February 2023
A Message From Our PPAMidwest President......
PPAMidwest Members,
Can you believe it is February already? I hope you survived the madness of the busy January show month and are moving into the rest of the years with new ideas and new connections.

Coming up this month, we have an event that I am truly excited for and I hope you will see the value in it as well. Omer Stoker wrote in The Future of Associations, “Associations must evolve if they are to survive into the future.” As the board looks to the future of PPAMidwest while examining the proud history, we know that we exist because of our members. Because of this, we must engage as many of you as possible and gather your feedback and input. We know your emails are bombarded daily and rather than sending our a survey that may be lost in the busy inboxes we all have, we have decided to connect at a personal level and call as many members as we possibly can. So, on February 24th, the “February Fonebank” will see all of our board members connecting with as many of you as humanly possible. Expect your call and we hope you will have honest and detailed feedback for us. Calls will take no more than 10 minutes of your time and your answers will guide us into the future!

Don’t forget all the other exciting opportunities that we have for you this year as well:
  • Our Spring Showcase is fast approaching, with a new Kansas City venue and a social happy hour to boot. Save the date for 3/28 in St. Louis and 3/30 in Kansas City. We have a lot of exciting supplier exhibitors signed up and distributor registrations will be opening soon!
  • The return of our annual golf tournament and popular pickleball outing
  • In May, Kansas City and St. Louis will get to participate in the inaugural “Bombard the Board” paintball social! Keep watching your emails and follow our FB page to stay up to date on those details.
  • Our Fall Showcase October 3rd and 4th in Kansas City and St. Louis respectively

It remains humbling and deeply honoring to be serving as your President in 2023. I want to ensure that you continue to see the value in your membership every day. Please reach out directly to me with your comments, questions, or even just to yell at me. I can be reached via email at at dennis.oglesby@go2partners.com

Yours in Service,

Dennis Oglesby, MAS
2023 PPAMidwest President
February 14, 2023 Tuesday Learning Lab:
"Outsourced Artwork Services: Up Your Game, Lower Your Cost"

Once considered only for large companies, outsourcing various artwork functions is now preferred for even small-to-medium sized companies. Outsourcing allows you to focus on proactive, sales-centric efforts, while a professional resource manages these back-office functions:
  • artwork validation & manipulation (vectorizing, digitizing, redrawing, etc.)
  • creating quality art files for submission to vendors
  • virtual sample creation, storyboards, flyers, virtual catalogs - and more
Discover the different levels of engagement, along with the strengths and weaknesses inherent in each. Join industry veteran Scott A. Nussinow, MAS for this enlightening and educational presentation, featuring an overview of artwork outsourcing, how it works, and how it can simplify your operations – and your life.
Learning Outcomes:
  • Attendees will learn a brief history of how outsourced resources changed the industry for the better
  • Attendees will get an understanding of how other industry prof. utilize outsourced artwork resources.
  • Attendees will better understand the different types of outsourced artwork resources engagements available to them, including strengths and weaknesses of each
  • Attendees will be encouraged to consider hybrid engagements that best suit their needs, ask specific questions, and find solutions that work for them.

February 22, 2023 Wild Wednesday Webinar: "Top Tips for Growth in 2023 with Charity G!"

Back by popular demand is Ms. Charity Gibson with valuable industry advice on how to level up your sales efforts thereby increasing your sales. Practical industry advice that works and can work for you! Tune in as Charity shares her special brand of knowledge delivered as only she can deliver!
Learning Outcomes:
  • What you can do for your business in 2023
  • Best ways to use these tips to position your business for success
  • Practical advice on how to grow your sales and manage your business

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
Distributor registration is opening soon!!
PPAMidwest News
Towel Specialties Hires MW Reps in Midwest
Baltimore, MD – Towel Specialties and Cobblestone Mills Blanket Company announced the addition of MW Reps to the company’s multi-line sales representatives. MW Reps is a supplier rep agency in the promotional products industry that will serve Towel Specialties in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas.

MW Reps consists of Bryan Mercer and Jennifer Kruger, who, together have over 50 years of sales experience. Mercer first partnered with Kruger in 2018 and they have quickly established themselves as the finest reps in the Midwest. Together with their business development manager Katie Hopkins, the MW Reps team strives to present top-notch customer service and promotional products solutions to each customer.

Shawn Kanak, President and CSO at Towel Specialties, states, “We are thrilled to add Bryan, Jen and Katie to our award-winning field rep team. MW Reps has swiftly gained a reputation in the Midwest for only partnering with the top suppliers in the industry and delivering top-notch consultation services that are unmatched. We look forward to the opportunities that will arise from this partnership.”
LGBTQ+ Distributorship, BE YOU Brands, Launches Under American Solutions for Business

Glenwood, MN - BE YOU Brands, a certified LGBTQ+ distributorship has launched under the American Solutions for Business umbrella, expanding the company’s branding and customer reach.

“Our vision was to create a diversity company, but more than that to get involved in the community that we care about, to support entrepreneurialism in the LGBTQ+ space, and to offer marketing insight to our clients,” explained Scott Coder, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of BE YOU Brands. “This enables employees to be open about their true self at work and expand work relationships with friends and allies who share and support a common bond.”

