May 2023
Wishing all of the PPAMidwest Mothers
a wonderful, relaxing weekend!
A Message From Our PPAMidwest President......
PPAMidwest Members,
We all know the old riddle, “If April Showers Bring May Flowers, What Do May Flowers Bring?” This May, the answer to that within PPAMidwest isn’t Pilgrims, it is Change. Heraclitus once said, “There is nothing permanent except change.” Recently, your Board of Directors were forced to evaluate a proposed change put to us by PPAI. If you are engaged with PPAI, perhaps you saw a recent announcement indicating that regional associations would be joining PPAI as business service members. What may not have been clear to you was that the decision to join PPAI was up to the discretion of each regional association board and required a sizable membership fee. Several regional associations chose not to join in the interest of your members. Our incredible directors evaluated extensively the pros and cons of this important decision across many weeks, and recently made the decision to join PPAI and pay membership dues in a vote that could not have been closer. In the end, the belief was that the potential benefits to our members do outweigh the investment. Please note though; the board fully intends to monitor the returns on investment and we do have a one-time option to request a refund on our dues and rescind our membership. If at any point our board believes that you, our members, are not being well-served, I am confident that we will take swift action. I’d love to hear any questions or comments that any of you have regarding our direction with this change!

Don’t forget all the exciting opportunities that we have for you this year:
  • You can still register for our annual golf tournament. Plan to come out to Ironhorse Golf Club in Leawood, KS on Thursday June 22nd. Registration for players and sponsors is on our website now.
  • August social events will be held the first full week of August, which will include a return to Chicken N Pickle in Overland Park, KS and a retro Arcade party in St. Louis.
  • Our Fall Showcase dates are set for September 26th in Overland Park, KS and September 28th in St. Louis. We will be returning to the same loved venues from our Spring Show.

Summer is upon us and I’m sure many of your are looking forward to amazing events with friends and family. I am still looking forward to seeing all of you at our events throughout the rest of this year and for many years to come. I remain humbled to serve as your President. Please reach out directly to me with your comments, questions, or just to chat. I can be reached via email at at

Yours in Service,

Dennis Oglesby, MAS
2023 PPAMidwest President
May 31, 2023 Wild Wednesday Webinar: "Packaging - YES, it IS a Promotional Product and it's Not Going Away"

Named ASI’s 2022 Product of the Year, packaging has been the fastest growing category in the promo industry. As an industry, when a crisis occurs, we step up, pivot, and make it right, for ourselves, and for our clients. Today’s latest technology has provided you with amazing innovations. This unique interview style presentation will unlock a multitude of profit-generating opportunities. Cliff Quicksell, Jr. will interview one of our leaders in our industry; Andy Griffin, managing Partner with Keepsake Products USA to ‘unpack’ these opportunities so you can hit the ground running with higher sales, and more importantly explosive profits. Attendees who attend and stay on the call will receive a big surprise.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Deeper understanding of the packaging market
  • New technology which allows lower minimums, without sacrificing quality, making your box smarter
  • Methods and techniques to sell and profit at a greater level
  • Ideas on elevating your creative juices and getting them flowing
  • Opening doors to clients you never thought you could
  • Explain why all promo boxes don't necessarily need a product

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

Enoy the ultimate golf-networking experience!

When: 6/22/23, 9:00 am CDT

WhereIronhorse Golf Club,15400 Mission Rd,Leawood, KS 66224   Driving Directions 

Individual Entry Fee Includes:
  • 18 holes of Championship Golf
  • Electric Cart
  • Golfer's Goodie Bag
  • Lunch
  • 1 drink ticket 

Sponsor A Hole Option Includes:
  • Foursome for Golf including all of the above items for all players
  • Hole Sponsorship with prominent signage
  • Online promotion including company logo on pre-event marketing
  • Opportunity to include product in Golfer Goodie Bags or donate prizes

See you on the course!
PPAMidwest News
Vantage Apparel Boosts Its Sales Team with Exceptional Talent

Avenal, NJ – Vantage Apparel recently announced the addition of two professionals, Ryan Finnegan and Stephanie Thompson to their sales team. With over 21 years of combined experience in the promotional apparel industry, Ryan and Stephanie bring a unique perspective and skill set to the team.
Ryan Finnegan comes to Vantage Apparel with over a decade of experience in custom apparel sales on both the distributor and supplier side of the business. Ryan will be responsible for sales in the Mid-Atlantic serving the Southern New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Northern VA, and Pennsylvania markets, and his clients will benefit from his expertise and experience.
Stephanie Thompson brings over nine years of promotional apparel experience from a major retail golf brand, where she honed her expertise in marketing strategy and graphic design to distinguish herself as a standout industry professional. Stephanie Thompson joins the Central Sales Team with responsibility for clients based in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska, catering to the needs of businesses in these states.
New Financial Leadership for SnugZ USA

