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

Giving is not just about making a donation.
It is about making a difference.”
Kathy Calvin,
CEO & President of The United Nations

This month we are hosting member appreciation events in both St. Louis and Kansas City called Puppies, Pints & Promo! We have chosen Pawsitive Tails in KC and CARE in STL as our beneficiaries for these events.

With shelters and foster pet programs inundated with rescues needing homes, we are hoping to bring awareness to their needs & offer our help. Donations and wish list requests can be found by clicking here.

Did we mention there will be puppies at each event?! Get ready to snuggle!!


May is here and the start of the summer is around the corner. That means BBQs, picnics, vacations and summertime fun … and golf tournaments! We hope you can join us on 6/8 for the PPAMidwest Annual Golf Tournament!

What are you doing now to make sure your business and your professional connections flourish in the future? Make sure you are taking advantage of all that PPAMidwest has to
offer … education, networking, events, scholarships, discounts and more! Speaking of education … don’t forget about the PPAMidwest Education Scholarship!

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
Join your PPAMidwest membership along with some very special
four legged & furry friends for Puppies, Pints & Promos! 

We're having a social in both Overland Park and St. Louis, so please choose your city, mark your calendar and make plans to attend. Enjoy some appetizers, chatting with industry friends and snuggling a puppy if you want!

  • Event includes 2 drink tickets per member, light fare and a great time!
  • Both socials begin at 5:00 pm
  • No Charge for PPAMidwest members! 
  • Help us grow our membership! Invite an industry friend to attend and join in on the fun!

PPAMidwest will be collecting donations at both socials to help support needy animals in shelters and rescues. Please consider bringing an item with you to donate such as canned or dry pet food, treats, toys, leashes, collars as well as other essentials.

We hope to see you TOMORROW!
May 25, 2022 Wild Wednesday Webinar: "How to Charge for Creative Services (as a Distributor)" 

“You train people how to treat you.” 
For years, professionals in our industry have given away creative services to sell branded merchandise. This has taught clients to devalue our time and our talents. In this presentation, Kirby Hasseman will show you how to start valuing your own time…so your clients will too!

Learning Outcomes:
  • Redefining a great place to work in 2022
  • Why it’s important to start charging for your creative services.
  • Why charging for your time makes you think more like a marketing company?
  • How to add services that warrant a fee.
  • How to add services that you don’t provide.

Join your fellow Distributors, Suppliers and Multi-line reps and Guests
for PPAMidwest's Annual Golf Outing

Enoy the ultimate golf-networking experience!

When: 6/8/21, 8:00 am CDT

Where: Drumm Farm, 15400 E 34th St S., Independence, MO 64055  Driving Directions 

Each Registration Includes:
  • 18 holes of Championship Golf
  • Electric Cart
  • Golfer's Goodie Bag
  • Lunch
  • 2 drink tickets 

See you on the course!
PPAMidwest News
American Solutions for Business Raises $3000 for Fishing with Vets Non-Profit

Glenwood, MN – American Solutions for Business raised $3000 through their virtual fundraiser for the Fishing for Vets program. This virtual fundraiser was held through their proprietary eCommerce platform, called ACES, April 19-21, and results were announced live on April 21st. Those participating in the fundraiser went online and traded dollars for votes for either Director of Technology, Nate Disrud, to shave his beard, or VP of Technology, Mike Pfeiffer, to shave his head.
The purpose of the fundraiser was to raise money for charity, Fishing for Vets, a non-profit organization with a mission to provide veterans, both active and retired, with an opportunity to fish some of the mid-west’s premier fishing destinations. This was the favorite charity of late ASB employee, George Nerby.
“George was a great employee and valued member of the team,” shared Pfeiffer. “He and I shared interests in fishing and rock concerts, such as the one that I attend each year called cruise. When we talked, we had planned to try to hit a concert in Fargo. The pandemic has proven to hit everyone differently. George will be missed.”
“The decision to shave my beard was a simple one,” expressed Disrud. “With George, our work relationship was exceptional, and we bounced questions and ideas off each other daily. I miss this daily interaction.”
The live results were revealed at Lakeside restaurant in Glenwood, MN where the votes revealed that Mike Pfeiffer had won. ASB Founder & CEO, Larry Zavadil, was unable to attend in person, but shared a video message after Mike was shaved that he was matching the donations to create a tie. Nate Disrud then had his beard shaved as well. The event was also live streamed for those far and near to watch.
Looking for Talent?
Looking for a new position?

