Four Candidates Vie For PPAI Board Seats, Class of 2021

Mitch Rhodus photoDanny Rosin photo

Andrew Spellman photoSharon Willochell photo

This month, PPAI member companies are voting on the four candidates for the PPAI Board of Directors Class of 2021. Selected by the PPAI Elected Directors Nominating Committee, the candidates are (top) distributors Mitch Rhodus, CAS, of HALO Branded Solutions, and Danny Rosin, co-owner of Brand Fuel, Inc.; (bottom) suppliers Andrew Spellman, vice president of corporate channels at Victorinox Swiss Army, Inc., and Sharon Willochell, chief operating officer of Leed’s.

One candidate from each category will be elected by the membership and will begin their four-year board terms immediately following The PPAI Expo 2017. The PPAI board election runs from August 29 to September 19, with results announced in early October.

Mitch Rhodus, CAS

Mitch Rhodus, CAS, is president of WIT Promotions, a HALO Branded Solutions distributor. Rhodus is an industry veteran who has served on PPAI’s Government Relations Advisory Committee (GRAC) and on the board of his regional association, TSPPA. In addition to his industry work, he volunteers with several community organizations including Rotary Club, Fairfield Christian Leaders, the YMCA and Boy Scouts of America. Rhodus also leads an annual trip to Haiti with medical personnel and non-medical volunteers to deliver medicine and services. Rhodus’ non-industry work experience includes time at GE and Procter & Gamble. He and his wife, Lois, have two children—Brad and Katie—and twin grandchildren.

Danny Rosin

Danny Rosin is co-owner of Brand Fuel, Inc. He is a longtime industry professional who has served on a number of PPAI committees and presented at the North American Leadership Conference as a featured speaker. Rosin is a co-founder of PromoKitchen and has served as president of CAAMP, his regional association. In his community, Rosin volunteers with the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation, Operation Smile International, and Band Together, of which he is a co-founder. Additionally, he has been a speaker at the North Carolina Emerging Issues Discovery Forum and a member of the NC State University Centennial Campus Vision Project. Rosin and his wife have two daughters.

Andrew Spellman, CAS

Andrew Spellman, CAS, is vice president of corporate channels for Victorinox Swiss Army, Inc. He has also worked in the promotional products industry with International Merchandise Concepts, Hazel and Magnet, Inc. Spellman is an active volunteer leader for PPAI, serving on committees as well as judging PPAI Pyramid Awards and acting as emcee for PPAI Expo awards ceremonies. He has also worked with numerous regional associations. Outside the industry, Spellman donates his time and service to community organizations such as the Guardian Angel Settlement Association and the St. Vincent DePaul Society. Spellman and his wife, Paula, have two daughters, Mia and Macy.

Sharon Willochell

Sharon Willochell is president of Trimark Apparel at Leed’s and has worked in promotional products for nearly 20 years. She is a longtime volunteer with PPAI, having served on the Women’s Leadership Conference Work Group and as a speaker for WLC and for the North American Leadership Conference. Willochell has been a speaker for the Promotional Product Professionals of Canada and several PPAI panels. In her community, Willochell has served on the board of directors for Leadership Pittsburgh and on committees for the American Heart Association and Strong Women, Strong Girls. Her previous work experience includes stints at Deloitte & Touche and Alcoa. Willochell and her husband, Ron, have a nine-year-old son, Jonah.

The board election will be administered electronically by a third-party election administrator and by paper ballot as required. To vote, each PPAI member company’s designated voter can visit the PPAI voter site and click on the “VOTE” button to learn more about the candidates and cast their ballots.

Product Responsibility Summit To Bring Industry, Regulators And Experts Together In D.C.


Industry leaders are traveling to Washington, D.C. in September for the PPAI Product Responsibility Summit, to be held September 18-20. Originally branded as the Product Safety Summit, the Association’s long-running corporate responsibility and compliance event delivers education and resources to address the five pillars of product responsibility— product safety, social compliance, environmental sustainability, supply chain security and product quality.

The Summit’s schedule is designed to bring product responsibility neophytes up to speed on product safety challenges and best practices while delivering the deep dive on compliance issues industry experts are looking for. Facilitated by industry thought leaders, representatives from product safety labs and product certification groups, the event’s sessions explore a diverse, comprehensive gamut of the latest developments in product responsibility.

