PPAI presented its highest awards recognizing industry leaders and contributors at Monday night’s Chairman’s Leadership Dinner.

The black-tie event brought out many of the industry’s legends, long-time leaders and top volunteers to thank the newest class of PPAI 50-year members, introduce the inaugural PPAI Promotional Products Pioneers and honor this year’s recipients for the PPAI Distinguished Service Award, PPAI H. Ted Olson Humanitarian Award and the PPAI Hall of Fame.

Rick Brenner, MAS+, PPAI board chair and Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI president and CEO hosted the glittering event at the Mandalay Bay Ballroom, which began with a cocktail reception and silent auction for PPEF, segued to dinner and was capped with the presentation honoring a number of the industry’s finest.

PPAI members recognized and applauded for their 50 years of membership were: Dean Watkins Company East, ADG Promotional Products, Advertising Accents Inc., Ball Chain Manufacturing Company, A.T. Cross, Gemaco Inc. Lipic’s Inc., Paulich Specialty Company Inc., SAMCO Line, Sanatex Corporation, SELCO, and Tee Pee Advertising Co.

Among those honored in PPAI’s newest program, PPAI Promotional Products Pioneers, were Norman Cohn, ASI; the late Forest P. Gill, Gill Studios, Inc.; Frank Krasovec, formerly with Norwood Promotional Products; Norm Stern, Norscot Group and the late Frank B. Thomas, ASNA/PPAI. They were honored for their vision, drive, innovation, character and leadership that played a key role in the advancement of the promotional products industry.

Bruce Felber, MAS, The Image Group, and Teresa Moisant, MAS, Moisant Promotional Products, were honored with PPAI’s Distinguished Service Award, in appreciation for their countless hours of volunteer leadership to PPAI and the industry. In accepting the award from presenter Steven Meyer, MAS, Felber thanked many of his industry friends, family and fellow volunteers within PPAI and the Ohio Promotional Products Association and added, “This is the greatest industry with the greatest people. I share this award with the entire industry and my hope is that we all continue to give back to PPAI and the promotional marketing industry.”

Moisant gratefully accepted the award from her friend and colleague Linda Campbell and recounted many stories and shared her appreciation for those who helped her grow her career in the industry. “This award is all about service,” she said. “I am where I am today because someone helped me. I encourage each of you to open those same doors for others around you and to make someone else’s day a little bit brighter.”

The applause was thundering as Mark S. Gilman, CAS, was presented with the fourth PPAI H. Ted Olson Humanitarian Award by one of his nominators Paul Lage, MAS, in honor of his many decades of servant leadership in a variety of humanitarian pursuits within his community of Shawnee Mission, Kansas. A modest Gilman, who initially was hesitant to be publicly recognized for his many contributions, relented in honor of his friend, H. Ted Olson, PPAI’s former president and CEO for whom the award was named. “I wasn’t sure I wanted to call attention to any humanitarian acts I might have inadvertently committed,” he said.  “But then I thought how proud I would be to have my name associated with Ted Olson, and so I agreed I had many learning experiences under Ted’s guidance and I am humbly grateful to receive this award in his honor.”

The pinnacle of the evening was the induction of G. Stephen Slagle, CAE, into the PPAI Hall of Fame. Slagle, who was president and CEO of PPAI from 1996-2012, was lauded by his nominator, Margie Price, MAS, for his dedicated and superior leadership of the Association through a period of tremendous growth, explosive changes in technology and the structure of the marketplace itself.

“For me, I can’t think of anything I would have preferred to do than serve such a vibrant, meaningful and thriving organization,” said Slagle. “I’m convinced that I received so much more from PPAI than I ever contributed, and for that I will be forever grateful.”

Read more about all of this year’s award winners in this month’s PPB magazine.