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Distributors

Proforma (UPIC: PROFORMA)—Heather DiPrato, senior vice president of strategic business and partner development

Shumsky (UPIC: SHUMSKY)—Matty Toomb, vice president of sales and marketing

Summit Group, LLC (UPIC: summit)—Donna Chrobak, senior director of client engagement and solution design

Zagwear (UPIC: ZAGW0001)—Lise Lucas, account executive for Northern California and major casino properties in Las Vegas

Industry Organization

The Legacy Group—Jolie Porter, managing director

Regional Association

Chesapeake Promotional Products Association—Dana Geiger, executive director

Suppliers

Charles River Apparel (UPIC: CRA)—Rich Corvalan, vice president of sales—strategic accounts

Chocolate Inn/Taylor & Grant (UPIC: CHOCINN)—Danielle Dawson, vice president of national accounts for Canada

The Hudson Valley Umbrella Company, parent of the StrombergBrand (UPIC: 1ASTRMBG)—Jim Miller of Miller and Associates to represent the company in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee

IDProductsource (UPIC: idpaspin)—Ryan Modica, promoted to vice president, and Brett Lykowski, promoted to sales supervisor

Imagen Brands, parent company of Crown Products (UPIC: CROWNPRO) and Vitronic (UPIC: ACHIEVER)—Rory Campbell and Bob Heintz, promoted to national account managers; Lara Gryder, CAS, and Daniel Pendleton, promoted to strategic account managers

The Magnet Group (UPIC: THEM8674)—Jessica Hutwelker, MAS, regional sales manager for Washington, Oregon and Northern California

Polyconcept North America—Kortney Deming, hard goods field sales team

Pro Towels (UPIC: PROTOWEL)—Chuck Lang, chief financial officer

In Memoriam: Bill Schmidt, Sr.
Bill Schmidt, Sr., CEO of Largo, Florida-based supplier Hit Promotional Products, passed away April 9 after an illness. He was 73. Schmidt was one of the most knowledgeable and influential figures in the promotional products industry, and also one of the most beloved by employees, customers and industry colleagues alike.

Schmidt became part of the promotional products industry when Cosco, his father’s company, acquired Hit and Colt & Dumont, then known as C&D Hit. Schmidt saw an advantage in importing goods and was among the first to import pens from Europe and buy products from Taiwan and China. In 2001, he purchased the company outright and changed the name to Hit Promotional Products, eventually moving it from manufacturing to importing and decorating exclusively.

In July 2015, he orchestrated the acquisition of supplier Admints and Zagabor.
In a statement released by Hit, the company remembered him fondly: “Bill Schmidt, Sr. was every ounce an industry icon. The small things are what everyone cherished most about him. He walked all three of Hit’s factory floors every single day, and genuinely cared about each and every person at the company. From the entry-level team member, all the way up to CFO, he was admired and respected amongst all. He was not only a boss to so many people, but more of a father figure, friend and mentor to countless people across our company and industry.

“There is not a single person Bill Schmidt did not touch that he did not make better. Our company and family have lost a legend and he will be missed more than words can express.”

Schmidt left his mark on those who knew and worked with him. Wayne Greenberg, MAS, president of distributor JB of Florida, Inc./Geiger, says, “Bill had a huge heart. He was one of the first people I talked to about joining the Tomorrow Fund for PPEF. I told him it was for the kids and all he asked was ‘how much.’ He was a great guy, and I’m going to miss him.”

Chuck Fandos, CAS, CEO of the Facilisgroup, says, “The promotional products industry has lost a giant in Bill Schmidt. Hit is such a great success story in our industry and Bill was the driving force behind that success. He built his business with his wife Liz and two sons, Bill Jr. and CJ, the hard way. They used their own money, worked harder than the competition and had the guts to go to China before many others. Bill loved the sourcing side of the business and was damn good at it. He passed that talent on to Bill Jr. and CJ. Bill was loved by all of the Hit employees and respected by all of his competitors. He leaves a huge whole in the industry but taught so many the path to success, he will live on and on.”

In 2014, PPB spoke with Schmidt about his thought on the promotional products industry and his philosophy on business. In his seventies at the time, he had no thoughts of retirement. “When you like what you do, you don’t ever want to retire,” he said. “I love this business. I go back to what my father and grandfather always told me: success is solving problems. That’s what you have to do every day. Sometimes coming to work I think, ‘I’m not going to stop at the factory today.’ Then I think, ‘You have to do this.’ I go there and see something I wouldn’t have seen if I hadn’t been there. I enjoy what I’m doing.”

Schmidt is survived by his wife Liz, and two sons Bill Schmidt, Jr., Hit’s vice president of operations, and CJ Schmidt, its president.


In Memoriam: Bertie Clark Womble, MAS

Bertie Clark Womble, MAS, former manager of inside sales and ad specialties at Apex Tool Group, passed away on April 1 in Holly Springs, North Carolina. She was 66.

Womble joined Cooper Tools—now part of Apex Tool Group—in 1970 as a secretary in the company’s ad specialties department, and retired after 45 years with the company in July 2015. She was named the Young Executives Promotional Products Association’s Person of the Year early in her career, and in 2013 she was inducted into the Hall of Fame at supplier Top Brands (UPIC: topbrand). A founding member of the Carolinas Association of Advertising and Marketing Professionals (CAAMP), Womble also served as the association’s president. She was inducted into the CAAMP Hall of Fame in 1998.

Womble is survived by her husband of 35 years, Tommy; brother Dale Clark and sister-in-law Barbara; sister Jennifer Moore and brother-in-law Greg; sister Marie Stewart and brother-in-law Don; father-in-law, Wallace Wayne Womble, Sr.; sister-in-law Patty McIver and her husband Keith; sister-in-law Phyllis Womble; and a number of nieces and nephews.

A funeral service was held April 4 at Apex Funeral Home Chapel in Apex, North Carolina, followed by burial at New Hill Baptist Church Cemetery. Womble requested that thanks be given to the love of her life, Tommy Womble, and to Jennifer Moore, Pam Greer, Nell Turner, Sue Green and Debbie Judd. Also, special thanks to Dr. Mark Graham and Nicole Jones and the staff at Waverly Hematology and Oncology. Memorials may be made in her honor to Waverly Hematology and Oncology Survivors Clinic, 300 Ashville Avenue, Suite 310, Cary, North Carolina 27518.

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