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Obituary: Jack Nadel

Jack Nadel – entrepreneur, author and founder of Top 40 distributor Jack Nadel International (asi/279600) – died Saturday of natural causes at the age of 92.

Before founding Jack Nadel International (JNI) in 1953, Nadel was a decorated World War II veteran who flew 27 missions over Japan and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross. After the war, he started buying and exporting surplus U.S. Army materials, and spent several years as an importer/exporter.

Nadel started JNI in a single office in Los Angeles; today, the company has 25 offices in the U.S. along with international offices in the UK, Greece and Australia. It is the 17th-largest distributor in the industry with $107.8 million in revenue last year. Nadel served as chairman of the board from 1993 until 2012.

Over many decades, Nadel played an influential role in the advertising specialty industry, including successfully ushering in brand names (such as Pierre Cardin) and being one of the first to hire female account executives. He served as chairman of PPAI in 1970, he was named to PPAI’s Hall of Fame in 1988, and JNI won Counselor’s Distributor Family Business of the Year award in 2015. After starting the company with his late wife Elly, Jack’s brother Marty ran the company as CEO, followed by Marty’s son Craig.

“While Jack Nadel retired long ago, the DNA of the company that came from him runs through us still,” said Craig Nadel, the company's current CEO and president. “He was ahead of his time in many ways and always pushed us to be a creative and service-orientated company. He was also a man of very high integrity and we strive to live to those values each day.”

A successful and active entrepreneur, Nadel started, acquired and operated more than a dozen companies worldwide in his seven-plus decades of business. He penned several books aimed at helping entrepreneurs and business leaders, and in the last few years contributed to The Huffington Post and continued to write for his blog. He hosted a TV show from 1996-2001 titled “Out of the Box with Jack Nadel” that featured in-depth conversations with leaders and celebrities, and also lectured at several universities and colleges.

Nadel was also an avid philanthropist who started The Nadel Foundation in 1990 and supported several local causes in his community of Santa Barbara, CA. “Jack was a master of anything he became involved with, and had the sheer determination to make his legacy a success,” said Jack Nadel International in a statement.

Nadel is survived by his wife Julie, children Judie and Jeff, step children Shari and Hillary, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts in Jack's memory be sent to Sansum Clinic that will be directed to the Nadel Prescription Navigator Program. Gifts can be sent to PO Box 1200, Santa Barbara, CA, 93102, ATTN: Dru A. Hartley.