2013 Power 50

Meet The Most Influential Executives In Today's Ad Specialty Market

Power 50Meet the most influential executives in today’s ad specialty market.

Power can be defined in many ways. Success. Growth. Influence. That rare, unmistakable yet hard-to-pinpoint, quality that motivates people.

The members of the Counselor Power 50 have all of the above – and then some. They’re the movers and shakers of the ad specialty market, helping to set the industry’s agenda at the same time as being influential and successful players. They not only inspire their own employees, they make others in the market – competitors, clients and vendors alike – change the way they do business.

On the following pages, you’ll find the 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.

Turn the page to see the 2013 Power 50, as well as how the influential executives view the outlook for the market, what they think the biggest challenges will be to overcome and what their top goals are in the coming year for their own companies. Plus, for some fun – check out their favorite vacation spots, preferred apps, and who each believes will be the next President of the United States.

Marc Simon

HALO Branded Solutions (asi/356000)
2012 RANK: 6
Simon takes over the top spot this year after leading impressive growth (17% in 2012) at Halo and receiving very high influence scores from his fellow Power 50 members. Simon also grew his industry profile this year as the chairman of PPAI.

Marty Lott & Jeremy Lott

SanMar ( asi/84863)
2012 RANK: 6
Son Jeremy joins his father, Marty, on the list this year after being named president of apparel supplier SanMar. The influential duo receive high power ratings from both the Power 50 members and the industry at large.

Michael Bernstein & David Nicholson

2012 RANK: 3
The duo in charge of supplier organization Polyconcept North America keep their top-three spot after garnering high influence ratings from the industry and leading their company to 5% growth last year. Nicholson also was honored with Counselor’s Person of the Year award in July.

Kevin Lyons-Tarr

4Imprint ( asi/197045)
2012 RANK: 2
The head of the largest online distributor in the industry falls two spots after the industry at large gave him lower influence ratings this year. However, his top-five power standing remains, with his company continuing an impressive run of growth – 14% in 2012 alone.

Greg Muzzillo & Vera Muzzillo

Proforma ( asi/300094)
2012 RANK: 5
The husband-and-wife team in charge of Proforma received high influence ratings from Power 50 members this year, helping them to maintain their top-five standing on the rankings. Proforma’s growth of nearly 10% last year solidifies their industry authority.

Jay Deutsch & Eric Bensussen

BDA ( asi/137616)
2012 RANK: 4
The B and the D in BDA together maintain their top-10 power position in the industry thanks to positive survey scores from their fellow Power 50 members. The company duo drops two spots, though, after BDA’s revenues fell by double digits last year.

Gene Geiger & Jo-an Lantz

Geiger ( asi/202900)
2012 RANK: 7
With the sale of Geiger’s manufacturing business this year, Geiger and Lantz focused the company solely on its main growth area: distribution of promo products. The decision and clarified go-to-market strategy help to sustain the duo’s ranking on the Power 50.

Rich Witaszak

Staples Promotional Products ( asi/120601)
2012 RANK: 8
Counselor estimates show revenue at Staples Promotional Products to have surpassed the $400 million mark in 2012, making it the largest distributor in the industry. With that heft comes power for Witaszak, the head of the promo products division of office retail giant Staples.

Jonathan Isaacson

Gemline ( asi/56070)
2012 RANK: 13
Isaacson jumps four spots into the top 10 this year after receiving high influence ratings from both the Power 50 and the industry at large. Gemline distribution deals with big brands like Igloo and Brookstone have helped to expand the company’s industry profile.

David Woods

AIA Corporation ( asi/109480)
2012 RANK: 9
Industry veteran Woods solidified his position in the market with the recent engineering of a recapitalization of AIA Corporation. Owned by Riverside Company since 2005, AIA is now capitalized by McNally Capital, and Woods has signed a deal to remain with the growing distributor firm for at least five more years.

