Carl Gerlach, MAS; Roni Wright, MAS, Named PPAI’s 2020 Hall of Fame Inductees
Carl Gerlach, MAS, who is retired from Lenexa, Kansas, supplier Gill Studios, Inc. and Roni Wright, MAS, vice president of Delray Beach, Florida, supplier, The Book Company, have been selected for induction into the PPAI Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will take place during the Chairman’s Leadership Dinner at The PPAI Expo in Las Vegas, Monday, January 13, 2020, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
The promotional products industry has grown and prospered because of the creative spark and the dedication of many, but there are some individuals whose selfless efforts and devotion to the industry are monumental. PPAI gives permanent recognition to these individuals through induction into the PPAI Hall of Fame.
Gerlach, who joined Gill Studios in 1978, has given his life to serving the promotional products industry and his community. His passion to achieve excellence is best shown over his long career at Gill Studios, where he led it to the prominent position it holds today as one of the few long-term family-owned, top 40 suppliers in the industry.
An avid volunteer for the industry, Gerlach was one of the original officers of the Young Executives of Specialty Advertising Association (YESAA) and served on the PPAI Board of Directors for the Association from 2003-2008 and as chair from 2005-2006. He is a PPAI Lifetime Member and PPAI Fellow with countless volunteer hours dedicated to attending every regional show and volunteering his service on numerous boards, committees and advisory groups.
He has rounded out his volunteer services by giving back to his community, serving on multiple boards, and is a current board member of Shawnee Mission Medical Center, Johnson County Community College Foundation Board and the Overland Park Economic Development Council.
In April 2005, Gerlach was elected mayor of Overland Park, which is one of the largest and most influential communities in Kansas, where he has led the community for several terms and helped Overland Park earn the distinction of No. 6 on CBS’s list of the 25 Best Cities To Live in the United States.
Wright, an accomplished executive with more than 33 years in the promotional products industry, is an integral part of The Book Company’s success. She has led the sales effort for the company’s book category, and manages regional sales rep companies and distributor relations.
Wright’s volunteerism in support of the promotional products industry includes exemplary service on the PPAI Board of Directors (2007-2011); Regional Association Council (2013-2015); Leadership Advisory Committee (2011-2014); Promotional Products Education Foundation (2008-2011) and as PPEF board chair in 2010; as well as many committees, advisory groups and task forces. Her accomplishments include being recognized as a PPAI Fellow,a recipient of the 2013 PPAI Woman of Achievement and 2007 Distinguished Service Awards, as well as the YESSA Young Executive of the Year and TRASA Volunteer of the Year and MVP.
Wright’s dedication and enthusiasm for the promotional products industry is demonstrated through her ability to inspire others to take action. In 2010, when Wright was the chair of PPEF, she figured out how to raise money and face her fears. She established the “PPEF I’ll Do Anything Challenge” and stated that if the initiative reached its campaign goal of $10,000, she would go parasailing despite being terrified of heights. As you would expect, Wright helped PPEF achieve their goal and she, indeed, went up in the sky and posted her experience on YouTube.
In addition, Wright is a highly sought-after writer and speaker, facilitating numerous presentations, workshops and webinars, as well as editorial contributions to PPAI’s PPB magazine, and many other industry blogs, newsletters and periodicals.
Induction into the PPAI Hall of Fame reflects Gerlach’s and Wright’s legacies and contributions to the promotional products industry and their communities.