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August 2016
BOD Spotlight

Melissa Kopf, Director

1. What's playing in your car right now? 
Thomas Rhett- Love Him!
2. If a genie gave you a wish what would you wish for? 
A pool of black olives and pickles... duh
3.Who would you most like to have dinner with? 
Florida George Line - I bet they would have crazy stories!
4. Most famous person you met? 
I have not met anyone famous :(
5. What do you most like to do to unwind?
Take my bunny for a walk/ go to the gym/ go Tanning

Sam Reed 
Pacesetter Awards

Kelly Borre 
AAA Innovations

Gordon Blake 
Big River Marketing presenting; Leashables, Quickpoint and Totally Bamboo

Mitch Romasko 
& Chip Danby 
Delta Apparel

Jen Mendoza
Executive Director
:: 630-983-7722
Message from the President...

I want to thank everyone who sponsored, volunteered and participated at the 2016 PPAChicago Charity Golf Outing.  Once again this event was a great success and we're able to donate to two Charities that our members are involved in. Each year we set a goal to add new sponsors and to increase the amount of golfers.  This year we increased from 81 golfer in 2015 to 91 in 2016.  I hope all of you enjoy the event as much as I do and for those of you who have not attended in the past few years please put the 2017 Golf Outing as something you must do.  The date we already booked for next year is July 10th 2017.

We have a some great events coming up, highlighted by our 2016 Winter Fest in November.  Please mark you calendars and plan on joining us November 10 th at Five Roses in Rosemont.

Have a terrific Day!
Kamil Dys

New addition tried out this year: The Golf Ball Launcher!

A BIG thank you to our Happy Hour Sponsors Concord Marketing Solutions and Hit Promotional Products!

(Director) Ben Prasad, (VP) Matt Gallegos, (Executive Director) Jen Mendoza, (President) Kamil Dys, (Secretary) Colleen, (Director) Tom Moriarty

Nominate Yourself for the 
PPAChicago Board of Directors

Do you want to be more involved?  Find out how PPAChicago is run? 
Do you have ideas on how to improve the association?

This is your opportunity!

Earn MAS/CAS points
Be an industry Leader
Attend the RAC leadership conference
Make a Difference!

If interested, please complete the  nomination  form and  return  to by Friday, August 19th.

End of Summer Event!

PPAChicago Attends ASI Chicago

The PPAChicago booth met many new faces at this year's ASI Show in Chicago. Over 30 distributors and 20 suppliers showed an immense interested in joining the association and participating in our upcoming 2017 NPI Show. 

If  you meet with us at the ASI Show and are interested in joining, please click here.

PPAChicago Executive Director; Jen Mendoza, Mr. ASI, Vice President; Matt Gallegos
Save the Date for the Year's 
Winter Fest!

November 10th
Five Roses Irish Pub
Leaderpromos Announces Expansion with New Chicago Office to Support Growth

Columbus, OH. - Leaderpromos, a Top 50 Distributor of imprinted promotional products and apparel, announces its expansion in the Chicago, IL market to better accommodate its rapidly expanding customer base in the Midwest. The new office space, located at 224 N Des Plaines, Chicago, IL, will provide space for the Director of Sales & Relationship Management, Ben Turry and Client Relations Manager, Rory Fitzgerald, as well as accommodate future growth in this market.

Ben Turry is an industry leader with a demonstrated ability to constantly innovate while developing and maintaining outstanding relationships with clients and vendors. Since starting his career at HALO Branded Solutions in 1991, Ben has held a variety of roles with some of the top firms in the promotional products industry. Before joining Leaderpromos in April of this year, Ben worked at Cotton Candy, a Toronto based firm, where he was hired to lead their expansion into the U.S. market.

Rory Fitzgerald has over 10 years of experience working as a strategic client partner across CPG, Insurance, Telecom, and Tech verticals. She has a proven track record of successfully collaborating closely with clients across multiple departments to meet their marketing and business objectives. She has worked with major companies such as Campbell's, AT&T, Sara Lee, Aon, Motorola, and more to support complex marketing campaigns, large scale events, and corporate gifting. Rory knows that clients demand that their promotional partners have a holistic understanding of their business needs and goals and she's been living and breathing that philosophy at Leaderpromos for that past 4 years

"Leaderpromos' new office space will allow us to increase our capabilities in key areas that align with our current and future growth plans. The new space will allow us to expand our national sales team to support the growth we are experiencing while giving us dedicated facilities to host customer briefings and other activities." said Stephanie Leader, CEO, Leaderpromos. "Our team is excited about the growth we are experiencing and this move represents a commitment to continue to build on the success our team has accomplished."
Safeguard® Names SAGE® as a Preferred Provider of Research and Marketing Tools

Addison, Texas (August 1, 2016) - Safeguard, a leading print, promotional products and business services distribution company, has selected SAGE, a leading provider of business
management solutions to the promotional products industry, as a preferred provider of
research, marketing, and business management services to its locations.