Norm Hullinger

Broder Bros. ( asi/42090)
2012 RANK: N/A
The highest-ranking newcomer to this year’s list, Hullinger was named CEO of the largest supplier firm in the industry at the end of last year. He is now tasked with continuing the impressive turnaround underway at the apparel supplier firm.

Bill Schmidt Sr., CJ Schmidt & Bill Schmidt Jr.

Hit Promotional Products ( asi/61125)
2012 RANK: 19
If growth is power, the family in charge of Hit Promotional Products has it in spades. The Schmidts have overseen more than 150% revenue growth in the past five years, including 28% last year. The seventh-largest supplier now does nearly $200 million in annual sales, helping the Schmidts to jump seven spots on the 2013 Power 50.

Ross Silverstein

iPROMOTEu ( asi/232119)
2012 RANK: 14
Jumping one spot from last year, Silverstein recently introduced single-order financing to industry distributors, helping to raise his company’s influence in the market. The distributor firm has also grown its revenues by 81% in the past five years.

Bob Lederer, Jeff Lederer, Rick Brenner & Paula Shulman

Prime Line ( asi/79530)
2012 RANK: 11
Joining the Lederers and Shulman on the list this year is Prime Line CEO Rick Brenner, known in the industry for his product safety expertise and acumen. The Prime group also oversaw sales growth of 8% in 2012, as it introduced new products and expanded its partnerships with Leeman Designs and Built NY.

Trevor Gnesin

Logomark (asi/67866)
2012 RANK: 12
Gnesin falls three spots on this year’s Power 50 list after garnering lower influence ratings from Power 50 members. Also, while sales at his company grew by 8% last year, Gnesin said profit fell as it dealt with increased expenses related to the launch of its Valumark line.

Glenn Chamandy

Gildan Activewear
2012 RANK: 18
With Gildan’s acquisition of New Buffalo Shirt Factory in June, the company is making a concerted effort to expand its decoration business through its Anvil unit. The move only increases the power of Chamandy and the $2 billion-in-annual-sales Gildan, as it looks to add decoration to its apparel offerings.

Eric Belcher

InnerWorkings (asi/168860)
2012 RANK: 21
Increasing both its international and domestic business by more than 20% this year, InnerWorkings has been on a roll of late. In the ad specialty market, the company is also expanding quickly, having increased its revenues by 34% in the past five years, making it the 12th-largest distributor.

Ira Neaman

Vantage Apparel (asi/93390)
2012 RANK: 16
The head of Vantage Apparel, the perennial Counselor Distributor Choice Award winner in the Decorated Apparel category, falls two spots on this year’s list after receiving lower influence ratings from Power 50 members.

Jack Ma & Jonathan Lu

Alibaba Group
2012 RANK: 15
With Ma stepping down from his CEO post at Asian e-commerce company Alibaba Group, new CEO Lu joins him on the Power 50 this year. Ma remains as chairman of this fast-growing international company that connects buyers across the globe with manufacturers of thousands of goods, including promotional products.

Mike Rhodes

Bodek and Rhodes (asi/40788)
2012 RANK: 30
Rhodes jumps 10 spots on the 2013 Power 50 after receiving high influence ratings from both the Power 50 and the industry at large. Bodek and Rhodes has become a much bigger player in the industry as well, noting revenue increases of nearly 50% over the past five years to become the sixth-largest supplier in the market.

Sharon, Taly & Ely Eyal

ETS Express (asi/51197)
2012 RANK: 24
Newcomers to last year’s list, the family in charge of Top 40 supplier ETS Express oversees a continuously growing and influential supplier of drinkware. A leader in providing product safety information to the market, ETS has also grown its sales by 177% in the past five years.

Edgar Hernandez & Emmanuel Bruno

Norwood & BIC Graphic North America
2012 RANK: 20
Hernandez, general manager of BIC APP, the parent division of Norwood & BIC Graphic North America, joins Bruno, GM and VP of Norwood & BIC Graphic North America, on this year’s list. The duo are tasked with turning around the falling revenues of the North American division.