PPAI and the promotional products industry have established strong relationships with industry regulators, including the Consumer Product Responsibility Commission (CPSC). CPSC commissioners have been an active presence at PPAI product responsibility events for a number of years, and 2016 is no exception. Commissioners Robert Adler and Joseph P. Mohorovic are the luncheon speakers on September 19 and 20, respectively. Adler and Mohorovic will deliver their perspectives on CPSC priorities and their impact on the promotional products industry.

CPSC staff members past and present are also on the Summit agenda. John “Gib" Mullan, chief counsel to CPSC Commissioner Ann Marie Buerkle, will lead a panel discussion on how voluntary standards impact safety and considerations when selecting products that may not have established voluntary standards. Tanya Topka, Fast Track team lead in the Defects Investigation division of the CPSC’s Office of Compliance and Field Operations is joining SnugZ USA’s Richard Massey in a breakout session on what to do when a field investigator shows up. Current deputy director of the CPSC’s Office of Compliance and Field Operations, Carol Cave, is holding an interactive simulation of a national product safety recall with summit attendees, giving them an up-close look at crisis management from regulatory, legal and public perception perspectives. She will be joined in the panel discussion by Cheryl Falvey, co-chair of Crowell & Moring’s Advertising & Product Risk Management Group and member of the firm’s management board, and former general counsel of CPSC. Product safety attorney Neal Cohen, who previously served as the small business ombudsman for the CPSC, will share advice for small businesses on remaining on the right side of compliance.

For the first time, the Summit welcomes a representative from Health Canada, a department of Canada’s federal government, to its speaker lineup. Carlie Watson, regional manager for Health Canada’s Product Safety program, is joining Tabitha Bauer of Staples and Chuck Samuels of Mintz Levins to deliver an overview of Health Canada reporting requirements as well as a case study of a cross-border recall.

The Summit’s agenda also features subject-matter experts addressing topics such as the challenges of shipping products worldwide, mitigating the risks associated with shipping electronics and lithium-ion batteries, emerging regulatory issues, social compliance hot buttons, and patent infringement and intellectual property issues. All Summit attendees will also receive an updated sourcing and compliance manual created with the specific needs and challenges of the promotional products industry in mind. Along with addressing the five pillars of compliance, the manual includes guidance and examples within each area, as well as best practices, compliance templates, sourcing guides, audit and corrective action guides, and resources, education and training opportunities.

Click here to learn more about the Summit.

Mug copyPPAI To Launch #GetInTouch Campaign At Advertising Week 2016

PPAI returns to Advertising Week this month to launch the Association’s Industry Branding Initiative, the #GetInTouch campaign. PPAI has been an active participant of Advertising Week for a number of years and is rolling out the #GetInTouch campaign at an event in New York on September 27.

Seth Godin, who spoke at The PPAI Expo 2016 and Expo East 2016, and joined PPAI on stage at Advertising Week in 2015, will make an encore appearance to present “Getting In Touch with The Work That Matters” at 11 am on Tuesday, September 27 at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill. PPAI members are welcome to attend this event by reserving tickets in advance.

Originally introduced at The PPAI Expo 2016 as the Industry Branding Initiative, the #GetInTouch campaign targets advertising buyers with a five-year, multimillion-dollar branding initiative designed to increase awareness and improve the overall perception of the promotional products industry while communicating the importance of the promotional consultant, resulting in a larger share of advertising dollars for the promotional products industry.

“We’re trying to elevate promotional products advertising in the minds of advertising buyers and tell the story of how promotional products enhance the lives of consumers—every day—in almost every way,” says Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI president and CEO. “More than a new ad campaign, it is the first time we’ve told the advertising community how promotional products affect consumer behavior and directly benefit advertisers and marketers.”

Alongside its message about the power of promotional products and the importance of the promotional consultant, the #GetInTouch campaign highlights unique aspects of promotional products as an advertising medium: they are advertising that live on; they are tangible representations of a brand; they create excitement, surprise and delight; they impact buying decisions and have staying power; they become part of everyday life; and promotional products are the only advertising medium for which the customer says “thank you.”

The campaign’s paid, earned, shared and owned (PESO) strategy will include major media buys in publications like Advertising Age, digital strategies and possibly an industry spokesperson. The #GetInTouch campaign will also include member kits available for download and customization. These kits will include print advertisements with several versions of copy along with various digital elements that members will be able to immediately incorporate into their own marketing efforts.

Industry members can get involved in the #GetInTouch campaign by providing case studies, a key component of the initiative. For more information or to reserve Seth Godin Advertising Week session tickets, contact Kim R. Todora, PPAI public relations and buyer outreach manager, at