June 2019: People News

AIA Corporation (PPAI 101364)Billie Jo Mathusek, director of marketing; Sarah Refait, marketing manager; and Jared Birkholz, digital marketing specialist

American Solutions for Business (PPAI 699502)Christine Fischer, promoted to director of automotive programs

Geiger (PPAI 105182)Jo-an Lantz, MAS, promoted to CEO, and Rachelle Power, promoted to vice president, corporate programs

HALO Branded Solutions (PPAI 106462)Jason Hayward, accounts payable manager; Melanie Noble-Beierschmitt, accounts receivable manager; and Dustin Wicks, sales system product manager

iPROMOTEu (PPAI 218870)Catherine Kruse, promoted to vice president of vendor relations; Candace Plunkett, promoted to vice president of affiliate relations; Cliff Quicksell, MAS+, promoted to vice president of affiliate marketing; Venkat Rangamani, promoted to vice president of software engineering; and Bob Schwei, promoted to vice president of business development

MadeToOrder (PPAI 216503)Sandy Gonzalez, promoted to CEO, John Zientek, promoted to COO and CFO

Cap America, Inc. (PPAI 111597)David Hoke, chief financial officer, and Gerald Pinkley, market development manager

Charles River Apparel (PPAI 111644)Stephanie Havican, sales representative, responsible for Florida and Georgia

Fields Manufacturing (PPAI 111951)Anna Gould, promoted to account coordinator

Gemline (PPAI 113948)Ashley Smalley, regional sales manager, responsible for New York, Northern New Jersey and Southern Connecticut

Gildan Activewear, Inc. (PPAI 250187)Donald C. Berg, appointed chairman of the board

HUB Pen Company (PPAI 110772)Gashia Hollingsworth, customer service rep

IMAGEN Brands, parent company of suppliers Crown Products (PPAI 113430) and Vitronic (PPAI 114197)Lisa Brooks, vice president of marketing

LogoIncluded (PPAI 270232)Alex Harrod, promoted to president

The Magnet Group (PPAI 338534)Leah Newman, promoted to key accounts inside sales manager

Spector & Co. (PPAI 168328)Jackie Crowell, regional sales manager for Northern California, Oregon and Washington; Alexandra Delis, account manager for the south-central U.S., responsible for Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah; and Paul Tomiuk, promoted to inside sales

Starline USA (PPAI 112719)Shaun Rokitka, inside sales, responsible for Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Michigan

Storm Creek (PPAI 438091)Derek Walters, promoted to director of brand experience

Sweda Company, LLC (PPAI 113914)Lee Feinstein, Northeast sales team member supporting Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and Renée Perdicaro, Northeast sales team member supporting Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont

Vantage Apparel (PPAI 113235)Ryan David, sales manager for the Canadian market


Herbert Barker, founder of Cheshire, Connecticut, distributor Barker Specialty, passed away on April 3. He was 90.

Barker was born in Meriden, Connecticut, on January 23, 1929. The youngest of five brothers, during World War II he left high school to run the family grocery store while his brothers served in the military. Later he served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

Barker entered the promotional products industry in 1948 when he and his wife Gloria started a business based on the idea of imprinting company names on useful products for advertising. This idea would ultimately grow into a leading promotional products distributor. Barker’s passion for business never ceased; his many ventures include Superior Gifts, a wholesale toy company, Uphams’, a large department store, and Golden Skillet, a fried chicken franchise. As an entrepreneur, he was proud to be awarded “Boss of the Year” by the Greater Hartford Jaycees, and to be inducted into the inaugural class of the Connecticut Business Hall of Fame.

For more than 30 years, he and his wife traveled North America with a keen eye for animation art and collectibles. Today, their collection is displayed in six Barker Animation Art Gallery locations between Connecticut and Florida, and their donated artwork colors the walls of many hospitals, nonprofits and religious institutions. He also established the Barker Character, Comic and Cartoon Museum, filled with a personal collection of 80,000 antique toys and collectibles.

Barker’s philanthropy saw him donate more than $2 million in charitable contributions over the years. A recipient of many honors and awards, his proudest accomplishment, after his family and business, was being awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities.

Barker is survived by his four children—Gerald and Debra Barker of Cheshire; Amy Barker of Pompano Beach, Florida; Steve and Susan Barker of Old Saybrook, Connecticut; and Adrienne Barker-Anctil and Alan Anctil of Daytona Beach. He also leaves behind eight grandchildren and one great granddaughter.

Services were held on April 7 at Beth David Memorial Gardens in Hollywood, Florida. Donations may be made to Chabad Chayil Jewish Learning Center of North Miami Beach, Boys and Girls Club of Broward County, JAFCO and Temple Beth David of Cheshire.


On Saturday, April 27, the last day of Passover, a gunman entered the Chabad of Poway Synagogue in suburban San Diego, California, and opened fire, killing one and injuring three. Lori Gilbert Kaye, 60, who died in the shooting, was a member of the sales staff at San Diego distributor Pro Specialties Group.

