer. She recalls attending her first PPAI show in Atlanta in 1983, when women comprised only 7% of the industry. Now, that figure is well over 50%, she said.

    Aastad played a significant part in that development. Not only did she find individual success at multiple companies, including Harlan & Davis, which she founded, and Geiger, where she worked until her retirement, Aastad served as PPAI Board Chair in 2004 and helped establish the PPAI Women’s Leadership Conference.

    “For 29 years, I enjoyed an exhilarating, fun, satisfying, meaningful and, yes, profitable business,” she said. “Having a career in this industry changed my life. It truly changed my life. It gave me the independence, the realization and the satisfaction that I could support myself. And I had so much fun doing it. I loved this industry.”

    For decades, Sokalski also has demonstrated a special talent and passion for promo. Since joining the industry in 1981, her “superpower” at multiple companies has been creative marketing – finding unique ways for distributors and suppliers alike to reach customers. (See: the bags of dirt she once mailed to clients, symbolizing a ‘dirt cheap’ product offer.)

    And, like Aastad, Sokalski has paid it forward as an industry volunteer on various committees and the PPAI Board.

    “It is with the utmost humility that I thank all of you for noticing me, encouraging me to serve, to teach, and for the unforgettable experience I have had working with you, volunteering with you, learning from you and playing with you,” she said.

    Aastad was introduced by Geiger President and CEO Jo-an Lantz, MAS. Longtime industry pro Julie Heller introduced Soklaski.

    The PPAI Distinguished Service Award Recipient: Roger Burnett, CAS

    Burnett, founder of Ohio-based distributor Social Good Promotions, discovered at an early age that his first career choice – music – just wasn’t in the cards.

    “No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make the thing [a cornet] make a sound,” he said.

    He found satisfaction and inspiration through writing – instilling happiness in others with thoughtful letters. Years later, he has applied that approach to promo through “the power of collaboration” – working with peers to not only advance the industry but also help others in need.

    “I’m grateful for the many collaborations that have presented themselves to me during my career,” he said. “Many of you have heard me talk about how exciting it is for me to happen upon a new opportunity to work together with others whose skills and talents I so admire, and in no other community have I been afforded as many opportunities as I have been as a part of this industry,” he said.

    Burnett has been a determined advocate for the industry. His company, Social Good Promotions, focuses heavily on corporate social responsibility in its work with partners and clients. Burnett founded PromoCares, which encourages social and environmental responsibility in the promotional products industry and the community. And he’s a “founding chef” of PromoKitchen, which provides education and mentorship in the industry.

    PPAI H. Ted Olson Humanitarian Award Recipient: Danny Rosin, CAS

    Like Burnett, Rosin’s path to promo started with teenage setbacks – specifically, detention.

    To wipe school demerits from his record, Rosin – now president and co-owner of North Carolina-based distributor Brand Fuel – started a community service club called The Happy Club. Unique fundraising events brought students together to help people in need.

    That was the spark for Rosin’s career in marketing with a higher purpose. In addition to his outstanding work at Brand Fuel, Rosin has demonstrated a philanthropic spirit in projects and initiatives such as PromoCares, Band Together and Reciprocity Road.

    “Every single one of you has the potential individually and even better, collectively, to rise up and do something in the face of adversity,” he said. “Helping our fellow humans is a responsibility. It’s a moral imperative.

    “…We spend too much time trying to gain things we think we need. Life needs to be measured by who we are, how we treat people, our attitudes and kindness. We need to start looking out for each other as well as ourselves.”

    Rosin introduced Burnett to the stage, while Rosin was welcomed by Brand Fuel co-founder Robert Fiveash.

  • 16 Jan 2023 12:50 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    HALO announced a sales milestone last night at the distributor’s annual Sales Achievement Gala, held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas in conjunction with The PPAI Expo. The Sterling, Illinois-based company recorded sales in excess of $1 billion in 2022.

    HALO is the first industry distributor to announce crossing the $1 billion annual sales mark. In a late 2022 press release, 4imprint Group (PPAI 107200, D15) reported that based on its business performance to-date, it expected to also exceed $1 billion in sales in 2022.

    “This milestone is the result of a singular focus by every member of our team – creating breakthrough results for our clients with innovation, integrity and collaboration,” says Marc Simon, HALO CEO. “Our account executives continue to grow through a combination of creativity, determination and using HALO tools to deepen client relationships. This passion has fueled our growth and we are thrilled to celebrate the success that, collectively, our team continues to create.”

    Jim Stutz, HALO executive vice president of sales, marketing, and business development, says, “Our goal is to be the best. Being the biggest just happened as a result. Our culture of ingenuity, accountability and inclusion has provided a foundation for delivering superior results. We are humbled by what we have accomplished. We realize to build on the positive momentum we have created there is more we can – and will – do to enhance the HALO relationship with our key stakeholders.”

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