PPAW And Wisconsin-Based Industry Companies Host PPAI Staff And Leadership

Last week, PPAI staff and leadership traveled to Wisconsin to meet with member companies in the state and participate in the Promotional Products Association of Wisconsin’s (PPAW) town hall meeting and holiday gathering.

Over the past year, PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, and Board Chair Steven Meyer, MAS, have visited industry companies and professionals, and regional associations with the dual goals of better understanding their businesses and challenges, and sharing PPAI’s strategic vision and the key issues and opportunities for the Association and its membership. In Wisconsin they were joined by PPAI News Editor James Khattak in an effort to develop greater staff-level and Association publication visibility of the industry landscape.

Top Brands, Inc. Owner and President Norma Jean Knollenberg (center) with AIA Corporation President David Woods, MAS, (left) and PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE.

In Wisconsin, PPAI met with three diverse industry companies that have established themselves in or near Oshkosh. The first of which was supplier Top Brands, Inc. (UPIC: topbrand) where Bellantone, joined by David Woods, MAS, president and CEO of AIA Corporation (UPIC: ADVINADV), met with company Owner and President Norma Jean Knollenberg. The morning’s discussion focused on Top Brands’ work in the promotional products and incentives business, and their perspectives on the opportunities within the industry.

4Imprint CEO Kevin Lyons-Tarr (center) speaks on his company's business model as 4Imprint Vice President of Administration Mary Curtain and Bellantone look on.

Later that day, Bellantone, Meyer and Khattak met with 4Imprint (UPIC: 4imprint) CEO Kevin Lyons-Tarr and Vice President of Administration Mary Curtain. They shared insights into their catalog-based business model and gave a tour of their Oshkosh offices. Lyons-Tarr and Curtain also shared how a focus on cultivating a positive company culture has paid dividends in their operations and business success.

Bellantone (left) and PPAI Board Chair Steven Meyer, MAS, (right) with members of AIA Corporation's leadership team— (from second left) President and CEO David Woods, MAS; Marie Miller, director of continuous improvement; Rebecca Kollmann, MAS+, director of business development; Kelley Schultz, director of accounting; Wendy Eiden, human resource director; Michelle Dalton, director of account services; and Tom Lehr, CFO.

AIA Corporation also hosted PPAI for a meeting at its Neenah, Wisconsin, headquarters a few miles up the road from Oshkosh. Woods, Director of Business Development Rebecca Kollman, MAS+, and other members of the distributor’s leadership team joined a discussion on the company’s business and initiatives, its staff’s professional education and certification accomplishments, and its outlook on the market and the opportunities available there.

Bellantone (left) and Meyer speaking at the PPAW town hall meeting.

The trip concluded with PPAW’s town hall meeting in Milwaukee. The end-of-year meeting brought association members together for a charity raffle; discussion on its business, including its three shows in Green Bay, Madison and Milwaukee; and a holiday meal. Bellantone and Meyer delivered their last town hall presentation together at PPAW, Meyer’s term as Board Chair ends at The PPAI Expo 2013. Their presentation spoke to the state of the promotional products industry and the latest developments from PPAI, including the upcoming Promotional Products Work! Week.

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