2017 Hot List: Rob Russell

"2016 was the first year we did the trade show circuit, and it’s been fantastic."

Our annual picks of the industry’s rising stars – a brave, bold group that’s trailblazing a unique path to success.

Rob Russell

Strike Promo (asi/67451)

As Rob Russell waited on hold while selling season tickets for the Chicago Blackhawks, he reminisced about his college days, interning at golf tournaments and marveling at all the sponsored merchandise. Sure, the air conditioning beat the heat, but there was no challenge. He became a distributor in 2009, and then in 2013, his future business partner showed him the light: patented LED wristbands custom-engraved with company logos.

Now the CEO of supplier Strike Promo (asi/67451), Russell and his team reached $1 million in sales last year. “2016 was the first year we did the trade show circuit, and it’s been fantastic. You don’t get a feel for what our products are until you see them in person,” Russell says.

It’s also pretty difficult to miss Strike Promo’s booth – there’s a 10-foot-tall lighted wristband filled with bright colors. “The biggest surprise has been our variety of customers. I figured we’d do great with party events and music venues. But over the past year we’ve produced orders for every industry segment, even for law firms and hospitals,” Russell says.

Earlier this year, Strike Promo launched a line of LED sports balls and keychains, and Russell says he’s currently filing patent paperwork for two other new items to launch in the beginning of 2018.

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