May 2024

Wishing all of the PPAMidwest Mothers

a wonderful, relaxing weekend!

A Message From Our PPAMidwest President......


PPAMidwest Members,


May is upon us. Doesn’t it feel like the April Showers forgot to bring in May Flowers and instead brought more showers? Regardless of the weather, May ushers in a very busy Summer for fun and activities with your fellow Association members at PPAMidwest.

The summer kicks off with our first ever Jay Shucart Memorial Golf Tournament in St. Louis on June 4th. This is the perfect opportunity to bring friends, family and clients out for a day in the sun while celebrating the life and accomplishments of Jay, who served twice as President of our association in 1979 and 2001, but more importantly devoted his entire life to the promo industry in service and in leadership of his highly successful distributorship. We follow that immediately the next week with our annual golf tournament in KC. This year we are going back to the Iron Horse, which was praised by attendees last year and was our most successful tournament in years. This event is also open to everyone, so call your buddies or best clients and put a team together quickly. It will be here before you know it. Registrations for both are limited to the first 140 players so now is the time to sign up. In July and August, we will be returning to our baseball outings as the Royals and the Cardinals battle each other, on July 9th in STL and August 9th in KC. Tickets for both are going on sale soon and are also limited in number so watch your emails and bring out the whole family!

When the summer draws to a close in September, we will be hosting our now annual Pickleball Tournament in KC and hosting our first tournament in STL. Watch out for those registrations soon.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars:

  • Fall Holiday Showcases on 10/8 in KC and 10/10 in STL. We will return to the same locations as our Spring Shows.

MAY your summer season be bright and festive, and profitable. As always please reach out directly to me with your comments, questions, or just to chat. I can be reached via email at

Yours in Service,

Dennis Oglesby, MAS

2024 PPAMidwest President

May 14, 2024 Tuesday Learning Lab: “The Endless power of AI - Revolutionizing the Promo Industry” 

Join us for an engaging chat featuring PPAI Hall of Famer Cliff Quicksell, CSP, a 40-year industry sales and marketing veteran, and Ron Friedman, Founder MerchBots AI, also an industry veteran with over three decades of experience as a distributor, brand client, and industry supplier. 

We will navigate the waters of this latest technology and explore how AI can elevate your sales, increase profits, enhance client relations, create added value with promotional products, and revolutionize business growth. Don’t miss out on gaining actionable insights from Ron’s extensive experience within our industry and now transforming traditional promotional items into dynamic, 'phygital' experiences that truly connect and engage with end-users.


Learning Outcomes:

  • Demystifying AI for Business Use
  • Find out how AI will impact the Promo Industry
  • How AI can add value to Promotional Products
  • New Technology that is currently in the market
  • Future trends and Opportunities with AI in Promo

Read more and register

May 29, 2024 Wild Wednesday Webinar: “The Business Case for Purpose” 

This webinar explores the critical role of “purpose” in modern business strategy. It covers how integrating a clear and meaningful purpose into a company's core operations can drive long-term sustainability, attract, and retain talent, enhance customer loyalty, and create competitive advantages.  

Learning Outcomes:

  • Case Studies on Tangible Benefits of a Purpose Driven Approach
  • Tips and Tricks for Starting
  • Learn how leading Suppliers and Distributors are future proofing their brands with this approach

Read more and register

Get ready to swing into action!

It's time to tee off and have some fun on the fairways with PPAMidwest, your co-workers, family and friends!

We have two exciting options for you to choose from, so mark your calendar for the date and course that suits you best...or both! 

6/4/2024 - PPAMidwest Jay Shucart Memorial Tournament

The Courses at Forest Park

6141 Lagoon Drive, St. Louis, MO 63112

6/17/2024 - PPAMidwest Annual KC Golf Tournament

Ironhorse Golf Club

15400 Mission Rd, Leawood, KS 66224

Whether you're a seasoned golfer or a beginner, both courses promise a fantastic opportunity to unwind, enjoy the outdoors, and connect with colleagues, family, and friends in a relaxed and beautiful setting with top-notch amenities.

Tournament Details (both dates):

*Registration/Check in and Continental Breakfast - 8 am

*Shotgun Start - 9 am 

*Golfer Entry Fee - $150 per person/$600 per team which includes:

  • 18 holes of Championship Golf
  • Electric Cart
  • Continental Breakfast and Buffet Lunch
  • Golfer's Goodie Bag
  • Bragging rights and prizes in various categories, including 1st and 2nd place teams, Longest Drive, Closest to the Pin, and Longest Putt.

*Sponsorship Opportunities (for each location):

  • Beverage Cart Sponsor - $1500
  • Lunch Sponsor - $1500 
  • Snack Sponsor - $250
  • Hole Sponsor - $50

All Sponsorships include prominent signage at the course, online promotion including company logo on pre-event marketing and the opportunity to include product in Golfer Goodie Bags or donate prizes.

Register Today!

Save the Dates for PPAMidwest Night at the Ballpark!

