March 2022
A Message From Our PPAMidwest President......

“The purpose of human life is to serve, and show compassion and the will to help others.”
– Albert Schweitzer

I was planning on writing a note about it being March 2022, two years since the world as we knew it changed and how far we’ve come. The irony of that is, after successfully avoiding Covid this entire time, my immune system thought it would be a nice tribute to the second anniversary of the pandemic starting by contracting it this week. Yay me!

But back to two years ago … we went from selling PPE from home, to experiencing lack of inventory & cargo ship delays … to finally seeing some light at the end of that tunnel as the pendulum has started swinging back.

And now here we are, watching the invasion of Ukraine. We are experiencing increased gas prices & more political divisiveness. I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer, I promise. Quite the opposite actually. Instead, I’m reminded of a quote from one of my heroes; Mister Rogers:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to
me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

Whether you are donating your time, talent or treasure to a cause, or simply answering someone’s question on the Promotional Products Professionals FB page … you are being a helper. We help our clients by asking the right questions and coming up with solutions to help advance their project needs. Be a helper.

Your Regional Association strives to be helpers by connecting with our members at our events. We hope to see you later this month at our Spring Product Premieres (3/29-KC & 3/30-STL) where you can network with suppliers, distributors & service providers.

Please let me know how I may be of help to you. If I don’t know the answer, I can surely connect you with someone who does. What would you like to see from PPAMidwest this year? Please feel free to reach out to me directly at


Mandi Rudd
2022 PPAMidwest President
March 15, 2022 Tuesday Learning Lab:
"Creating a Brand that Matters" 

Just like people, brands have emotions – both positive and negative – tied to them.

In this session, Bill Petrie with brandivate will provide an actionable blueprint to ensure your brand speaks to the hearts and minds of your target audience…and moves them to action. It’s time to get branding done!

Learning Lab attendees will learn:
  1. Learn how to evaluate your brand objectively
  2. Understand the five ways your brand needs to connect with your clients
  3. Design four steps to ensure your clients love your brand

Mark your calendars to attend our upcoming Spring Product Premiere!
Not Just Another Traveling Rep Show!!

 This show is the COMPLETE promotional products experience featuring
the most professional Suppliers and Distributors in the industry.

The PPAMidwest Spring Product Premiere is one of the best opportunities
to connect with top Suppliers and Multi-line Reps. Designed for industry
veterans and newcomers alike, this show delivers quality and more of what
you are looking for to boost your business as we enter the 2nd quarter.

For event details, click here
March 30, 2022 Wild Wednesday Webinar:
"AMPlify Your Sales" 

In this session, PromoPulse founder Jason Nokes will talk about the need for consistent outbound marketing and why email is so effective. In addition, he will discuss AMP, their new automated marketing platform that was created for promotional products distributors
Learning Outcomes:
  • Why consistent marketing is important.
  • Why email is your most powerful outbound marketing tool.
  • How AMP can simplify and AMPlify your branded product marketing.

PPAMidwest News
PCNA Pledges Financial Support for Ukrainian Refugees

Pittsburgh, PAPolyconcept North America (PCNA) is proud to announce financial support for refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. PCNA will donate up to one percent of March sales revenue to humanitarian relief efforts benefiting Ukrainian refugees in Poland, where the company’s European counterpart, PF Concept, has operations.
“We recognize the plight of the Ukrainian people and are eager to lend our support. Amongst the more than one million people already displaced, as well as all those who remain in Ukraine, are the friends and families of our teammates in Eastern Europe. This is our way of showing solidarity,” says Neil Ringel, Chief Executive Officer of Polyconcept, parent company to both PCNA and PF Concept. “Similar to our partnership with 1% For The Planet, which directs one percent of eco-product sales to environmental nonprofits, this allows us to use our business to help those in need.”
PF Concept operates throughout Europe, including Poland, where the company’s Poznan production facility is located. In addition to financial support for relief efforts, PF Concept continues to donate products including blankets, clothing and power banks for those in need.
PCNA welcomes participation in this effort by all North American distributors and their customers simply through the course of normal business. Direct financial contributions can be sent to Red Cross Poland. “The humanitarian crisis is unimaginable,” Ringel says. “The Ukrainian people need and deserve our support right now.”
American Solutions for Business Raises over $9,000
during charity events at National Sales Conference

