A dental floss dispenser. A double-edged envelope opener. A facial tissue dispenser.
These are among the dozens of patents filed by longtime industry pro David Lage. But to hear it from the colleagues who knew him well, they don’t begin to account for his contributions to the promotional products industry.
Lage, who passed away on April 4 at the age of 86, served on the PPAI Board of Directors from 1982-86. He spent more than 25 years leading Missouri-based supplier Quick Point (PPAI 114051, S5). He is the father of PPAI Hall of Fame member Paul Lage, currently a board member of California Tattoos and the former president of IMAGEN Brands.
In a Facebook post, the younger Lage called his father “a great man who was a positive influence for so many people. Needless to say, he was a wonderful father, a great friend, a mentor and my hero!”
David Lage served as a Marine and later supported the Corps with volunteerism and products. When he wasn't working, he loved to hunt, fish and play golf, his son says. He had battled dementia in recent years, and his wife Sandy passed away last July.
More than his innovative approach to building a product line, David Lage was known by promotional products colleagues as a willing mentor.
Wayne Greenberg, a former PPAI board chair, remembers him as the mentor to respected industry contributor and motivational speaker Phil Carney, also of Quick Point. His list of friends seems ripped straight from the PPAI Hall of Fame yearbooks, and includes industry heavy hitters the likes of Gene Geiger, MAS+; Margie Price, MAS; Mark Gilman, CAS; Chuck Pecher; and many others.
Price says she met David Lage when she was new to the industry and St. Louis. He was leading an education program for PPAMidwest. “For some reason he realized I was a newbie – probably because I asked too many questions,” Price says. “He taught me so many things beginning that day and never stopped answering my questions. He became a mentor and a friend and as years went by.
“I became more involved with PPAI and went on the board of directors, where I met Paul Lage and learned how much like his father Paul was. I will always appreciate what I learned from Dave and will remember him fondly forever.”
David Lage was named an honorary life member by the PPAI board in 2005, and in 2016 earned PPAI Fellow Recognition. His industry volunteerism included work on the Association’s Suppliers Advisory Council and Conventions Advisory Council, as well as its Strategic Planning Committee.
Greenberg says David Lage was the brains behind many innovative products at Quick Point, but what he remembers most is that he was a gentleman.
Geiger, who joined the PPAI board in the same class as David Lage, says the two formed a friendship that endured and deepened over the years.
“Others can talk about his business accomplishments as the leader of Quick Point. What I loved about him was his humanity – his elemental goodness,” Geiger says. “He was without pretense personally or rushed judgments about others. He cared deeply about his colleagues, friends and our industry. And he was so much fun! One could not be with him without being lifted by his quick laugh and joyful spirit.
“When we get to the end, all that matters is how we lived and how we impacted those we inhabit the world with. By that measure, Dave left this a better place and me a better person.”