May 2021
Wishing all of the PPAMidwest Mothers a wonderful, relaxing weekend!
May 11, 2021 Tuesday Learning Lab:
The Ins & Outs of PPAI Certification"
Want to earn your industry designation, but don't know where to start? Join us as we talk through the process of earning your TAS, CAS, and MAS. Need to find a certain session or solution for your business? Let us teach you the best way to navigate our site to further your education and success. Join Shannon Johnson with PPAI to learn the ins and outs of PPAI certification and online education.

Learning Lab attendees will learn:
  • How to earn your TAS, CAS, and MAS
  • Requirements for Recertification to keep your designation current
  • Finding sessions that can help you and your business

Register today to see all of the latest trends in Promotional Advertising
as well as catch up with your favorite Suppliers and Multi-line Reps!
May 26, 2021 Wild Wednesday Webinar:
“Shared Future - Translating Trends Into Products

With all that has come to pass since March of 2020, we have collectively come to realize that we are invested in our shared future. The trends we are going to explore speak to the many ways we are investing in our globe, our neighborhoods and ourselves. This is a story about how all the activities we are engaging in to sustain ourselves and our communities is translating into the real investments we are making in products. Let us take a moment to see what matters now.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Learn more about “Conscious Consumerism” & why Gen Zers are so invested in sustainability
  • Two of the four pillars that structures HAPPINESS is Connectedness & Being Part of Something Bigger Than Yourself and why that’s important
  • Why a more LOCAL lifestyle will be desirable in Post-Pandemic Cities
  • Looking out to 2022, what will be relevant in wearables

Registration Opening Soon!
Here are the members currently
at the top of the PPAMidwest
PhD (Promo Honors Designee) Award Program leaderboard: 

*Denise Davis, 3M Promotional Markets

*Jake Wells, American Solutions for Business

*Scott Rogers, Corporate Branding

*Aubrey Weaver, DistributorCentral
Want to earn points and join in on the fun?
Simply complete the easy request form to have your points credited
for the activities listed in the below image. It is that simple!
PPAMidwest News
American Solutions for Business Announces Organizational Changes 

