Edwin Gonzalez has joined PPAI as the Association’s new director of digital transformation. In the newly created role, he will oversee efforts to lead innovation through internal and member-facing systems, websites and digital services.

Most recently, Gonzalez worked as a technology consultant. He previously spent over six years as director of business solutions (IT) at Informa Markets, a company that hosts and facilitates more than 450 live and virtual trade shows and exhibitions for international B2B brands. Prior to that, he was the director of technology for over seven years at real estate media firm Hanley Wood, for which he worked more than 20 years overall beginning in 1994. In 2000, the company launched a trade-show business, which brought him to Dallas, Texas, from Chicago, Illinois.

“This is when I discovered a new passion for data and developed a new skill set in database development and design among others,” says Gonzalez, who started at PPAI on December 14.

Gonzalez says he has been familiar with the promotional products industry for years, namely through The PPAI Expo, thanks to having worked in the trade-show space. During his time at Hanley Wood, he crossed paths with Alan Peterson, now PPAI’s vice president of business development. “He gave me some insight of the culture and the team which was valuable info to me moving forward,” Gonzalez says. “I had an introduction call with Dale [Denham, president and CEO of PPAI], and he was a straight shooter with a solid vison, and we immediately connected. After meeting the rest of the leadership team, I knew this was the place where I wanted to be and, fortunately, they felt the same about me.”

Since starting, Gonzalez has immersed himself in the promo industry. Initial goals, he says, are “to learn from and listen to our members, customers and staff on what’s working and what needs to be worked on.” Through his role, Gonzalez will help develop an internal digital and business transformation strategy that is transparent and can be shared with the industry as it adapts to change just like the Association itself.

Gonzalez has three adult children, “and I still have a hard time admitting that,” he says. He enjoys travel and searching for new restaurants to try, as well as cooking. He owns four guitars and two bass guitars, but says, “I still can’t get them to sound like anything I try to learn.”