Inside PPAI: Expo East and WLC 2016

Expo East 2016 Sets The Standard For The East Coast

Expo East delivered a bustling, energetic show experience at the Atlantic City Convention Center in March, marking the show’s fourth year in the city and its second in conjunction with the Imprinted Sportswear Show. Attendees found the same high-level of exhibits, education and networking events on the East Coast that they’ve experienced at the promotional products industry’s leading trade show, The PPAI Expo.

Expo East Show Opening web

For the second year, Expo East was co-located with the Imprinted Sportswear Show and drew distributors from across the East Coast during the productive four-day event.

“Expo East is poised to become the most important live trade show and learning event on the East Coast,” says PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE. “It delivers all of the traditional benefits of an industry trade show, and the co-location with the Imprinted Sportswear Shows and support of four strong regional associations brings a dynamic element not seen in any other industry event. The top-notch educational program—highlighted by a Keynote and Cocktails presentation by Seth Godin—helped draw the most creative and innovative minds in business looking to drive business in a transforming marketplace. I have heard from both suppliers and distributors that Expo East continues to improve and evolve, and there is a growing support for our strategy to build an Expo-like experience on the East Coast.”

Expo East began on March 16 with Education Day, giving attendees their choice of more than 50 education sessions in seven tracks—Strategies & Solutions, Corporate Responsibility, Industry Essentials, Marketing & Advertising, Decorate, Sales & Service and Technology. Headlining the Expo East education lineup were two top-rated keynote speakers: master marketer Seth Godin, and Keynote Effect founder and sales management coach Diane Ciotta. Godin drew standing-room-only crowds at The PPAI Expo 2016, and he brought that same excitement to Expo East. A best-selling author, blogger and agent of change, Godin spoke at the annual Keynote and Cocktails on March 17, stressing to his audience that in today’s interconnected world, the only resource that matters is who trusts you, who’s listening to you and who’s connected to you.

Ciotta delivered her message of accountability and motivation at a keynote luncheon on Expo East’s Education Day. Telling her audience that “It’s all about the imprint,” she showed them that they had the power to make a mark or impression on their customers through their motivation, passion, integrity and ability to relate. “It’s not about making a sale, it’s about making a difference,” she said. “That’s the impression we leave on people.”

“The buzz during professional development day was great,” says Tom Goos, MAS, PPAI board chair and president of Image Source, Inc. “I sat in on some valuable sessions and took away some great nuggets of information.”

Al Donius, vice president of sales at Buffalo, New York, distributor KW Textile, Inc., joined an education session about staying on the right side of regulations when decorating apparel. “As you know, this is an extremely boring and confusing topic,” he says. “That being said, it was very well prepared and did an excellent job of explaining what our responsibilities are as distributors and the situations where we are viewed as manufacturers. It clearly identified what we should adopt as best practices and I left that seminar actually feeling confident that I have everything I need to be compliant with the CPSIA requirements for youth apparel. Every distributor and supplier should attend this seminar.”

In the second year of their partnership, Expo East and the Imprinted Sportswear Show adopted a new show pattern for 2016. Running Wednesday through Saturday, the move to start earlier in the week was made to meet the needs of exhibitors and attendees alike, and make the show more accessible to distributors.

Expo East Show Floor 2 web

Charles Kastan, principal at Holbrook, New York-based Charles Paul Promotions, checks out the wide variety of promotional apparel at the show.

Michael Moore, president of exhibitor Bay State Specialty Co., says, “I was a little concerned about the feedback I’d heard in the past so I came down here to check it out to see if the show was going to continue. I am pleasantly surprised by the attendance. The quality of the attendees is great. Shows on weekends can be tough for suppliers and distributors, but today [Saturday] was absolutely fantastic. I’m seeing quality distributors here. People are interested and they have time to talk.”

Patricia Dugan, MAS, vice president of sales/marketing for exhibitor Budgetcard, says, “The show has been phenomenal. I would say 95 percent of everyone I’m seeing is looking for ideas; very few people just want to be scanned. For us, it’s been extremely successful. I’m going to sign up for next year.”

Read more about the show, including a peek at best-selling products in this year’s Product Pavilion and highlights from Expo East keynote speaker presentations, plus see more of the show in pictures and in videos in the Expo East Daily at

Expo East web

Dan Metzger, CEO at Cadett Marketing Inc., in Saddlebrook, New Jersey, visits Bobby Appenzeller at the Poly-Pak Industries, Inc. booth, one of 235 exhibiting companies.


