As 2011 winds down and we enter our industry’s busiest end-of-the-year selling season, I’m experiencing mixed emotions. While I’m happy that sales are slightly up and I have been able to juggle selling with my responsibilities as PPAI’s chair of the board, I’m sad that my term is nearing its end.
As you read this, PPAI’s President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, and I will have attended or conducted town hall-style meetings with Ohio Promotional Professionals Association (OPPA), Sunbelt Promotional Products Association (SPPA) and Mid-Atlantic Promotional Products Association (MAPPA). This month, we will meet with Specialty Advertising Association of Greater New York (SAAGNY) and Houston Promotional Products Association (HPPA).
We have found these meetings to be extremely useful forums in which to explain PPAI’s Strategic Plan or talk with end buyers on the importance of using a promotional products consultant. The meetings have also given us an opportunity to hear members’ suggestions, concerns and comments about how PPAI can continue to benefit their businesses now and in the future.
This year, for example, a few of our member companies have been affected by weather-related disasters, and the Promotional Products Disaster Recovery Foundation’s (PPDRF) Business Recovery Fund has been there to help. The Business Recovery Fund was first established following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to help members get back to business as quickly as possible. The fund remained dormant until earlier this year when the RAC Regional Relations Board approached the PPAI Board of Directors with a plan to move the responsibility of the fund to RAC and establish a Business Recovery Board consisting of Chair Jeff Thomas, MAS, Treasurer Dan Jenne, CAS, and Director Donna Vorce, CAS.
Soon after, Hurricane Irene came ashore, causing severe flooding across several states. The Fund was there to help Emporium Leather Company, Inc. (UPIC: ROYCE) in Secaucus, New Jersey, with the cost of a rental truck used to transport employees and orders back and forth over flooded Penhorn Avenue. Afterward, company CEO Kathy Bauer sent these kind words of appreciation:
“Thank you very much for your generosity. It has been quite a challenge to overcome the effects of Hurricane Irene and the recent tropical storm that hit our New Jersey warehouse. We appreciate the funds that will help us transcend that challenge. The funds are a real testament to the kindness and humanity that characterizes PPAI members, and we hope to be there for others who may endure untimely challenges and natural disasters in the future.”
The fund also helped a second member company, Northeast Advance Technology Inc. (UPIC: EZETCH) in Cornwall, New York, which used a donation to recover equipment submerged in five feet of water. PPAI also extended its membership during this time so staff didn’t have to worry about keeping in touch.
In a thank-you letter to PPAI, President Sam Brach wrote: “I am grateful for this assistance during this difficult time. From all the associations I am involved with, PPAI and this fund came through the fastest. As you can probably imagine, now is the time when it counts the most. I also appreciate the extended membership by PPAI, and I hope I can contribute to this fund in the near future.”
To donate to the Business Recovery Fund or tell us of a member who needs its help, contact Laura McKinney, CAE, at 972-258-3015 or LauraM@ppai.org.