Glenwood, MN – American Solutions for Business announced that Taylor Borst has been promoted to Director of Marketing, Events & Public Relations and that Nate Disrud has been promoted to Director of Technology. 
Taylor Borst - Joining ASB in 2015, Taylor has held several roles within the organization. Beginning as a Strategic Operations Support Coordinator, she transitioned to Promotional Product Specialist and most recently was Head of Communications & Public Relations.
“We are very excited to watch Taylor grow within the organization. Her proven work ethic and creativity has had such a positive impact on ASB. We are looking forward to supporting her next level,” said Dana Zezzo, VP Marketing, Vendor Relations & PR.
She will oversee the existing marketing department and two new positions, specializing in events and public relations.
“I’m honored and excited for this new opportunity,” Borst shares. “We have a wildly creative team and can’t wait to welcome our new hires! Together, we can elevate marketing strategy, reimagine the event experience and amplify voices within the organization – establishing and accentuating what makes ASB exceptional.”  
Nate Disrud - “Nate and I started at ASB on the same day in 2012,” explains Mike Pfeiffer, ASB’s VP of Technology. “Since that time, Nate has been promoted four times in nine years, while I remain in the same position I was hired. Nate is an outstanding leader with fantastic technical capabilities. He is a dedicated team member who contributes daily to ASB’s success.”
He will lead the Technical & Security Operations teams, providing industry-leading service levels while leveraging ASB’s IT vendors to provide proven solutions while protecting the organization’s financial interests.
Disrud adds, “I look forward to continuing to provide solutions for ASB that will benefit from both a technical and financial standpoint. Post-pandemic operations look quite different, but our goals of security and dependability remain constant.”
PCNA Celebrates Industry's Commitment
to Eco-Friendly Initiatives
Pittsburg PA - Polyconcept North America (PCNA) is excited to share the impact their distributor partners are making across the globe through their support of PCNA’s eco collection.
In 2020 alone, PCNA and their distributor partners saved almost 1 million bottles and 150,000 pounds of cotton from entering landfills. In addition, through their partnership with 1% for the Planet, the company has been able to plant over 75,000 trees and provide clean water to over 7,000 individuals as a direct result of eco product sales. “We wouldn’t be a leader in this industry if it wasn’t for the support of our amazing customers,” says Liz Haesler, Chief Merchandising Officer for PCNA. “It’s important that we show how their support is making a difference in this world.”
“Because of the impact this industry has been able to make through the overwhelming support of our eco-friendly items, other sustainable brands are anxious to get into the promo market,” continues Haesler. “We are excited to announce that PCNA will be partnering with two new eco-friendly retail brands in the coming weeks: tentree®, a sustainably-sourced apparel company with a mission to give back and EKOBO, a sustainable home accessories brand.” PCNA credits their distributor partners for the reason they’re able to grow their eco collection. “We can bring brands like tentree® and EKOBO to the promotional products market because of our amazing distributor partners who have created this demand by showing how important sustainability and the ability to give back is to them and their customers,” Haesler adds.
In addition to supporting sustainability efforts from a product perspective, PCNA is shifting their focus from a business perspective as well. “Two years ago, our eco line started as a robust product platform and while we continue to grow our eco collection, we’ve also evolved our thinking as an organization.” Says Neil Ringel, CEO of Polyconcept. “Outside of products, sustainability has become a key component of every business decision we make.”
Over the past two years, PCNA has made a conscious shift in the way they think about new projects and building upgrades. Across their North American facilities, they have taken measures to lower energy consumption, increase recycling programs and cut back on waste on the production floor.
And for PCNA, the effort doesn’t stop there. “With the support of the organization behind us, we’ve really been able to look at eco as a whole,” says Haesler. In addition to the products and brands that support 1% for the Planet, PCNA has over five additional retail brands that have their own give-back programs, including Welly®, CamelBak® and Skullcandy. “It’s truly amazing to see just how much of a difference we can make with the support of so many. Whether it’s supporting clean air, clean water or recycling initiatives, our distributors partners really do make a difference,” adds Haesler.
PCNA is showing their commitment to meeting the eco demand through significant inventory investments, the sourcing of new and different eco-friendly materials, innovative custom product design, overall new product development and new brand partnerships. “We are so grateful to the distributors who have supported us along this journey. Our commitment to them is to continue bringing new and exciting eco alternatives to the market,” continues Haesler. PCNA recently announced that 60% of their new product collection is eco-friendly and that this is a trend they are expecting to grow well into 2021.
PPAMidwest Past President (1991) A. Phillip Carney passed away on April 11, 2021 at age 81. He enjoyed an extraordinary career in the Promotional Products Industry and was truly an icon. He was loved by so many in our industry and will leave a void that will cannot be filled.

Wendy Franklin with Geiger remembers Phil by saying:
"For those who have been in the industry for a while, you no doubt have fond memories of Phil. He was a master story teller, an incredible teacher and mentor, a fabulous sales person, a HUGE advocate for our industry and an all around great guy.
He loved interacting with people and singing the praises of our great industry. He’d teach and entertain you at the same time! You certainly walked away with more than one great ‘Phil’ story. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. He will be greatly missed."

In honor of Phil, the Phil Carney PPEF Memorial Scholarship has been established. For details or to contribute to the fund, please click the link below:

PPAMidwest Past President (1979) Jay Shucart passed away Sunday, May 2, 2021. Jay was an ever present icon in our industry and will be terribly missed by all that were lucky enough to have known him. Jay was a 2nd Generation Owner/CEO of Advertising Premium Sales based in St. Louis, MO which was founded by his father, Harold Shucart, in 1962.
Shortly after college, Jay began his extraordinary career in the Promotional Products Industry at Advertising Premium Sales and stepped in as President upon his father's passing in 1985.

