Brian Haner, founder and CEO of Image Source – ranked as the No. 48 distributor on PPAI 100’s inaugural ranking in 2023 – passed away last week following an accident that was the result of an unexpected medical emergency. Haner was a 30-year veteran of the promotional products industry, respected by his peers and co-workers for his dedication and leadership.

“Brian has a shining spirit and personality that lit up a room. He was the most optimistic and genuine person I have ever met. the loss of him in all of our lives is impossible to put into words,” says Tom Goos, MAS, president of Image Source, a business partner of Haner who has twice served on the PPAI Board of Directors.

Image Source colleagues say that, more than just a successful businessman, Haner was a mentor and friend who was always enthusiastic and positive.

"His warm demeanor, infectious enthusiasm and genuine compassion touched the lives of many, leaving a lasting impression that transcends professional boundaries. Celebrating 25 years of Image Source in 2023, the IS team had a chance to really look back, enjoy the ride and show their gratitude to the man who brought them all together," Image Source said in remarks submitted to PPAI Media.

“Even As A CEO, He Stays Humble”

Haner started Kirkland, Washington-based Image Source – a company that reported $31 million in revenue in 2022 – out of the upstairs bedroom of his home in 1998.  

As a CEO, Haner was known to be someone who was on the team, rather than just leading the team. At the office, he would do the garbage, clean the dishes and make coffee in the morning for his co-workers. In 2015, PPAI Magazine (then PPB) named him one of promo’s “Best Bosses.”

In 2015, Haner explained his philosophy on leadership to PPAI Media.

“Find that perfect balance between creating a fun and friendly workplace, and a fiercely competitive workplace,” Haner said. “It’s not an easy thing to do, but we’ve been the most successful when those two are in sync with each other. We want our team to have a blast when they are at work, and we also promote accountability and winning. We need to be highly competitive every day in order to bring in the right projects and clients to drive revenue.”

Remembering Brian Haner

Haner graduated from Pacific Lutheran University School of Business in 1989. An accomplished business leader, Image Source was named one of the Fastest Growing Private Companies in Washington state under his watch.

"Brian was the same outside of work that he was inside – enthusiastic, energetic, positive and guided always by his faith," Image Source said. "His greatest pride and joy has always been his family – and friends lucky enough to be a part of his chosen family. Passionate about living each day to it’s fullest, Brian led an active lifestyle and enjoyed hiking, biking, reading, and running."

He leaves behind his mother, Beverly, son Austin Haner, daughter Bailey McKenzie and son-in-law Brock McKenzie.