Investing In Our Future

PPEF Welcomes A New Class Of Scholars

The academic superstars and high achievers who make up this year’s class of Promotional Product Education Foundation (PPEF) scholarship recipients come from all over the country and, this fall, will make their mark on college campuses near and far. The one unifying factor for this year’s scholarship winners is the promotional products industry’s support of these outstanding students who are not just representing the future workforce as a whole, but also symbolize the future of the industry itself.

Pat Dugan, MAS, chair of the foundation’s board of trustees and a longtime PPEF volunteer, says the industry supports PPEF and its scholarship recipients “because individuals and companies believe in helping our own. We are talking about kids, college scholarships and about knowing that a large group of kids truly need help. PPEF started giving six scholarships in 1989 and currently we are giving 102 scholarships. Success and support go hand in hand.”

Dugan, who is vice president of sales and marketing for supplier Budgetcard, and has been volunteering for PPEF for nearly 16 years, says she is proud of the developments that have come during her time with PPEF; in addition to devoting more than 50 percent of scholarships to need-based applications, the foundation is in the strategic planning phase of a proposed scholarship/mentoring program. “We will continue to break new ground in order to guarantee the continued success of this foundation,” she says.

But, she adds, “We will be a total success when every industry person and company knows what PPEF is all about and realizes what these scholarships mean to the kids. Once this happens, we will have 100- percent buy-in and a very well-funded scholarship foundation that offers many scholarships on different levels. This is what I would love to see happen with PPEF.”

Paula Shulman, vice chair of the PPEF fundraising committee and an incoming member of the executive committee, is a recent addition to the PPEF Foundation, having joined in 2015. “I like giving back to an industry that has been so good to me,” says Shulman, vice president of sales for Prime Line. “PPEF has a very clear mission and I am happy to be able to help spread that mission throughout the industry, and tap into the relationships I have built over the years to raise money for the foundation. It is amazing to me how much money has been raised since the foundation was formed back in 1978.”

Shulman affirms Dugan’s assessment of the industry’s generosity. “People like giving back. They just have to be asked. This industry has given so much to so many, so it is easy to support a foundation with a clear focus. The donations help to develop the growth of an individual who may choose this industry for a career, so it is like planting seeds that will continue to grow for years to come.”

Shulman says she hopes the industry will learn more about the various ways PPEF can be supported, such as through the Century Club, or an honorary or memorial gift. “It does not require large donations, and everyone has someone or something they would like to honor that has happened in their lifetime.”

PPEF annually awards both one-time and recurring scholarships. One-time awards include the Chairman’s Scholarship, a $5,000 award disbursed over two years, and named scholarships, which are $1,000 awards. PPEF’s one-year scholarships provide recipients with either $1,000 (merit-based) or $2,000 (need-based) awards, and the foundation’s four-year scholarships award $4,000 (merit-based) or $8,000 (need-based) over four years.


Ellen Hershberger, Grandview, Missouri—Taylor University

Daughter of Michael Hershberger, Gill Studios, Inc.                          

Yasmin Sinno, San Antonio, Texas—University of Houston

Industry employee, Bud’s Embroidery & Screen Printing Outlet    

Named Scholarship RECIPIENTS


Jane Thomas, San Antonio, Texas—University of Texas-San Antonio

Industry employee, Apple Specialty Advertising


Grayson Saylor, Flowery Branch, Georgia—Kennesaw State University

Daughter of David Saylor, Chattahoochee Marketing, Inc.


Chase Lindecker, Lambertville, Michigan—Michigan State University

Son of Drew Lindecker, Creative Promotions


John Ebersold, Tuscaloosa, Alabama—University of Alabama

Son of Kent Ebersold, Ebersold Inc.


Joseph Toomb, Mason, Ohio—University of South Carolina

Son of Matthew Toomb, Shumsky


Abigail Ketterer, Maineville, Ohio—University of Cincinnati

Daughter of Thomas Ketterer, MAS, The Ketterer Company


Megan Schuyler Moss, Enfield, North Carolina—University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Daughter of Ashley Moss, Geiger


Madison Stulir, Endwell, New York—Northeastern University

Daughter of Danny Stulir, BrandBox


Jennifer Salim, Bay Village, Ohio—Cleveland State University

Daughter of Ron Salim, Madison Graphics


Mary Carlisle Stelling, Greer, South Carolina—University of South Carolina

Daughter of John Stelling, CAS, Promotional Authority, LLC


Olivia Abbott, Portland, Oregon—University of New Haven

Daughter of Lisa Hawkins, Lisa Hawkins Sales


Kaila Kuehn, Brandon, South Dakota—South Dakota State University

Daughter of Tammy Kuehn, Monarch Sales


William Jay Belich, St. Charles, Illinois—Elmhurst College

Son of Elizabeth Belich, R & M Specialties              


Alanna Lynch, Trumbull, Connecticut—Smith College

Daughter of James Lynch, Octagon Merchandise


Alex Sellner, Fairfax, Minnesota—Gustavus Adolphus College

Son of Kathryn Sellner, BIC Graphic


Jori Mansfield, Tarpon Springs, Florida—University of Florida

Daughter of Jo Dee Colonius, Think Tank Studio 


Evan Cottrill, Allison Park, Pennsylvania—Duquesne University

Son of Richard Cottrill, Golden Promotions Inc.


