Marvin Spike Lifetime Achievement Award – Ron Ball
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With his penchant for affectionately calling women “honey,” the ashtray with the lit cigarette and billowing smoke he’d keep hidden in his desk drawer, and his fondness in his heyday for two-martini lunches, Ron Ball was Roger Sterling before there was a Roger Sterling.
What many know about him, of course, is that his name – after a 40+ year career with the company – is nearly synonymous with ASI. From his famed client dinners at shows – the sheer size of which resemble a Bar Mitzvah – the fact that many of his clients consider him so much like family that he’s been invited to weddings, birthdays and christenings of kids of his industry pals, and the way many of the next generation of promo talent call him “Uncle Ron,” he’s as ubiquitous and iconic as the mini-hotdogs in the ASI booth and the company’s Pantone red.
“When you look at your career, there’s that one person you think of and say ‘wow’ because of the impact they’ve made on your life,” says Castelli’s Fran Ford, he himself a Marvin Spike Lifetime Achievement Award winner in 2012. “Ron’s done that for me. No one was better to teach you how to ‘stretch the circle wider,’ and he’s touched so many of us in such a great way and never asked for a thing in return. Ron’s caring and sharing have been the cornerstone for many careers in our business.”
Surprising to no one who knows him, Ball, ASI’s senior vice president of supplier sales, is most proud of the many relationships he’s built within the industry, where he’s felt so at home since he was a 30-year-old sales rep.
“When I think about why I’ve stayed for so long,” Ball says, “it’s because of the way I was treated as an employee. The Cohn family and Marvin Spike treated me like family. And as the reins were turned over to Tim Andrews the same thing occurred. Of course the fact that my sales numbers were always good helped, but not as much as the respect I received from this wonderful family and colleagues at ASI.”
Single-handedly responsible for upwards of $60 million in sales during his tenure at ASI, Ball points to the absurd moments in the industry – such as riding a tandem bike on the beach with Logomark’s Trevor Gnesin – as some of his favorites.
“Over the years, Ron has worked alongside the Logomark team guiding us through many major changes in the industry,” Gnesin recalls. “His expertise has led us to bring on a multitude of marketing and advertising products and innovations that have been key to Logomark’s success as a company. Ron has always directed his efforts in the best interest for my company with kindness, patience and understanding. I am appreciative that we’ve had Ron in our corner for all of these years, and I’m proud to call him my friend.”
And as only Ball can, he doles out bon mots of advice just like your eccentric, worldly, colorful character of an Uncle would: “Take your work seriously. Don’t jump around from position to position. Find what you like to do and stick with it. Make industry friends and talk to them constantly. And don’t sleep with anyone at your company.” – MB