PPAI Media


PCNA has announced a new retail partner, mophie, a global provider of mobile charging technology. PCNA is the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based parent company of suppliers Leed’s (PPAI 112361, S13), Bullet (PPAI 113079, S12), Journalbooks (PPAI 110769, S10), Trimark (PPAI 198982, S10) and ETS Express (PPAI 135148, S11). The line is launching with seven new power banks and wireless charging pads.

PCNA will house mophie inventory at its warehouse to accommodate large orders through both inventory and its decorating capacity. Additionally, mophie products will be added to the supplier’s Perfectly Packaged program, a custom gift box that can be drop shipped directly to recipient’s homes or offices.

Gemline (PPAI 113948, S11) has appointed three key executives to Lawrence, Massachusetts-based supplier’s sales leadership team. Jason Kissell (left) has been promoted to vice president of sales. Prior to joining Gemline earlier this year as director of field sales - East, Kissell held vice president/executive level positions in sales and marketing with organizations such as Titleist/Footjoy Worldwide, On Deck Sports and Boston Globe Media. Kissell will be replacing Nicole Verspyck, who will be leaving Gemline at the end of June for personal reasons. Replacing Kissell as Gemline’s director of sales - East will be Mark Lange (center). Lange previously held senior positions as channel director and director of sales at Under Armour, where he spent the past 10 years. Prior to that, Lange held senior sales and strategic account roles at Info-Graphix Systems and Mitchell & Ness. Kristin Long has joined Gemline as director of sales - West. Most recently, Long completed a successful 15-year career with Panasonic Consumer Electronics as their national group manager, and prior to that, as national sales manager. She also spent time with Samsung earlier in her career.

The Houston Promotional Products Association (HPPA) has inducted Peter Hirsch, MAS, founder and president of supplier Hirsch Gift, into the regional association’s hall of fame based on his service to the organization, the industry and his extensive philanthropic efforts.

“For the past 18 years, I have had the privilege of meeting many of the members of this great organization who became not only customers, but extended the hand of friendship, and I have always enjoyed volunteering with you,” says Hirsch

The IRS has issued a provision that provides for a 100-percent deduction for qualifying business meal expenses incurred after December 31, 2020, and before January 1, 2023. Notice 2021-25 implements the provision of the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020 and outlines the expenses covered by this new provision, and sets parameters and limits to when it applies. Click here for the full text of Notice 2021-25.

On May 6, the Small Business Legislative Council (SBLC) is hosting a webinar addressing the key employment issues facing small businesses this summer as they prepare to reopen their workplaces, such as COVID-19 vaccines and returning employees to the physical workspace. In “Navigating a New Normal – What Small Businesses Need to Know,” Jessica Summers, SBLC strategic policy director and employment law attorney, will discuss key employment issues of what will hopefully be the final chapter of the COVID-19 pandemic. The session will also discuss a number of the lesser known but important relief programs that small businesses can take advantage of to help them during this difficult time. Click here to register for the free webinar, which will be held May 6 from 1 – 2 pm ET.

South Saint Paul, Minnesota, distributor Foxtrot Marketing Group (PPAI 104295, D8) has announced several new hires, promotions and role transitions. Rob Johnson joined Foxtrot as an account manager focusing on growth and partnership with Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures (MLCV), Foxtrot’s parent company. Johnson brings several years of management experience and relationships from the gaming and hospitality industries. Jenna Jackson joined as a marketing coordinator. Jackson has branding and writing expertise from her work at a tech startup company and freelancing. Joseph Johnson joined as the production supervisor for the embroidery and screenprint teams. Johnson brings manufacturing, customer support and team leadership experiences. Simone Lindquist was recently promoted from staff accountant to finance manager. Lindquist has been with Foxtrot for more than two years and will lead the finance team in process improvements and projects. Derrick Krege, who has been with Foxtrot for more than two years, was recently promoted from the production team to warehouse supervisor. Hannah Gage has been with Foxtrot for nearly five years and is transitioning from a customer experience rep to an e-commerce coordinator. Shannon Gervais has been with Foxtrot for nearly two decades and recently transitioned from a customer experience rep to an account manager.

Jeff Ibberson has been promoted to site manager for Koozie Group’s (PPAI 114187, S13) Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, facility. Ibberson joined Tampa, Florida-headquartered Koozie Group in 1984 as a press apprentice and has served in a variety of management roles throughout his career with the supplier. In his newest position, he has oversight of all manufacturing processes in Sleepy Eye and will use his print industry expertise to enhance Koozie Group’s calendar and BIC Sticky Notes processes and printing capabilities for future success. He will also focus on technology enhancements, business growth and equipment improvement opportunities while leading Koozie Group’s Sleepy Eye team.

Gemline (PPAI 113948, S11) is hosting a live webinar on Tuesday, May 11 at noon ET, “An Exclusive Look Forward with Economist Alan Beaulieu.” During the Lawrence, Massachusetts-based supplier’s free virtual event, Beaulieu will provide a roadmap of where the economy and the market may go from here. This is an inclusive event and all are welcome. Space is limited, so be sure to reserve a spot today. Register here.

Beaulieu has been delivering award-winning workshops and economic analysis seminars to thousands of business owners and executives around the world for the last 30 years. He is co-author of Prosperity in the Age of Decline, a look at how to make the most of U.S. and global trends over the next 20 years. Alan also coauthored Make Your Move, a practical guide on increasing profits through business cycle changes.

Ennis, Inc., based in Midlothian, Texas, announced Jeff Monarch as the new general manager of PrintXcel, located in Fairhope, Alabama. PrintXcel’s printing products and services include checks and forms, direct mail, label form products, multipart mailers, online ordering and print procurement solutions and more. Monarch has been at the PrintXcel facility for 31 years. He started in 1990 as a bailer, then became a press operator, and in 2006 he was promoted to production manager. In his new role, he will utilize his experience to continue to evolve and grow the business. Ennis is parent company of industry suppliers Folder Express (PPAI 354129, S1), Independent Folders (PPAI 111993, S2) and Admore, Inc. (PPAI 111144, S10).

Supplier Koozie Group (PPAI 114187, S13) in Clearwater, Florida, has promoted Sandeep Jain to the role of vice president of vendor relations, sourcing and compliance. Jain has been in the promotional products industry for more than three years as a vice president of supply chain management. Prior to this industry, he worked with Seneca Holdings, Spectrum Brands, Victoria’s Secret and Sara Lee Foods, among others. He currently serves on PPAI’s Product Responsibility Action Group. In his new role, Jain will assume responsibility over the company’s sourcing organization and vendor compliance, supporting all lines of business. His focus will be to build upon the supplier’s industry-leading stance on social compliance, product safety and environmental accountability actions and certifications, reporting directly to Pierre Montaubin, SVP of product management and sourcing. He will also join Koozie Group’s “Keep it. Give it.” social impact and sustainability task force.

Supplier Navitor (PPAI 112837, S3), based in North Mankato, Minnesota, has announced the opening of its Kapolei, Hawaii, facility. The new operation furthers Navitor’s plan to support island manufacturing while providing supplemental mainland add-ons to round out its print offering.

Island manufacturing supports local employment and community growth, says Rick Roddis, Navitor president. “This investment emphasizes Navitor’s ongoing commitment to support our Hawaiian distributor partners and their local interests,” he says.

In this episode of PPAI’s PromoTalks podcast, “PPB Presents: Giving Back By Paying It Forward," two recent recipients of PPAI’s H. Ted Olson Humanitarian Award, Rod Brown, CAS (left), founder and retired CFO of distributor MadeToOrder who won the award in 2020, and Bob Waldorf, CAS, founder of Waldorf Marketing Group and the 2021 recipient, talk about the organizations they support, how and why they got involved and how their lives have been changed through their connections with those groups. The conversation is moderated by Tina Berres Filipski, director of publications and editor at PPAI.

Tune in to listen to this inspiring 33-minute podcast and more, available free on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Time is running out to nominate an individual for the 2021 PPB Rising Stars recognition program. Nominations close at midnight tomorrow, April 23, 2021. Since 2010, this program has spotlighted nearly 150 exceptional young leaders who are making a noticeable difference in companies all across the promotional products industry. Let PPB know who you think are the young leaders to watch in 2021. Nominees selected for this year’s honor will be profiled in an upcoming issue of PPB magazine. Click here to provide specific details and examples about your nominee to help the judges evaluate true star quality. All nominees must work for a PPAI member company. Previous honorees are not eligible.

PPAI’s webinar series provides industry professionals with the best tools, practices and actionable ideas that they can use to build up their businesses and expand their skill set. Next week, on April 27 at 1 pm CT, the Association’s webinar series presents “Basic Introduction to Business Owners’ Insurance.” PPAI’s webinars are free to Association members and $15 for PPAI Associates. Each session includes CAS or MAS credits which go toward the participant’s industry certifications. PPAI's live and on-demand webinars enable industry professionals to continue their professional development anywhere, any time.

American Solutions for Business (PPAI 101656, D12) has promoted Taylor Borst to director of marketing, events and public relations. Borst joined the Glenwood, Minnesota, distributor in 2015 and has since held several roles within the organization. Beginning as a strategic operations support coordinator, she transitioned to promotional product specialist and most recently was head of communications and public relations. She will oversee the existing marketing department and two new positions, specializing in events and public relations. She was named a PPB Rising Star in 2019. The distributor has also promoted Nate Disrud to director of technology. Disrud has been with the Glenwood, Minnesota, distributor since 2012 and will lead the technical and security operations teams, providing high levels of service while leveraging ASB’s IT vendors to deliver proven solutions and protect the organization’s financial interests.

Hicksville, New York-based supplier Chocolate Inn/Lanco (PPAI 111662, S7) has named Pamela Clement as the company’s New England regional sales manager. Clement will be responsible for supporting distributors in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Clement comes to Chocolate Inn/Lanco with extensive sales experience in the promotional products industry, including most recently with the Koozie Group. In this new role, Clement will collaborate with distributors on the latest promotional trends and select the ideal custom solutions for their customer's needs across the edible, hardgoods, health and beauty, and drinkware categories.