“Our core beliefs focus on the customer experience and making sure it delivers positive feelings and memories for our clients,” expressed Rob Whitman, Co-Founder, Managing Partner, and LGBTQ+ ally. “This, coupled with our individual stories and involvement in the LGBTQ+ community supports our vision.”

“American couldn’t be more proud of the initiative that Scott and Rob have taken, applying the experiences they’ve had to the business that they love,” explained President of ASB, Justin Zavadil. “The American family has never been shy about creating an accepting environment, and the businesses that they work with share the same vision of an all-inclusive future.”
PPAMidwest Members....You and your family members have access to a
$1,250 One Year Scholarship funded by special events and activities
brought to you by your PPAMidwest Board of Directors
PPAMidwest has partnered with PPEF to offer a one year, $1,250 scholarship to all staff of PPAMidwest member companies or their children who are high school seniors or college undergraduates. PPEF takes all of the applications, reviews, verifies, and makes a recommendation for a recipient.

Why PPEF? The Promotional Products Education Foundation is an industry-based educational, charitable, and nonprofit organization.  PPEF awards college scholarships to students who have a parent working in the promotional products industry or who are working for a company in the industry. 

Applications for the 2023-2024 academic school year are now available.
Deadline to submit is March 15, 2023.
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?
SAGE Adds New ESG/Diversity Search Filters in SAGE Total Access

Addison, TX – SAGE, the leading provider of information, marketing, and business management solutions to the promotional products industry, in partnership with PPAI's DEI task force, announces the addition of ESG/Diversity search filters in SAGE Total Access, the first search capability of its kind within the industry. 
"This truly is a game changer with regards to redefining search for products with purpose,” said Danny Rosin, Co-President of Brand Fuel and Co-Founder of PromoCares.
SAGE Total Access users will now be able to search for businesses that are B Corp and CSR Certified, as well as search for companies that are disability-owned, Hispanic-owned, LGBTQ+ owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, and minority-owned.
“The PPAI DEI Task Force was thrilled for the announcement of the new SAGE ESG/Diversity search to be rolled out at The PPAI Expo,” said Cindy Tsuji, Senior Account Executive of Image Source and member of the PPAI DEI Task Force.
“As our clients require us to provide diverse supplier solutions for them, it is great to be able to have a resource for our members to search. We look forward to making this a more robust tool as we progress doing the continued work.”
Suppliers can upload certification documentation for those who have a certification for a specific characteristic. Companies previously noted as woman, veteran, or minority-owned businesses have been categorized under the new ESG/Diversity search filter option. Suppliers can now upload documents and mark their ESG/Diversity status through the SAGE Supplier Center.
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
PPAI Pyramid Awards
PPAI Media Newslink
2023 PPAI Pyramid Awards Announced; 71 Industry Companies Honored
January 2023 - DPPAI has named the winners of its 2023 Pyramid Awards, with 91 awards given among 71 members companies. The annual recognition, sponsored by Pacesetter Awards, honors creative excellence in the promotional products industry and recognizes dependable suppliers, outstanding promotions, creative campaigns and exceptional craftsmanship by Association members.
First presented in 1958, the PPAI Pyramid Award represents the pinnacle of achievement and honors the longstanding, collaborative partnerships between the PPAI family of members that differentiate strategic promotional marketing from the buying and selling of products. The PPAI Pyramid Awards continue to advance the awareness and prestige of the industry’s talented companies and individuals.
Click here to see the full list of winners, listed alphabetically.
5 Ways You Should Be Using Technology to Unlock Growth (and Stay Afloat) This Year
Peter Coppinger  Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor CEO & Co-Founder of Teamwork.com

In 2023, there's no shortcut to working hard — but with smart systems and processes in place, you at least have a chance to spend your time on the activities that have the potential to move the needle and, as a result, move you into the next stage of growth.
"Work smarter, not harder." The harsh reality is that you will have to do both if you want your business to stay alive in 2023.
With the changing world of work, your team is already feeling the pressure — or, more likely, they've been feeling it for the past three years: managing multiple projects at once with higher client expectations and shorter deadlines and trying to strike a balance between productivity and burnout, all while making your wildest agency dreams come true.
But, this year, the thing that will separate who survives and who thrives will come down to one word: technology.
As someone who wanted to grow my business but wasn't sure how, I can confidently say having the right integrated tech tools in place is essential if you really want to quell the chaos and unlock growth. Read More
PPAI Icon Awards Nominations
PPB Media Newslink
PPAI Accepting Nominations for its Icon Awards; Deadline is March 10
The leadership, inspiration and selfless efforts of so many talented and passionate individuals have played instrumental roles in raising up the promotional products industry and the communities in which it operates. PPAI’s Icon Awards – the Hall Of Fame Award, the Distinguished Service Award, the PPAI H. Ted Olson Humanitarian Award, the Woman of Achievement Award and the PPAI Regional Volunteer Award – recognize and honor the achievements and commitment of these industry leaders.
PPAI relies on the insights of its members to help identify individuals worthy of the Association’s esteemed Icon Awards. Nominations are due by March 10.
PPAI Hall Of Fame Award
This achievement recognizes industry visionaries – members whose careers have made a significant and positive impact on the industry and Association.
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.
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 Woman Of Achievement
Women selected for this award have led the industry as professionals, mentors, inspirations and philanthropists. They are models of the change they want to see in the world.
PPAI Regional Volunteer Award
The award spotlights 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.
For more information on the PPAI Icon Awards, click here