Evolve To Succeed

Monday August 1, 2016 | Filed under: ASI Shows, News About ASI

ASI enjoyed a history-making 2016 Counselor® Awards at the amazing Field Museum during our recent show in Chicago. We broke attendance records by hosting over 500 members at the black-tie event – and in another first, posted a ton of the speeches via live feeds on ASI’s Facebook page.

Here’s why I know livestreams will be huge: The family of Dave Saracino, the VP of field sales for BIC Graphic (asi/40480), who was honored with the 2016 Marvin Spike Lifetime Achievement Award, discovered video of his acceptance speech online that night, and by morning, it had already gotten 1,200 views and 12 shares. A few days later, it had earned over 2,000 livestream views.

We’re using this latest social media innovation more and more, including during our coverage of the Republican and Democrat national conventions.

(Visit our Facebook page to view archived videos of many of the speeches as well as our interviews with vendors at the convention. I also urge you to read Counselor’s stories on the winning leaders and companies – they offer some great advice on making it big in this always-changing industry. And click here for an album of photos from the Counselor Awards).

The night’s biggest winners included Brand Addition U.S. CEO Chuck Fandos as Person of the Year and BDA (asi/137616) Senior Director of Sourcing LeeAnn Schumacher as International Person of the Year.

The awards, chosen by the editors of ASI’s award­-winning Counselor magazine, recognize outstanding individuals and companies in seven categories. The winners represent the best and brightest entrepreneurs, small­-business leaders and CEOs in the $22 billion promotional products industry.

In addition, Counselor announced the Top 40 Distributor and Top 40 Supplier rankings – the largest companies in the industry based upon 2015 revenue.

Among suppliers, alphabroder was No. 1, setting a record in the industry with $1 billion in North American ad specialty sales. Yup, that’s not a typo: $1 billion.

For distributors, Staples Promotional Products (asi/120601) remains the largest firm in the industry, with 4imprint (asi/197045) and Proforma (asi/300094) rounding out the top three spots on the list.

Our 2016 Person of the Year, Chuck Fandos, is founder of multimillion-dollar distributor firm Gateway CDI. In January, Brand Addition, the largest distributor firm in Europe, acquired Gateway CDI. The St. Louis-based distributor now operates under the Brand Addition name while maintaining its operations and management structure, including Fandos as U.S. CEO.

Below is part of what I said when introducing Chuck:

“Chuck Fandos shuns complacency and refuses to stand still while the world around him evolves…As a result, his career continues to be nothing short of phenomenal. And when it came time to make the tough decision to sell the company he built from the ground up – along with his loyal wife and long-time business partner – he negotiated the smartest possible deal, giving him license to succeed internationally.

I really stand by those words: We must evolve to succeed.

The 2016 Counselor Awards took place during ASI Show® Chicago July 12-14 at McCormick Place. Below are the rest of the year’s winners. My hearty congrats to each and every one of them. Remember these names – and please read all about them in the special State of the Industry issue of ASI’s Counselor magazine.

  • Supplier Entrepreneur of the Year: Eddie Blau, CEO of Innovation Line (asi/62660).
  • Distributor Entrepreneur of the Year: Brian Abrams, founder of Corporate Imaging Concepts (asi/168962).
  • Supplier Family Business of the Year: Fey Promotional Products Group (asi/54040).
  • Distributor Family Business of the Year: Williams & Associates (asi/360450).
  • Distributor Woman of Distinction: Vicki Clayman, president of Partners N Promotion (asi/350153).
  • Supplier Woman of Distinction: Kathy Cheng, president of Redwood Classics Apparel (asi/81627).
  • Marvin Spike Lifetime Achievement Award: Dave Saracino, vice president of field sales for BIC Graphic (asi/40480).
  • Bess Cohn Memorial Humanitarian Award: Art Livingston, president of Marlo Plastic Products (asi/68873).