2012 Power 50
Meet The Most Influential Execs In Today's Ad Specialty Market
When gauging influence and, yes, power, you can look at many factors. Business success is important. Sheer size of a company that an executive runs matters. But, there are intangibles, as well. Who is shifting strategies – and winning? Who is mentoring others in the market, and setting an agenda that many want to follow?
These are the attributes we look at when choosing members of the annual Counselor Power 50. The 2012 group has all of the traits above – and then some.
The people on the following pages set the agenda for the market, provide successful examples for others to follow, and ultimately, dictate how business is done in the ad specialty industry. You'll find the 1-50 rankings along with reasons for why they place where they do on the list. Indicated along with each profile is where they placed on last year's list, to reflect their changing influence on the market. Rankings are often based on a survey Counselor conducts, which asks the industry and the Power 50 themselves to rate whether each person on last year's list has gained or lost influence over the past 12 months.
See the 2012 Power 50 below, as well as five profiles of members of this year's Power 50 class who stand out from the crowd. Plus, wondering how this group views the market outlook, what they do in their spare time, and who they'd pay to hear give a speech? Check out the infographics here.
2011 RANK: 2
Leading a perennial Distributor Choice Award winner, as well as receiving overwhelmingly positive votes from both the Power 50 and the industry, Lott moves up one spot to again capture the top spot on the list. If customer service is the key to industry success, then Lott is leading the way. He was also number one in 2008.
2011 RANK: 3
The 2012 Counselor Person of the Year moves up one spot to number two after consecutive years (2012 and 2011) of double-digit revenue growth for 4imprint. Providing a model of online and catalog business that others in the industry are trying to emulate, Lyons-Tarr is offering the industry a success roadmap.
MICHAEL BERNSTEIN & DAVID NICHOLSON
2011 RANK: 1
Bernstein takes the place of Philippe Varnier and Yann Leca on the Power 50 list, after he was installed as CEO of Polyoncept earlier this year. Nicholson, president of Polyconcept North America (Bullet, Journalbooks, Leed's, Trimark Sportswear), joins Bernstein, as PCNA represents the second-largest supplier firm in the industry. READ MORE ABOUT MICHAEL AND DAVID.
ERIC BENSUSSEN & JAY DEUTSCH
2011 RANK: 6
The duo at the helm of BDA jumps three spots after receiving high scores for improved influence from both the industry and the Power 50. With more than $300 million in ad specialty sales, BDA has also grown its business by more than 20% each of the past two years.
GREG MUZZILLO & VERA MUZZILLO
2011 RANK: 4
After growing revenues by double digits in recent years, the heads of Proforma retain their top-five spot on the Power 50. The tandem, however, received low scores for increased influence from the industry and move down just one spot on this year's Power 50.
2011 RANK: 5
Solidifying his place in the top 10, Simon continues to oversee a growing operation at Halo, which completed two acquisitions in 2012. Halo itself was also sold in May of this year, moving from equity firm Compass Diversified Holdings to PSP Capital Partners.
GENE GEIGER & JO-AN LANTZ
2011 RANK: 9
Geiger and Lantz move up two spots in the top 10 after overseeing 12% growth last year and showing a similar growth pattern in 2012. The company is also a model in the market for green operations, as it signed a carbon neutral deal with UPS in October to ensure the eco-friendliness of all of its shipments.
STAPLES PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS (ASI/120601)
2011 RANK: 8
Witaszak, who oversees the promotional products division of office retailer Staples, retains his number-eight position after growing sales by 7% in 2011. The division has shown similar growth patterns this year, and is the largest distributor in the ad specialty market.
AIA CORPORATION (ASI/109480)
2011 RANK: 11
In growth mode for the past few years (including a 17% increase in sales last year), Woods and AIA have been shooting up the Power 50 and Top 40. Woods jumps three spots after receiving positive influence ratings from both the Power 50 and the industry.
2011 RANK: N/A
Adams is the highest-ranked newcomer to the 2012 Power 50. He oversees the division at ad agency giant Omnicom, parent to Group II Communications and TIC, two separate Top 40 distributors (ranked number four and 15, respectively) that are both growing and combined would total more than $300 million in annual sales.
BOB LEDERER, JEFF LEDERER & PAULA SHULMAN
PRIME LINE (ASI/79530)
2011 RANK: 16
The Prime Line group is rated highly by both the Power 50 and the industry at large, and its members oversee a growing operation (17% in 2011) that has successfully integrated new lines (Leeman, Built NY) into its offerings.
2011 RANK: 12
After launching two new brands in the past couple of years (Valuemark and 99centpromos.com), Gnesin has successfully overseen his company's move into new product lines. He has also turned his company into a technology leader in the market, following its introduction of interactive mobile apps.
2011 RANK: 14
Isaacson moves up one spot on the Power 50 after receiving positive influence ratings from his fellow Power 50 members. A perennial Distributor Choice Award winner, Gemline has also become a go-to supplier in the industry.