PPAMidwest Members may submit job openings or job search listings to be posted on the PPAMidwest website and the PPAMidwest monthly newsletter. Please send your listing information to:
The listing should include your company name, the position title and include important information such as: Compensation, Location, Company background, Essential Duties and Responsibilities, Requirements, Who to contact and any other pertinent information
Current Opening:

Regional Account Manager 
*Must be in the Kansas City metro area*
PCNA Strengthens Leadership in Environmental and Social Responsibility

Pittsburgh, PA – As the industry leader for environmental and social responsibility, Polyconcept North America (PCNA) has established an unwavering commitment to creating positive change. Today, the company is excited to introduce the next big step in that commitment: ProudPath™.

ProudPath™ is a new platform that will empower distributors seeking to meet their customers’ environmental and social responsibility objectives, not only with an industry-best assortment of products and retail brands, but also the expertise they need to educate and sell, as end-user demographics create a long-term shift in the promotional products market.

“The focus on environmental and social responsibility is changing how we all do business. We’re proud to continue leading that change,” says Neil Ringel, PCNA CEO. “Just as our assortment of sustainable and socially responsible gift solutions has grown during the past several years, so has our ability to make a difference through partnerships with nonprofits and forward-thinking retail brands. ProudPath™ represents the next big step in our commitment to the planet, its people and our distributor partners.”

The ProudPath™ platform is designed for distributors to use as their own. With a broad assortment that’s easy to navigate and sales tools to educate and share ideas – including a new eCatalog – they’ll be equipped to establish themselves as leaders for environmental and social responsibility in the promotional products marketplace.

In creating gifts people can feel good about, distributors can help their customers make an impact in a variety of ways, whether it’s retail brands that give back to great causes, supporting small businesses or eco-friendly products. PCNA will continue its work with 1% For the Planet – a partnership that began in 2019 – donating one percent of eco-product sales to environmental nonprofits Well Aware and One Tree Planted.

Sustainability is a key component of every decision PCNA makes, Ringel says. The supplier uses UPS® carbon neutral shipping to deliver orders and has earned Forest Stewardship Council® Chain-Of-Custody certification for U.S. facilities in Pittsburgh, Miami, and Charlotte, ensuring that FSC®-certified products are from responsibly managed forests. Moving forward, PCNA will partner only with retail brands that share its commitment to environmental and social responsibility. By 2025, the supplier is aiming for a 50% reduction in carbon emissions and 100% supply chain transparency.

While PCNA continues to strengthen its commitment to environmental and social responsibility, Ringel believes now is the time for an industry-wide transformation.

“The world is changing, and it’s time for our industry to do the same,” Ringel says. “This is an opportunity for everyone to reimagine what they’re doing today and make a commitment to do better for tomorrow. Collectively, we’ll shape a future that will make us all proud.”
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).

Sterling, IL – Promo Distributor company HALO recently announced executive management alignment changes and additions to focus on key areas for the company.

The Moves: Paul Bellantone has been named senior vice president of customer experience; Dawn Olds, MAS, was named senior vice president of industry relations and DEI; and Cathie Hernandez has come onboard as senior vice president of drop ship operations.

What They’re Saying: “Paul and Dawn are excellent examples of how industry veterans help HALO continue to be a destination of choice for account executives and customers,” says Marc Simon, HALO CEO. “Cathie is the latest executive we have attracted from outside the industry to provide depth and experience to support future growth—enhancing the selling experience for our valued sales team and providing innovative solutions for HALO clients.”

Full Disclosure: Bellantone joined HALO in 2021 after two decades with PPAI, including serving for 10 years as the Association’s president and CEO. Olds is currently the chair of the PPAI Board of Directors.

  • Bellantone joined HALO one year ago as senior vice president of sales for the Western U.S., a newly created role at the company. In his new position as senior vice president of customer experience, he will report directly to Simon and be responsible for developing strategies to address the growing needs of HALO’s global client base. Bellantone says the new role will focus on driving end-to-end customer experience. “My passion will be to see that buyers and account executives continue to benefit from unparalleled HALO opportunities and experiences,” he says.