Glenwood, MN – American Solutions for Business hosted two independent charity efforts that collectively raised over $9,000 in proceeds. The first was an all-abilities memorial walk on the morning of Saturday, February 19th at the Championsgate Omni Hotel in Orlando, FL. The walk was in honor of late sales associate, Tom Keller, and all proceeds were given to First Church Coral Springs Youth Program. Because Tom taught Sunday School, this program was important to him and his entire family, who were in attendance.
“Helping the Youth at the church was his passion,” explained Sales Associate, and wife of Tom Keller, Livi Dalmau Keller. “When I heard about how many people had signed up to walk and saw all the people waiting in their memorial walk shirts in the foggy darkness at 7 am, I knew that Tom would be so proud of everyone. He would also be somewhat embarrassed that a fuss was being made over him.”
Tom was a sales associate with American for 14 years before his passing in November of 2020. He was a recipient of American’s GPO Excellence Award. The event raised $6,100 through registration and donations.
ASB’s second charity effort was a Flamingo Race at their poolside social that evening. All proceeds for the race were presented to Say Goodnight to Hunger, affiliated with Feeding America. The race involved participants purchasing a flamingo for $5 to enter the race in the resort’s lazy river. The owners of the winning flamingos won a $250 gift card for the two rounds of the race. The initiative and custom flamingos were sponsored by Phenix Direct
"It was a great way to showcase fun products," expressed Phenix Direct President, Stuart McLelland. "We are incredibly happy and proud to be associated with American Solutions for Business and we are already looking forward to the next opportunity to get together.”
“These events were not just important to American, but everyone involved,” expressed Dana Zezzo, ASB’s VP of Marketing, Vendor Relations & Events. “Tom’s wife and children have always been proud of the man he was, and his event will create a lasting memory for all. The race by the pool was a relaxing atmosphere that still brought good into the world. We are excited to have been part of both.”
Time is Running Out to apply for a PPEF Scholarship!
Don't Delay as March 15th is the Deadline to Apply!

This year, Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF) is awarding
scholarships totaling $299,000 which includes a NEW $1,250 one year scholarship
for PPAMidwest members. We want to make sure you or your child get a shot at this scholarship money so don't delay.....apply today! 
Starline Announces Passing of Founder Joshua Lapsker

Joshua Lapsker, founder of Grand Island, New York-based supplier Starline (PPAI 112719, S10) passed away on Feb. 24. He was 79.
Starline has been a family-owned and operated business for more than 50 years, and Lapsker’s grandson, Mason Lapsker, will carry on the family’s leadership role within the company in the position of president.
A statement from the company on Lapsker’s passing says, “Joshua was known and admired for his powerful work ethic and passion for success. His family and co-workers remain dedicated to honoring his memory by carrying on his mission.”
Lapsker started his career in the promotional industry by designing and constructing machines used for pen decoration. Soon thereafter, he opened Starline Industries in Canada in 1969. He expanded the company to the United States (Starline USA) in 1992 in neighboring Buffalo, New York. 
Originally born in Russia, Lapsker and his family immigrated to Israel when he was a young boy and then to Montreal, Quebec. No stranger to hard work, at 12-years-old, he would swim in the bay in Israel and collect timbers that fell off cargo boats to sell on.
Throughout his career, he designed and registered over 40 patents. Lapsker’s business background included a printing company rooted in the pharmaceutical industry and he was widely recognized for his role in the invention and application of advertising inside of medical prescription pads.
Lapsker leaves behind three children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 
PPAMidwest Members...Are you taking advantage of your Member Benefits?
Are you receiving your 10% discount on SAGE products and services?
Are you taking advantage of the 2022 Coupon Book which is hot off the press?
Are you taking advantage of the 20-25% discount with
Constant Contact?
Are you taking advantage of your free ZOOMcatalog account &up to a 50% discount for an upgraded account?
Are you taking advantage of your free app where you may view fresh ideas and business knowledge daily?
American Solutions for Business Hosts Virtual Vendor Award Ceremony