Jay was an avid member of PPAMidwest serving in most officer roles on the board or directors and as our president in 1979. Jay supported his beloved regional association for many years after leaving the board of directors as well as supporting PPAI by attending RAC meetings and never missing Expo.
Margie Price, former PPAMidwest President and Executive Director with the St. Louis Men’s Group Against Cancer, remembers Jay by saying:
"I have many memories of Jay, his contagious smile, his down to earth take of the industry and his ability to cut through the small stuff. I will always remember him as a friend, a confidant, a mentor to many and one of the good guys. He carried the banner of PPAMidwest and PPAI. I will miss him but am grateful to have known him and for getting to know the family, the Shucarts, who are dear to me”.

Jay is survived by his wife Sheila of 48 years, his son, Matthew, who will take the helm at Advertising Premium Sales, his daughter Heather and 5 beautiful grandchildren.

If you would like to make a contribution in Jay's honor, the family has requested that donations be made to the St. Louis Men’s Group Against Cancer, 12951 Olive Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63141:
Industry News
Kicking Off The PPEF Throwback Challenge
10 Weeks to Play!
Want To Play A Game of Guess Who?
PPEF, Promotional Products Education Foundation, would like to invite you to participate in the Throwback Challenge. Over the next 10 weeks, PPEF will release a high school senior photo on #ThrowbackThursday and it's up to you to guess which industry peer it might be. When you have your guess in mind, visit to see if you are correct.
While you're there, make a donation to PPEF and then upload your own senior photo. PPEF's goal is to fill the giving grid and raise $4,500 to fund two need-based scholarships, available to industry students and students with parents working at an industry company.
Follow PPEF on Facebook and Twitter to watch the Throwback Challenge unfold. 
This Small Business Week, Try 8 Habits Successful People Do Every Day
Keven Leyes  Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor Chairman of Leyes Empire, CEO of Leyes Media/VVS

How are powerhouse leaders able to accomplish so much day in and day out?

The set of habits doesn’t have to be complex, though. Take Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, for example. He has two key habits that he does every day without fail: gratitude and exercise. Each morning, he wakes up and asks himself what he’s thankful for. Acts of gratitude like this are shown to improve mental and physical health. Next, Nadella hits the gym. No matter where he is, he commits to going to the gym for at least 30 minutes. He says it makes a huge difference - and he’s right. People who are physically fit have improved cognitive function.
Good habits for a positive mindset - Your mindset determines how you perceive the people around you and the situations you find yourself in. For that reason, a positive mindset will also determine your success in leadership. Approach your employees and tasks with a positive, enthusiastic mindset, and the results will follow. Approach them with a negative mindset, and you will only get negativity in return. Read on to discover how to use your habits to put yourself in a better headspace. Read More
Find Your Leadership Style at SPARK DIRECT-2-You
Thursday, May 20, 2021
Invest In Yourself And Your Future
SPARK Direct-2-You offers young professionals a balanced and immersive itinerary, with a variety of important topics. Unmatched by anything else in the industry, this unique, four-hour education and networking opportunity will engage, inform and inspire you. Check out this year's agenda: 
Thursday, May 20, 2021

  • Noon-12:15 pm CT • Welcome To SPARK Direct-2-You

  • 12:15-1:15 pm CT • Panel Discussion - How to balance a hybrid world with virtual and in-person trade shows, meetings, client relations, and more (Led by the SPARK workgroup) 

  • 1:30-3 pm CT • Breakout Sessions - Select Your Four Topics Of Interest:
  • Balancing virtual and in-person events
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Social responsibility
  • Supplier and distributor communication
  • Building and embracing confidence in a professional role
  • Prospecting in the future
  • 3-4 pm CT • Social Hour

  • 4 pm CT • Conclusion Of SPARK Direct-2-You
Learn more about SPARK Direct-2-You and register at Make sure to ask about company pricing so all the young professionals in your organization can participate for one low rate.