A luminary in the promotional products industry is calling it a day on his successful career. Carl Gerlach, vice president of marketing at Top 40 supplier Gill Studios (asi/56950), has decided to retire after 35 years at the Lenexa, KS-based company.
“We will miss Carl’s leadership and vision at Gill,” said CEO Paul Lage. “He has done a remarkable job of keeping this company in the higher echelon of our industry for several decades.”
Gerlach cherished his time at Gill. “Gill taught me the true definitions of customer service and treating people with respect,” Gerlach told Counselor.
Gerlach’s influence on ad specialties extends far beyond the halls of Gills Studios. Highlights of his career include being on the PPAI Board of Directors, as well as serving as chairman of the board and being active on several committees. If that weren’t enough, he was also one of the founding members and leaders of YESAA, Young Executives of the Specialty Advertising Industry, in addition to being Chairman of PPCEF, Promotional Products College Education Foundation.
Gerlach told Counselor that there is a lot he loved about working in the promotional products industry, from the creativity it demands to the relationships with the many great people he has worked with and even competed against, to the challenge of always striving to get better to meet distributor needs.
Asked what he would miss most, Gerlach told Counselor, “Being able to see my friends at shows or picking up the phone to solve a business issue and then hearing how their family is doing.”
While Gerlach is retiring, he plans to stay active in his second job – mayor of Overland Park, KS, one of the largest cities in the state. He was recently elected to his fourth term. “What I learned at Gill not only helped me in the industry but also as I entered the political world of giving back to my community as mayor,” Gerlach told Counselor.
Of course, Gerlach’s retirement is not going to be all work. In addition to traveling with his wife Jill and golfing more, he is keen to play some hoops with someone special. “My son just gave us our first granddaughter,” he told Counselor. “I look forward to enjoying and spending time with her, and maybe teaching her a little basketball.”