Jason Black

Boundless Network (asi/143717)
2012 RANK: 22
While Black’s influence took a small dip in ratings from the Power 50 and the industry at large, he oversees a growing Top 40 distributor firm – Boundless Network grew its revenues by 20% last year and by 120% over the past five years.

Craig Callaway

eCompanyStore (asi/185782)
2012 RANK: 26
While Callaway’s eCompanyStore unit’s revenues have fallen in recent years due to some lost business to the financial sector, he also oversees Instawares Holding Company. That business owns a diverse group of tech companies that is growing at 30% a year and will attain revenues of $130 million this year.

Alan Vaught

Evans Manufacturing (asi/52840)
2012 RANK: 28
Vaught’s influence in the market continues to rise, as Power 50 people rated him as increasing in authority over the past year. The survey result moves him up three spots in the ranking.

Jack So

Hong Kong Trade Development Council
2012 RANK: 25
The HKTDC runs multiple trade shows that impact and service the ad specialty market, including the Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair. Recognizing its impact for suppliers, Power 50 members rated So with increasing influence this year, but the industry at large gave him lower ratings this year.

Joe Fleming

Hub Pen (asi/61966)
2012 RANK: 32
Fleming jumps five spots in the ranking after debuting on the Power 50 last year. As the head of a Top 40 supplier firm that has grown its revenues by more than 80% in the past five years, Fleming is consistently showing his influence on the market.

Kurt Kaeser & Gregg Emmer

Kaeser & Blair (asi/238600)
2012 RANK: 29
After receiving positive influence ratings from their fellow Power 50 members, Kaeser and Emmer jump one spot on this year’s list. The company grew its revenues by 6% last year, and is now the 15th-largest distributor in the industry.

Doug Hayes

Ash City (asi/37127)
2012 RANK: N/A
Hayes, who took over as CEO of Top 40 supplier Ash City earlier this year, replaces Garry Hurvitz on the 2013 Power 50. Hayes now runs the ninth-largest supplier firm in the industry, an organization with more than $140 million in annual revenues.

Ted Stahl

2012 RANK: N/A
A newcomer to the 2013 Power 50, Stahl is the head of GroupeSTAHL, the largest international manufacturer of heat-printing products and services that complement embroidery and screen printing. A decorating technology pioneer with more than 75,000 worldwide customers, GroupeSTAHL has led the way with new printing processes and technologies. Stahl was inducted into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame in 2011.

David Thompson

National Pen (asi/281040)
2012 RANK: 31
Thompson maintains his spot on the list after leading his company to 5.5% sales growth last year and receiving good influence ratings from the Power 50. The industry at large, though, isn’t as familiar with this relative newcomer to the ad specialty market.

Billy Dolan & Vivian Lo

Camsing Global (asi/43668)
2012 RANK: 23
Falling sales for Camsing Global (17% drop in 2012) and low influence ratings from the Power 50 and industry at large lead to this duo dropping nine spots on the 2013 Power 50. The international pair, though, lead Top 40 supplier Camsing and have shown a proclivity for big deals.

Marc Roy & Alan Chippindale

BrandAlliance (asi/145177)
2012 RANK: 33
Roy, who took over as CEO of BrandAlliance in May, joins Chippindale on the 2013 Power 50 list. Together, they help to lead the second-largest distributor firm in Canada (as measured by industry revenue). Roy had previously been on the Power 50 three years ago when he was CEO of Accolade Promotion Group (asi/102905).

Bill Korowitz

The Magnet Group (asi/68507)
2012 RANK: 38
Korowitz, an economist that’s often available to share his forecasts for the industry, jumps four spots this year after garnering high influence ratings from his fellow Power 50 members.

Paul Lage

Gill Studios (asi/56950)
2012 RANK: 40
Lage moves up five spots on this year’s Power 50 after overseeing 23% election-year sales growth at Gill. He also received highly positive influence ratings from the industry on the Counselor survey.