New York, New York-based supplier Threadfast Apparel (PPAI 622344, S6) has brought on Rachel Hoskins as its sales manager. Hoskins, who has previously been a part of Threadfast Apparel’s team, will work with alphabroder, with which the company maintains an exclusive partnership; manage trade shows and get on the road when it becomes safer to do so.

Premier Group, an alliance of suppliers and distributors, has hired Dana Geiger as its executive director. Geiger brings a broad range of experience to the position and has 17 years’ experience in the nonprofit arena. She served as PPAI’s regional relations manager from 2018‐2020 and as executive director for three industry regional associations from 2010‐2018. Geiger’s experience with association management, combined with her understanding of the promotional products industry, will serve Premier Group well as it looks for new strategies and offerings to help members and the organization grow.

The Association has established a task force to collaborate with staff to expand diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) throughout the promotional products industry. The DEI Task Force, which held its first meeting in February, will work to increase the visibility of underrepresented groups within the industry by creating education and networking opportunities. One of the group’s goals is to inspire industry business leaders to embrace inclusive, unbiased business practices.

PPAI currently offers a range of educational sessions addressing this topic. PPAI has also prepared the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Playbook to help industry businesses evaluate their current status and identify strategies to develop targeted initiatives to achieve their goals. For more information about the task force, contact PPAI’s Volunteer Programs Coordinator Kathlene Brethowr at kathleneb@ppai.org or PPAI’s Public Affairs Manager Maurice Norris at mauricen@ppai.org. To join the DEI Community on PromoConnect, click here.

Fossa Apparel (PPAI 330885, S1) has hired Edward L. Timmerman Jr. on as regional sales manager for the Fremont, California-based supplier. Timmerman is an experienced industry veteran with a background in apparel. He spent the past seven years as a field sales manager for Trimark and before that, six years representing Ash City U.S. on the West Coast. He has also worked the athletic apparel business with companies such as Adidas, Moving Comfort and Kappa. Timmerman lives in Austin, Texas, and will be covering Colorado, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas for Fossa.

Distributor iPROMOTEu (PPAI 218870, D12), headquartered in Wayland, Massachusetts, has announced the addition of two new business development team members, Erik Salo and Annie Costello. They join industry veterans Pat Caccamo, senior business development manager, and Rafael Dosman, business development manager. Both Salo and Costello bring a wide range of experience in business development and sales to the team.

Tempe, Arizona-based supplier Zing Manufacturing (PPAI 517185, S2) has hired Rich Corvalan as its new senior vice president of sales. Corvalan has more than 13 years of experience in the promotional products industry, most recently with Charles River Apparel. He will now lead the effort to introduce and educate distributors on the products and services Zing Manufacturing offers, including its new partnership with the S’well brand.

Nominations are now open for PPB’s annual Service Superhero recognition program. Help the magazine identify those who deliver over-the-top customer service—in your company or a vendor company—even if the person is not working in a typical “customer service” role. Salespeople, owners, managers—they too can deliver exemplary customer service.

If you know a Service Superhero who proves again and again that service does still exist, nominate them by the deadline of August 27, 2020. If your nominee is selected, he or she will be included in a feature story in PPB’s November issue. Click here to nominate. All nominees must be employed by a PPAI member company and previous winners cannot be nominated again.

At PPAI’s upcoming Virtual Product Responsibility Summit, September 14-18, attendees will explore a wide range of the most-pressing business implications, challenges and opportunities associated with compliance. On September 14 at 12:45 – 1:45 pm CT, the program delves into s the importance of truth in advertising.

Marketing claims shape a company’s identity and can set it apart from the competition. Yet, as what the session “What You Say Matters…” lays out that, if a business’s claim is not truthful, it could be in trouble. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will take action against companies making untruthful claims—particularly related to COVID-19 and greenwashing statements. In this session, presented by FTC attorney Leslie Fair, the audience will receive a seven-point checklist to help their companies ensure their marketing claims stand up to the principles enforced by the FTC.

For more information on the Virtual Product Responsibility Summit and to register, click here.

Paul Bellantone, CAE, president and CEO of PPAI, moderates a fascinating conversation about how the sales landscape is changing in today’s post-coronavirus world with Jeremy Lott (left), president of SanMar, and Greg Muzzillo, founder of Proforma.

This new PPAI PromoTalks podcast takes a deep dive into the challenges these owners and their businesses are facing, how the lockdown has affected their sales and teams, what their strategy has been over the past few months, their quick pivot to PPE, how sales practices have changed, the future for meetings between suppliers and distributors and where trade shows will fit into the mix, among other topics. Tune in to listen to this insightful and helpful 50-minute discussion available free on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Congress has resumed developing its next legislative effort aimed at providing relief from the economic impacts of the coronavirus’ spread. The Senate Majority Leader has estimated the likely timing for the next coronavirus-related legislation will be late July, just before Congress begins its annual August Recess.

One of the key proposals related to the legislation entails another round of economic stimulus payments that would be sent to individuals and families. The Senate Majority Leader predicted the next set of payments could be targeted at lower-income groups. Another proposal for Congress’ next attempt at coronavirus relief involves additional federal assistance to state and local governments. There was approximately $150 billion in aid to state and local governments provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which passed in March. Other provisions expected to be negotiated in the next bill include liability protections for companies, funding for health care, funding for education and several other areas.

Next month, PPAI's board election opens for the class of 2024. The nominees are Dawn Olds, CAS, senior vice president of operations at distributor HALO Branded Solutions, and Kevin Walsh, president of supplier Showdown Displays. As previously announced, this year the Association is transitioning the ballot vote from an election process to a selection process by presenting one distributor and one supplier to the membership for an approval vote.

Both nominees recently took part in a "virtual town hall meeting" webinar facilitated by Brittany David, MAS, PPAI board chair, and Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI president and CEO. Olds and Walsh discussed what they think are the greatest challenges and opportunities facing the industry and PPAI, amongst other topics.

The webinar is available on-demand for PPAI members and associates and earns listeners one certification credit. Click here for the webinar. The PPAI board election opens September 9 and runs through September 30, with results available in early October.

Through its webinar series, PPAI provides industry professionals the best tools, practices and actionable ideals that they can use to build up their businesses and expand their skill set. Coming up on February 19, at 1 pm CST, "Ramp Your Business Mightily with 'Give Back' University Engagement," looks at how involvement with universities and other schools can be a win-win for business. The webinar roster also features a wide range of ideas, updates and other topics important to promotional products industry practitioners. All sessions, except for certain event recordings, are free to PPAI members and include MAS/CAS credits.

PPAI's live and on-demand webinars enable industry professionals to continue their professional development anywhere, any time

Orbus Exhibit & Display Group (PPAI 428128, S7) reports that it donated more than $14,600 to various charitable institutions in 2019. The Orbus Social and Cultural Committee (OSACC) organizes fundraising and team-building events throughout the year to ensure the Woodridge, Illinois-based supplier's culture is one that values each employee and gives back whenever possible.

In the first half of 2019, Orbus raised more than $9,000 to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and in the latter half of the year, the company collected more than $5,600 to benefit Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Company-wide fundraising events included casual wear buy-in, shamrock grams, a chili cook-off, manager dunk tank, an ice cream social, TV raffle and Change Wars competition. In addition to monetary donations, Orbus hosted its first employee blood drive with the American Red Cross, as well as its annual Toys for Tots drive to help less fortunate children share in the magic of the holidays.

The recent focus on tariffs has driven many companies to seek new sources for product manufacturing, but it isn't as easy as it sounds. PPAI's Product Responsibility Summit, September 15-17 in Alexandria, Virginia, will include a panel to address the many issues businesses need to consider, including the regulatory climate of the country, logistics, known human rights issues, availability of raw materials and more.

All Product Responsibility Summit sessions are industry-focused with limited seating, so make sure to reserve your spot. Register at ppai.org/summit today to also take advantage of the CPSC lab tour.

Nominations for PPB's annual Service Superhero recognition program close today. Help the editors identify those who deliver top customer service—in your company or a vendor company—even if the person is not working in a typical "customer service" role. Salespeople, owners, managers—they, too, can demonstrate exemplary customer service.

If you work with an individual who is a superhero when it comes to delivering customer service, nominate them today. If your nominee is selected, he or she will be included in a feature story in PPB's November issue. Click here to nominate. All nominees must be employed by a PPAI member company and previous winners cannot be nominated again.

Hicksville, New York-based supplier Chocolate Inn/Lanco (PPAI 111662, S7) has expanded its sales and customer service teams with Andrea Fenner as Mid-Atlantic sales rep, and Kerrie Gallichio and Gina Mojeda as customer service representatives. Fenner will provide in-person sales support to customers in the Mid-Atlantic states, including Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. She comes to Chocolate Inn/Lanco with more than 20 years in the promotional product industry, holding positions with two wholesale apparel suppliers. Gallichio and Mojeda will help address customers questions, while also acting as an informational resource for customers when making purchasing decisions.

Graeme Dawes, MAS, regional manager for distributor Elite Promotional Marketing (PPAI 279956, D2) in Edmonton, Alberta, was recently recognized by his community with the Stony Plain and District Chamber of Commerce's presentation of the Decker Kulak Integrity in Business Award. The award recognizes entrepreneurs who have contributed to their organizations and demonstrate a high level of integrity within the business community. This is the second Integrity in Business award Dawes, a PPAI Fellow, has won from the Chamber of Commerce. He earlier received a similar award from the Stony Plain Rotary as well.

Jason Nokes has launched PromoPulse, a mobile app in the promotional products industry dedicated to sales ideas, inspiration and information. Nokes served as president of DistributorCentral for eight years and has been both a supplier and a distributor in his 26-year career. He has won numerous industry and technology awards and has served on PPAI committees and standards organizations. PromoPulse combines social posts, blogs, products, videos, specials and offers from over 2,000 suppliers, distributors, service providers and thought leaders. It offers complete coverage of the industry, including information from both ASI and PPAI. Industry professionals can search, browse, save and share content on the app at no charge.

