February 2021
A Message From Our PPAMidwest President......
Dear PPAMidwest Community,

Welcome to 2021! We are excited for what the future holds and the prospects of beginning the journey back to ‘normal’ within our industry. 2020 challenged all of us in many unforeseen ways.
The biggest challenge the board of PPAMidwest faced was how to continue to deliver value to our members on both the supplier and distributor side. PPAMidwest delivered countless webinars and virtual events in attempt to keep us all connected during these unprecedented times. In addition to our virtual focus, we held a fall tradeshow at NO COST for our members.
Moving into the future, PPAMidwest is making a commitment to our members to deliver value through events and education. While our biannual shows will continue to be a focus for dialogue, new products, and networking, PPAMidwest will have more focus on education and other resources available for our members.

Coming March 1st, PPAMidwest will launch an annual PhD award for the member(s) who engage the most on our webinars and events. This will be an ongoing award for the members who choose to use our platforms to advance their professional growth within our local promo community.

In person events will return in 2021. Outdoor events will be the focus through the first half of the year, whether it be an outdoor tradeshow, golf outing, promo hike field test, or baseball game. We have plans for a more traditional 2nd half of the year with a fall tradeshow and gathering to enjoy a cold one (or two) at our annual Holiday Party.
Thank you to all of our current 2021 members! PPAMidwest is nothing without you, and we are committed to delivering more value than ever moving forward. I ask you all to encourage others to join PPAMidwest now and in the future. The larger our membership, the more resources we are able to deliver to our local promo community. I look forward to an exciting 2021 and cannot wait to see everyone in person sometime soon!

Joe Huber
President, PPAMidwest
Register Today for our Upcoming Virtual Lunch Sessions:
Virtual Lunch & Learn featuring Webb Company and MW Reps
Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 11am

Exciting things are happening at Webb Company - HPG!

Please join us for a fun and interactive WEBBinar with Webb Company. Participants that registered by February 1, 2021 should have received a box of goodies to open
and go through together during the session.....how fun! 
Virtual Lunch & Learn featuring Beacon, Hub Pen and MW Reps
Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 11am

Please join Melissa Bettua and Sharon Schiffelhuber of Beacon/Hub Pen and Jen Kruger and Bryan Mercer of MW Reps to learn all about their new items for 2021.
During this session you will also learn how to prepare a custom catalog with your
end user's logo in minutes. Details and registration
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Virtual Lunch & Learn featuring American Ad Bag
Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 11am

Please join Stacie from American Ad bag for an informative lunch and learn. Stacie will be highlighting the following topics:
  • PPE masks/COVID best sellers
  • Best seller bags in the American Ad Bag catalog
  • NEW Bags for 2021
Virtual Lunch & Learn featuring HTT Apparel and MW Reps
Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 11am

Please join Bill Patterson from HTT Headwear/Apparel along with Jen Kruger and Bryan Mercer of MW Reps where they will be presenting a line of Semi-custom, sustainable apparel and headwear that can be customized to fit almost any need. HTT offers low minimums, quick turn times and multiple fabric and decorating options. The presentation will also cover a new line of protective wear products by HTT. 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Virtual Lunch & Learn featuring 3M Promotional Markets
Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 11am

3M Promotional Markets has expanded their product offerings in 2021!

Please join Denise to hear about the additions to 3M's Extreme Notes and Custom Printed Skin product lines, check out the NEW Banner Rolls that have provided even more functionality to Post-it® Notes and find out which favorite product is back in our promotion line-up! And of course we will take a peek at 3M's top sellers as Denise shares the sales tools that continue to be at your disposal! 
February 24, 2021 Wild Wednesday Webinar:
“No One Cares About Your Logo! How to Make Merch Matter"
Whether it's a supplier or distributor self-promo, or an order we're producing for a client, there is something very important we need to learn even if it's not something we want to hear - No one cares about your logo. There is an old saying that says, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." In this short, but powerful presentation you'll learn how to engage your current clients despite the market conditions, who is currently buying promo and for what purpose, and how to ensure that the products you sell make a difference to the people who buy and receive them. People don't care about your logo, but if we do our jobs right - they can and will. 
PPAMidwest News
Glenwood, MN – American Solutions for Business recently earned the 2021 Top Workplaces USA award! Based on results from employee feedback through a third-party survey, the company qualified for this award on a national level.
“We are incredibly proud of this accomplishment,” expressed Larry Zavadil, ASB’s Founder & CEO. “From day one, we’ve worked hard to establish a stand-out culture here at American. Our employees and salespeople did an incredible job adapting to all the changes that 2020 brought; I’m honored to work with such hard-working, dedicated team members.”
Towel Specialties wins Counselor Magazine Distributor Choice Awards in two categories

Baltimore, MD – For the 15th consecutive year, Towel Specialties was awarded the Counselor Magazine Distributor Choice Award by ASI on January 21st as the “Best Towel and Robe Supplier.” Additionally, at the same event, Towel Specialties/ Cobblestone Mills was also recognized as the ‘Best Blanket Supplier” for the second time in three years.

“Given everything that our industry went through in 2020,” said Shawn Kanak, the recently promoted president at Towel Specialties, “this meant more to us than ever before. Competing with the pandemic, trying to stay safe, and striving to provide outstanding service to our customers was a challenge, but we’re happy that our efforts were recognized among voters in the industry.”