West Jordan, UT – SnugZ USA has announced a key leadership change to its financial team.
Shelly Allred has joined the company as its new chief financial officer. The supplier's previous CFO, RaNell Lefler, will remain with SnugZ, transitioning to the role of chief processing officer. She had previously held the CFO role for seven years. 
Allred joins the SnugZ team without any experience in the promotional products industry. She previously worked in the auto and insurance markets. Allred joins SnugZ from Asbury Automotive Group, where she worked for just under 10 years, most recently as VP of financial systems.
Allred looks forward to being a part of the industry and the SnugZ team. "I am really excited to be joining the team here at SnugZ," Allred says. "I can already tell how amazing the people and teams are and am thrilled to learn all about this new industry. I feel like the culture and values are a great fit, and I can't wait to dive into the numbers."
HALO Names New Chief Human Resources Officer

Sterling, IL – HALO recently announced a change to the company’s Human Resources leadership. Kimberly Sandifer has been promoted to chief human resources officer. Sandifer joined HALO in 2020 to lead its HR Business Partner team, working closely with the company’s previous CHRO, Sean Radford.
Her background includes 30 years of human resources and business experience. She has held operations and HR roles at Chubb, Ulta Beauty and CNA Insurance.
In her new role, Sandifer will report directly to Marc Simon, HALO’s CEO. The company has more than 2,000 employees spread across 42 offices globally and earlier this year, was the first industry distributor to announce crossing the $1 billion annual sales mark. Competitor 4imprint later announced the same milestone for 2022.
“Over the past two years, Kim has established great credibility with the executive team, and we have been intentionally developing her to take over when the time was right,” says Simon. “Kim will lead a department she helped to build. I couldn’t be more pleased to have her as my partner.”
Vantage Apparel Donates 1% For The Planet Pledge to Clean Ocean Action

Avenal, NJ – Vantage Apparel has donated its 1% For The Planet Pledge from sales of the company’s sustainable Earthwise Collection to Clean Ocean Action, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting marine life and the ocean environment. In just three years, the Earthwise styles, made with premium Repreve® recycled fiber have accounted for keeping more than 1 million post-consumer plastic bottles from landfills and oceans.  
"We are committed to doing our part to help protect our planet, and we believe that Clean Ocean Action is doing important work in keeping our oceans clean and healthy," said Ira Neaman, President of Vantage Apparel. "We're proud to support their efforts and to make a positive impact on the environment." To kick off Earth Day events, Neaman and Vantage associates, Eric Wukitsch, Senior VP, and Gina Barreca, Director of Marketing personally delivered the donation to Clean Ocean Action at their headquarters in Long Branch, New Jersey.
Clean Ocean Action has been working since 1984 to identify sources of pollution in the ocean and to promote long-term solutions to protect marine life and coastal environments. The organization has been recognized for its efforts by numerous environmental groups, government agencies, and other organizations. 
"Vantage Apparel's donation makes a big splash to help our organization in our efforts to protect the world's ocean," said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action. "We're most grateful for their support and partnership in this important work." 
Vantage Apparel's 1% For The Planet Pledge is a commitment to reducing the company's environmental impact through sustainable practices and initiatives. The donation to Clean Ocean Action is just one way that Vantage Apparel is working towards a brighter, cleaner future.
Geiger Names New Vice President and General Counsel

Lewston, ME – Geiger recently announced the promotion of David Geiger, Esq., MAS, into the role of vice president and general counsel. Geiger is a family-owned distributor of over 100 years, and David is a fifth-generation member of the Geiger family. He has been with Geiger since 2007 when he joined the company in manufacturing engineering services, eventually becoming compliance manager. In this position, David will oversee legal matters including mergers and acquisitions, contract negotiations, regulatory compliance and risk management.
He will also oversee sustainability efforts and social responsibility initiatives. “David has been an invaluable member of the Geiger team for many years, and we are thrilled to utilize his skillset in this expanded role,” says Jo-an Lantz, president and CEO of Geiger. “As a fifth-generation member of the Geiger family, David has a deep understanding of not only our business, but the core values that have driven our success for 145 years.” David will still remain on the company’s board of directors.
“I am thrilled and honored to take on this new role at Geiger to help serve my family’s business in an increased capacity,” says David. “Geiger has been a leader in our industry for over five generations, and my goal is to continue the great legacy established by the previous generations. I look forward to continued collaboration with our talented associates while actively contributing to the company’s enduring success.”
PPAMidwest Members.....Are you taking advantage
of your Membership Benefits?
DISTRIBUTOR MEMBERS.....Are you using our Member Only Coupon Book? Just by using a couple of coupons from our PPAMidwest coupon book can totally pay for your membership!
One member recently used a free set up coupon from Americanna and saved $48.00!
To access the coupon book, click here
What coupon have you used lately?
SAGE's New Tools Bring
AI to Promo