In a statement on social media, the distributor said, “Lori Gilbert Kaye has been an employee of Pro Specialties Group, Inc. and a member of our sales team for 12 years. Lori was known for her commitment to our clients, generosity of spirit, willingness to share her experiences and passion to persuade others to do the same. Words cannot sufficiently convey the magnitude of this loss for our community, and the indelible impression she made—including her smile, within Pro Specialties Group, Inc. We send our condolences and prayers to her family and friends.”

According to news reports, Kaye was shot while shielding Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who was injured but survived the attack. At a news conference, Rabbi Goldstein referred to Kaye as a founding member of the congregation and practically a member of his family. “She had unconditional love for all,” he said. “We will salute Lori and her life and keep her legacy alive—a legacy of goodness and kindness.”

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Kaye’s friend, Roneet Lev, said, “She was full of life, full of energy, an ants-in-your-pants type person. She couldn’t stand still. She was always going to visit this person and that person. She collected people. She was proud to know people all over the world.”

Kaye made a memorable impression on those in the promotional products industry as well. Speaking to PPB, Brandon Greaney, vice president of sales and marketing at San Diego supplier Makana Line, said, “I knew Lori from our business interactions over the years. She was a friend and neighbor. I’ve hand-delivered items to her home and have had many great conversations with her. This happened just down the street from my house. Saturday was mostly a shock, but the past 48 hours or so have been very difficult for our community. Last night there was a memorial service at our local high school where more than 4,000 community members attended. She is a hero. I can’t imagine what her family is going through.”

A funeral service was held for Kaye on April 29 at Chabad of Poway that drew approximately 700 people including rabbis from across the country and other faith leaders, as well as California Reps. Susan Davis, Duncan Hunter and Scott Peters; state Sen. Brian Jones; and representatives from the U.S. and Israeli governments. Kaye is survived by her husband Dr. Howard Kaye, her daughter Hannah, her father Dr. Richard Gilbert, her sisters Randi Grossman and Ellen Edwards, and several nieces and a nephew.

Chai Lifeline, a nonprofit group offering programs for seriously ill children and their families, has established a memorial fund in her memory. Kaye’s sister, Randi Grossman, serves as the organization’s West Coast director, and Kaye was an active supporter of the organization.


Former PPAI Board Chair and PPAI Hall of Fame inductee Harry Rosenberg, CAS, president of St. Louis, Missouri-based Specialty Advertising Consultants, Inc., passed away on April 23 at age 91. He enjoyed an extraordinary 67-year career as an industry supplier, consultant and long-time PPAI volunteer.

Rosenberg joined the industry in 1944, after a semester at Washington University, when he started working at his family’s company, Universal Match Corporation. When the company was sold in 1950, he and his two brothers-in-law bought writing instrument supplier Ritepoint, which was then based in St. Louis. He ran the company until 1980 when he officially retired. He then formed Specialty Advertising Consultants, serving as a consultant to industry suppliers, a role he transitioned to part time in recent years.

In the 1970s, Rosenberg served on the PPAI board and was elected board chair in 1975. In 1983, he was inducted into the PPAI Hall of Fame. He continued his volunteer service to PPAI for years, serving on committees, advisory councils and the Product Responsibility Action Group. In 2016 he was named a PPAI Fellow to commemorate his many years of volunteer service. He was also honored with the ASI Marvin Spike Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.

Fellow former board chair and Hall of Famer Wayne Greenberg, MAS, president of JB of Florida, Inc., a division of Geiger, knew Rosenberg for decades. “This is a big loss,” he said. “Harry would best be described as professional, polished, practical, down to earth and genuine. Harry was the real deal. You knew you were going to get the truth from Harry, even if you didn’t want to hear it. But more often you got words of encouragement. He mentored so many, including me, that we have a better industry because Harry was in it. Always willing to help and educate, I will miss my friend, Harry.”

Mark Gilman, CAS, chairman of Gill Studios, Inc., and another former PPAI board chair and fellow Hall of Famer, said of Rosenberg, “Harry was, in every sense, a good man. He was my first mentor and my friend and guide for over 40 years. He was the first inductee into my personal Hall of Fame. Condolences to his family. ‘If there’s another world, he lives in bliss; if there is none, he made the best of this.’”

In a 2017 interview with PPB magazine, Rosenberg was asked about his proudest industry accomplishments. “I am proud of several things I’ve been able to accomplish during my career,” he said. “First is the creation of PPB magazine [first published in 1976]. We bought out a small, one-man distributorship in Florida that was publishing an industry newspaper and doing quite well with it. Another thing I’m proud of is moving the Association out of Chicago and down to Texas in 1979. And probably the best of all was becoming PPAI’s chair of the board back in 1975.”