2011 RANK: 15
After growing revenues by more than 25% last year at his company, Silverstein jumps up one spot in the Power 50. iPROMOTEu continues to add distributors to its affiliate ranks (now with more than 700), and has increased its sales by 75% in the past five years.
2011 RANK: 13
Despite growing his company's revenues by 60% in the first half of 2012 (to reach $1.8 billion), Ma falls two spots on the Power 50. Also, while Alibaba had tried to make a splash last year with a U.S.-based ad campaign, the company's U.S. business has stagnated.
VANTAGE APPAREL (ASI/93390)
2011 RANK: 22
Neaman vaults into the top 20 this year after receiving high influence scores. His company is a leader in the imprinted apparel space, and is a consistent winner of Counselor's Distributor Choice Award.
DARD PRODUCTS (ASI/48500)
2011 RANK: 23
Sandy, who also received high influence ratings from the industry and other Power 50 members, jumps up six spots on this year's list. She is a key industry player on the international stage, and is a trusted voice on global economic and product safety issues. READ MORE ABOUT BONNI.
2011 RANK: 20
While Gildan grew its revenues by 32% last year, Chamandy jumps two spots thanks to his company's acquisition of competitor Anvil Knitwear. Gildan is now an even bigger player in the apparel market – as well as one of the largest companies represented on the Power 50.
BILL SCHMIDT SR., CJ SCHMIDT & BILL SCHMIDT JR.
2011 RANK: 27
The Schmidt family takes the largest jump on the Power 50, making a leap into the top 20 after showing impressive sales growth (30% last year and 125% in the last five years), becoming a customer service industry model (double Distributor Choice Award winner this year) and receiving high scores for influence.
NICOLAS PAILLOT & EMMANUEL BRUNO
NORWOOD & BIC GRAPHIC NORTH AMERICA
2011 RANK: 10
Emmanuel Bruno, who became vice president and general manager for Norwood & BIC Graphic North America earlier this year, joins Nicolas Paillot on the list for 2012. After the supplier's sales fell by 9% in 2011 and by 35% over the past five years, though, the duo drops 10 spots in the Power 50.
2011 RANK: 25
Growth and expansion are on the menu for this print and promo products company. InnerWorkings has filed record revenue growth for every quarter this year, averaging more than 20% growth. Belcher is also overseeing the company's international expansion, after it recently acquired Merchandise Mania in the U.K. Also, it has grown its North American ad specialty revenues by 27% over the last five years to surpass the $100 million last year. READ MORE ABOUT ERIC.
BOUNDLESS NETWORK (ASI/143717)
2011 RANK: 18
Black falls four spots after receiving lower ratings for influence from both the Power 50 and the industry at large. His company, however, has grown into a $60 million distributorship in just eight years, increasing revenues from $24 million five years ago.
BILLY DOLAN & VIVIAN LO
2011 RANK: 17
The Camsing duo, which oversees supplier brands such as Senator, Adva-Lite and Toppers, drops six spots after receiving low influence ratings from both the Power 50 and the industry at large. Camsing has also added the Avaline and Custom HBC brands to its stable this year. Current challenge: integrating all these lines into one operation.
SHARON, TALY & ELY EYAL
ETS EXPRESS (ASI/51197)
2011 RANK: N/A
Another newcomer to the 2012 Power 50, the Eyal family heads up one of the fastest-growing large suppliers in the industry. Increasing revenues by more than 200% in the past five years, ETS is now firmly entrenched in the Top 40 – and the leaders also run a company on the Counselor Best Places to Work list.
HONG KONG TRADE DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL
2011 RANK: 26
The HKTDC runs multiple trade shows that impact and service the ad specialty market, including the Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair. It's a show that continues to attract the interest of domestic suppliers (and some distributors) that are looking to expand and source globally.
2011 RANK: 24
Callaway received lower scores for influence over the past year, but eCompanyStore increased its sales last year by 5%. Callaway is also a respected industry voice on economic and corporate strategy issues.
2011 RANK: 21
While Ennis is one of the largest suppliers in the industry, the low-profile Walters received low scores for ad specialty market influence. The result drops him six spots this year.
EVANS MANUFACTURING (ASI/52840)
2011 RANK: 29
Jumping one spot this year, Vaught runs a Counselor Distributor Choice Award-winning supplier, and has provided a paperless-operation business model for others to follow. His influence scores also improved this year.
KURT KAESER & GREGG EMMER
KAESER & BLAIR (ASI/238600)
2011 RANK: 28
Power 50 stalwarts drop one spot after receiving slightly lower influence ratings. The company, though, is the 18th-largest distributor in the industry and grew its sales by 7% last year.
BODEK AND RHODES (ASI/40788)
2011 RANK: 32
The head of the sixth-largest supplier firm, Rhodes jumps two spots on this year's list after receiving positive influence ratings from the industry at large. Also, Bodek and Rhodes increased its revenues by 18% last year and 30% over the past five years.