Distributor Tiny Little Monster (PPAI 708944, D1) in Maplewood, Missouri, was recently featured on Entrepreneurially Thinking Podcast, a St. Louis-based podcast hosted by Dr. Cheryl Watkins-Moore and Christy Mayfield, that explores what it means to think entrepreneurially.

The interview was conducted with Sloan Coleman, the distributor’s business development director, who began her entrepreneurial career by co-founding a graphic and web design business at age 26. The podcast also touched on live printing opportunities, how they troubleshoot to help the business thrive, and how her background in graphics and web design evolved into a decorated apparel shop with ecommerce services. The 39-minute podcast can be found here.

Citizen Watch Company (PPAI 410292, S1) has selected Rob Fishbein of Robert Fishbein Multi-Line to represent the New York, New York-based supplier in Arizona and California. Fishbein brings more than 20 years of experience in the promotional products industry to the role. Prior to starting his own multi-line rep firm, Fishbein held several positions of increasing leadership with industry supplier Innovation Line.

Modern slavery and human trafficking remain issues of concern both in the U.S. and around the world, and increasingly countries are passing more regulations to combat this human rights abuse. This year’s PPAI Product Responsibility Summit, September 15-17 in Alexandria, Virginia, includes a session delivered by Michael R. Littenberg addressing the issues.

Littenberg, an attorney and senior partner with Ropes and Gray, will review why this issue is still relevant and who is at risk. As part of his practice, for almost 30 years Littenberg has been active in advising leading public and private companies, asset managers and asset owners on ESG, corporate social responsibility and supply chain compliance matters, and he is widely viewed as a leading practitioner in this emerging area. His session will review what is required to comply with the UK Modern Slavery Act, the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, as well as emerging regulations in Australia, Canada and other countries. Limited seating fills up quickly, so register today to secure your spot.

In 2018, the PPAI® professional development staff worked closely with the Association's Certification Committee to revamp its Trained Advertising Specialist (TAS) certificate, Certified Advertising Specialist (CAS) certification and Master Advertising Specialist (MAS) certification. The feedback staff received on the new, streamlined certification programs has been tremendous, and attention has now turned to conducting a complete overhaul of the MAS+ program. The new program should be available by early fall. In the meantime, for any questions about certification, contact PPAI certification staff at certification@ppai.org.

Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI® president and CEO and Anne Stone, PPAI director of public affairs are joining the Promotional Product Professionals of Canada's TOPS+ 2019 show next month in Toronto to speak on strategic foresight for the industry. Their presentation on February 7 is geared both toward small businesses looking to grow beyond their current set of customers and to larger organizations faced with ever-increasing demands for growth. The session will introduce PPAI's Strategic Foresight Playbook and discuss its real-world applications in an uncertain world. PPPC's Toronto show is the second stop on the TOPS+ trade show tour and will be held at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.

The four-city PPPC TOPS+ tour begins in Montreal at the Sheraton Laval on January 30, then moves to Toronto on February 7 and to Vancouver at the Convention Centre on February 13 before wrapping up in Calgary at the Westin Calgary Airport hotel on February 21. Learn more about the shows and register here.

Union, Illinois-headquartered supplier BAG MAKERS, Inc. (PPAI 111408) has brought on Melissa Hoffman as a regional business development manager. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Hoffman will serve the company's customers in California and Arizona. She most recently was national sales and marketing manager for Phoenix-based Huffermen, Inc. Hoffman has also been an active volunteer in the industry and served on the Arizona Promotional Products Association board in a number of positions, including president, professional development director and chair, trade show director and RAC delegate.

St. Paul, Minnesota-based supplier Crystal D (PPAI 112326) has promoted Tawauna Garner (left) from order entry specialist to the order manager for the central territory. In her new role, she will be responsible for ensuring orders move through the production process and working with customers once orders are in-house. Matt Boyles and Dee Xiong have been hired as order entry specialists. They are responsible for entering customer orders promptly and accurately before handing them over to the order managers.

California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has published a proposal to amend a section of the Proposition 65 warning regulations.

The proposed amendments to Section 25600.2 of the warning regulations are intended to clarify the notification provisions of subsections (b) and (c), which establish that a manufacturer/supplier of a consumer product may discharge its warning obligation either by providing a warning on the product or by transmitting a formal notification to the retailer's authorized agent. The amendments would also refine subsection (f)'s definition of "actual knowledge" that may trigger a retailer to shoulder the primary obligation to warn under subsection (e), which identifies the specific circumstances in which a retailer bears the primary burden to warn. A public hearing on the proposal has been scheduled for January 3, 2019, and the deadline for written comments on the proposal has been extended to January 11, 2019.

Supplier Crystal D (PPAI 112326) in St. Paul, Minnesota, has promoted three employees to new positions. Vice President of Operations Mike Irvine has been promoted to chief operating officer. Irvine will be in charge of implementing the company's growth strategy and integrating improvements to the company in technology, operations and personnel. Customer Service Manager Kari Hurtis has been promoted to vice president of operations. Hurtis will manage the operations departments, where she will promote guidance and growth in day-to-day operations. Customer Service Specialist Jake Calleja has been promoted to customer service manager. Calleja will be responsible for managing the customer service department and maintaining its customer service performance levels.

Supplier Gemline (PPAI 113948) in Lawrence, Massachusetts, has hired Saadia Bryant as director of digital marketing. Bryant brings more than 25 years of marketing experience to her role.

Jen Mendoza has joined Oswego, Illinois, distributor Show Your Logo, Inc. (PPAI 511027) as marketing director. Mendoza comes to the company from Promotional Professionals of Chicago, where she served as executive director of the regional association for four years. She brings more than 10 years of experience in the non-profit sector to her new role.

PPAI's Women's Leadership Conference (WLC) is designed to develop a woman's professional network and maximize her leadership potential. Registration is now open for WLC 2018, running June 25-27 in Hollywood, California, with discounted early-bird rates available through February 27. WLC has a reputation for drawing inspiring and engaging speakers and delivering fresh insights on leadership development, business management, career planning and advancement, work life balance and exploring industry topics while creating a network of industry peers. For more information and to register, click here.

Paula Shulman is stepping away from her role as vice president of sales at Prime Line (PPAI 112744) and will continue with the Bridgeport, Connecticut, supplier as a consultant. In 1982, Shulman was one of the first executive managers hired by Prime Line. She rose up the ranks at Prime, holding the positions of customer service manager, director of marketing, and national sales manager before ascending to vice president of sales in 2007.

BAG MAKERS, Inc. (PPAI 111408) has announced that senior executive Roger Bayness will retire at year-end, after 15 years with the Union, Illinois, supplier. Bayness led the company's sales team for more than a decade. During this time, he played a significant role in growing the sales team, establishing sales strategy and building important client relationships with key accounts. In January 2016, Bayness decided to step back from day-to-day sales leadership responsibilities and moved into a new role as senior advisor to BAG MAKERS, representing the company with key national accounts and overseeing the Canadian market.

IMAGEN Brands, parent company of suppliers Crown Products (PPAI 113430) and Vitronic (PPAI 114197), has brought Nicole Chamberlin on as regional sales manager for Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. She joins the company from RuMe, where she oversaw a 20-state territory.

Akon, New York-based supplier AAkron Line (PPAI 111082) has promoted Denise Morgan (left) and Amanda Nice to outside sales manager and inside sales support manager, respectfully. Morgan has been with AAkron for 30 years, and has extensive experience in the promotional products industry. She most recently has led the inside sales support team. Nice has spent 10 years at AAkron on the inside sales support team. She will leverage that experience to lead this team and focus on building customer relationships.

NAPCO Media, a business-to-business media company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, welcomes Marc Held to the company as president of Promo Marketing Group (PPAI 200060), whose brands include Promo Marketing, Power Meetings, Print+Promo and Distributor Connect. Held brings more than 22 years of industry experience to NAPCO, including 20 years with Bodek and Rhodes, where he rose to vice president of sales. Most recently, he served as vice president of supplier Hit Promotional Products. Held's experience in the apparel market is expected to help NAPCO Media develop its new partnership with SGIA and the launch of PRINTUnited, a show focusing on the convergence of technologies in visual communications, including textile, garment, packaging, commercial, industrial and direct-to-object.

Glenwood, Minnesota-based distributor American Solutions for Business (PPAI 101656) has announced that its director of group purchasing organization (GPO) services, Sarah Thomas (left), will be transitioning to a sales position in the Dallas, Texas, office. Thomas has been an integral part of growing the GPO accounts over the past 12 years with ASB. Stepping into the new director role will be Strategic Operations Support Program Coordinator Maggie Leland. Leland will continue to work to build the GPO vertical market.

Sheila Eads, president and CEO of Woodstock, Georgia, supplier ERB Industries, Inc. (PPAI 192224), was elected chairman of the board of trustees of the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) at the association's recent annual meeting. Eads joined ERB Industries, Inc. in 1995 to oversee all financial aspects of the company, and in 2002, was promoted to her current position as president and CEO. The ISEA is the U.S. trade association for personal protective equipment and technologies.

BIC Graphic (PPAI 114187) has announced two recent promotions at the Tampa, Florida-based supplier. Pierre Montaubin, formerly general manager of BIC Graphic for Asia-Pacific, has been promoted to the newly created position of vice-president global support services for BIC Graphic. In an effort to improve customers' experiences and delivery model efficiency, BIC Graphic has tapped Montaubin to oversee customer relations, logistics/freight, and global sourcing in this new role. Melissa Ralston, formerly marketing director of BIC Graphic North America, has been promoted to vice-president, marketing – North America. Ralston brings 17 years of brand management, communications and product development experience within promotional products, advertising agency and corporate marketing settings. In her new position, Ralston will continue to oversee department operations while guiding the definition of the BIC Graphic brand.