Glenwood, MN – American Solutions for Business inducted two members into their Hall of Fame onstage at their National Sales Conference in Orlando, FL in late February. Inductees included late sales associates, Tom Keller and Frank Quinlan, both honored post-humorously.
Tom Keller passed away in November of 2020 and was an American Sales Associate for 14 years alongside his wife and business partner, Livi Dalmau Keller. While working at American, Tom was presented the GPO Excellence Award, and was inducted in both the President’s Club and Million Dollar Club. In addition to his honor, the ASB family was able to raise $6,100 to benefit Tom’s church, hosting a Memorial Walk at the conference, where his children Ryan, Lauren and Chrissy were able to participate.
Frank Quinlan passed away in July of 2021 and served as a sales associate with American for 13 years. Frank grew up in Staten Island and served his country in the Vietnam war. His son, Keith and daughter-in-law were present for his induction and recording shared with the rest of his family.
Tom and Frank had a passion for their work and their families. The hard work and dedication they devoted during their time at American was directly reflected in their desire to improve the lives of everyone around them.
“Both men were a great loss to the American family,” expressed Founder & CEO of American, Larry Zavadil. “Tom and Frank were the epitome of the moral value of the American family, and were both very involved in raising their families.They will always be in our hearts.”
Want to earn points and join in on the fun?
Simply complete the easy request form to have your points credited
for the activities you participate in. 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! (click on above image for more information).
Industry News
PPB Greatest Companies to Work For Nomination Form
PPB Newslink
Nominate Your Company by March 24
The past year has been an unusual and challenging one
for all industry companies. But difficulties often bring out
the best in companies and their leaders.
If you believe you work for one of the industry’s greatest companies, let everyone know about it.
Now through March 24, nominate* your company to be considered in the annual competition to identify PPB ’s Greatest Companies To Work For.
*Only PPAI Members May Nominate Their Company
A Cognitive Scientist Reveals Why We Choke Under Pressure and How to Avoid It
Amanda Breen  Entrepreneur Staff Editorial Assistant

Cognitive scientist and president of Barnard College Sian Beilock discusses how we "get in our own way" when it matters most and shares strategies to help prepare for success when the stakes are high.

Choking under pressure. Most of us are familiar with this unfortunate phenomenon. The moment you've spent so much time preparing for — whether it's scoring that winning goal or nailing a client pitch — comes, but instead of giving the performance you know you're capable of, stress and anxiety get the best of you. You can't handle the pressure; you "choke."
Why does your performance fall apart, even after you've practiced to the point of perfection? Cognitive scientist and president of Barnard College Sian Beilock had the same question, so she did the research — or "me-search," she quips — to figure it out. "I really wanted to know why sometimes I didn't perform as well as I thought I should when the pressure was on," Beilock says. "I was a big athlete growing up, so it was certainly on the athletic field, but also just in testing, I always did much better on my practice SATs than I did during the real thing. And I wanted to understand what happened — what changed when I was so motivated to perform well and, ironically, I just didn't put my best foot forward.” Read More
SAGE Fact of the Week
2022 Apparel Trends
Just like the runway in Paris, promotional apparel trends change each year, and your clients want the latest styles. But as those styles change, how are you keeping up and standing out from your competitors?
Download the 2022 Apparel Trends Report today so you can stay in the know and ahead of the game!