Rick Brenner, MAS+, president of Mamaroneck, New York-based RFBrenner, LLC, and Kippie Helzel, MAS, senior vice president at Erie, Pennsylvania supplier CPS/Keystone Line were named the recipients of the 2020 PPAI Distinguished Service Award. Brenner and Helzel will be honored during the Chairman’s Leadership Dinner at The PPAI Expo in Las Vegas, Monday, January 13, 2020, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

Brenner is a 21-year veteran of the promotional products industry, previously CEO of supplier Prime Line, and an industry leader with a passion for product safety, compliance and responsible sourcing. Brenner served on the PPAI board of directors from 2012-2015, as board chair from 2015-2016 and as immediate past chair from 2016-2017. He is also a founding member of PPAI's Product Responsibility Action Group and has co-chaired PPAI's annual Product Responsibility Summit for each of its eight years. Brenner has been honored as an exemplary volunteer and a PPAI Fellow for his consummate leadership and dedicated volunteerism.

His volunteerism includes service as a legislative advocate, speaker, author and as a member of numerous PPAI committees, advisory groups and task forces. Brenner was a founding board member of Quality Certification Alliance (QCA), a member of QCA’s governance committee and for seven years chair of QCA's compliance committee.

Outside of the industry, Brenner served as president from 2017-2019 of the International Consumer Products Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO), the world's leading consortium of businesses, scientists, legal professionals, government officials and product safety advocates dedicated to consumer health and safety concerns. ICPHSO is one of the oldest and largest multinational organizations dedicated to improving knowledge and product safety worldwide. Brenner's six-year service on the ICPHSO board of directors marked the first time a member of the promotional products industry has had a presence in ICPHSO's governing body.

Helzel has been in the promotional products industry for more than 32 years, with 17 years at industry supplier CPS/Keystone Line, and 13 as senior vice president of sales. Helzel started her career in oil and gas exploration in Denver, Colorado, but quickly jumped into the promotional products business joining the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) in 1987.

With a heart of service, Helzel has made an indelible mark on the Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF) for more than eight years, serving on the board of trustees from 2010-2012, as chair-elect 2012-2013, as chair of the board from 2013-2015 and immediate past chair from 2015-2017. During her tenure on the board, scholarship awards grew from $100,000 for 94 students in 2010 to $175,000 for 117 students in 2017. As chair, she led the discussion on increasing support for students who demonstrate financial need. This shift effectively changed PPEF’s award structure so that 66 percent of the scholarship dollars go to students with financial need.

During her service in support of PPEF, annual donations increased 79 percent. Diversification of funding sources was a key theme under her leadership. Her visionary efforts will help to sustain PPEF funding well into the future. She is a PPEF Century Club supporter and Circle of Gold member.

Another example of Helzel’s generosity is her gift of connecting people and organizations. She spends countless hours advocating for the industry, speaking at industry events and mentoring industry professionals.

Helzel served on the board and as the chair on the Promotional Products Mentoring Network (PPMN) from 2007-2010; as a board member and president of the Three Rivers Advertising Specialty Association (TRASA) and the Upper Midwest Association of Promotional Professionals (UMAPP) from 2003-2006 and 1990-1996, respectively; and as delegate for the formation of the Regional Association Council (RAC). Her service also includes volunteering on the PPAI Events Action Group, Leadership Committee and Chairman’s Committee of 100. Helzel has been recognized as a PPAI Fellow and Visionary Woman of 2019 by iPROMOTEU.

The Distinguished Service Award celebrates PPAI members who consistently contribute their skills and expertise toward the betterment of the Association. Through volunteer service or by offering their leadership to PPAI, these members generously give the benefit of their energy, time and enthusiasm for the Association.