Supplier Pinnacle Designs (PPAI 112704) has added multi-line rep groups to complete the San Fernando, California, company's representation nationwide. Langton Promotions' Brad and Ryan Langton will cover Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Southwest Marketing's Karin Otterstrom and Mark Heidmann will cover Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Tennessee.

PPAI has been alerted to incidents of list rental companies marketing and attempting to sell fake member and attendee lists for PPAI and The PPAI Expo. PPAI has not authorized any other company to engage in the marketing or selling of these lists. PPAI only provides lists to PPAI members in good standing for one-time use. Sale, rental or sharing of the list is not permitted. Solicitation or the attempted sale of any lists by any company other than PPAI is not approved.

The Association asks that industry members be aware of and report any unauthorized solicitation to PPAI. It recommends not downloading these lists or doing business with these unauthorized list rental companies. PPAI is sending cease and desist letters to these unauthorized companies as it is made aware of them.

Industry veteran Paul Dubois has launched supplier Safety Made (PPAI 713525). With a focus on safety and lifestyle, Safety Made is the new and exclusive provider of Dorcy, Life Gear and DieHard brand flashlights in the promotional products marketplace. It also offers a line of kits and accessories designed for first aid, safety, automotive, health and other categories.

Supplier Eversole Run (PPAI 199242) in Columbus, Ohio, has hired Sierra Luke (left) to serve as manager of the graphic design and artwork department and brought on Shawn Naeter of Shawn Naeter and Associates to represent the company in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.

Christian Brown joins Houston, Texas-based supplier Hirsch Gift (PPAI 221823) to represent the company in the Pacific Northwest, effective January 1. Brown has been in the promotional products industry for more than 25 years, and he started his own sales representative group in 2003.

Vancouver, British Columbia, supplier STORMTECH Performance Apparel (PPAI 260245) has brought Brian Harris Agencies onto its Canadian sales team, effective January 1, to handle sales and service in Northern Alberta.

The PSI Show is hosting its Product Review Event on January 8, just ahead of the 2018 PSI Show in Düsseldorf, Germany. Attendees will preview new products, meet with participating exhibitors and have access to educational workshops. The package also includes one night at Düsseldorf's Intercity Hotel, networking opportunities and a VIP ticket to the PSI Show, which allows access to the show's VIP Lounge and free drinks, snacks and parking. PSI members can register here, and nonmembers can register here.

Distributor Swag Promo, LLC (PPAI 562712) in Alpharetta, Georgia, has brought Jim Franklyn on as vice president of business development. An industry veteran, Franklyn spent eight years with distributor Inkhead Promotional Products.

St. Paul, Minnesota-based supplier Crystal D (PPAI 112326) has promoted three employees to new positions. Marketing Manager Bridget Dahlgren has been promoted to director of sales and marketing. Dahlgren will now oversee the business development, inside sales solutions, and the marketing departments. Marketing Coordinator Alexis Kurttila has been promoted to marketing manager. Kurttila will lead the marketing department to enhance the Crystal D brand and support the sales departments. Business Development Manager Kale Wallner has been promoted to vice president of sales for the Southern territory. Wallner will continue to grow business and develop relationships with dealers in the South.

Displays and Signage (PPAI 525794), a supplier headquartered in Chandler, Arizona, has brought on Incentives West (PPAI 224617), led by Mark Shinn, MAS, and Steve DeMars, to represent the company in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington.

Distributor InnerWorkings, based in Chicago, Illinois, has appointed Charles "Chip" Hodgkins, currently senior vice president, corporate development and strategic initiatives, to interim chief financial officer. Hodgkins' appointment to the role follows the departure of former Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey P. Pritchett. Since assuming his current role with InnerWorkings in 2014, Hodgkins has taken on increasing responsibilities in finance and operations, including for the company's supplier relations, accounts payable, logistics, and strategic sourcing teams, and he has been instrumental in driving numerous strategic initiatives within the organization. Hodgkins led the company's global mergers and acquisitions efforts from 2007 to 2013, completing dozens of acquisitions during this seven-year period.

C. Sanders Emblems (PPAI 440381) marked its 60th anniversary in the promotional products industry with an open house on November 7. The San Fernando, California, supplier's guests included city officials, customers, vendors, neighbors, friends and family, as well as Lugene Sanders, daughter of Charles Sanders, the original owner of the company.

The celebration included employee-led tours of the facility, where visitors saw firsthand the steps of designing promotional products, including how the art department and warehouse operate. Guests also learned about other celebrations and significant moments in the company's history. Every guest left with several promotional giveaways and a special 60th anniversary photo of themselves.

At Cap America's (PPAI 111597) annual sales meeting, held November 30 in St. Louis, Missouri, the supplier presented its annual sales awards. John Wermers and Dennis Biesiada of John Wermers & Associates took home the Distinguished Sales Award. The firm represents the Fredericktown-based supplier in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Christian Brown of CB Marketing Group, which presents Cap America in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, was presented with the President's Circle Award.

Brown says, "This award is shared with many on The Cap America team as it is a collective effort to be successful. I can't do it without them ... big things to come as a group in 2018!"

Supplier Terry Town (PPAI 230911) in San Diego, California, has hired Kurt and Kyle McGovern of McGovern Marketing to represent the company in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio. They join Ed Maloney and Blake Dugger in the West, Scott Blankenship and Sharon Wohlleber in the Southwest, Joe Keely in the lower Midwest, Jon Wendinger in the upper Midwest, Chris Sinatra in the Central Midwest, Mark Larned and Ken Cecco in the Northeast, and Bill McDonald and Doug Terry in the Southeast.


The Promotional Products Pioneers recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves in the industry through their vision, drive, innovation, character and leadership, or contributed to the development of technologies that stand out in industry advancement. The honorees were selected by the Hall of Fame advisory group which identified them based on their noteworthy contributions and impact on the promotional products industry.

The 2018 Promotional Products Pioneers recipients are S. Allen Dohan, CEO of supplier The Allen Company; Marty Lott, owner and president of apparel supplier SanMar; and the late Bill Schmidt, previous CEO of supplier Hit Promotional Products.

Recognition will take place at the 2018 PPAI Expo in Las Vegas during the Chairman's Leadership Dinner on January 15.

Starline USA (PPAI 112719) welcomes Brian Porter as senior vice president of sales and marketing. Porter has more than 20 years of industry experience and most recently was vice president of North American sales at Pro Towels. He currently serves on the Promotional Products Education Foundation's Board of Trustees, and is a long-time volunteer with the Promotional Products Association of the Midwest, having served as its president in 2016. In his new role, Porter will oversee the U.S. and Canadian sales and marketing teams.

Phil Saks, former director of operations of Indianapolis, Indiana, supplier EMT (PPAI 110810), has finalized purchase of the company from the estate of the company's founder, Steve Weinstein. Saks served as EMT's director of operations for 16 years before being named chief operating officer in 2014. Weinstein passed away in May. Saks will immediately assume the role of president of EMT.

Supplier Fields Manufacturing (PPAI 111951) has announced the retirement of Sue Tobias, senior vice president of sales. Her last day at the Saint Cloud, Minnesota, company will be at the end of the year. She has been with Fields for the past 18 years, and has worked in the promotional products industry since 1968. She started her career with Shedd Brown and later was with Awardcraft for 15 years before joining Fields.

Adam Weisman has been named chief operating officer of Sterling, Illinois-based distributor HALO Branded Solutions (PPAI 106462). Weisman comes to HALO with extensive business and operational leadership roles in blue chip companies including DuPont and General Electric as well as mid-cap companies such as Cabot Microelectronics.

Allie Cleman has launched distributor Harbour Town Promotions (PPAI 714707) in Edgewater, Maryland. She serves as the company's president and CEO.

Polyconcept North America, parent company of suppliers Leed's (PPAI 112361), Bullet (PPAI 113079), JournalBooks (PPAI 110769) and Trimark (PPAI 198982), has brought on three new hard-goods field sales managers. Matt Dyke comes to PCNA with 12 years of experience in the promotional products industry, and will serve customers in Northeastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. Julie Nordine Jacob has more than 17 years of experience in the industry, and will serve customers in Northern Georgia. Jim Ferris is joining the company with three years of industry experience and will work with customers in Indiana. The new field sales managers will be their customers' primary contact for PCNA Hardgoods.

Pro Towels (PPAI 112755) has promoted Keith Lofton to vice president of sales. Lofton has been with the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-headquartered supplier for almost six years, joining it as regional director for the Southeast. Most recently, he served as national accounts director, East.

City of Industry, California-based Sweda Company, LLC (PPAI 113914) has hired Craig Wallace as the supplier's new national accounts executive. Wallace joins Sweda from OMNi Apparel where he served as the business development manager, representing many of the accounts he will work with at Sweda. Prior to working with OMNi, he spent 11 years with Staples Promotional Products in a variety of roles including field sales manager.

Supplier Crystal D (PPAI 112326), headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, is celebrating its 25th year in business. Starting as a glass etching company producing mostly barware, it has grown into a manufacturer of crystal recognition awards and crystal gifts. To date, the company has designed and created over 260 exclusive designs and distributes 1,500 awards to more than 150,000 recipients annually.

"The next 12 months are going to be filled with celebration," says President Chuck Dahlgren. "Twenty-five years is a milestone that I will not let go by quietly! I love my business, but I also love my employees. I am really lucky to have had success with the people we've hired as well as the business itself."

Distributor EverythingBranded (PPAI 713224), part of the Charles Alexander Distribution printing group based in Leicester, UK, expanded to the U.S. market in January with an office in Wilmington, Delaware. It now plans to open an office on the West Coast, expanding its account team in the U.S. from 40 individuals to more than 100 by the end of 2018.

Glenwood, Minnesota, distributor American Diversity Business Solutions (PPAI 262422) has promoted Erica VanBeck (left) to president. She previously served as vice president and has been with the company for 18 years. Additionally, Lori Wrolson (center), who has been with the company for seven years, has been promoted from accountant to director of accounting. Faye Bosek (right) has been promoted to director of ecommerce after working on the eCommerce team and as a trainer. She has been with the company for seven years and plans on improving Diversity's eCommerce platform. American Diversity's founder, Diane Zavadil, will remain as CEO and chairman of the board.