Paul Bellantone

2012 RANK: 43
As the CEO of industry association PPAI, Bellantone received high influence ratings from both the industry and the members of the Power 50. That is reflected in his seven-spot jump in the rankings this year.

Lori Kates

Vitronic Promotional Group (asi/93990)
2012 RANK: N/A
A newcomer to the Power 50 this year. Kates won Counselor’s Supplier Woman of Distinction award in July thanks to her long-term stewardship of supplier firm Vitronic. The company increased its sales in 2012 by 4% to reach more than $32 million in revenues.

Dan Craig

Accolade Promotion Group (asi/102905)
2012 RANK: 37
The head of Accolade Promotion Group, the largest revenue-generating distributor in Canada, drops just one spot on the list after leading his company to 3% sales growth in 2012.

Jim Hagan

Sweda (asi/90305)
2012 RANK: 36
The head of Top 40 supplier Sweda has overseen a growing company (4% last year) in recent years, one that has continuously introduced new and unique products to the industry.

Rick Mouty

Profill Holdings
2012 RANK: N/A
Profill Holdings, the parent company of wearables suppliers such as TSC Apparel, WearMagic, and LightHouse Apparel, has increased its business so dramatically over the past five years (40% revenue growth) that it is now the 15th-largest supplier in the market. Mouty, who has been with the company since 2001, is in charge of the operation.

Fred Parker

A Brand Company
2012 RANK: 46
Parker, whose A Brand Company is the parent to Activate! Marketing + Promotions, has overseen explosive growth for his distributor firm in recent years. Activate increased its revenues by 15% last year alone, and is now a more-than-$30-million firm, a result that has helped increase Parker’s profile in the market.

Kim Newell

World Wide Lines (asi/98290)
2012 RANK: 42
Newell maintains her spot in the latter half of the Power 50 after continuing to speak at industry events. As she has become an outspoken proponent for the increase of product safety measures in the industry, more people are certainly recognizing her expertise.

Chris Vernon

The Vernon Company (asi/351700)
2012 RANK: 45
Vernon, who runs the 111-year-old Top 40 distributor firm, jumps two spots on this year’s list after receiving positive influence ratings from both the Power 50 and the industry at large.

Derek Block

Touchstone (asi/345631)
2012 RANK: 41
Block, who engineered a deal with Top 40 firm Cintas last year to take over much of the uniform company’s enterprise promotional business, falls a few spots on the list this year after receiving lower influence ratings from the industry at large.

Eric Rubin

Blue Generation (asi/40653)
2012 RANK: 44
As a major player in the uniform sector of the industry, Rubin oversees Blue Generation, which grew its revenues by 3% last year and by 12% over the past five years.

Dov Charney

American Apparel (asi/35297)
2012 RANK: 47
Charney, who has successfully turned around the revenues of NYSE-listed American Apparel (APP) in recent years, jumps one spot on the list thanks to the recent success he's had at American Apparel.

Maribeth Sandford

Bag Makers (asi/37940)
2012 RANK: 48
Sandford jumps one spot on the list, following her winning of Counselor’s Marvin Spike Lifetime Achievement Award in July. She also received positive industry influence ratings from the market overall.

Daniel Tsai & Jennifer Tsai

Tri-Mountain (asi/92125)
2012 RANK: 50
The Tsais jump two spots on this year’s list following the company’s launch of more than 200 new items into the marketplace over the past couple of years. The family duo also received positive influence ratings from the Power 50 members.

Larry Zavadil

American Solutions For Business (asi/120075)
2012 RANK: 49
As the head of the 14th-largest distributor company in the industry, Zavadil maintains his place on the Power 50 this year. His company, with annual promo product revenues of about $100 million, grew its sales by 2% last year.

Bill Smith Jr.

Brown & Bigelow (asi/148500)
2012 RANK: N/A
Another newcomer to the Power 50 this year, Smith has taken over Brown & Bigelow and has infused the organization with new partnerships, including purchasing distributor firms The Brandmarket, The AdCentive Group, and Best Promotions in recent years.