April 2021
It's Time to SAFELY Reconnect at the
PPAMidwest Summer Showcase
where the Latest Trends in
Promotional Advertising will be Showcased!

Distributors - Mark Your Calendars....
Registration Opening Soon!
PPAMidwest's PhD Award Program
is off to a great start!
Below are the members currently at the top of the PPAMidwest PhD (Promo Honors Designee) award program leaderboard:

  • Denise Davis, 3M Promotional Markets
  • Jake Wells, American Solutions for Business
  • Scott Rogers, Corporate Branding
  • Aubrey Weaver, DistributorCentral

We have several other members in the running and love seeing the participation! Annually, 3 outstanding members will be rewarded with the PhD Award based on the points awarded for activities as detailed on our point structure below. In November, the PPAMidwest Board of Directors will review the points standings and determine the 3 recipients, based on the top 3 point earners and a vote, in the event of ties. 
How do I earn points?
Check out the list below. You earn points for doing things that you are likely already doing. For each category, there is an annual maximum noted. For live events and activities, your attendance will automatically be recorded and points assigned, provided you are an active member of PPAMidwest. For recorded webinars, referrals and completion of PPAI Certifications or renewals, simply complete the easy request form to have your points credited. It is that simple! Once you have completed the maximum in one category, time to focus on the next! 
April 13, 2021 Tuesday Learning Lab:
Leveraging Your Relationship to Broaden Your Solutions"
This program is designed to introduce distributors to a broad new range of services they can offer clients for which they can receive ongoing commissions and referral fees without having to do anything more than make a formal referral to a vendor. There are hundreds of companies in all areas of engagement that would envy the ability distributors have to gain access to HR, sales, and marketing buyers, who would be happy to pay distributors for leads and opportunities. This session will introduce distributors to the different types of solutions they can bring to clients beyond promotional products, without having to become an expert. In the same way it is impossible for a distributor to be an expert in every type of product, they do not need to become experts in all these different tools to help their clients find solutions.
April 28, 2021 Wild Wednesday Webinar:
The 24 Month Decade: Overcoming Adversity to Maximize Growth" 
As Winston Churchill once said, "success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” In an age where we compare our own lives to the highlight reels of others on social media, it's more important than ever to understand how overcoming adversity can propel you to greater success. In this session, Bill will candidly share his personal and professional challenges, how facing them led him to learn the power in being authentically open, and the strategies he learned to not only overcome adversity, but to leverage those what he learned to grow both his brand, and his business.

Coffee Chat is your opportunity to connect with colleagues and the PPAMidwest board while we share ideas and new strategies.

So pull up a seat and bring your questions, ideas or business challenges.

Together we'll achieve more!

PPAMidwest News
American Solutions for Business Announces Organizational Changes 

Glenwood, MN – American Solutions for Business is excited to announce that Brady Johnson has been promoted to Director of Strategic Operations Support (SOS) and Stan Klarenbeek has been promoted to Director of Vertical Markets, expanding his role to oversee Group Purchasing Organizations (GPO). 
Brady Johnson joined the company in 2016 as an SOS coordinator and has been acting supervisor of strategic operations support (SOS) for the last two years.
“Brady has done a wonderful job leading the SOS team, onboarding new sales associates and managing large program implementations,” said Amy Spychalla, VP of SOS.
Stan Klarenbeek joined ASB in 2017 with over 30 years of experience in management, sales and marketing across various markets. In this transition, Stan will continue to support the financial vertical, but will also be a key resource to our GPO contacts, working diligently to gain new GPO business across markets and to solidify contracts for years to come.
“The teams are working harder than ever and providing excellent support to all stakeholders including sales associates, customers, vendors and support staff,” adds Spychalla. “I’m proud of the hard work everyone has put forth and am confident that both Brady and Stan will help lead us into the next exciting chapter at American.” 
PCNA Launches New Website Designed To Simplify Customer Experience
Leading Promotional Products Supplier Improves Upon Best-In-Class Experience

Pittsburgh, PA – Polyconcept North America (PCNA) launched a new full-service website, the centerpiece of a company-wide rebranding designed to make its best-in-class experience even better for distributors.

“Today is truly an exciting day,” Polyconcept CEO Neil Ringel says. “The new website and overall rebranding represent another milestone on our continuous journey to provide distributors with the very best experience in the promotional products industry. “Our promise is this,” Ringel continues. “To provide an easy, reliable service experience and perfectly decorated products delivered on time, every time.”

While the new website still can be found at www.pcna.com, it’s got a fresh look and feel with a variety of functional enhancements that will allow distributors to do their jobs more quickly and effectively. Highlights include:
  • Quick, accurate product quotes: Distributors can now configure a line-item quote with product, quantity and decoration, get an accurate cost, and place an order on the spot.
  • Better product search: Distributors can search by brand, product, quantity, SKU or price range, returning results that allow them to find more of what they need faster.
  • Easy-to-create virtuals: Initial deployment of a new visualization tool that uses refined decoration data to instantaneously produce lifelike virtuals.
  • A faster, more modern platform: The site features quick access to expert service through live chat and a responsive design that’s optimized for both desktop and mobile users.