The PPAI Women's Leadership Conference (WLC) attracts leaders from across the country who are passionate about the promotional products industry. This educational event has become the go-to for any industry woman wanting to learn, network and have fun doing it. PPAI is offering a grant to attend the 2018 PPAI Women's Leadership Conference June 25-27 in Hollywood, California. This grant assists those who possess the desire to learn and grow in their chosen field by providing financial support to attend. One grant per year is awarded and must be used in that calendar year. If you or someone you know would like to attend but need assistance, apply now for the WLC Grant. All applications must be received by April 8. The grant recipient will be announced by May 7. For questions, contact Stacy Riddler at StacyR@ppai.org.

Kristen Ludgate has been appointed senior vice president, corporate communications and enterprise services, effective January 1, at St. Paul, Minnesota-based 3M. Ludgate joined 3M in 2008 as senior counsel, legal affairs. She is currently vice president of global human resources business operations, and has also served as chief compliance officer. The supplier participates in the promotional products industry through 3M Promotional Markets Dept. (PPAI 113638).

Dawn Ruler, MAS, has been promoted to division sales vice president for Geiger Midwest by the Lewiston, Maine, distributor (PPAI 105182), effective December 1. Ruler, who joined Geiger in 2015 as an independent sales partner, has worked in the promotional products industry for more than 17 years. She serves as a current board member of PPAChicago and has served in volunteer roles for PPAI, including the Distributor Committee and the Women's Leadership Work Group.

Hub Pen Company (PPAI 110772) has brought Terese Cook on as a business systems support analyst.  Cook comes to Hub after 17 years with international IP video company Piksel. At Hub Pen, she will work to improve the business processes throughout both Hub and Beacon Promotions, both as an analyst and project manager.

Washington, Missouri, supplier The Magnet Group (PPAI 338534) has hired Becky Blyth, a 13-year industry veteran, as a director of key accounts.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is hosting international training seminars for buyers and sourcing professionals in China and Vietnam in March 2018. These sessions are an opportunity for government representatives to share the latest information on important product requirements and standards, and for industry members to share their insights and experiences for the benefit of consumer safety. The sessions will be held in Shanghai on March 13, Guangzhou on March 15 and Ho Chi Minh City on March 20. The training is free of charge and will have simultaneous translation. To sign up to receive early notification when registration opens, contact BuyersTraining2018@cpsc.gov. Space is limited and registration, once open, will close February 28, 2018.

Supplier BAG MAKERS (PPAI 111408) in Union, Illinois, has hired Carol Vickers (left) as regional business development manager for the company's northwest territory, covering Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Alaska, and parts of Northern California. Vickers, an industry veteran, has more than 40 years of sales experience, along with established relationships with promotional product distributors throughout the northwest region. Amanda Madai, the company's previous regional business development manager for the northwest region, has accepted an internal position as BAG MAKERS' general manager. In her new role, Madai will be involved in the day-to-day business operations of the company, as well as product sourcing and relationships with external suppliers and factory partners. Madai also will continue to service some key national accounts.

Sharon, Massachusetts-based supplier Charles River Apparel (PPAI 111644) has brought Ross Dohrmann and Wes Stevens on in newly created roles on its sales team. Dohrmann will come onboard as a new regional sales manager. He will be responsible for overseeing the sales representative team based in the Midwest and New England. Stevens will serve as a new inside sales manager, and he will manage the inside sales team and focus on strategy and process for growing the inside sales footprint at the company.

Connect the Dots Promotions (PPAI 368415) in Phoenix, Arizona, has brought Kim Works on as an account executive. Works brings more than 15 years of industry experience to her role at the distributor.

Supplier Lanco (PPAI 112333), has secured financing from NC Promotions ("NC"), an affiliate of Nassau Candy, the parent company of supplier Chocolate Inn (PPAI 111662), and has a purchase agreement for NC to acquire its business assets. The company will remain in its Ronkonkoma, New York, location, and current employees will remain in place.

"We have secured financing to enable Lanco to continue operations," says Scott Slade, president of Lanco Corporation. "We have restocked inventory levels, are supporting customers and fulfilling orders in their entirety. We are retaining our employees and will continue the great legacy of Lanco."

"This is a good thing for Lanco, the industry, our employees, our customers—for everybody involved," Slade added.

Lanco Corporation is a third-generation company founded in 1985. Slade was named president in 2011.

New orders for manufactured goods to U.S. factories saw the sharpest rise in four months with an increase of 1.4 percent in September, following a jump of 1.2 percent in August, the Commerce Department reported on Friday. Shipments, up nine of the past 10 months, increased $3.9 billion or 0.8 percent to $480.4 billion for the same period.

In the July-September period, the overall economy grew at a rate of three percent following a 3.1 percent GDP rise in the second quarter. It marked the first consecutive quarterly gains of three percent or better in three years. Orders for nondurable goods, items not expected to last three years, rose 0.8 percent, or $1.8 billion in September. The gain was led by a rise in petroleum products.  

Multi-line reps provide many of the most critical connections within the promotional products industry, bridging the gap between suppliers and distributors, and serving up promotional solutions, samples, ideas and expertise. It's not an easy job but those who do it well make their clients look like the winners.

It's time to start thinking about those multi-line reps who are true partners in your business and plan to nominate them as one of PPB's Best Multi-Line Reps for 2018. Nominations open November 20 and close December 15. Nominees must be affiliated with a PPAI member company and previous honorees are ineligible. Watch for a link to the nomination form in PPB Newslink's November 21 issue.

Andrew Sawczenko has joined supplier Spector and Co. (PPAI 168328) as territory sales manager based in Chicago, Illinois. He will be working with the company's multi-line rep team, Bridge Marketing, to manage sales in Illinois, as well as key accounts in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.

Supplier Vantage Apparel (PPAI 113235) welcomes Scott Meade as regional sales representative for eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. Meade brings 20 years of experience in the promotional products industry to the role. He also served as a board member of the Philadelphia Area Promotional Products Association (PAPPA), and currently he is a trustee of the Specialty Advertising Association of Greater New York (SAAGNY) Foundation Board. 

Business services provider commonsku (PPAI 552077), headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, has brought Parmveer Khangura on as business development representative. Khangura is a former IT and small-business consultant and graduate of York University, and in his new role will consult with the company's customers on the right technology solutions for growth.

Stormtech Performance Apparel (PPAI 260245) has named Mike Oliver its new Canadian sales manager, responsible for Western Canada and designated national strategic key accounts. In his new role, he will develop and maintain effective corporate account relationships and ensure business growth is delivered in accordance with the organizational strategy. Oliver is returning to Stormtech, having joined the Vancouver, British Columbia-headquartered supplier in 1996. He spent nine years growing the brand in eastern Canada. He has since worked at the Bugattie Group, where he spent 12 years as regional sales manager, director of sales, and most recently as vice president of specialty advertising.

Pat Doyle, owner of distributor Proforma Promotional Products of Canada (PPAI 335386) in Pickering, Ontario, was named Business Person of the Year by the Ajax Pickering Board of Trade at its 2017 Business Excellence Awards. Recipients are nominated by their peers in six categories, and evaluated by a panel of judges. A 25-year industry veteran, Doyle was recognized by the board at an awards gala on October 19.

Bill Zeuch has been named senior vice president, sales, marketing and ecommerce at Neenah, Wisconsin, distributor AIA Corporation (PPAI 101364). Zeuch will be responsible for helping AIA's franchise owners and sales affiliates to increase their sales and profitability. In support of these efforts, he will lead all aspects of AIA's success management, marketing and communication efforts, and will work with key suppliers to further develop Brandtrinsic, AIA's exclusive content curation and sharing platform. Zeuch has extensive experience as both a senior sales and marketing executive and a successful entrepreneur.

Supplier Alternative Apparel (PPAI 217134) in Atlanta, Georgia, has added Emma Williams to its sales team to further develop their growing customer base in the Northeast. Williams, originally from Boston, started her career in technical design and later transitioned to the world of screen-printing as a sales rep. In her new role as account executive, Williams will cover the northeast territory, including New York and New Jersey.

Evanston, Illinois-based DARD Products (PPAI 113923) has named Susan Lewandowski vice president of marketing and business development. Lewandowski will be responsible for the leadership of the DARD sales team, developing new business opportunities and creating customized solutions to customer needs. She brings more than 25 years of experience in the promotional products industry to the role.

DisruptSports (PPAI 698768), a supplier headquartered in Santa Monica, California, has brought Kathy Kalmon on as the company's new Midwest business developer. Opening a new office in Chicago, Illinois, Kalmon will be supported by DisruptSports' sales, operations and manufacturing team in Santa Monica, as well as its international offices in the UK and Australia. Kalmon brings more than 15 years of experience on the distributor and supplier sides of the business to the role.

Distributor ePromos Promotional Products, Inc. (PPAI 212648) has donated $15,000 to the American Red Cross for disaster and hurricane relief. The donation is comprised of employee contributions, which the company matched, as well as a percentage of proceeds from September 18-20. The cumulative donation reflects the fundraising of the ePromos, ePromos Brand Solutions and Motivators brands under ePromos Promotional Products, Inc.
"This hurricane season has been devastating," says ePromos President Steve Paradiso. "It will be a long road to recovery for the areas affected by the hurricanes, but I am thankful to have a team eager to help in any way we can."

In the quest to attract customers and build buzz, brands making an impact by turning to promotional products that represent distinct departures from their core offerings. USA Today features some of the more eye-opening examples of these attention-grabbing products, from KFC's Colonel Sanders pillowcases to a $20,000 jewelry set from Cheetos.

Brett Laidlaw has joined Lawrence, Massachusetts-based supplier Gemline (PPAI 113948) as regional sales manager for Northern California. Laidlaw previously served as vice president for business development at TechCentrix USA, a company that uses technology to personalize products.