Towel Specialties has been selected as the ‘Best Towel and Robe Supplier” every year since 2007. They introduced the Xpress Towels line in 2014 and Cobblestone Mills in 2016. In 2018, Towel Specialties was selected as the ASI Supplier of the Year.
Providence, RI – A.T. Cross has announced the retirement of their Midwest Sales Manager, Marsha Brooks. Brooks has been a long time supporter of PPAMidwest and states:

"It is with mixed emotions that I am announcing my early retirement. I have enjoyed working in the promotional products / business gift industry for 20 years, the last 4.5 years as Midwest Sales Manager for A.T. Cross."

Brooks adds: "I thank one and all for your support, the laughs and the experiences. It was a hard decision to make, but with my Cross pen in hand, I look forward to writing the next chapter of my life. I will remain with Cross until the end of February. Andy Boss, North American Sales Manager / BG, will be your contact at Cross until my replacement is found. He can be reached at (401) 218-3500 / aboss@cross.com."
As a PPAMidwest member, you have access to these webinars that may be watched when it is convenient for you. By watching a recording you can still earn CAS/MAS credit. 

The webinars may be found HERE on the PPAMidwest website. Please make sure that you are logged in at www.ppam.org with your email address and password as this is a PPAMidwest Member Only benefit. Don't know your password? Reset it at any time on the main page to the right of the Log In button.

All caught up with our webinars and looking for more? PPAI also offers monthly webinars that may be found HERE.
PPAMidwest Members......
Are you taking advantage of your Member Benefits like a 10% Discount on SAGE products?
Industry News
Scholarships Available For The Promotional Products Industry
Apply Today For A PPEF Scholarship
Industry Scholarships For Industry Students

The promotional products industry is built on a shared vision of the future. We invest in new technologies, new products and our people. Part of investing in the future of our industry is investing in our students. In 2021, Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF) is awarding 160 scholarships, totaling $278,750. 
Since 1989, PPEF has awarded more than $2.4 million in college scholarships to students. Scholarships are used to fund dreams of all sizes for students working in the promotional products industry and students with a parent who is working in the promotional products industry. Would someone you know benefit from a PPEF scholarship? The deadline for submissions is midnight CT on Monday, March 15, 2021.

PPAI Appoints Interim President, Announces Executive Search
The The Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) Board of Directors elevated Executive Vice President, Robert (Bob) McLean, Jr. CPA, CAE, CEM, to lead PPAI as Interim President while the Board undertakes an executive search with search firm, SearchWide Global, to replace outgoing President and CEO, Paul Bellantone, CAE.

PPAI Board Chair, Todd Pottebaum, MAS+ commented, “We are incredibly excited that Bob McLean will have the opportunity to lead and work alongside the Board of Directors to ensure a healthy transition of knowledge and leadership. And, we are equally thrilled to partner with SearchWide Global to help identify the next President and CEO of PPAI. We are confident in the thoughtful search process to be employed and that PPAI, with the expertise and support of SearchWide Global, will identify the next leader of this organization.”

McLean, long-time Executive Vice President for PPAI, commented, “I’ve had the privilege of working with Paul Bellantone for the past 13 years. Our efforts to protect, grow and engage the promotional products industry have been nothing short of incredible and rewarding. I look forward to our continued partnership over the next several weeks of this transition, and I am grateful to the Board of Directors for entrusting me to lead the organization as we work through an executive search.”

SearchWide Global is a nationally recognized executive search firm specializing in the trade association, hospitality and experiential marketing industries. SearchWide Global’s Executive Vice President, Mark Gnatovic, will lead the executive search effort for PPAI, and Senior Vice President, Kellie Henderson will assist with marking and sourcing of candidates. Gnatovic said, “We are elated to work with PPAI. The professionalism and process put forth by PPAI to select SearchWide Global only enhances our core desire to serve and support PPAI’s executive search objectives. We are confident we will identify a candidate who exemplifies PPAI’s core values and will serve the association into the next phase of the promotional products industry.”

If interested in learning more about this opportunity, please send your resume and cover letter with subject PPAI to Mark Gnatovic, Executive Vice President at info@searchwideglobal.com.
This Is the Single Most Important Job of a Leader
Victoria Roos Olsson  Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP Consultant

Leaders should aim to talk less and listen more as they bring people along.

Setting strategy and keeping the organization on track to meet its goals is critical for a leader. As a matter of fact, it’s probably what any leader will be evaluated against at the end of the year. But a true leader needs to take a wider view of their responsibilities, one that encompasses the development of other leaders within the organization — one of a leader’s most important jobs. 

Why? Because as a senior leader, you might be setting strategy, but to execute that strategy, you need your team of managers. They are the ones that have direct contact with both your clients and the majority of your team members. You can’t accomplish your goals without them. Read More
Recognize PPAI Members Who Inspire
Awards & Recognition
Icon Award Nominations Are Now Open

PPAI has several highly-respected awards that recognize notable work in the promotional products industry. These awards identify individuals for their outstanding professional achievements and commitment toward their communities and the industry. PPAI depends on members like you to submit nominations for these prestigious awards.
Deadline for nominations is March 13.

  • PPAI Woman of Achievement - These women have led the industry as professionals, mentors, inspirations and philanthropists. They are models of the change they want to see in the world.
  • PPAI Distinguished Service Award - Through volunteer service or by offering their leadership to PPAI, these honorees make significant, enduring contributions to their local and professional communities.
  • PPAI Hall of Fame Award - Through volunteer service or by offering their leadership to PPAI, these honorees make significant, enduring contributions to their local and professional communities.
  • PPAI H.Ted Olson Humanitarian Award - This award honors professionals whose noteworthy lifelong personal commitment to the promotional products industry extends beyond their companies and into their communities. 
  • PPAI RAC Volunteer - We spotlight members who exemplify the spirit of volunteerism and dedication to the promotional products industry. They continue to inspire their regional community with their perseverance, passion, and dedication.