Jarod Adducci, Colorado Springs, Colorado—University of Colorado-Colorado Springs

Son of Joseph Adducci, Pikes Peak Recognition LLC

Taylor Bradley, Round Rock, Texas—Louisiana State University

Daughter of Ellisa Bradley, Darling Promo

Julie Everakes, Northbrook, Illinois—Loyola Marymount University

Daughter of Bruce Everakes, Wolfmark

Trenton Granholm, Holly Springs, North Carolina—University of North Carolina-Charlotte

Son of Cami Granholm, Perfect Promotions & More, Inc.

Colin Hardy, Cypress, Texas—University of Texas-Austin

Industry employee, Magnet Marketing Services

Matthew Hulke, Argyle, Texas—Texas A&M University

Son of Laura Hulke, Potenza Promotions, LLC

Isabelle Maher, Venetia, Pennsylvania—Ohio State University

Daughter of Jacqueline Maher, Alink Printing and Promotions

Daniel O’Leary, Saint Joseph, Michigan—Grand Valley State University

Son of Tina O’Leary, CE Competitive Edge, LLC

Bailey Reed, Honeoye Falls, New York—University of Pennsylvania

Daughter of Renee Reed, Bristol ID Technologies

Cameron Rhodes, Cartersville, Georgia—Mercer University

Son of Rebecca Rhodes, Arco Ideas & Design, Inc.


Katherine Adelsberger, Tewksbury, Massachusetts—Villanova University

Daughter of Eileen Adelsberger, The Gem Group/Gemline

Donovan Ahern, Corte Madera, California—Chapman University

Son of Daniel Ahern, Proforma Albrecht and Company

Madeline Bayne, Kansas City, Missouri—University of Central Missouri

Daughter of Timothy Bayne, Fastsigns of Overland Park

Rachel Blau, Brookville, New York—Brandeis University

Daughter of Julie Levi, Progressive Promotions, Inc.

Rachel Brown, Franklin, Virginia—James Madison University

Daughter of Vicki Brown, Heave Ho Promos

Anthony Carson, Midlothian, Virginia—University of South Carolina

Son of Randall Carson, Ukrop’s Dress Express

Tiana Cole, Christiansburg, Virginia—East Carolina University

Daughter of Merissa Sachs, Logo Hub by Marketing on Main St.

Madison DeWinter, Parker, Colorado—University of Colorado

Daughter of Mark DeWinter, Comich, Inc.

Jennifer Diaz, Tracy, California—California State University-East Bay

Daughter of Jose and Karen Diaz, PDQ Promotions, Printing & Embroidery

Rebecca Elowe, Northbrook, Illinois—Northwestern University

Daughter of Judy Elowe, Creative Promotional Products

Grant Gerwit, Cumming, Georgia—Ohio State University

Son of Larry Gerwit, eCompany Store

Gabrielle Giacona, New Fairfield, Connecticut—Boston University

Daughter of Michael Giacona, Full Circle Promos

Haleigh Golden, Marysville, Ohio—University of Cincinnati

Daughter of Rishanne Golden, Good as Gold Promotions

Taylor Golden, Marysville, Ohio—Ohio Wesleyan University

Daughter of Rishanne Golden, Good as Gold Promotions

Lauren Greger, Pembroke Pines, Florida—University of Florida

Daughter of Holly Greger, Paradise Custom Apparel

Samantha Harmon, Falls City, Nebraska—Doane College

Daughter of Leland Harmon, Stripes and Signs

Samuel Henry, Old Saybrook, Connecticut—Gettysburg College

Son of Carolyn Henry, Proforma Shoreline Graphics

Reid Jahns, Markesan, Wisconsin—Milwaukee School of Engineering

Son of Joel Jahns, SanMar

Tracy Johnston, Akron, New York—Alfred University

Daughter of Rhonda Johnston, Aakron Rule

Eliza Keene, Wellesley, Massachusetts—University of San Diego

Daughter of Michael Keene, Keene Promotions

Elisabeth Ketterer, Maineville, Ohio—Columbia College Chicago

Daughter of Thomas Ketterer, MAS, The Ketterer Company

Caleb King, Stanford, Kentucky—Campbellsville University

Son of Norbert King, Wear the Word

Robert Alex Lamb, Anderson, Texas—Stephen F. Austin State University

Son of Rob Lamb, Lamb Graphics/Graphic FX

Alexander Levin, Windermere, Florida—University of Florida

Son of Dan Levin, Gallant Inc./HALO

Caden Meier, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania—Washington & Jefferson College