  • Olds, a 33-year HALO veteran, previously served as the distributor’s senior vice president of operations. In her new role at HALO, Olds will be accountable for translating her knowledge and relationships into strategies to improve its prominence externally and deliver value for its account executives, and lead the business initiatives to advance HALO’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategy. She will report to Jim Stutz, HALO executive vice president of sales and business development. Olds says, "I’m thrilled to strike out on a new trail with this newly-created position at HALO. After several years of leading our operations team, my focus is going to be on strengthening our industry relationships, fostering HALO’s DEI strategy, coordinating our corporate sponsorships and working with our team to assure HALO events continue to be a stellar experience for our sales associates."

  • Hernandez will report to HALO Chief Operating Officer Kevin Pollack. She comes to the company from Equifax, a multi-billion-dollar leader in the workforce solution, data, and technology market. Hernandez will be responsible for continuing the HALO’s forward focus on all aspects of order management, including order processing, customer service and billing.
Industry News
PPAI's Supplier Star Award
PPB Newslink
Distributors Name The Supplier All-Stars
Every year, PPAI distributor members get to let their voices be heard on the best suppliers in the industry based on quality of communication, customer service, products, decorating and packaging.

The past year presented perhaps the toughest environment in which to compete given the supply chain challenges that delayed raw materials and finished goods from reaching supplier factories, coupled with severe labor shortages that stretched workforces thin and tested their ability to meet delivery commitments. Even still, these 24 companies persevered to not only get the job done and impress their clients, but their consistent excellence won them top honors as this year’s PPAI Supplier Stars.

These winning companies received the most votes in PPAI’s annual competition where distributors cast their votes for one supplier in each of 12 categories. The annual competition is open to all PPAI supplier members in good standing who update their sales volume every two years as required and maintain a SAGE supplier rating of A or higher.

The Supplier Star is one of four PPAI Pyramid awards, the industry’s pinnacle of achievement since 1958.
4 Principles to Develop Next-Level Leadership at Your Company
Scott Miker  Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor Author, Speaker, Business Operations Professional

Filling management holes that get created when the company gets bigger is important. Use these four principles to develop the leaders in your organization.

For a company to be successful, it must find a way to develop talent. It isn't always possible to hire leadership from the outside. Being able to develop leaders within the ranks will help the company to grow and fill future needs that come about organically.

When I worked for a company that was growing, we knew we had to spend time with our staff to help them grow into the leaders we needed. I created a training format that we used over and over to coach up emerging leaders and prepare them to take on more responsibility.

This training was ongoing. We instilled four principles in their work. This translated the core values of the company into their daily actions. It gave them a foundation to build their individual leadership style.

It didn't mean that everyone could take on a leadership role. Some people naturally make better leaders. Some people enjoyed keeping their technical focus and didn't want to change. Others wanted the additional money but not the extra work. Read More
Greatest Companies to Work For
PPB Newslink
PPB Unveils The Greatest Companies To Work For In The Promotional Products Industry
We now know the Greatest Companies To Work For in the promotional products industry.
Vote tabulation has concluded for the 2022 competition, held annually by PPB magazine since 2011. This year, 47 companies made the cut, including distributors, suppliers and business services firms of all stripes and sizes, from micro businesses with less than 10 employees to national and multinational operations with workforces numbering over 1,000.

The competition is open to all PPAI member companies in the U.S. and Canada with at least five full-time employees. Nominations began in March and employees voted on their companies in April. Companies named to the list each averaged agreement from their employees on a set of 15 questions such as “I am paid fairly for the work I do,” “This company helps me learn and grow” and “I would highly recommend working at this company to others.”

“Although the survey questions of employees and the standards for qualification were the same, fewer companies met the bar this year—from 52 in 2021 down to 47 this year,” says Josh Ellis, publisher and editor-in-chief of PPB. “The entire world is grappling with the effects of worker disillusionment and disengagement coming out of the pandemic, and our industry is not immune. 
“Still, we see dozens of companies in promotional products that are keeping their employees happy, inspired, challenged and thriving.”
Companies included in the competition had to be nominated by an employee. Survey topics included benefits, resources, culture, leadership and company direction. Companies were also required to meet a percentage of completed surveys. The survey results were then tabulated to reveal this year’s top companies.

Click here to see the 47 Greatest Companies To Work For