Send news to: March 2016
In This Month's Issue:
Steve Donlan /
Team Donlan

Matt Staff / Logo Mark

Angie Kalaj / Hit Promo

Deborah Mann / DeMannding Results  

Jen Mendoza
Executive Director
:: 630-983-7722
The NPI Show is 
Next Week!

Free Professional Headshots at NPI Show to ALL Attendees!


PPAChicago: The Prairie
Our Monthly Publication

PPAChicago's:  The Prairie is a great opportunity for you to reach out to industry leaders throughout Illinois at a very reasonable cost. Advertising in  The Prairie is also an exclusive benefit of PPAChicago membership. Our advertising rates are extremely reasonable making advertising in The Prairie easier on your budget! 

If interested, please check out the details here:  2016 Advertising Rates
PPAChicago Spring Event!

Join us and fellow industry professionals for our first networking event of the year at...
2 Woodfield Mall, Unit A, Schaumburg 

Thursday, April 14th 
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm 

Enjoy gourmet food, drinks, lounge seating and retro-chic style. Play on Level 257's boutique bowling lanes with above ground ball returns and custom black bowling balls.
Admission: $38/person 
Includes 2 drink tickets, appetizers, bowling, and a guaranteed GREAT TIME! 

Event Sponsorship's Available! 
Gold Sponsor $200 
(Includes 2 FREE admission) 
Silver Sponsor $150 
Bronze Sponsor $100 
Promo Sponsor 
(Bring 50 pieces as takeaways for guests)

*All sponsorships include recognition on PPAChicago website, newsletter, and signage at the event!

*Member Promo* 
Have 3 non-members register to attend, get your admission FREE!  (Guests must list your name in their registration)

IMAGINE  you're accountant knowing how a distributor's business works

IMAGINE  tax and accounting advise that is promotional products oriented

IMAGINE  a fixed fee for your work with unlimited phone calls with no additional fees

IMAGINE  your tax return fee at EQP


Mike Shulkin is a CPA with over 20 years of tax experience and as the president of A La Carte was thoroughly involved with promotional products distributors for more than 20 years. 

If you are dissatisfied with your current tax advisor, please give me a call at 630-886-9520 or email Mike at
Distributors, did you know you can attend the ASI Chicago Show for FREE?

That's just one of the benefits to being a member of PPAChicago....

Become a PPAChicago Member Today!

Have questions? Comments? 
Contact:  Jen Mendoza
Executive Director, PPAChicago
Scholarship Time is Here!
The Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF) is searching for Industry employees or their children to assist with the cost of higher education. Salespeople, support staff, production workers, independent contractors and owners - if they work in the promotional products industry, then they or their children may be able to apply for PPEF's college scholarships.

PPEF will award $150,000 in scholarships this year including the $1,000 PPAChicago Scholarship, which will be awarded to a student from a PPAChicago member company!

$37,000 will be awarded as re newal payments for prior years' winners of the Four-Year and Chairman's scholarships. 

$113,000 will be awarded in new scholarships to 74 outstanding students. Please take the time to forward this email within your network, as we need help in finding appl icants for this year's awards. 

Applications are due by March 15th

Available Scholarships:
$8,000 need-based, awarded $2,000 annually or $4,000 merit-based, awarded $1,000 annually
These scholarships are available to high school seniors entering a four-year accredited college or university as a first-year student in the fall.

Chairman's™ College Scholarships
$5,000, awarded $2,500 annually for two years
These scholarships are available to students entering their junior year of college, actively pursuing a bachelor's degree in an academic field related to promotional products and expressing an intent to enter the promotional products industry after graduation.

$2,000 need-based or $1,000 merit-based
These scholarships are available to high school seniors and current collegestudents attending a two-year or four-year accredited undergraduate college or university and taking at least 6 credit hours per semester. High school seniors who do not receive a Four-Year Scholarship will automatically be considered for the One-Year Scholarships and Named Scholarships.