As part of the relationship, SAGE will provide Safeguard network locations with special corporate pricing on select SAGE products and services. This includes the SAGE Total Access subscription, consisting of SAGE Online, the promotional product industry's most popular product research and business management tool; as well as SAGE Web, the browser-based platform to access SAGE tools from any device with web access; and SAGE Mobile, the mobile application for iOS and Android devices. In addition, this partnership will include preferred pricing on many of the SAGE Website tools and services.

"We're extremely excited to provide the best industry tools to help support Safeguard's network of locations," said Jarod Thorndike, Director of Strategic Relations at SAGE. "We look forward to working with each location to help streamline the promotional products side of their business."

In addition, all Safeguard network locations subscribing to SAGE Total Access will receive a full membership to Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), the world's largest notfor-profit association for the $20 billion promotional products industry. This is part of the Power of Two program, in which SAGE and PPAI have entered into a strategic alliance to provide the industry with the combined benefits of a PPAI membership and SAGE products and services.

Kellye Santos, Vice President of Customer Service & Operations at Safeguard, said, "We're committed to providing our locations with the best technology and business management in the industry. This relationship with SAGE and PPAI will help give our locations access to the industry's most powerful tools and provide the broadest range of promotional products and services to our customers." SAGE will provide free webinars and other learning opportunities to help Safeguard network
locations learn more about SAGE's product offerings.

For more information on SAGE, please visit
ASI Announces Winners of 2016 Counselor Awards

TREVOSE, PA - July 14, 2016 - The Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) today announced the winners of the 2016 Counselor® Awards, including Brand Addition U.S. CEO Chuck Fandos as Person of the Year and BDA Senior Director of Sourcing LeeAnn Schumacher as International Person of the Year.

The awards, chosen by the editors of ASI's award­-winning Counselor magazine, recognize outstanding individuals and companies in seven categories. The winners represent the best and brightest entrepreneurs, small­-business leaders and CEOs in the $22 billion promotional products industry.

In addition, Counselor announced the Top 40 Distributor and Top 40 Supplier rankings - the largest companies in the industry based upon 2015 revenue.

Among suppliers, alphabroder was No. 1, setting a record in the industry with $1 billion in North American ad specialty sales.
For distributors, Staples Promotional Products (asi/120601) remains the largest firm in the industry, with 4imprint (asi/197045) and Proforma (asi/300094) rounding out the top three spots on the list.

Fandos is the founder of multimillion-dollar distributor firm Gateway CDI. In January, Brand Addition, the largest distributor firm in Europe, acquired Gateway CDI. The St. Louis-based distributor now operates under the Brand Addition name while maintaining its operations and management structure, including Fandos as U.S. CEO.

"Our 2016 Counselor Person of the Year, Chuck Fandos, shuns complacency and refuses to stand still while the world around him evolves," said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of ASI at a black­-tie ceremony on Wednesday at the historic Field Museum in Chicago. "As a result, his career continues to be nothing short of phenomenal. And when it came time to make the tough decision to sell the company he built from the ground up - along with his loyal wife and long-time business partner - he negotiated the smartest possible deal, giving him license to succeed internationally."

The 2016 Counselor Awards took place during ASI Show® Chicago at McCormick Place, held Tuesday, July 12, through Thursday, July 14, and featuring a keynote by national political strategists Mary Matalin and James Carville.

The winners of the 2016 Counselor Awards are:
  • Person of the Year: Chuck Fandos, CEO of Brand Addition U.S.
  • International Person of the Year: LeeAnn Schumacher, senior director of sourcing for BDA (asi/137616).
  • Supplier Entrepreneur of the Year: Eddie Blau, CEO of Innovation Line (asi/62660).
  • Distributor Entrepreneur of the Year: Brian Abrams, founder of Corporate Imaging Concepts (asi/168962).
  • Supplier Family Business of the Year: Fey Promotional Products Group (asi/54040).
  • Distributor Family Business of the Year: Williams & Associates (asi/360450).
  • Distributor Woman of Distinction: Vicki Clayman, president of Partners N Promotion (asi/350153).
  • Supplier Woman of Distinction: Kathy Cheng, president of Redwood Classics Apparel (asi/81627).
  • Marvin Spike Lifetime Achievement Award: Dave Saracino, vice president of field sales for BIC Graphic (asi/40480).
  • Bess Cohn Memorial Humanitarian Award: Art Livingston, president of Marlo Plastic Products (asi/68873).
For more on the 2016 Counselor Award winners, go to or read this month's special "State of the Industry" issue of ASI's Counselor magazine. For the complete list of Top 40 distributors, click here. For Top 40 suppliers, click here.

For more info on the  Counselor Awards, please contact  Counselor Executive Editor C. J. Mittica at