Short Takes 38

Supplier MasterCast Ltd. (PPAI 112455) has completed the integration of the Amcraft product line. Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based Mastercast acquired Amcraft in 2016 and continued to operate it as an independent selling division. Going forward, however, Amcraft and its products will fall under the MasterCast brand. Marken Industries, MasterCast Ltd.'s other selling division, will continue with its own independent branding.

Emmanuel Bruno, formerly the vice president and general manager at BIC Graphic North America (PPAI 114187), has been named president of the Tampa, Florida-headquartered supplier. Bruno has been with BIC Graphic for eight years and prior to that, he held multiple operational executive roles within BIC Consumer and other companies.

"On my side, it is just a change of title," says Bruno, "I am honored to work with the people throughout our organization as it is they who define our leadership within this industry. This has never been more apparent than with the recent events of Hurricane Irma."

BIC Graphic, which was sold to H.I.G Capital earlier this year, operates five facilities across the United States with three in Florida and two in Minnesota, in addition to a sourcing operation in Hong Kong and mainland China. 

Industry Companies Move Toward Recovery Following Irma

Florida, Georgia and South Carolina continue to pick up the pieces left in the wake of Hurricane Irma. While difficulties remain, industry companies in the stricken region are working to return to normality. Delray Beach, Florida-based The Book Company reports that its facility is up and fully operational, while BIC Graphic has announced that it will reinstate 24-hour service for orders received beginning September 18 for all product categories with the exception of writing instruments, lighters and ceramic drinkware. These product categories are produced or decorated out of BIC's Florida facilities and their standard lead times have been extended by three additional days, although these too are expected to be back to normal by the middle of next week.

For more updates on the status of industy companies following Hurricane Irma, refer to the PPAI's list of businesses that have reported delays or closures. Numerous companies in the affected region have taken advantage of PPAI's Emergency Closures Form, which helps businesses in the storm's path share updates on their situation and inform customers of alternate ways to contact them or check orders after the hurricane.

The Houston Promotional Products Association's (HPPA) 2017 Hot Stuff Expo had been scheduled for August 29, falling in the midst of Hurricane Harvey's assault on Southeast Texas. While the regional association cancelled the show's original date, the HPPA board announced today that it would not reschedule the show for later in 2017 as previous planned.

Dave DeGreeff, HPPA executive director, says, "We appreciate the amazing support from our promotional product industry family in response to the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. This industry has, once again, proven that we are the best, most caring industry that exists. The outpouring of love, prayers, well-wishes, donations and other support has been phenomenal. Your support gave us the room we needed to focus on the recovery of our HPPA family and those in the surrounding areas affected by the storm. ... We have shifted our events where we needed to, and have come up with a great end of 2017, as we demonstrate that we're Houston Strong!"

Hixson, Tennessee-based Gold Bond (PPAI 113974) has added two new members to its sales team. Tia Flynn (left) has been promoted from sales support to an outside sales representative, after six months with the company. Flynn, who came to Gold Bond with more than 15 years of experience in retail sales, will work with distributors in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Patricia Hai joins the supplier as the outside sales rep for the West Coast. Based in Portland, Oregon, her territory will include her home state, California, plus Nevada and Washington. Her background includes 10 years on the distributor side of the industry.

Beacon Promotions has hired Lori Pietz as a customer care representative. She will handle accounts in New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Pietz's background includes 14 years as an educator, and work in sales and marketing for an accounting software reseller.

Supplier HandStands Promo, LLC (PPAI 111285), in Salt Lake City, Utah, has hired Charley Johnson as the new senior vice president of sales and marketing. Johnson brings more than a decade of promotional products industry experience to the HandStands team, having served as part owner and executive vice president for SNUGZ USA for 15 years. In between his employment with SNUGZ and HandStands, he was president of the Pay It Forward Foundation, made famous by the 2000 movie with Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt.

