“What do you want your legacy in the promo industry to be?”
That’s the question Counselor asked the late Fran Ford about a year before he passed away this May following a long illness.
The response from the president of supplier Castelli Magnet? “That I was a man who gave more than he took.”
Rest easy, Fran: That legacy was assured by the decades you spent mentoring countless promo pros and helping lead the industry through endless volunteering and giving back. And now, in honor of Ford and his selfless commitment to the industry he loved dearly, Top 40 supplier The Magnet Group (asi/68507) has named both a facility and an award in his honor.
Late Thursday, The Magnet Group announced the opening of the Fran Ford Center in Greenwood, SC. The factory will serve as the new, larger home of Castelli Magnet, which had been in Sparks, NV. Castelli, which is under the Magnet umbrella, will be able to house more inventory and get shipments of journals from its Italy-based plants faster at the South Carolina location. Of course, the Castelli facility will also serve as a living testament to Ford’s legacy as a man who gave his all for others in the promotional products industry, always doing so with sincere warmth and a smile, as so many industry leaders have recounted.
“Words aren’t sufficient to describe what Fran meant to all of us,” said Bill Korowitz, CEO of The Magnet Group. “We all wish he was here to see the building named for him, to see what he helped build, to see what he helped create. Our hope is that we make him proud with the new Fran Ford Center.”
Additionally, The Magnet Group is creating the Fran Ford Award. It will be earned annually by a Magnet employee who embodies the values and character that Ford exhibited – an employee who is genuine in friendship, an eager committed mentor, a willing volunteer. “His wisdom, patience and friendship are things we will never forget,” said Korowitz.
A member of Counselor’s Power 50, Ford was given ASI’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, named to PPAI’s Hall of Fame in 2015 and Proforma’s Hall of Fame in 2016. His long, successful career in promo spanned 43 years, during which time he was a leader who lived what he preached, inspiring so many others along the way. “Love and compassion,” he once told Counselor, “are the greatest tools that a leader can have.”