IMAGEN Brands, parent company of suppliers Crown Products (PPAI 113430) and Vitronic (PPAI 114197) has brought Jerry Bridges on as business development manager-Georgia and Tennessee. Bridges has spent the past 20 years in the custom information packaging/printing industry with previous experience in outside sales and sales management.

Supplier King Louie America (PPAI 337199) in Leawood, Kansas, has promoted John McMillan to CEO. McMillan has been with the company for 23 years, most recently serving as vice president of sales and marketing.

Paul Whyatt has joined Issaquah, Washington-based supplier SanMar (PPAI 110788) as chief financial officer. Whyatt's background includes more than 20 years of senior finance and operations experience, primarily at Weyerhaeuser Corporation. He comes to SanMar from Merrill and Ring Forest Products, where he served as CFO. Whyatt also managed finance and operations for a few Seattle-area startup companies. Whyatt's arrival is in preparation for the retirement of Marty Rask, vice president of finance, at the end of the year.

Syracuse, New York-based Thermopatch, doing business in the promotional products industry as supplier DECO-PRINT (PPAI 272075), has named Jim Sinclair senior design engineer. In his new role, Sinclair's responsibilities will include assisting the efforts of the engineering department, quality control, and facilitating all development efforts on the company's identification equipment. He brings more than 30 years' experience in product development, manufacturing, drafting documentation, and management in drafting and engineering in various industries to the position.

Vetta, LLC, parent company of supplier J. America Wholesale Blanks (PPAI 351699), has named Glenn Silbert chief executive officer. Throughout his 25-year career, Silbert has held roles in all areas of consumer products—from merchandising, sourcing, marketing, operations and strategic planning—with Gap, Macy's, Foot Locker and Carter's. Silbert has spent the past six years in various leadership roles at Under Armour, most recently as the senior vice president of product and global brand licensing.

Gemline (PPAI 113948) has promoted Michael Dunn to account manager. Most recently a regional manager covering Southern California and Hawaii, in his new role Dunn will manage relationships with specific key national accounts. The Lawrence, Massachusetts, supplier has also brought Natalie Azmitia on to replace Dunn as regional manager for Southern California and Hawaii, and Maiya Dworkin, on as an inside sales representative to provide support to the Southern California territory.

Sandy Senn has joined Chicago, Illinois, supplier Toddy Gear, Inc. (PPAI 516677) as an account manager. In her new role, Senn will focus on strategically building sales revenue with new customers, while growing sales with the company's current clients. She comes to Toddy Gear with 14 years of supplier industry experience in relationship building and growing sales.

Supplier Seville Gear (PPAI 113233) has announced that it has added Inventory Status to its PromoStandards integration. PromoStandards is an industry-wide collaboration designed to enable industry participants to improve the customer experience, reduce transactional errors and improve the digital promotional experience. Seville Gear currently supports the Inventory standard, with commitments to adhere to all future standards and plans to implement the Order Status and Order Ship Notification standards by the end of 2017.

Brandon Moon has joined Mason, Ohio-based IMAGEN Brands, parent company of suppliers Crown Products (PPAI 113430) and Vitronic (PPAI 114197), as regional sales manager—New England. Moon previously worked in golf sales and has experience in wholesale for clothing, screen-printing and embroidered products.

Wolfmark Neckwear Corporation (PPAI 114140), headquartered in Neenah, Wisconsin, has brought Stephanie Kern on to assist the supplier in the development and execution of a creative and innovative marketing communication strategy. She has extensive experience in marketing, branding and visual communication for multimedia outlets.

New Ulm, Minnesota-based supplier Beacon Promotions, Inc. (PPAI 113702) has hired Nichole Heiderscheidt as a customer care representative. She will be handling accounts in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. 

Bensussen Deutsch & Associates (PPAI 109381) has hired industry veteran Marc Roy as divisional vice president of client integration and new ventures. Roy brings more than 20 years of industry and senior level leadership experience to the Woodinville, Washington, distributor. He says that his first priority in joining the company is to contribute to the evolving growth strategy surrounding its recent acquisitions in London, Manchester and Paris.

Chocolate Inn / Taylor & Grant (PPAI 111662) has announced that Mark and Nick Chipchase of MAC Marketing have joined the Hicksville, New York, company to represent it in the Mid-Atlantic territory.They will be directly responsible for leading and executing incoming projects for the entire Mid-Atlantic territory including Maryland; North Carolina; South Carolina; Virginia; Washington, D.C.; and West Virginia.

IMAGEN Brands, parent company of suppliers Crown Products (PPAI 113430) and Vitronic (PPAI 114197), has promoted Debra Remmert to national accounts coordinator and key account rep. She has 21 years of experience with the company, holding roles in customer service, inside sales for Texas and Louisiana, and inside sales manager for Vitronic.

Starline USA (PPAI 112719), headquartered in Grand Island, New York, has added two new members to inside sales team. Sodji Tossah has been promoted to inside sales representative, covering Illinois, Indiana and southern Wisconsin. Tossah has been with Starline for nine years, working as a bilingual customer care representative and as a member of the Starline Canadian inside sales team. Kathleen Sullivan has joined the supplier as the new inside sales representative covering the Northeast—Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia—and the Southeast—Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Tennessee. She brings 22 years of sales experience in the IT distribution field to her role.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-headquartered supplier Pro Towels (PPAI 112755) has welcomed a new rep to its sales team. Nick Chipchase with Mac Marketing will cover Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee, and he will represent products from each company: Pro Towels, Kanata Blanket, Neet Feet and Superior.

Not long after the shooting Sunday night that killed 58 people and wounded more than 500 in Las Vegas, black and white ads have begun appearing all over the city reading, "We've been there for you during the good times. Thank you for being there for us now." Alongside the words are the Las Vegas tourism logo and the hashtag #VegasStrong.

In New York City after 9/11 with "United We Stand," #BostonStrong after the marathon bombing and elsewhere, outdoor advertising has been used by cities reeling from the unimaginable to express their collective grief and resilience. In AdWeek, writer Tim Nudd explores the story behind the message and how R&R Partners, the agency behind "What happens here stays here," got it out to Las Vegas.

PPAI and Johnny Earle, aka "Johnny Cupcakes," founder of the t-shirt brand, traveled to New York City in September to bring the message of the Get In Touch!® industry branding initiative and promotional products to Advertising Week. PPAI is a long-time participant in Advertising Week, and this year the Association hosted Earle at B.B. King NYC, where he shared the novel, creative ways he's connected with customers and built his brand.
Afterward, Earle, along with PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, and PPAI Board Chair Mary Jo Tomasini, MAS, were interviewed by BJ Smith at the Playstation Theater for the AW360 Live Podcast where they shared their stories and spoke on products and brands that connect with consumers. Smith is the former host of iHeartMedia's Madison Radio podcast. His interviews with Earle, Bellantone and Tomasini are now available online.

Nicholas Chipchase has joined MAC Marketing's representation of Champlain, New York, supplier Spector & Co. (PPAI 168328). The multi-line rep firm, led by Mark Chipchase, has expanded its territory for Spector & Co. to Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.

3M, headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, and operating in the promotional products industry as 3M Promotional Markets (PPAI 113638), has appointed Paul Keel senior vice president, business development and marketing-sales, and Jon Lindekugel senior vice president, supply chain. Prior to assuming their new roles, Keel served as senior vice president, supply chain, and Lindekugel served as senior vice president, business development and marketing-sales.

DistributorCentral (PPAI 220404) has brought Adam Mertz on as a software engineer. Mertz brings a diverse range of skills to the Gardner, Kansas-based business services company, including creating internal dashboards, analysis of big data, QA development and web application development. Previously, Mertz has held positions at Codero Hosting and ARRIS on both the business and engineering and development sides.

Supplier Advance Corporation (PPAI 111135), headquartered in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, has brought Steve Donlin of Team Donlin on as its Midwest sales multi-line representative. He will be representing the supplier in the midwest territory, covering Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Charles River Apparel (PPAI 111644), headquartered in Sharon, Massachusetts, has promoted Mark Gama to regional sales manager. Gama joined the supplier in 2016 as an account executive. In his new role, Mark will be responsible for managing direct sales reps in their territories and increasing revenue through relationship cultivation and new business opportunities. Before joining Charles River Apparel, Mark spent 30 years in the golf industry, including 15 years as an independent sales rep. He is a former director of sales at TaylorMade and a former vice president of sales with Tommy Hilfiger Golf.

Voting is open for the PPAI Supplier Star Awards. The awards honor suppliers who have gone above and beyond to fulfill distributors' orders and help them find the right products for their clients. The awards are an opportunity for PPAI distributor members to vote for the top supplier companies that have delivered the best customer service, communication, on-time delivery and top quality products. Voting is open through October 13.

Chocolate Inn/Taylor & Grant (PPAI 111662) have named Kevin Sephton as its new Southeast regional manager. Sephton brings more than 20 years of industry experience to the Hicksville, New York-based supplier. He previously served as the president of PPAMS and is a current board member of the regional association. Sephton will be directly responsible for leading and executing incoming projects for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Supplier Gill Studios (PPAI 114157) has promoted Dana Henton (left) to regional sales manager for the central region. Henton has been with the Shawnee Mission, Kansas, company for six years, having begun her career there as a regional sales associate for the northeast region, before moving to Bebco Marketing line manager in 2015. In her new role, she will be responsible for developing relationships and supporting customers in selling the Gill and Bebco brands. The supplier has also promoted Liz Morrison to regional sales associate for the midwest region. Morrison has been with the company for 1.5 years, having come onboard in a customer service role. In her new role, she will provide inside sales support for the midwest territory.

Los Angeles, California-based supplier AST Sportswear (PPAI 213725) has named Nadir Zulfiqar, former vice president of sales for Direct Tees and national sales manager for Cotton Heritage, its new vice president of brand development. Zulfiqar, a veteran and graduate of West Point, began his apparel industry career with Vanity Fair in 1993 as a global sourcing director.