Sarah Page has been promoted to vice president of overseas operations at Cap America, Inc. (PPAI 111597). Page has been with the Fredericktown, Missouri, supplier for more than 12 years. In her new role, she will be responsible for providing program and personnel direction to the company's overseas office while supporting growth of the organization, as well as directing day to day import operations, staff training and customer relations.

Hub Pen Company (PPAI 110772) and Beacon Promotions (PPAI 113702) have hired Michael Sacco as manufacturing and quality engineer.  Sacco worked as product engineer for Tyco fire protection products for more than seven years before joining the Braintree, Massachusetts-headquartered suppliers.

IMAGEN Brands, the Mason, Ohio-based parent company of suppliers Crown Products (PPAI 113430) and Vitronic (PPAI 114197), has named Amanda Delaney as regional sales manager for Florida. Delaney has been in the promotional products industry for more than 15 years with a variety of experience including production, distributor sales, and supplier inside and outside sales.

Prime Line (PPAI 112744) has hired Madison Mastro to provide sales support in the mid-Atlantic region for the Bridgeport, Connecticut-based supplier. In her new role, Mastro will help provide a higher level of service to accounts in the territory, which spans from New Jersey to northern Virginia, and will be available for sales calls, ideation and regional shows.

Corporate Imaging Concepts (PPAI 221047), a distributor headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois, has brought Rick Salvadore on as vice president of sales. In this role, he will be responsible for all sales functions, including business development, field sales and inside sales/development teams. Salvadore brings more than 20 years of sales management experience in the technology space to Corporate Imaging Concepts. Most recently, he served as vice president of sales and chief business officer at ITRADENETWORKS, a software company providing supply chain solutions for the food and beverage industry.

Pawtucket, Rhode Island, supplier MasterCast, Ltd. (PPAI 112455) has named Joshua Katseff vice president. He continues his role as general manager of all selling divisions.

Britney Godsey has been promoted to vice president of sales at Hixson, Tennessee, supplier Gold Bond (PPAI 113974). She joined the company six years ago in sales support, before advancing to outside sales and becoming one of highest producing sales reps in Gold Bond's history. For the past six months, she has served as manager of the inside sales team. As vice president of sales, Godsey will manage the 50-plus team of sales support, inside sales reps and outside sales reps.

Plano, Texas, industry software provider Antera Software (PPAI 452579) has announced that it will offer free coud storage to companies in Hurricane Irma's path. Any company that may be affected can contact Antera Software to be provided with complimentary secure electronic cloud storage for their business data. The offer is open to all industry companies, not just Antera Software customers or PPAI members. Antera Software can be contacted at 214-556-8040 or

MAC Specialties (PPAI 112420) has brought Maria D. LaFichi on as vice president of sales. She brings more than 40 years of industry experience to the Oceanside, New Jersey, supplier. For the past 20 years, she has served as executive vice president at Zenith Promotions. In her new role, in addition to sales, she will assist in new product research and development as well as marketing, catalog and web development.

Supplier Pepco Poms (PPAI 134252) in Wharton, Texas, was forced to close Wednesday afternoon and vacate its facility because of flooded roads. Wharton is located in Southeast Texas, where Hurricane Harvey has dumped 50 inches of rain since Saturday. All affected companies in the area are asking for customers' patience and understanding as they work through the situation.

All information PPAI has received on companies reporting closures and delays is available here. Send updates about your company's storm-related status to

On August 22, PPB Newslink reported on industry companies recognized in Inc. magazine's Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. Not included in that story was Pompano Beach, Florida, supplier The Spice Lab (PPAI 562480), at No. 1877. With 200 percent growth between 2013 and 2016, this is The Spice Lab's third consecutive year on the Inc. 5000.

The Michigan Promotional Professionals Association (MiPPA) has announced its 2018 board officers. The 2018 MiPPA executive committee for calendar year 2018 are Jane Mitchell, MAS, president; Lisa Bascom, president-elect; Marci Taran, secretary; Jim McCollough, treasurer; and Paul Zafarana, CAS, immediate past president.