Son of Pamela Jones, PKJones Promos

Jessica Ostrowski, Belleville, Michigan—University of Toledo

Daughter of Connie Ostrowski, C & C Embroidery

Gregory Ottino, Albuquerque, New Mexico—University of New Mexico

Son of Jolou Trujillo-Ottino, HALO Branded Solutions

Jordan Reed, Honeoye Falls, New York—University of Pennsylvania

Daughter of Renee Reed, Bristol ID Technologies

Taylor Reed, Honeoye Falls, New York—Cornell University

Daughter of Renee Reed, Bristol ID Technologies

Aimee Rodin, Clive, Iowa—Iowa State University

Daughter of Renee Rodin, Impact, Inc.

Domenic Rodriguez, Bridgeton, New Jersey—Grove City College

Son of Sandra Rodriguez, D and S Designs

Spencer Rogers, Louisburg, Kansas—University of Kansas

Son of Gennifer Rogers, Davidson Promotional Products

Daniel Rosato, Palm Harbor, Florida—University of Central Florida

Son of Steven Rosato, BIC Graphic

Jacob Rush, Fresno, California—University of Notre Dame

Son of Michael Rush, Rush Advertising

Perrie Smalley, Muncie, Indiana—Butler University

Daughter of Jay Smalley, EmbroidMe-Muncie

Wesley Stine, Prescott, Arizona—Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Son of Stacy Stine, Arizona Cap Company

Victoria Thompson, Columbia, Tennessee—Mississippi State University

Daughter of Julie Thompson, Francis Communications, Inc.

Elizabeth Tilley, Winter Haven, Florida—Brigham Young University-Idaho

Daughter of Frank Tilley, All Tech Stitching, LLC

Ronald Van Laarhoven, Oshkosh, Wisconsin—Lakeland College

Industry employee, 4imprint, Inc.

Kylie Watlington, Monroe Township, New Jersey—Florida State University

Daughter of Duane Watlington, Active Imprints

Justin Weilbach, Danville, California—University of Michigan

Son of Lauren Herbstman, Magic Footprint

Kelcy Welch, Carmel, Indiana—Michigan State University

Daughter of Trudie Welch, Keltner Group LLC

Rachel Wells, Springfield, Ohio—Trinity International University

Daughter of Robert Wells, Ace Transfer Company

Rebecca Wells, Springfield, Ohio—Trinity International University

Daughter of Robert Wells, Ace Transfer Company

Lionel Whitcombe, Davidsonville, Maryland—Saint Vincent College

Son of David Gray, American Solutions for Business

Sarah Williams, Attleboro, Massachusetts—Northeastern University

Daughter of Michelle Williams, CAS, Geiger

Michael Wittenberg, Glen Ellyn, Illinois—DePauw University

Son of Kenneth Wittenberg, Summit Group, LLC

ALUMNI UPDATE: Eric Weintraub

Eric Weintraub, Advertising Gifts, was an inaugural PPEF Scholarship recipient

PPB  What role did financial assistance, particularly the PPEF scholarship you received, play in your ability to attend college?

Weintraub  The PPEF scholarship allowed me to pay more attention to studies and growth as a college student and a little less on raising the funds needed for that endeavor.   

PPB  What was your intended/final course of study, and in what role did you hope to apply your degree?

Weintraub  I was originally a nutritionist working in clinical and private settings. This career is actually closely aligned with sales and marketing since you are always trying to persuade clients to make different choices! Those skills are still used in my career today.

PPB  What was your first job after college, and what skills did you learn that you apply to your work today?

Weintraub  I joined the family business shortly after September 11 and became the managing partner/president in 2004. It’s been a great experience changing the company as the landscape changes, and I am always drawing on the education and experiences I had at Cornell with the help of PPEF.



Josh Sager, Abacus Marketing, received a four-year PPEF Scholarship in 1999, and the Chairman’s Scholarship in 2001.

What role did financial assistance, particularly the PPEF scholarship you received, play in your ability to attend college?

The PPEF Scholarship helped me cover costs for study materials (back when textbooks were critical and super expensive). Moreover, having that financial aid meant having to work less, allowing me to focus more on my studies.

