The promo industry’s largest company is also one of the best run overall in the United States, according to Deloitte and The Wall Street Journal.

Washington-based supplier SanMar (PPAI 110788, S16) has been named by the two entities as a US Best Managed Company for 2023.

According to the Best Managed Companies program, a recipient of the honor has “demonstrated excellence in strategic planning and execution, a commitment to their people and fostering a dynamic culture, as well as strong financials.”

Digital transformation, action toward sustainability and a commitment to DEI are all criteria to be given the designation.

  • Private U.S. companies with revenues of at least $250 million are considered.
  • Each company applicant is evaluated and ultimately chosen by a panel of external judges.
  • The four key areas that the panel evaluates are strategy, ability to execute, corporate culture and governance/financial performance. 

More than 45 countries are represented tin the Best Managed Companies program. In the U.S., 56 companies earned the honor for 2023. It was SanMar's second time to make the list.

“We are incredibly honored to receive this recognition for all the hard work and dedication of our team,” says Jeremy Lott, SanMar president. “As a family-owned company that empowers team members to drive positive change, we are always working to create the most dynamic workplace culture and invest in the long-term future of our employees.”

The company was founded by Marty Lott, Jeremy's father, in 1971. Jeremy Lott joined the family business full time in 2003. 

"The only way I knew how to run the business was the way my dad ran the business; he's my mentor. That was to be really engaged and hands-on," Jeremy Lott tells PPAI Media. "I travel almost every week, because for me, being on-site in our warehouses or being with our customers or in our factories, that's how I gain a huge amount of knowledge."

SanMar continues to expand its reach. Earlier this year came word of a new SanMar distribution center in Ashland, Virginia. The 1.1 million square foot facility is SanMar’s ninth distribution center in the United States, and is expected to employ 1,000 people.

The company has evolved its brand positioning in recent years, shifting from the vision tagline of "A Canvas for Good" to, more recently, "Together for Good," meant to emphasize its efforts to improve the lives of SanMar workers across the world, particularly women, and create connections through its products.

"We made a really conscious decision as a company... to say it's not good enough for us to just not do bad things, and have an auditing program to make sure we're not doing bad things," Jeremy Lott says. "We need to make sure that we are doing good things in the world and that we are a positive influence in the communities of the people who make our products and for our customers and the communities that they're in."