2 Games/ 2 Cities to choose from!

PPAMidwest is hosting two Rivalry Games this season between the Cardinals and the Royals!

Join us at either Busch Stadium or Kauffman Stadium (or both) as we cheer on these great teams and enjoy a little regional rivalry! Make plans to join us at the ballpark and invite your co-workers, family and friends...all are welcome!

7/9/2024 - Royals vs Cardinals at Busch Stadium

First Pitch: 6:45 pm

8/9/2024 - Cardinals vs Royals at Kauffman Stadium

First Pitch: 7:10 pm

Registration is opening next week so be on the lookout as tickets will sell fast!

2 Great Cities/2 Great Shows!

These end user friendly tabletop shows will once again be at two fun

and unique locations that you and your customers are sure to love!

Our annual Fall Holiday Showcase will be held in Kansas City on 10/8/24 and then in

St. Louis on 10/10/24. We will also be hosting a social on 10/9/24 in St. Louis.

PPAMidwest News

Burnside/Sierra Pacific Apparel Announces Promotion & Hires to Sales Leadership Team

Sugar Land, TX Sierra Pacific Apparel has formalized its sales leadership team – a move involving a promotion and hires that the Counselor 2023 Supplier Family Business of the Year says will be a boon for customers.

The Texas-based company shared that Paul Kory has been promoted to executive vice president of sales. With more than 30 years of experience in the promotional products industry, Kory has been with Burnside/Sierra Pacific for the better part of a decade. He’s had key sales leadership roles at prominent suppliers in the past, including time as director of sales at Top 40 firm Vantage Apparel.

“Paul has been an invaluable asset to our company, consistently demonstrating exceptional leadership, strategic thinking and a relentless dedication to achieve results,” Burnside/Sierra Pacific said in a statement. Kory’s charge is to spearhead sales initiatives, cultivate important relationships, and drive revenue growth across divisions and geographies. “His visionary leadership and innovative approach will undoubtedly continue to strengthen our position in the market,” the supplier said.

Meanwhile, Burnside/Sierra Pacific has named Scott Whitesell vice president of sales. Whitesell joined the firm in the latter half of 2023. He has 30 years of experience in the industry and has worked with companies that include Top 40 supplier Gemline, former Top 40 firm Sweda, supplier J. Charles and others. While at J. Charles, he was a multi-time winner of the company’s sales rep of the year award, executives said. He’s also a past business owner.

“Scott Whitesell’s journey in the industry is a testament to his unwavering dedication, exceptional sales skills and entrepreneurial spirit,” Burnside/Sierra Pacific said.

In addition, the supplier has hired Kimberly Ostendorf as sales coordinator for the company’s sales team. In terms of promo experience, Ostendorf previously worked for TSC Apparel, a Top 40 supplier prior to its 2021 acquisition by Top 40 supplier S&S Activewear. Her background includes more than 10 years as a chief merchant, Burnside/Sierra Pacific said.

“Kim’s wide range of expertise and talents are a great asset to both the sales team and company’s leadership,” the supplier firm said.

Tom Clouser Promoted to National Sales Manager at BEL Promo

Miami, FL BEL Promo recently announced hat Tom Clouser has been promoted to national sales manager.

In his new role, Clouser will implement sales strategies on a national scale and foster stronger relationships with clientele across the country, said Susan Lewandowski, managing director at the firm.

Clouser began with BEL Promo in August 2020 as a national account manager. His “passion, expertise and forward-thinking approach to distributor relationships” are key assets, said Lewandowski, to whom Clouser will continue reporting.

Clouser’s promo experience includes time in sales positions with well-known suppliers, such as Top 40 firm The Magnet Group and Evans Manufacturing , itself a Top 40 until being acquired by Top 40 supplier HPG.

“BEL Promo continues to be the ideal company to further my dedication to serving our distributor clients,” Clouser said. “I’m honored by this promotion and can’t wait to get out in the field to see our partners.”

SanMar Recognized as a 2024 U.S. Best managed Company

Issaquah, WA SanMar has been selected as a 2024 U.S. Best Managed Company by Deloitte Private and the Wall Street Journal. It’s the third time the Issaquah, WA-based company has made the list that recognizes the achievements of privately owned companies and the successes of their management teams.

“We are humbled to receive this recognition,” said Jeremy Lott, CEO of SanMar and a member of Counselor’s Power 50 list of the most influential people in promo. “I’m motivated by our team’s unwavering dedication to doing right by each other, our customers and our values.”

The list recognized 62 U.S. private companies, with annual revenue of at least $250 million, that demonstrated excellence in four key categories: strategic planning, operational execution, a commitment to their people and fostering a dynamic culture, and strong governance and financials. A panel of independent judges reviewed applications to select the companies recognized on the list. U.S. honorees join a global network of best-managed companies consisting of more than 1,300 organizations in 44 countries.

“The Best Managed Companies program honors the positive impact that U.S. private businesses have on their customers, people, industries and communities,” said Wolfe Tone, vice chair of Deloitte Private. “This group of 2024 honorees hail from multiple industries and geographies; however, their commitment to achieving success puts them in a category of their own.”