What was your intended/final course of study, and in what role did you hope to apply your degree?

My undergraduate study was focused on economics and psychology–I was particularly interested in consumer behavior and decision making. I aimed to apply my studies in the advertising world. I went on to complete my master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from Northwestern’s Medill School. Among other things, this helped hone my understanding of audiences and enabled me to deliver relevant, powerful and consistent messaging.

What was your first job after college, and what skills did you learn that you apply to your work today?

My first job after college was working in multimedia for Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. I designed and developed graphics and animation meant to educate specific patient populations. I learned to pay attention to fine visual details and messaging cues, something I absolutely apply when both presenting and proofing promo ideas today.

When did you begin working for Abacus Marketing, and what are your current responsibilities?

I started full time at Abacus back in 2010. I focus on account management and new business development. I love working in the promotional products industry; it’s just like crafting messages in other industries, but you get to use a more exciting medium.

Notes Of Thanks

“Thank you for awarding me this scholarship and supporting my future academic endeavors. By approving my application, your foundation is doing more than giving me money towards my tuition, you are empowering me. Entrepreneurship has become something I am very passionate about and thankful for. When I first began building my marketing products company in my junior year of high school, I never knew it would have such a profound impact on my life. Building Magnet Marketing Services has taught me more about perseverance, creativity and ingenuity than any other activity I involved myself with in high school ever could. With the help of this scholarship, I am able to continue my entrepreneurial efforts through college and use funds that would have otherwise been put aside for tuition towards growing my company and creating jobs for students. Thank you for helping me accomplish my goals and empowering me to be better than I ever imagined I could be.”

Colin Hardy, Four-Year Scholarship 2016

“Thank you for awarding me this scholarship. I am especially grateful because the promotional products industry is a big part of my life. I work part time for my mother’s company [Potenza Promotions, LLC]. There were many late nights stuffing goodie bags for her clients’ events, and moving boxes from one place to another for packing or unpacking, depending on the event. Whenever I had time between my schoolwork and baseball, I would try to do jobs for her that would help ease her load and also help me earn some extra money to save for my upcoming college expenses. It is very rewarding to be out at a game and see someone wearing a shirt she designed, or to see a bumper sticker on a car that I know she made for a client. It makes me proud to be a part of her company in the small way I can contribute.”

Matthew Hulke, Four-Year Scholarship 2016

“I am eternally grateful for the aid and the support you have granted me for the next two years as I pursue my bachelor’s degree. It is organizations like this that keep me optimistic about the future of our industry. I hold this scholarship to a higher standard and it is of upmost importance to me because it pertains specifically to my career. It congratulates the work that I and my family have dedicated our lives to thus far, and it strives to continue the success of promotional products and the success of effective marketing strategies as a whole. It is an honor to receive this award. Your support and the decision to invest in my future are greatly appreciated.”

Yasmin Sinno, Chairman’s Scholarship 2016

“Becoming a nurse is so incredibly important to me and it amazes me how, though you did not know the depths of my intentions, you chose to support me. It’s more than just financial support. You have reinforced my beliefs, acknowledged my work, restored some confidence and gave me a chance. I am completely honored and humbled to have been selected for this scholarship, and I really hope that I can make you proud. I could not have made it this far if it weren’t for the help of every individual that has touched my life and you’ve been a great part of this journey.”

Jennifer Diaz, One-Year Scholarship 2016

“Thank you for awarding me the Jayne Emoff Miller Scholarship for 2016. As mentioned in my resume, I was selected as one of 14 students to be part of the International Business and Chinese Enterprise track at the University of South Carolina. I am currently studying Global Supply Chain and Operations at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I will be here for 15 months and during the first three months I study Mandarin for six hours per day. I am very lucky to have this opportunity. Thank you for your generosity.”

Joseph Toomb, Jayne Emoff Miller Scholarship 2016

Support Tomorrow’s Scholars Today

To ensure PPEF scholarships are funded and available to support students for years to come, industry companies are giving generously. PPEF received $201,000 in new Tomorrow Fund pledges in 2015 and has received $46,000 so far in 2016. The largest gifts in both years have been at the $30,000 level. Here are the five companies that have pledged at the Tomorrow Fund Silver Level. In addition, in August CJ Schmidt and Liz Schmidt personally gave $50,000 to establish a perpetual scholarship honoring the company’s late CEO, Bill Schmidt, Sr. Interested in becoming a donor? Visit

Gill Studios, Inc.                                             $  30,000

Hit Promotional Products                            $  30,000

Spector & Co.                                                   $  30,000

TradeNet Publishing Co.                              $  30,000

Prime Resources Corporation                     $  30,000

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