In addition to his work within the promotional products industry, Rosenberg volunteered for the Senior Olympics for 36 years and was a recipient of the organization’s Doc Eberhart Award. He was also an avid reader and loved sports, fishing, music, travel, history and geography. A lifelong learner, he was the author of two quiz books about U.S. history, the American flag and famous Americans.

Rosenberg is survived by his wife of 68 years, Ginny; his son, Buz Rosenberg and wife Jane; daughter Ellen Sullivan and husband David; six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

A celebration of life was held on April 30 in St. Louis.


The promotional products industry lost one of its great leaders with the passing of David Woods, MAS, on April 27. He was 75. Woods retired from AIA Corporation as CEO in 2016.

After earning a bachelor’s degree from Boston University, Woods began his career as a management consultant with Deloitte and Touche, and then became CFO at a packaging company before raising the venture capital to start his own soft-drink distribution business. In the early 1990s he was recruited to join distributor Lee Wayne Corporation in a turnaround role; he rebuilt the company and later sold it to HALO (now HALO Branded Solutions) and became executive vice president. He left the company in 2002 and spent a year on PPAI’s staff as COO before joining AIA in 2003.

A dedicated volunteer, Woods served two terms on the PPAI Board of Directors and was chair in 2000-2001. He also served a term on the Promotional Products Education Foundation board of trustees and was chair in 2009-2010, and in 2018 he was inducted into PPAI’s Hall of Fame.

In addition to his long-time leadership in the industry, he was deeply passionate about the arts and helping disadvantaged youth. Since 2008 he had served on the board for the Bergstrom Mahler Museum of Glass, and as a board member and president of the Green Lake Festival of Music, where he headed up a $1 million fundraising campaign. Woods also lent his expertise to the Beaver Brook Association, a 2,000-acre wildlife conservation area in Hollis, New Hampshire, that offers programs for inner-city kids, and the Chicago All Stars, a group in the Chicago Loop area for at-risk youth.

In a January 2018 profile in PPB magazine, in conjunction with his Hall of Fame induction, Woods said his desire to help others was something his parents taught him. “We were rich in everything except money—always rich in love and kindness, and I was taught to help other people. The people who helped me when I was young are gone and I can’t help them—but I can carry on their traditions.”

Former PPAI President and CEO Steve Slagle, who knew Woods for more than 20 years and introduced him at his PPAI Hall of Fame induction in 2018, remembered him as kind, gentle, soft-spoken, caring, giving, bright and generous. “All are adjectives that describe our dear departed friend, David Woods, however, none can adequately convey the degree to which David willingly helped others find jobs, make career transitions, meet personal or professional challenges or simply fulfill their potential. I have so many memories and stories about David from my 20-plus years of knowing him, learning from him and observing his immense skill, talent and intellect. I know how the dictionary defines a Renaissance Man, and I truly believe David meets the definition. He was cultured, educated and proficient in a variety of disciplines.

“David was a special man, a special friend, not just to me, but to hundreds of others who were touched by his kindness, his generosity and his counsel. I’m so going to miss his wit, his laugh, his way of telling a story and his sincere goodness.”

In a statement issued following Woods’ passing, Matt Gresge, CEO of AIA Corporation, said, “David was one in a million and made an impact on all those who knew him. We were lucky to have him pave the way for AIA in this industry as our longtime leader. He was a true entrepreneur who took a chance on a company called Adventures in Advertising, which, thanks to his vision, would become the strong, thriving corporation that AIA is today. David was a beacon of our industry and helped shape who we are as a company and as individuals. He made an incredible impact on AIA employees and all of the owners and suppliers we serve. I have no doubt his legacy will continue to live on through the strong community he built and entrepreneurial spirit he instilled in each of us. Our hearts and thoughts go out to David’s family.”

Longtime friend and colleague Marc Simon, CEO of HALO Branded Solutions, said, “The entire HALO family is shocked and profoundly saddened by the loss of David Woods, one of our key early leaders. No person in our industry was more affectionately respected and admired than David. Well-traveled, well-read, thoughtful and kindly to all, David had the rare ability to connect with all of us in the manner that resonated most with each of us. He loved all of us, our industry, his three sons and their families, and the Boston Red Sox.”

Woods is survived by three sons, Stephen and wife Mollie; Nicholas and wife Elizabeth; and Ted and six grandchildren, William, Paul, Sara, Ella, Andi and Mack.   

PPAI honors Hall of Fame members for their lifetime contributions to the Association and industry by matching industry donations up to $2,500 to fulfill the $5,000 commitment needed to create a Named Scholarship through the Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF). To make a gift to establish a scholarship in Rosenberg or Woods’s name, send a check payable to PPEF mentioning David Woods or Harry Rosenberg in the memo line and mail it to PPEF, 3125 Skyway Circle North, Irving, Texas 75038. Gifts can also be made online at www.ppef.us. Click on “donate” and enter “David Woods memorial” or “Harry Rosenberg memorial” in the comments section.


James Khattak is news editor of PPB.

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