NATIONAL PEN (ASI/281040)
2011 RANK: 30
Thompson drops one spot after his company posted a 3.5% sales gain last year but a 9.4% drop over the past five years. The low-profile industry newcomer also received low influence ratings from the industry's voters.
HUB PEN (ASI/61966)
2011 RANK: N/A
New to the list in 2012, Fleming is the head of Counselor's Supplier of the Year award winner earlier in 2012. As a supplier with very high ratings from distributors, Fleming runs an organization that's highly valued by industry companies.
2011 RANK: N/A
Another newcomer, Chippindale oversees the second-largest distributor firm in Canada. It's a company that came together after it merged a group of mid-size Canadian distributors. And, now it's focused on more growth, as it created a partnership with U.S. distributor Activate Marketing + Promotions this year to help both expand into the other's geographic markets. READ MORE ABOUT ALAN.
ASH CITY (ASI/37127)
2011 RANK: 36
Hurvitz jumps two spots after winning Counselor's International Person of the Year award in May, and receiving positive influence ratings from his Power 50 peers. Ash City also grew its revenues by 3% last year to reach $123 million.
MERLE HINRICHS, SPENSER AU & TOMMY WONG
2011 RANK: 31
The trio that leads Global Sources, a media and trade show company in Asia that helps domestic suppliers source products overseas, falls four spots after receiving low influence ratings in the U.S. industry. Global Sources, though, has brought its Gifts & Premiums China Sourcing Fair to the U.S.
JIM HAGAN & PETER SEIDLER
SWEDA (ASI/90305) & SEIDLER EQUITY
2011 RANK: 39
The head of Sweda and the company's equity partner pair together to jump three spots this year, as Sweda posted a 6% increase in sales in 2011.
ACCOLADE PROMOTION GROUP (ASI/102905)
2011 RANK: 34
Craig, the head of the largest distributor firm in Canada, falls three spots after posting a 3% sales increase last year. However, the company, which is owned by large Canadian retailer Golf Town, is on a fast growth track over the past five years: sales increase of 56%.
THE MAGNET GROUP (ASI/68507)
2011 RANK: 38
After leading a successful buyout of The Magnet Group from Seidler Equity late last year, Korowitz retains his position on the Power 50. While Magnet's revenues have been flat in recent years, Korowitz is a leading economic expert in the industry and is looked to as a resource by other suppliers and distributors.
WORLD WIDE LINES (ASI/98290)
2011 RANK: 37
Newell falls two spots after receiving lower influence ratings this year. Newell, though, is one of the foremost respected voices in the industry on the topics of product safety and compliance.
GILL STUDIOS (ASI/56950)
2011 RANK: 40
In an election year, Lage and Gill are at the forefront of the signs, labels and stickers market. He retains the same spot he held last year, as many in the market look to him for guidance and advice.
2011 RANK: 48
Making one of the biggest leaps on the list, Block jumps seven spots this year after receiving positive influence ratings and closing a deal with Cintas that has Touchstone managing the Top 40 distributor's enterprise promotional marketing client relationships.
UNITED FRANCHISE GROUP
2011 RANK: 33
The head of the EmbroidMe and SignARama franchises drops nine spots on the list, as he has ceded day-to-day responsibilities of the organizations to other executives. He is a major cog in his company's international expansions.
2011 RANK: 45
After receiving positive influence ratings from both the Power 50 and the industry at large, Bellantone jumps two spots this year.
BLUE GENERATION (ASI/40653)
2011 RANK: 35
Rubin falls nine spots after garnering low industry influence ratings. A big player in the uniform market, his company's sales increased by 6% last year.
THE VERNON COMPANY (ASI/351700)
2011 RANK: 42
Following a 16% revenue drop over the past five years, Vernon falls a few spots. The company showed growth, though, last year of 3%.
ACTIVATE! PROMOTIONS + MARKETING (ASI/141964)
2011 RANK: 43
Parker has successfully steered his company through a total re-branding effort this year. Activate (formerly Bluegrass Promotions) has grown by double digits in recent years. Parker, however, received lower influence ratings.
AMERICAN APPAREL (ASI/35297)
2011 RANK: 49
In a year (2012) in which American Apparel has increased its sales each month and has stabilized its finances, Charney moves up two spots on the Power 50.
BAG MAKERS (ASI/37940)
2011 RANK: 41
Bag Makers rode the wave of burgeoning reusable tote bag sales to a 50% sales increase over the past five years. However, sales were flat last year. READ MORE ABOUT MARIBETH.
AMERICAN SOLUTIONS FOR BUSINESS (ASI/120075)
2011 RANK: 47
The leader of the 13th-largest distributor in the industry falls two spots after receiving lower influence ratings.
DANIEL TSAI & JENNIFER TSAI
2011 RANK: 50
These apparel supplier leaders retain their spot on the Power 50 after posting a 15% sales increase. Glenn Oyoung left the company earlier this year to begin an outside endeavor.