Named Scholarships $1,000 each
Vincent J. Arena Scholarship, Castelli North America, Inc. Scholarship, Eugene P. Cesario Scholarship, Gauger Family Scholarship, Glen Holt Scholarship, Helen & Al Mackler and Joseph Alexander Scholarship, George C. Matteson, Jr. Scholarship, Janelle Nevins Scholarship,NWPMA Success Scholarship, H. Ted Olson Scholarship, PPAChicago Scholarship, Sam Rosenblum Scholarship, Marvin Spike Scholarship, H.D. Joe Stratton Scholarship and Three Rivers Advertising Specialty Association Scholarship
These scholarships will be awarded to outstanding students who meet all requirements for the One-Year Scholarships. Please complete the application for the Four-Year  or One-Year Scholarships to be considered for these awards.

This scholarship will be awarded to a full-time industry employee who is a part-time student working on undergraduate or graduate level coursework at an accredited college or university.

To be considered for the need-based scholarships, PPEF must receive a copy of the Student Aid Report received after you file the FAFSA.

For more information, visit
New Sales Executive at 
Pacesetter Awards

Pacesetter Awards (ASI# 75640) is excited to announce they have named Sam Reed to the position of sales executive.  Sam is the third generation from his family to work in the promotional products industry, William Reed (Schaeffer Pen) and Jeff Reed (Ariel Premium Supply).
Sam recently graduated from Aurora University (IL) with his Bachelor's degree in Marketing. Sam's background has been in the industrial products sector, doing inside sales.
I have been around promotional products my entire life," said Reed. "It is an honor to keep the tradition alive by joining such a great organization like Pacesetter Awards." 
IMAGEN Brands Welcomes 
Dana Zezzo

Top 40 supplier IMAGEN Brands, parent company of Crown Products (asi/47700) and Vitronic (asi/93990), welcomes Dana Zezzo as Vice President of Sales.
An industry champion for over 20 years, Dana Zezzo has always looked to create partnerships that deliver value to both suppliers and distributors. Throughout the course of his career in the promotional products industry, Dana's distinctive forward-thinking vision has laid the foundation for his success with a variety of suppliers including Pro Towels, Jetline, and now IMAGEN Brands.
An early adopter and recognized guru of social media, Dana's influence has been widespread. Dana has been a featured speaker at many industry events, including PPAI Expo and ASI. Dana is one of the founding "chefs" of PromoKitchen (a 501c3 non-profit); Dana continues to work relentlessly to push the industry forward.
"I'm excited about being a part of the leadership team ", Dana commented.   "I think the direction they're headed bringing Vitronic and Crown together under IMAGEN Brands, is very exciting."
In January, IMAGEN Brands brought together the sales teams of Crown and Vitronic creating a combined sales force of 45 professionals representing both product ranges to our customers.   Doing so is the next step in our quest to bring customers increased value and tailored solutions for their individual needs.
Lori Kates, President of IMAGEN Brands; "As I shared our roadmap with Dana we quickly discovered how much our vision for the future, passion for our industry and customers were one in the same.  I am excited to have him join our team and look forward to working alongside him."

February, 2016 Erie, Pennsylvania -  On January 12, 2016, CPS/Keystone was announced the winner of the Supplier Award of Merit, S-9 category, in the 2016 Supplier Star Competition. Sponsored by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), the presentation and reception recognized twenty-one supplier star and supplier award of merit winners. The annual celebration took place at the House of Blues during the PPAI Expo in Las Vegas.
The PPAI Supplier Star Competition gives recognition to suppliers who show excellence in the promotional products industry. Annually, PPAI member distributors cast their vote and select their preferred supplier whom they feel best delivers product, quality and overall customer service. The Supplier Star Award is one of the most prestigious awards in the industry and is a trusted indicator of an efficient and experienced supplier with whom distributors would benefit to have as a partner.
"We are very grateful to receive this prestigious award for another year," Kippie Helzel, VP of Sales at CPS/Keystone notes, "We were honored to have won the Supplier Star of Merit Award in 2011 and to be recognized yet again for our outstanding service and dependable product quality is a tremendous achievement!"
Jetline honored with Ipromoteu's 2015 supplier achievement award