HanesBrands (PPAI 191138) has appointed Barry A. Hytinen as chief financial officer, effective October 16. Hytinen joins Hanes from Tempur Sealy International, where he served as chief financial officer. Hytinen has nearly 20 years of finance experience, including oversight of mergers and acquisitions, capital structure, global strategy and tax structure, corporate development and investor relations.

The Michigan Promotional Professionals Association (MiPPA) has elected new members to its board of directors. The regional association's members elected Rachel Olson, account executive with distributor Davidson Promotional Products; Glenn Miotke, president of distributor Unfolding Communications; and Kelly Connolly, outside territory manager for supplier Charles River Apparel, to the board. Their terms begin January 1, 2018 and run through December 31, 2019.

The Michigan Promotional Professionals Association (MiPPA) has announced that LaDonna Belcher will be inducted into the regional association's Hall of Fame. MiPPA will recognize Belcher's contributions to the association at a celebration on November 11 at its annual meeting and dinner aboard the Detroit Princess Riverboat. Belcher is the executive director of the Ohio Promotional Professionals Association (OPPA).

Belcher's nomination cited her role in assisting the organization during the particularly difficult period when long-time MiPPA CEO Donna Hall passed away. Belcher assumed the role of interim executive director and assembled a task force search committee. She was able to keep the board of directors focused on maintaining programs and services, conduct a successful search for a new executive director and provide the guidance for a successful transition. Her nominator writes, "She put together a vision of what the organization would look like in the future. Because of her vision, MiPPA is a model organization for all regional promotional product organizations."

Supplier HandStands Promo, LLC (PPAI 111285) took advantage of an opportunity to give back to their local community by providing a newly founded elementary school in the Salt Lake City, Utah, area with custom printed Mouse Mats with their school mascot on them. This donation helped supply all faculty members with a mousepad for their classroom for the new school year.

"Here at HandStands we like to highlight our organizational 'Core Values,' one of which is Purpose. We encourage our employees to have purpose not only in their daily work, but outside as well.  We are excited to have worked with Old Mill Elementary on this successful donation," says Jason Fogg, executive vice president.

In a world where remarkable customer service is the exception rather than the rule, PPB is proud to identify those promotional products professionals who go above and beyond their customers' expectations on a regular basis.

Customer service at this level—highly responsive, courteous, informative and accurate—easily differentiates one company from the next and not only wins business, but can win a customer over for life.

The seven professionals selected as this year's PPB Service Superheroes were nominated by their clients, reps and coworkers for their relentless pursuit of excellence in delivering customer service. Read more about them in PPB's November issue.

Congratulations to this year's honorees:
Laurie Bandas, Customer Service Supervisor, Pacesetter Awards
John Jacobsen, Account Executive, SanMar
Denise Mohn, Strategic Account Representative, Sweda
Alison Peters, Director of Accounts, Icon Blue
Venus Thom, National Account Coordinator, Imagen Brands
Nancy Waters, Senior Key Account Manager, Image Source
Lindsey Whitney, National Sales Representative, Raining Rose

Ray Hughes, former vice president of wholesale for American Apparel and director of strategic accounts at Bella + Canvas, has joined supplier AST Sportswear, Inc. as vice president of sales and marketing. The U.S.-made apparel manufacturer has locations in Los Angeles and Orange County, California. 

Supplier Sacs and Boxes 2 (PPAI 112906) has closed its St. Joseph, Missouri, production plant. The closure affects minimums, pricing and lead times for several products  for new and repeat orders received after September 15. The company suggests distributors contact the company directly before quoting small quantity orders.

All orders currently in house will be printed as ordered.

Suppliers Gordon Sinclair (PPAI 111537) and Tempo Industries (PPAI 110911) have notified customers they will be closed on September 21 and 22 in observance of the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah. They ask that distributors schedule their orders accordingly. If your company will be closed for the holiday, please notify PPB Newslink at PPB@ppai.org for an updated story in the next edition.

Alan Chippindale returns to distributor Proforma (PPAI 196835) to serve as senior vice president of business development. Chippindale had previously worked with Cleveland, Ohio-based Proforma from 1987 to 2007. For the past 10 years he has worked to form, build and expand Canada's BrandAlliance. In his new role with Proforma, he will lead the launch of a new bundle of distributor services exclusively for new Proforma member owners with sales ranging from $5 to $50 million.

Supplier Sweda Company, LLC (PPAI 113914) has named Shelley Bednarski as its new regional sales executive for the Southeast region. Bednarski is the current president of the Promotional Products Association of Florida and brings more than 15 years of industry experience to the role.

Hixson, Tennessee-based supplier Gold Bond (PPAI 113974) has brought Brooke Standefer on as the manager for the inside sales team. She brings a background in both logistics and health industries to the position.

Supplier MasterCast Ltd. (PPAI 112455) has completed the integration of the Amcraft product line. Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based Mastercast acquired Amcraft in 2016 and continued to operate it as an independent selling division. Going forward, however, Amcraft and its products will fall under the MasterCast brand. Marken Industries, MasterCast Ltd.'s other selling division, will continue with its own independent branding.

Emmanuel Bruno, formerly the vice president and general manager at BIC Graphic North America (PPAI 114187), has been named president of the Tampa, Florida-headquartered supplier. Bruno has been with BIC Graphic for eight years and prior to that, he held multiple operational executive roles within BIC Consumer and other companies.

"On my side, it is just a change of title," says Bruno, "I am honored to work with the people throughout our organization as it is they who define our leadership within this industry. This has never been more apparent than with the recent events of Hurricane Irma."

BIC Graphic, which was sold to H.I.G Capital earlier this year, operates five facilities across the United States with three in Florida and two in Minnesota, in addition to a sourcing operation in Hong Kong and mainland China. 

Industry Companies Move Toward Recovery Following Irma

Florida, Georgia and South Carolina continue to pick up the pieces left in the wake of Hurricane Irma. While difficulties remain, industry companies in the stricken region are working to return to normality. Delray Beach, Florida-based The Book Company reports that its facility is up and fully operational, while BIC Graphic has announced that it will reinstate 24-hour service for orders received beginning September 18 for all product categories with the exception of writing instruments, lighters and ceramic drinkware. These product categories are produced or decorated out of BIC's Florida facilities and their standard lead times have been extended by three additional days, although these too are expected to be back to normal by the middle of next week.

For more updates on the status of industy companies following Hurricane Irma, refer to the PPAI's list of businesses that have reported delays or closures. Numerous companies in the affected region have taken advantage of PPAI's Emergency Closures Form, which helps businesses in the storm's path share updates on their situation and inform customers of alternate ways to contact them or check orders after the hurricane.

The Houston Promotional Products Association's (HPPA) 2017 Hot Stuff Expo had been scheduled for August 29, falling in the midst of Hurricane Harvey's assault on Southeast Texas. While the regional association cancelled the show's original date, the HPPA board announced today that it would not reschedule the show for later in 2017 as previous planned.

Dave DeGreeff, HPPA executive director, says, "We appreciate the amazing support from our promotional product industry family in response to the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. This industry has, once again, proven that we are the best, most caring industry that exists. The outpouring of love, prayers, well-wishes, donations and other support has been phenomenal. Your support gave us the room we needed to focus on the recovery of our HPPA family and those in the surrounding areas affected by the storm. ... We have shifted our events where we needed to, and have come up with a great end of 2017, as we demonstrate that we're Houston Strong!"

Hixson, Tennessee-based Gold Bond (PPAI 113974) has added two new members to its sales team. Tia Flynn (left) has been promoted from sales support to an outside sales representative, after six months with the company. Flynn, who came to Gold Bond with more than 15 years of experience in retail sales, will work with distributors in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Patricia Hai joins the supplier as the outside sales rep for the West Coast. Based in Portland, Oregon, her territory will include her home state, California, plus Nevada and Washington. Her background includes 10 years on the distributor side of the industry.

Beacon Promotions has hired Lori Pietz as a customer care representative. She will handle accounts in New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Pietz's background includes 14 years as an educator, and work in sales and marketing for an accounting software reseller.

Supplier HandStands Promo, LLC (PPAI 111285), in Salt Lake City, Utah, has hired Charley Johnson as the new senior vice president of sales and marketing. Johnson brings more than a decade of promotional products industry experience to the HandStands team, having served as part owner and executive vice president for SNUGZ USA for 15 years. In between his employment with SNUGZ and HandStands, he was president of the Pay It Forward Foundation, made famous by the 2000 movie with Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt.

Sarah Page has been promoted to vice president of overseas operations at Cap America, Inc. (PPAI 111597). Page has been with the Fredericktown, Missouri, supplier for more than 12 years. In her new role, she will be responsible for providing program and personnel direction to the company's overseas office while supporting growth of the organization, as well as directing day to day import operations, staff training and customer relations.

Hub Pen Company (PPAI 110772) and Beacon Promotions (PPAI 113702) have hired Michael Sacco as manufacturing and quality engineer.  Sacco worked as product engineer for Tyco fire protection products for more than seven years before joining the Braintree, Massachusetts-headquartered suppliers.

IMAGEN Brands, the Mason, Ohio-based parent company of suppliers Crown Products (PPAI 113430) and Vitronic (PPAI 114197), has named Amanda Delaney as regional sales manager for Florida. Delaney has been in the promotional products industry for more than 15 years with a variety of experience including production, distributor sales, and supplier inside and outside sales.

Prime Line (PPAI 112744) has hired Madison Mastro to provide sales support in the mid-Atlantic region for the Bridgeport, Connecticut-based supplier. In her new role, Mastro will help provide a higher level of service to accounts in the territory, which spans from New Jersey to northern Virginia, and will be available for sales calls, ideation and regional shows.

Corporate Imaging Concepts (PPAI 221047), a distributor headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois, has brought Rick Salvadore on as vice president of sales. In this role, he will be responsible for all sales functions, including business development, field sales and inside sales/development teams. Salvadore brings more than 20 years of sales management experience in the technology space to Corporate Imaging Concepts. Most recently, he served as vice president of sales and chief business officer at ITRADENETWORKS, a software company providing supply chain solutions for the food and beverage industry.