Powerful Voices

Sold-Out WLC 2016 To Bring High-Energy Speaker Lineup To Atlanta

The PPAI Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC) has cemented its reputation as the premier event for women in the promotional products industry to hone their leadership skills, enhance their business proficiency and grow both personally and professionally. The 12th annual WLC, June 27-29 in Atlanta, Georgia, has sold out. There is still a chance to attend, however, as PPAI is maintaining a wait list should space open up. Contact Stacy Riddler, associate manager of professional development, at to secure a place on WLC’s wait list.

Attendees at WLC will find ample opportunities for networking and personal growth as well a deep bench of thought leaders, motivational speakers and industry experts in the conference’s session


WLC’s general session speaker roster includes:

Colette Carlson

Opening General Session

Colette Carlson Headshot Resized webColette Carlson, founder of professional development firm Speak Your Truth, Inc., is a human behavior expert and keynote speaker who shares the tools, terminology and techniques that encourage people to excel. She writes a monthly column for Business Management Daily and has been featured in Success and Working Mother magazines.


Maria Higgins

General Session

After years of instructing staff at major corporations on software applications and human development courses, Maria Higgins founded Clear Steps Group to develop her own programs and launch her speaking career. She offers coaching and programs on addressing fears, inspiring youth and resolving marital issues.


Tamara Kleinberg

General Session

Tamara Kleinberg ResizedTamara Kleinberg is the founder of, an online marketplace for innovative ideas and entrepreneurs. She is also the creator of the Innovation Quotient Edge (IQE) Assessment, a tool to measure people’s natural innovation strengths and deliver insights and tools for performing at their peak.


Katie Bayne

General Session

Katie Bayne PhotoSenior vice president of global sparkling brands at The Coca-Cola Company, Katie Bayne is responsible for marketing, portfolio strategy and innovation for the Coca-Cola brand and the company’s other sparkling brands around the world. She also oversees global alliances and ventures, worldwide licensing, retail and attractions.


Kelly Swanson

Closing General Session

Kelly Swanson Photo 2 ResizedKelly Swanson is a motivational speaker, comedian, award-winning storyteller and the author of Who Hijacked My Fairy Tale. She focuses on helping her audience find balance and purpose, see beyond obstacles and stick out in a crowded market.


To learn more about WLC’s agenda and schedule, visit


Joseph Landeros web

Joseph Landeros Joins PPAI As Government Relations Manager

PPAI welcomes Joseph Landeros to the staff as its government relations manager. Landeros brings a strong background in public policy and government relations to the Association’s advocacy efforts. PPAI’s previous government relations manager, Seth Barnett, recently assumed a new role at the Association as its diversity development and engagement manager.

PPB recently sat down with Landeros to learn more about the newest member of the Association’s team:

PPB: What was your professional background before joining the association?

Joseph Landeros: I’ve had a fairly non-traditional professional background. I worked in the oil and gas industry after high school for a number of years before going to school at the University of Texas at Arlington. After college I worked in the Texas Legislature for State Senator Wendy Davis. Most recently, I served as an advisor for an economic development firm conducting cost/benefit analysis and evaluating local and state incentives available for international firms interested in entering the U.S. market.

PPB: What attracted you to your new position within the Association?

Landeros: For me, PPAI was an opportunity to participate in advocacy from a different perspective. Where my prior role was building on legislation and creating an environment that made the public reactionary to legislative agendas, my role with PPAI gives me an opportunity to create an environment that is proactive in dealing with public policy issues that affect our day-to-day lives as individuals or small-business owners.

PPB: What are your initial objectives for the position?

Landeros: First and foremost, it is to help support and make our L.E.A.D. event a great success. PPAI is on the right track in its L.E.A.D. Local events as well. There is a growing trend among legislative initiatives of stepping away from the federal level and focusing on the local state level due to the gridlock that has taken shape in D.C. With that comes a greater need for attention to what’s happening in our backyards, something I definitely want to bring greater attention to.

PPB: Outside of PPAI, what are your interests?

Landeros: Apart from binge-watching Netflix or HBO Go shows, I enjoy staying active and am an avid runner and mountain biker; this may seem counterintuitive, but somehow I manage them all. I also enjoy listening to any and all music or getting my NPR fix while driving to and from work.

filed under may-2016 | ppb
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