Addison, TX – Artificial intelligence has come to promo. SAGE recently announced the first promotional products industry tools using the power of artificial intelligence for research and business management. SAGE’s announcement came during day one of its two-day, virtual SAGE Conference.
The new AI functionality is coming to its SAGE Online, SAGE Web and SAGE Website Professional Plus tools. The new SAGE AI features will be added to the product search area and the presentation and projects modules in SAGE Online and SAGE Web. SAGE Website Professional Plus will leverage AI-based capabilities in customers’ websites to help create new, dynamic content.
“This is truly a remarkable point in time for technology in general but also for the promotional products industry as well,” says Eric Natinsky, CEO of SAGE. “The Idea Wizard represents the first time that we as an industry are able to utilize the power of AI as a tool to enhance our own capabilities and provide the best service possible. And this is only the beginning! The biggest leap in AI that we’ve all seen recently with ChatGPT and other similar technologies is in language. Using these technologies to create a first draft of content is a huge timesaver and idea generator. Then you can always make changes from there to get it just the way you want it before you actually use the content.”
“As an industry, it’s important that we keep looking for ways to use technology to help our industry innovate, grow and provide the service that the public expects in today’s time,” says David Natinsky, SAGE’s president. “That’s our focus here at SAGE and announcements like this are the next step in that continuous evolution.”
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 North American Leadership Conference
Washington, D.C. ~ June 4 - 6
PPAI to Unveil First-Ever Ranking of Industry's Leading Companies at NALC
The For decades, PPAI’s North American Leadership Conference has been known as a gathering of C-level executives and key decision makers from many of the top companies in promotional products.  
This year, some of those firms’ status as the industry leaders will be officially recognized as part of an important first for PPAI.
During the conference, the Association will reveal the inaugural PPAI 100, a ranking of the industry’s leading companies. The list – which ranks 50 exemplary distributors and 50 exemplary suppliers – is unlike any ever produced in the promo market.
Fully backed by research, PPAI 100 will not only track the previous year’s sales for ranking companies, but weigh many additional factors relevant to corporate leadership, including business growth over time, corporate social responsibility and technology practices, the strength of firms’ workforces, employee happiness, industry faith and beyond. Placement on the annual list will become the highest recognition PPAI bestows on its member companies.
NALC will be held June 4-6 in Washington. Registration is now open to the industry. It will be followed immediately by PPAI Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.) on June 7. 

For more details and to register, click here
Early Bird Registration ends TODAY, May 11th!
A Large (But Disconnected) Team Won't Survive Tough Times — But a Close-Knit Team Will. Here's Why.
Daniel Todd  Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor Founder & CEO of Influence Mobile

Close-knit teams are the foundation we have to fall back on when times get tough.
Five months into the year, 2023 has proven to be just as tumultuous as years past. An uncertain economy has rocked businesses while employees have faced widespread layoffs.
In such times, some workers may feel as if they are waiting with bated breath for their job to be cut next. And while one may assume they are safe at a large, well-established company, layoffs at organizations like Meta have shown that might not be true. One survey of 1,000 business leaders found that 74% of leaders of companies with over 500 employees said they would have to do layoffs this year (as compared to only 51% of leaders of companies with fewer than 500 employees).
Larger companies often allow culture to fall to the wayside, creating a large, disconnected group of interchangeable employees. In these times of uncertainty, ensuring our companies are close-knit and ready to get through the storm is more important than ever. Read More
2023 Greatest Companies To Work For
PPAI Newslink
67 Industry Firms Earn PPAI Greatest Companies to Work For Honors

PPAI Media has announced this year’s winners in the annual Greatest Companies To Work For competition.
Employee votes have been cast and counted for the contest, which has been held annually since 2011. Distributors, suppliers and business services companies representing the diverse scope of industry firms made the list.
The competition, which began in March, was open to all PPAI member companies in the U.S. and Canada with at least five full-time employees. Firms must be nominated by an employee to compete. They submit a roster of employees, who then receive a questionnaire asking them to rate their employer on a range of topics, from “I am confident about my future at this company,” to “I have a good benefits package compared to other companies,” and “This company operates by strong values and ethics.”
A survey participation rate was established for each company based on its size, and companies were required to meet it for eligibility. The survey results were then tabulated to the same standards as in years past. Taken on average, the employees from winning companies either agreed or strongly agreed with the positive sentiments asked about their workplaces in the survey.
The winning companies range in size from as few as five employees on the low end to nearly 1,300 on the high side. This year, 67 companies earned the honors, a substantial jump. Only 47 winners reached the necessary qualifications in 2022. Of last year's winners, 25 repeated the feat in 2023.
Click here to see the 67 Greatest Companies To Work For