SanMar, a family-owned company since its founding in 1971, is currently managed by the third generation of the Lott family. Key drivers for its selection on the 2024 best-managed company list are the supplier’s longstanding investments in its employees, operations and sustainability efforts.

The supplier, which has nine distribution centers nationwide and offers apparel from more than 30 brands, ranked first on the most recent list of the largest suppliers in the industry, based on estimated 2022 North American promotional products revenue of $3.4 billion.

Vantage Supports Oceans with $30K 1% Pledge

Avenel, NJ Vantage Apparel recently proudly announced a significant cumulative contribution of over $30,000 to Clean Ocean Action as part of the company's ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability. This substantial donation is in line with Vantage’s participation in the 1% for the Planet® initiative, reinforcing its dedication to making a positive impact on the environment. 


In 2021, Vantage launched its proprietary Earthwise Collection, featuring feel-good, high-performance fashion. Most styles in the collection are made with Repreve®, a high-quality recycled polyester made from recycled plastic water bottles, helping reduce plastic waste in our world’s oceans and landfills – all of which are part of 1% for the Planet®. Distributors have helped recycle more than 1.5 million water bottles since the launch of Vantage’s Earthwise collection. 


Vantage chose Clean Ocean Action, a member of 1% for the Planet®, as its charitable partner for this endeavor, recognizing the organization's tireless efforts in preserving and protecting the world's oceans and coastlines. In addition to its annual monetary donations to Clean Ocean Action, Vantage continues its stewardship by volunteering in beach clean-up events every year. 


“We are honored to have Vantage’s continued support and generous donations that directly support Clean Ocean Action's initiatives to combat pollution, promote marine conservation, and raise awareness about the importance of a clean and healthy ocean environment,” states Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action. “The funds will be utilized to implement impactful projects, organize educational programs, and contribute to the ongoing research aimed at safeguarding marine ecosystems.” 


Vantage CEO, Rob Watson, expressed enthusiasm about the company's involvement in the 1% for the Planet program and the partnership with Clean Ocean Action. "At Vantage Apparel, we understand the importance of environmental responsibility, and we are committed to making a positive difference. Our contribution to Clean Ocean Action is a testament to our dedication to sustainable business practices and the preservation of our planet for future generations." 


Clean Ocean Action is a non-profit organization that has been at the forefront of environmental advocacy for over four decades. The organization's commitment to addressing marine pollution and promoting clean and healthy oceans aligns seamlessly with Vantage Apparel's values. 

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

2024 PPAI 100

PPAI Media

2024 PPAI 100 Revealed to NALC Crowd In Salt Lake City


For the second year in a row, a sneak peek at the unveiling of PPAI 100 has been one of the perks of attending PPAI’s North American Leadership Conference. The 2024 rankings were revealed in a series of installments through NALC's Sunday opening reception and Monday's full day of education programming, with the final 30 announced Monday evening during a PPAI 100 celebration.

The crowd of promo leaders in Salt Lake City were eager to find out if and where their companies were slated among the coveted top spots. The dinner, which celebrated all industry leaders, was just one aspect of NALC, which successfully kicked off the week.

As the industry’s premier company ranking evolves in its second year, its size has doubled, now including 100 distributors and 100 suppliers.

Read More Here

3 Steps to Prime Your Brain for a Growth Mindset

Kristel Bauer  Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor Founder of Live Greatly

Take these three steps to cultivate a growth mindset and enhance your happiness and success

There seems to be some common trends for people who seem happy, successful and fulfilled — and one of them is that many of these individuals have learned how to embrace a growth mindset. Now we are all going to be faced with challenges and setbacks in our careers and in our lives, but it is how we respond to these situations that makes all the difference.

Our mindsets can dictate whether we take steps in the wrong direction after a hardship or whether we use obstacles and unexpected twists and turns as stepping stones to get to where we aspire to be. Unfortunately, having a growth mindset does not always come naturally. It can take effort and intention to begin to approach situations in a new way.

Regardless of where you currently are on your journey, there are certain steps you can take to start developing a growth mindset that will level up your happiness and success.

Read More

PPAI Economic Research Tools

PPAI Media

PPAI Introduces New Economic Research Tool For Its Professional-Tier Members

PPAI has entered into a new partnership with ITR Economics, one of the oldest, privately held economic research and consulting firms in the United States.

Established in 1948 and known for its 94.7% forecast accuracy, ITR Economics’ business-minded economists offer unbiased and apolitical insights, leveraging the organization’s powerful datasets to provide objective forecasts and analysis tools.

The new partnership represents a major investment in PPAI's commitment to Premium Research as a benefit to Professional-tier members, according to Josh Ellis, publisher and editor-in-chief of PPAI Media.

“We want to deliver value in all of the content we serve to members of every size, type and need,” Ellis says. “Through their tier choice, these members have signaled to us that they have a use for deeper economic data to help them make strategic decisions. We’re proud to offer it, and I hope every Silver, Gold and Platinum PPAI member takes full advantage.”

Read More

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