New York City-based supplier Threadfast Apparel (PPAI 622344) has named Jeff Snegg as its new national sales manager. Snegg most recently served as was vice president of business development at Star Tee Apparel and earlier held sales positions at Independent Trading Company, Alstyle Apparel and Next Level Apparel. In leading Threadfast Apparel’s sales team, he will support the supplier’s short-term goal of expanding its North American footprint and maximizing growth in various distribution and sales channels.

Goldstar has brought Parker Melvin on as Midwest regional sales manager. Based in Chicago, Illinois, Melvin will represent the San Diego, California-headquartered supplier in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin. He brings seven years of experience managing sales at three industry distributors to the role.

In support of its strategic growth plan, Cap America (PPAI 111597) has named Mark Gammon its president and chief operating officer. Gammon joined the Fredericktown, Missouri, supplier in 2015 as vice president of sales.

New Ulm, Minnesota, supplier Beacon Promotions, Inc. (PPAI 113702) has hired Scott Eyler as a customer care representative. Eyler will handle accounts in Arkansas, Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.

Braintree, Massachusetts-based suppliers Hub Pen Company (PPAI 110772) and Beacon Promotions (PPAI 113702) have promoted Victoria Freeman to IT support analyst. In this role, Freeman will provide initial support to system users with hardware, software, email and the company’s business applications.  She will also be responsible for updating the company’s website with new products, press releases and distributor sales tools, such as flyers and images. Freeman joined Hub Pen in 2012 as a customer service representative.

Bensussen Deutsch & Associates (PPAI 109381) has added three new members to the Woodinville, Washington-based distributor’s team. Matt Chavlovich has joined the company as senior director, league activation, and will be responsible for leading business development and building relationships within the BDA network of sports clients domestically and abroad. Senior Director, New Business Development Dan Robinette has come onboard to develop long-term organizational strategic goals, build key customer relationships, identify business opportunities, negotiate and close business deals and maintain extensive knowledge of current market conditions. Kristin Spence is the distributor’s new senior director, global procurement, and will apply her global strategy expertise to the company’s procurement team and focus on growth and scalability through customer acquisition and innovation.

Richardson, Texas-based supplier Fossil has appointed Jeffrey Boyer, currently a member of the company’s board of directors, to the positions of executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer, effective October 16. Boyer is replacing Dennis Seco, who is relocating back to California for personal reasons. Boyer was appointed to the supplier’s board of directors in December 2007 and currently serves as chairman of its finance committee. He has also served as executive vice president and chief financial officer for Pier 1 Imports since June 2015.

Supplier GMGPEN (PPAI 313899), headquartered in Lakewood, New Jersey, has brought Josh Gross on as a customer outreach representative. Gross has spent the past five years in the health care field, in a role where his responsibilities included customer service, sales and marketing.

Hixson, Tennessee-based supplier Gold Bond (PPAI 113974) has added Leslie Trewhitt as outside sales rep for Florida; Tracy Lantz has been promoted to outside sales rep, serving Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi; and Eric Washburn has been promoted to inside sales rep, serving Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri and Mississippi.

Spots are filling up quickly at the seventh annual PPAI Product Responsibility Summit, September 18-20 in Newport Beach, California. Each year, Summit attendees take home a sourcing and compliance manual that serves as a guide for industry companies to get their compliance programs up and running quickly and efficiently. This year's binder has been comprehensively reimagined, with a shift in focus from corporate responsibility to risk management. Its best practices, worksheet samples, templates and checklists are focused on mitigating risk. The binder also includes dozens of flow charts that illustrate the pillars of a robust compliance program, and all of the documentation has been updated to reflect current developments affecting the industry.