In addition to the new website, PCNA has simplified how distributors place orders, introducing a single process for its large family of brands. The change underscores the company’s commitment to creating an easier, more reliable customer experience. Other recent service initiatives include Perfectly Packaged, which provides decorative packaging and unlimited drop shipments, and an enhanced large-order quoting process that promises a response in as little as an hour. The company also has invested an additional $10 million in inventory to ensure deep in-stock positions for its most popular items, so distributors can be assured their favorite products are readily available.
Starline Welcomes New Inside Sales Rep Kelly Skinner

Grand Island, NY – Starline is excited to announce the addition of Kelly Skinner to our Inside Sales team! Kelly will be working alongside Regional Sales Manager Marc Mann covering the Midwest-West (IA, CO, KS, MO, NE, SD, ND, MN).
Kelly joins the Starline family with over 12 years of industry experience, most recently with distributor Halo Branded Solutions.
American Solutions for Business Presents Nearly 40 Awards to Vendor Partners
Glenwood, MN – American Solutions for Business hosted a virtual vendor award ceremony with over 200 live participants to celebrate the vendor partners who excelled in sales volume, service level and support in the 2020 fiscal year. The video presentation, hosted by President Justin Zavadil and VP of Marketing, Vendor Relations & Events, Dana Zezzo presented nearly 40 awards.
Vendor Award Descriptions:
Top Vendors - presented to the top vendor partners with whom ASB Sales Associates have done significant levels of business during the past year. Awards are based on volume and support for the PFP program.
American’s Choice Award - dedicated to the vendors who have earned trust through excellent communication, customer service, product selection, quality and overall experience. These winners are determined by popular vote from our ASB sales associates.
  • Print Category: Lippmann Printing
  • Promo Category: Hit Promotional Products
  • Apparel Category: SanMar
  • PPE Category: Hit Promotional Products
Top Service Provider – honors the organization that based on ASB sales associate votes, provides the best platform adding value and/or efficiency for their business. This year’s winner is ASI.
Top Decorator Award – honors the decorator partner that based on ASB sales associate votes, provides the best service, support and decorating capabilities. This year’s winner is Dubow Textile.
Rising Star Award - presented to the vendor partners who have shown significant growth, exposure and activity within American. These awards are based on volume, customer service levels or both.
This year’s winners are Spectrum Uniforms and Phenix Direct.
Vendor Sales Team of the Year - honors the team who goes above and beyond to ensure success. These individuals are thoughtful, creative, supportive and quick to jump in to help. They understand American's model and have positively impacted your business this year. These winners are determined by popular vote from our ASB sales associates.
  • Print Category: Chris Brooks & Rich Lippmann with Lippmann Printing
  • Promo Category: Matt Argo & Darlene D’Agostino with Hit Promotional Products
  • Apparel Category: Rob Newell, Kim Briscoe & Rebecca Phelps with SanMar 
“We are sincerely grateful for everything our vendor partners do to contribute to the success, of American Solutions for Business,” expresses Dana Zezzo. “In addition to the incredible support during the pandemic, our vendors have been important members of the ASB family for the last 40 years. We greatly appreciate these partnerships and friendships!”
Following the award ceremony, the American Solutions for Business team hosted a virtual social hour with over 100 participants engaging in breakout rooms to network, connect and celebrate the vendor award winners.

PPAMidwest Member Job Board

If you have a position that you need to be filled with someone with industry experience, tell us about it and we will post the job on our Job Board on the PPAMidwest Website under the Members Only Section. This is offered at no charge as part of your membership benefit. 
Those people who may have found themselves searching for a job in the industry, please let us know and we can post your name and contact information if you wish, or simply keep your name handy to give the potential employers when we hear of an opening. Please email admin@ppam.org and we can add your information.
Industry News
2022 PPAI Pyramid Awards
Don't Hide Your Best Work!
5 Reasons To Enter The PPAI Pyramid Awards

  1. Gain New Business - It’s no secret — winning awards can help you land bigger accounts and even some high-paying clients.
  2. Motivate Employees - A great way to encourage employee engagement is to have their work recognized by industry peers at a national level.
  3. Build Stronger Client Relationships - Showing your clients your award-winning campaigns will increase confidence in your work and your team.
  4. Get Your Name Out There - In the world of marketing, positive publicity and getting your name recognized can lead to new and bigger business opportunities.
  5. Attract Top Talent - Top talent wants to work for the top industry companies who win awards. It’s as simple as that.

You've worked hard, make sure your creative work gets the recognition it deserves and enter the 2022 PPAI Pyramid competition. Deadline to enter is May 7.
5 How to Make Your Website Your Best Salesperson, and Not Your Worst Money Pit
Frank Wazeter  Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor Website Developer & Digital Strategist

In order for your website to be a business asset, you need it to communicate like a salesperson.

Most businesses get customers from word of mouth because it’s a channel driven by people talking to people. Business owners and salespeople are able to find new clients and close deals because they have intuition and experience. When you’re in a conversation with someone, you’re able to suss out what concerns them, address their questions and share compelling stories that showcase why you’re the best solution to their problem.

We ask websites to replicate the same savviness that a seasoned sales professional or business owner has in a conversation. We want our website to be a master communicator and we ask it to be able to dynamically address questions, concerns and create a relationship built on trust. 

But here's the problem: A website doesn’t have a brain. It can't talk or think. A site can only display the information coded into it. Even if a website is graphically stunning, it can still fail at the core task of communicating with the customer. If it fails to communicate with a potential customer, it’s simply not doing its job. Read More
PPAI Virtual Event Series
Registration in NOW OPEN
Learn and connect this year with PPAI's Direct-2-You Virtual Event Series. These events are packed with timely, industry-focused topics specific for the promotional products industry. Conveniently and safely engage with world-class experts and thought leaders from the comfort of your home or office.