With the PPAI staff’s aim of connecting and engaging more frequently with members in their offices and factories, PPAI directors Ellen Tucker, director of business development, and Tina Berres Filipski, director of publications/editor, visited the offices of PPAI supplier members Compass Industries, Inc. and Bulova while in New York City in October. Tucker also met separately with New York City-based DBEBZ/Backpacker.   

At Compass Industries, Tucker (left photo, center) and Filipski (second from left) met with (from left) Gary Rosenberg, director of sales and marketing; Josh Levy, vice president, and Michael Levy, president, to learn about the 80-year-old, three-generation, family-owned company specializing in tools and outdoor gear.

The meeting with Bulova took place in the supplier’s offices on the 29th floor of the Empire State building, which included a look at museum-quality items and memorabilia from the iconic brand’s 144-year history. Tucker and Filipski met with Adrienne Forrest, vice president, corporate sales (large main photo above, center); Patricia Schmoyer, director, integrated marketing (left); and Ryan Roberson, corporate sales coordinator, to learn more about the company’s promotional markets division and its plans for 2020.

(Left photo, from left) David Bebon, CEO of DBEBZ/Backpacker, and his son, Spencer Bebon, vice president, along with Marlene Shapiro, production manager and Binnie Acquicino, customer service lead, hosted Tucker at their offices, where she learned more about the supplier’s line of outdoor apparel under the Backpacker brand including flannel, performance and outerwear.





PPAI’s business development staff have been on the road, connecting with PPAI member companies across the country to learn more about them, their needs and how the Association can be a better partner in their success. In November, Melissa Massey, PPAI’s major account manager-West, met with several supplier companies in California’s Bay Area, including Alpi International, Ltd. in Oakland; Big Accessories, Inc. in Petaluma; and Chameleon like, Inc. in Gilroy.

At Alpi International, Massey (above right photo, left) met with Rebecca (pictured) and Marco Indrio. The company is working toward a transition in ownership. After 36 years in business, company President Francesco Indrio is aiming to step down and hand over operational control to his son Marco. Beth Villa, operations manager at Big Accessories (above left photo, left), showed Massey around the supplier’s facility and walked her through the company’s line-up of hats, bags and aprons, showed her the materials they are constructed from and discussed the global retail trends that inspire their design.

(Left photo, from left) Pierre Martichoux, president; Stephanie Esse, marketing and art director, and Jasmine Sullivan, national account executive, met with Massey at Chameleon like. Martichoux describes the company as “passionately ‘category-specific,’” referring to its focus on journals, the majority of which are manufactured in Gilroy.





PPAI hosted the Promotional Products Education Foundation’s (PPEF) 2019 Executive Committee and members of the newly elected 2020 Executive Committee in October at the Association’s Irving, Texas, headquarters. The PPEF executive committee consists of the officers of the Foundation’s full 18-member board of trustees.

(Above photo, from left) PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, and PPEF secretary/treasurer; Wayne Greenberg, MAS, immediate past chair; David Grobisen, vice chair-scholarship; Dana Floyd Porter, CAS, chair elect; Brian Porter, chair; Eileen Lynch, 2020 vice chair-marketing and recognition; Carrie Pitre, MAS, 2020 PPEF chair elect; Bob McLean, PPAI executive vice president; Sara Besly, PPEF executive director; Matt Bertram, vice chair-strategic planning and budget and Christopher Duffy, MAS, 2020 vice chair-fundraising, met to discuss the Foundation’s plans for 2020, including the budget and how much to award in scholarships, and PPEF’s strategic priorities as it continues to grow to help even more industry professionals and their families.


Members of The Partnering Group, LLC, an industry distributor organization, toured supplier SanMar’s distribution center in Preston, Washington, in November.

During the tour, The Partnering Group members learned how products are transitioned and readied for orders as well as how SanMar’s catalog is created and printed. They then headed to SanMar’s headquarters in Issaquah, where its leadership team gave presentations to help attendees better understand SanMar’s offerings  to the promotional products industry.


In October, Mike Fey, MAS, president and CEO of Edgerton, Minnesota, supplier Fey Promo and Aida Simmons, the company’s Southeast territory sales manager, visited PPAI headquarters in Irving, Texas, while in the area to attend an awards ceremony honoring Tom Carpenter, MAS, national accounts manager at the company and recipient of the 2019 PPAI RAC (Regional Association Council) Volunteer of the Year. The ceremony took place during the opening event at the Leadership Development Workshop, hosted by PPAI and the Regional Association Council (RAC), in nearby Grapevine, Texas.

While at PPAI’s headquarters in Irving, Texas, Fey (above, left) and Simmons met with Brandon Dunaway, PPAI business development account manager, who gave them a tour of the office. Fey and Simmons discussed the industry, their business and the new products the company is bringing to the market.


James Khattak is news editor of PPB.