An in-depth education conference, the Summit explores the current landscape in supply chain security, social responsibility and much more. It highlights the growing importance of social compliance audits and ethical sourcing and manufacturing practices. Facilitated by industry leaders, the Summit will address the ways many industry professionals have turned a cost burden into a strategic advantage. Click here to register. PPAI is also offering discounted room rates at the Duke Hotel, site of the Summit.

Supplier SIMBA (PPAI 110881) has brought Julie Ditchik on as the Oxnard, California, company's marketing director. Ditchik has more than 17 years of marketing and sales management experience in the promotional products and trade show industries, and most recently served as director of sales and marketing at Pinnacle Designs.

Dayton, Ohio, distributor Shumsky (PPAI 108541) has joined several major companies in renewing its commitment to the Global Business Coalition Against Human Trafficking (gBCAT). Formed in 2010 by a number of prominent executives, including Shumsky president Dawn Conway, gBCAT has provided a forum for business to understand how all forms of modern slavery affect their operations and supply chains, and to design effective and pragmatic solutions to combat traffickers.

Under its new scope of work, gBCAT will capitalize on the major organizational strengths, resources and reach of global businesses to accelerate progress on human trafficking. Members will share learnings through webinars and in-person meetings; develop a research lab to incubate ideas, publish reports and identify areas for action, and publicize findings through an enhanced public platform.

American Solutions for Business (PPAI 101656) has promoted Taylor Borst to a promotional communications and public relations role at the Glenwood, Minnesota-based distributor. In her new position, Borst will oversee all internal and external communications while working with ASB’s vendor relations and marketing teams.

Rob Watson has been promoted to managing director of Outstanding Branding North America (PPAI 678649), headquartered in New York City. Watson joined the UK-based distributor as global chief marketing officer in January and helped introduce its U.S. business. In his new role, Watson will continue to lead the distributor’s marketing efforts in the U.S., UK and Hong Kong, but his major role will be to further advance its position in the U.S. marketplace.

Supplier Crystal D (PPAI 112326) has recently added eight new employees to the St. Paul, Minnesota, company’s workforce. Baron Duncan has come onboard in the warehouse department as a material handler; Dah Dah, Michael Goetz and James Thao have joined the production department; Amy Felton has been hired on as executive assistant to the company’s president, Chuck Dahlgren; Nathan Karnick has joined the art department as a production artist; Alexis Kurttila was hired as a marketing coordinator in the marketing department; and Timothy Leutbounshou joined the customer service department as an order manager, managing the Midwest and Northwest territories.

A fire destroyed the production facility at supplier Cooler Graphics (PPAI 226076) in Channelview, Texas, near Houston, on Sunday night. The company reports its inventory was not damaged and a notice on its website says production will continue using sub-contract partners. On-site operations are expected to take 30 to 60 days to restore and, during that time, the supplier asks its customers for support by keeping their business with the company.

A news report published by the local ABC news affiliate says no one was in the facility when the fire broke out overnight and the cause of the fire is unknown. Cooler Graphics, which produces bottle insulators, can wraps, counter mats, mouse pads and other products, has been a PPAI member since 2001.

Hub Pen Company (PPAI 119772) has hired Parich Basnet as sales system support analyst at the Braintree, Massachusetts, supplier. Basnet will be working with the IT and sales departments to expand upon the current NetSuite operating system functions as they relate to sales and finance. He joins the company with several years of consulting experience with NetSuite both in his native Nepal and in North Carolina, where he lived when he first moved to the U.S. three years ago.

Supplier Gold Bond, Inc. (PPAI 113974) in Hixson, Tennessee, has hired Tracey Pruett as director of golf. Pruett has played professionally, designed courses and managed golf properties, and will help develop sponsorship packages, recommend on-trend giveaways and more for the company.

Natalie Clark has joined industry technology provider DistributorCentral (PPAI 220404) as a software support specialist in the Gardner, Kansas-company's product support department. Clark's background includes experience at both distributor and supplier companies.

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