Premier Group, a 501(c6) trade association with the mission of contributing to the success and growth of individual member companies, held its annual business meeting on April 27. Traditionally part of a four-day event designed to connect members and strengthen business relationships, like most organizations, Premier Group was challenged to find a new way of conducting business in 2021, and held the meeting virtually. Along with confirming the proposed slate of directors for 2021 and celebrating members with several annual awards, PPAI Interim President Bob McLean joined the event as guest speaker. He welcomed Premier Group members and shared a brief report on the state of the industry.

“While we are excited to be planning in‐person events in the near future, we are again holding our annual business meeting virtually. Doing so allows us to keep our members connected and informed about the business of the organization and ensures the election of our 2021‐2023 class of board directors can be completed as outlined in our governing documents,” says Glen Hersh, Premier Group board chair.

The Premier Group’s 2021-2023 elected board directors include:
Linda Tulchin – The Promotions Department (second term)
Fred Hickman – SanMar
Chris O'Connor – Chocolate Inn / Lanco
Bob Titelman, Jr. – Skylight Creative

Representatives from Premier Groups’ 67 member companies tuned in to hear from McLean before participating in the official business meeting that reviewed the position of the organization after what proved to be a tumultuous year for all businesses, including those in the promotional products industry.

“Despite the challenges we have faced as business owners in 2020, Premier Group’s mission and purpose has never been more relevant and poignant to members,” says Premier Group Vice Chair Menda Wright, co‐owner of distributor member Creative Studio Promotions. “Being part of PG has no doubt impacted how we responded to the events of 2020 and kept us connected to a brain trust of like‐minded entrepreneurs that understand our business. That is the magic of our small but mighty organization.”

Awards presented during the business meeting included:

Most Valuable Premier Group Player Award: a supplier or distributor who does not sit on the board but contributes and supports the group in very significant ways.
Andrew Shea – Arcon (Distributor)

Rookie Rockstar: a new representative from a supplier that was a "rock star" and made a significant contribution to their company and/or the Premier Group.
Grace Schettier – Cap America

MacGyver: a member that made the impossible happen.

Straight out of Quarantine: a company that adapted in a way culturally or responsively that has altered how business was conducted through a pandemic.
The Promotions Department

Bunsen Burner: hottest new idea or custom project.
Prime Resource Abroad

Paul Smith: Premier Group’s most prestigious supplier award in honor of co-founder Paul Smith. Supplier recipients are based on the several criteria—quality of products, marketing support, internal customer service support, outside sales support, problem resolution and management support.
$20 Million – Fields Manufacturing
$50 Million – Vantage
More Than $50 Million – Hit Promotional Products

Doug Bruce: Premier Group’s most prestigious distributor awards in memory of co-founder Doug Bruce. Recipients of the Douglas Bruce Distributor Performance Award are based on several criteria—access to distributor organization by Premier Group suppliers, support of Premier Group suppliers’ lines, pay within terms and works with Premier Group suppliers to resolve issues.
Under $2.5 Million – Skylight Creative
Under $5.9 Million – W.S. Emmerson
$6 Million-plus – Callard