PPAI Volunteer Spotlight: Product Responsibility Group

Above photo: PRAG members gather on stage at the 2019 Product Responsibility Summit in Washington, D.C.

The industry professionals who volunteer on PPAI’s committees, work groups and other programs are a vital part of the Association’s success. This ninth installment of an ongoing PPB series introducing the volunteers, committees and initiatives that have helped make the Association what it is today, takes a closer look at the Product Responsibility Action Group (PRAG). 

PRAG’s 2021 Roster

Brian Campbell, 4imprint, Action Group Leader
David Nicholson, Leed’s, PPAI Board Liaison
Kim Bakalyar, CAS, PromoShop, Inc.
Andy Blahnik, Gemline
Rick Brenner, MAS+, RFBrenner, LLC
Nathan Cotter, Hit Promotional Products
Jamie Deer, Leed’s
Susan DeRagon, QIMA
Kyle Earing, Blink Marketing, Inc.
Teresa Fang, Prime Line
David Geiger, MAS, Geiger
Sandeep Jain, Vitronic/IMAGEN Brands
Neil Levitt, ID Me Promotions, LLC
Pierre Montaubin, Koozie Group
Chris Pearson, MAS, Spector & Co.
Shamini Peter, Axis Promotions Powered By HALO
Lenny Polakoff, Zagwear, Inc.
Jing Rong, Hub Pen Company
Paul Bellantone, CAE, Staff Liaison
Maurice Norris, Staff Liaison
Anne Stone, CAE, Staff Liaison

PRAG exists to promote awareness and provide member education regarding applicable governmental regulations, industry standards and best practices in product responsibility. Product responsibility revolves around five pillars—social responsibility, environmental responsibility, product responsibility, quality control and supply-chain security. These are the foundation for any company manufacturing, importing, selling, decorating and marketing promotional products in order to meet ever-growing customer expectations and regulatory obligations.

As PRAG members, the committee discusses how new information can be conveyed to the industry and keep it ahead of the proverbial curve for any aspect of the five pillars. A key role for the group is to help organize the Product Responsibility Summit. Everyone on PRAG plays a part in putting this event together and raising the bar for timely and relevant information. The group’s members are generous and selfless in volunteering their time, their collaborative spirit and their commitment to ensure that there are up-to-date resources for PPAI members to use.

Pivoting the Product Responsibility Summit to a virtual event in 2020 was a standout accomplishment of the group last year.

This past summer, PRAG started over from scratch to create a virtual event which brought new and valuable information to industry members. In just a few months, PRAG was able to organize, with the tireless help of the PPAI team, to identify and secure topflight speakers from agencies and experts that had never spoken at the Summit before. The event scored multiple speakers from the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fair Trade Commission, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Fair Labor Association and the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom, as well as several attorneys with specific areas of expertise, a toxicologist, cGMP experts and more.

In 2021, PRAG will be reviewing the Association’s Product Safety Aware program and ensuring the industry has the best practices and information available. Many companies still continue to sell PPE and other products that fall under either the FDA’s or EPA’s scope and the group wants to ensure members have resources to understand their obligations. There are also continued challenges in the supply chain as many continue to perform due diligence and map their supply chains further than before. There is also pressure in the supply chain from both end users and Customs and Border Protection to perform due diligence on human rights violation issues and other concerns. 

PRAG will be looking at what the challenges are and how to turn them into opportunities in order to deliver critical information industry members need and expect from PPAI.   

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James Khattak is news editor of PPB.

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