BRIDGEPORT, CONN.,February 19, 2016-Jetline, now part of Prime Line (Prime Resources Corp.), received the 2015 Supplier Appreciation Award from iPROMOTEu. The award is given annually to the preferred supplier that has provided exceptional support for iPROMOTEu and its affiliates during the past year.
We are honored to be recognized by this outstanding, long time, valued partner," said Eric Levin, former Jetline CEO and current Prime Line® Executive Vice President. "Our commitment to provide superior service remains the same with the added benefit of being under the Prime Line® banner."
"Jetline and especially the individuals at Jetline who work with iPROMOTEu and its affiliates are incredible partners," said Ross Silverstein, President and CEO of iPROMOTEu. "They are true supporters of iPROMOTEu, they are pleasant to work with and fantastic when it comes to problem resolution. We love working with Jetline."
In January, Jetline was acquired by Prime Line® and has now been positioned as Prime's value line. "Jetline was similar to us in the respect that they established deep, long-lasting customer relationships by delivering the highest levels of product quality and service, which makes it a perfect fit for our customers", said Jeff Lederer, CEO of Prime Line®.
EmbroidMe Names SAGE as its Exclusive Provider of Research, Marketing, and Business Management Solutions for all EmbroidMe Franchisees

Addison, Texas (February 11, 2016)
- SAGE, the leading provider of information, marketing, and business management solutions to the promotional products industry, and EmbroidMe, the world's largest diversified promotional products franchise, announced today that EmbroidMe has selected SAGE to be the exclusive provider of promotional product research, business management, and marketing support for its franchisees.
Through this partnership, SAGE will offer a special corporate package to all EmbroidMe franchisees featuring the SAGE Total Access subscription, which includes SAGE Online, the promotional product industry's most popular product research and business management tool, SAGE Mobile, the mobile application for iOS and Android devices, and SAGE Web, the browser-based platform to access SAGE tools from any device with web access.
In addition to the SAGE business management tools, EmbroidMe will be populating its new custom websites and back office POS systems with SAGE data as part of the EmbroidMe Package.
"We're very excited about partnering with an industry leader like EmbroidMe," said Jarod Thorndike, Director of Strategic Relations at SAGE. "We're looking forward to providing them with this comprehensive package and the best customer service in the industry."
In addition, all EmbroidMe franchisees with the EmbroidMe Package will receive a full membership to Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), the world's largest not-for-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.
Christine Marion, Director of Retail Operations for EmbroidMe, said, "We're thrilled to be working with
SAGE and PPAI to provide their impressive set of products and services to our franchisees. SAGE's
various tools and PPAI's professional development offerings will be a tremendous asset to each
EmbroidMe location."
To help EmbroidMe franchisees learn the ins and outs of SAGE's product offerings, SAGE will provide
free ongoing education opportunities throughout the country at various tradeshows, regional meetings,
webinars, and at the EmbroidMe home office.
New and existing franchisees can sign up for the new EmbroidMe Package effective immediately.
Hub Pen Company Welcomes Inside Sales Rep Timothy Fox
BRAINTREE, MASSACHUSETTS (February 2, 2016) - Hub Pen Company is excited to   announce the addition of Timothy Fox to its team of inside sales representatives.   Fox will be representing Hub Pen with its distributors in the Southwest.  He comes to Hub with a diverse background serving customers at Santander bank   and supervised facilities operations at University of Massachusetts where he was a  student of management and economics.

"In my work at Santander I enjoyed helping customers find the right products for their       Timothy Fox  needs," said Fox.  "I went out of my way to make sure my customers were highly satisfied.  I'd like my customers at Hub Pen to think of me as a small business consultant.  I'm here to  help facilitate an environment that helps our customers get what they need efficiently."
"Tim is a great addition to our team.  His enthusiasm and caring attitude is contagious," said Andy Arruda, MAS, National Sales Manager.  According to Mike Fleming, Vice President of Sales, "As our product offerings and services continue to expand, the addition of talented sales reps such as Tim will allow us to build on new and existing relationships."
No More Running Charges on Hard Goods for TruColor™

GRAND ISLAND , NY February 3, 2016 - Starline is happy to announce that as of January 1st, 2016 of our flat Hard Goods, including Bluetooth speakers, power packs and flashlights, that
offer  TruColor™ Direct Digital Print will only have a standard one time set-up of $55.00(G) per item, No repeat set-up charges and No running charges for our
standard imprint areas. As an additional bonus we also offer our TruColor™ print on Catalog minimums and a 3/5 day turn around!
TruColor™ Direct Digital Print technology is a unique patent-pending digital print process that allows you to print your logo in vibrant color. There is no limitation
with the logos, artwork or colors that can be printed with TruColor™. Our technology has the capability to print standard one color or multicolor logos, photorealistic images, logos with tight registration and half tones or gradients.