Pawtucket, Rhode Island, supplier MasterCast, Ltd. (PPAI 112455) has named Joshua Katseff vice president. He continues his role as general manager of all selling divisions.

Britney Godsey has been promoted to vice president of sales at Hixson, Tennessee, supplier Gold Bond (PPAI 113974). She joined the company six years ago in sales support, before advancing to outside sales and becoming one of highest producing sales reps in Gold Bond's history. For the past six months, she has served as manager of the inside sales team. As vice president of sales, Godsey will manage the 50-plus team of sales support, inside sales reps and outside sales reps.

Plano, Texas, industry software provider Antera Software (PPAI 452579) has announced that it will offer free coud storage to companies in Hurricane Irma's path. Any company that may be affected can contact Antera Software to be provided with complimentary secure electronic cloud storage for their business data. The offer is open to all industry companies, not just Antera Software customers or PPAI members. Antera Software can be contacted at 214-556-8040 or www.anterasoftware.com.

MAC Specialties (PPAI 112420) has brought Maria D. LaFichi on as vice president of sales. She brings more than 40 years of industry experience to the Oceanside, New Jersey, supplier. For the past 20 years, she has served as executive vice president at Zenith Promotions. In her new role, in addition to sales, she will assist in new product research and development as well as marketing, catalog and web development.

Supplier Pepco Poms (PPAI 134252) in Wharton, Texas, was forced to close Wednesday afternoon and vacate its facility because of flooded roads. Wharton is located in Southeast Texas, where Hurricane Harvey has dumped 50 inches of rain since Saturday. All affected companies in the area are asking for customers' patience and understanding as they work through the situation.

All information PPAI has received on companies reporting closures and delays is available here. Send updates about your company's storm-related status to PPB@ppai.org.

On August 22, PPB Newslink reported on industry companies recognized in Inc. magazine's Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. Not included in that story was Pompano Beach, Florida, supplier The Spice Lab (PPAI 562480), at No. 1877. With 200 percent growth between 2013 and 2016, this is The Spice Lab's third consecutive year on the Inc. 5000.

The Michigan Promotional Professionals Association (MiPPA) has announced its 2018 board officers. The 2018 MiPPA executive committee for calendar year 2018 are Jane Mitchell, MAS, president; Lisa Bascom, president-elect; Marci Taran, secretary; Jim McCollough, treasurer; and Paul Zafarana, CAS, immediate past president.

New York City-based supplier Threadfast Apparel (PPAI 622344) has named Jeff Snegg as its new national sales manager. Snegg most recently served as was vice president of business development at Star Tee Apparel and earlier held sales positions at Independent Trading Company, Alstyle Apparel and Next Level Apparel. In leading Threadfast Apparel’s sales team, he will support the supplier’s short-term goal of expanding its North American footprint and maximizing growth in various distribution and sales channels.

Goldstar has brought Parker Melvin on as Midwest regional sales manager. Based in Chicago, Illinois, Melvin will represent the San Diego, California-headquartered supplier in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin. He brings seven years of experience managing sales at three industry distributors to the role.

In support of its strategic growth plan, Cap America (PPAI 111597) has named Mark Gammon its president and chief operating officer. Gammon joined the Fredericktown, Missouri, supplier in 2015 as vice president of sales.

New Ulm, Minnesota, supplier Beacon Promotions, Inc. (PPAI 113702) has hired Scott Eyler as a customer care representative. Eyler will handle accounts in Arkansas, Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.

Braintree, Massachusetts-based suppliers Hub Pen Company (PPAI 110772) and Beacon Promotions (PPAI 113702) have promoted Victoria Freeman to IT support analyst. In this role, Freeman will provide initial support to system users with hardware, software, email and the company’s business applications.  She will also be responsible for updating the company’s website with new products, press releases and distributor sales tools, such as flyers and images. Freeman joined Hub Pen in 2012 as a customer service representative.

Bensussen Deutsch & Associates (PPAI 109381) has added three new members to the Woodinville, Washington-based distributor’s team. Matt Chavlovich has joined the company as senior director, league activation, and will be responsible for leading business development and building relationships within the BDA network of sports clients domestically and abroad. Senior Director, New Business Development Dan Robinette has come onboard to develop long-term organizational strategic goals, build key customer relationships, identify business opportunities, negotiate and close business deals and maintain extensive knowledge of current market conditions. Kristin Spence is the distributor’s new senior director, global procurement, and will apply her global strategy expertise to the company’s procurement team and focus on growth and scalability through customer acquisition and innovation.

Richardson, Texas-based supplier Fossil has appointed Jeffrey Boyer, currently a member of the company’s board of directors, to the positions of executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer, effective October 16. Boyer is replacing Dennis Seco, who is relocating back to California for personal reasons. Boyer was appointed to the supplier’s board of directors in December 2007 and currently serves as chairman of its finance committee. He has also served as executive vice president and chief financial officer for Pier 1 Imports since June 2015.

Supplier GMGPEN (PPAI 313899), headquartered in Lakewood, New Jersey, has brought Josh Gross on as a customer outreach representative. Gross has spent the past five years in the health care field, in a role where his responsibilities included customer service, sales and marketing.

Hixson, Tennessee-based supplier Gold Bond (PPAI 113974) has added Leslie Trewhitt as outside sales rep for Florida; Tracy Lantz has been promoted to outside sales rep, serving Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi; and Eric Washburn has been promoted to inside sales rep, serving Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri and Mississippi.

Spots are filling up quickly at the seventh annual PPAI Product Responsibility Summit, September 18-20 in Newport Beach, California. Each year, Summit attendees take home a sourcing and compliance manual that serves as a guide for industry companies to get their compliance programs up and running quickly and efficiently. This year's binder has been comprehensively reimagined, with a shift in focus from corporate responsibility to risk management. Its best practices, worksheet samples, templates and checklists are focused on mitigating risk. The binder also includes dozens of flow charts that illustrate the pillars of a robust compliance program, and all of the documentation has been updated to reflect current developments affecting the industry.

An in-depth education conference, the Summit explores the current landscape in supply chain security, social responsibility and much more. It highlights the growing importance of social compliance audits and ethical sourcing and manufacturing practices. Facilitated by industry leaders, the Summit will address the ways many industry professionals have turned a cost burden into a strategic advantage. Click here to register. PPAI is also offering discounted room rates at the Duke Hotel, site of the Summit.

Supplier SIMBA (PPAI 110881) has brought Julie Ditchik on as the Oxnard, California, company's marketing director. Ditchik has more than 17 years of marketing and sales management experience in the promotional products and trade show industries, and most recently served as director of sales and marketing at Pinnacle Designs.

Dayton, Ohio, distributor Shumsky (PPAI 108541) has joined several major companies in renewing its commitment to the Global Business Coalition Against Human Trafficking (gBCAT). Formed in 2010 by a number of prominent executives, including Shumsky president Dawn Conway, gBCAT has provided a forum for business to understand how all forms of modern slavery affect their operations and supply chains, and to design effective and pragmatic solutions to combat traffickers.

Under its new scope of work, gBCAT will capitalize on the major organizational strengths, resources and reach of global businesses to accelerate progress on human trafficking. Members will share learnings through webinars and in-person meetings; develop a research lab to incubate ideas, publish reports and identify areas for action, and publicize findings through an enhanced public platform.

American Solutions for Business (PPAI 101656) has promoted Taylor Borst to a promotional communications and public relations role at the Glenwood, Minnesota-based distributor. In her new position, Borst will oversee all internal and external communications while working with ASB’s vendor relations and marketing teams.

Rob Watson has been promoted to managing director of Outstanding Branding North America (PPAI 678649), headquartered in New York City. Watson joined the UK-based distributor as global chief marketing officer in January and helped introduce its U.S. business. In his new role, Watson will continue to lead the distributor’s marketing efforts in the U.S., UK and Hong Kong, but his major role will be to further advance its position in the U.S. marketplace.

Supplier Crystal D (PPAI 112326) has recently added eight new employees to the St. Paul, Minnesota, company’s workforce. Baron Duncan has come onboard in the warehouse department as a material handler; Dah Dah, Michael Goetz and James Thao have joined the production department; Amy Felton has been hired on as executive assistant to the company’s president, Chuck Dahlgren; Nathan Karnick has joined the art department as a production artist; Alexis Kurttila was hired as a marketing coordinator in the marketing department; and Timothy Leutbounshou joined the customer service department as an order manager, managing the Midwest and Northwest territories.

A fire destroyed the production facility at supplier Cooler Graphics (PPAI 226076) in Channelview, Texas, near Houston, on Sunday night. The company reports its inventory was not damaged and a notice on its website says production will continue using sub-contract partners. On-site operations are expected to take 30 to 60 days to restore and, during that time, the supplier asks its customers for support by keeping their business with the company.

A news report published by the local ABC news affiliate says no one was in the facility when the fire broke out overnight and the cause of the fire is unknown. Cooler Graphics, which produces bottle insulators, can wraps, counter mats, mouse pads and other products, has been a PPAI member since 2001.

Hub Pen Company (PPAI 119772) has hired Parich Basnet as sales system support analyst at the Braintree, Massachusetts, supplier. Basnet will be working with the IT and sales departments to expand upon the current NetSuite operating system functions as they relate to sales and finance. He joins the company with several years of consulting experience with NetSuite both in his native Nepal and in North Carolina, where he lived when he first moved to the U.S. three years ago.

Supplier Gold Bond, Inc. (PPAI 113974) in Hixson, Tennessee, has hired Tracey Pruett as director of golf. Pruett has played professionally, designed courses and managed golf properties, and will help develop sponsorship packages, recommend on-trend giveaways and more for the company.

Natalie Clark has joined industry technology provider DistributorCentral (PPAI 220404) as a software support specialist in the Gardner, Kansas-company's product support department. Clark's background includes experience at both distributor and supplier companies.

PPAI Newslink News