ASI Honors Distributor Salespeople at 2009 Counselor Awards

Black-tie Event Names Eight Winners and Reveals Top 40 Companies

TREVOSE, PA – July 22, 2009 - The Advertising Specialty Institute®, the largest media and marketing organization serving the advertising specialty industry, today announced the winners of the 2009 Counselor® Awards, as selected by Counselor magazine.

The annual awards recognize outstanding individuals and companies in eight categories, celebrating some of the brightest talent and business achievements in the advertising specialty industry. The black-tie ceremony took place at The Field Museum during the ASI Show Chicago.

The highly-anticipated Person of the Year award was presented to “The Distributor Salesperson” to honor every distributor salesperson in the industry who is a driving force in these challenging economic times and exemplifies these ten qualities in their work everyday: tenacious, sincere, charismatic, passionate, resilient, empathetic, consultative, creative, organized and loyal.

The winners of the 2009 Counselor Awards are:

Person of the Year – “The Distributor Salesperson” at every industry distributor company
International Person of the Year – Bonni Shevin-Sandy, president, Dard Products (asi/48500)
Distributor Entrepreneur of the Year – Derek Block, president and CEO, Touchstone (asi/345631)
Supplier Entrepreneur of the Year – Eric Levin, president, Jetline, (asi/63344)
Distributor Woman of Distinction – Laura Forbes, president, Zebra Marketing (asi/365683)
Bess Cohn Humanitarian Award – Linda McCabe, president, Incentive Gallery (asi/230734)
Supplier Family Business of the Year – Blue Generation (asi/40653)
Marvin Spike Lifetime Achievement Award – Jim Moore, senior vice president of sales, Molenaar (asi/71980)

“At an unprecedented time in the history of the ad specialty industry, we’ve chosen 2009 to honor every distributor salesperson,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of ASI. “When we set out to identify the winner of this award, we search for people who are having a significant impact on the market and who are approaching business in a unique way.”

“We seek out candidates who are affecting the way business is done in the industry, overcoming challenges and setting a course for the market to follow,” Andrews said. “What better person is there right now to fit those criteria than the distributor salesperson?”

The Top 40 distributors and Top 40 suppliers rankings were also revealed – the largest companies in the industry based upon 2008 revenue – and the Counselor Product Design Awards winners were also recognized for their innovations in cutting-edge product design and functionality.

“We’re thrilled to present this year’s winners and to recognize the heart and soul of the industry for their extraordinary efforts,” said Melinda Ligos, editor-in-chief and vice president of professional development for ASI. “I recommend that everyone read the latest issue of Counselor to learn more about their experiences, and how they can apply to your business.”

The Counselor Awards were presented on the evening of education day at the ASI Show in Chicago, the industry’s largest show of the summer that delivers more than twice as many distributors than any other Midwest show.

To see photos from the awards event, visit To view the complete Top 40 Distributors and Top 40 Suppliers rankings, visit

About ASI 
Advertising Specialty Institute is the largest media and marketing organization serving the advertising specialty industry, with a membership of over 26,000 distributor firms (sellers) and supplier firms (manufacturers) of advertising specialties.  Supplier firms use ASI print and electronic resources to market products to over 22,000 ASI distributor firms.  Distributor firms use ASI print and electronic resources, which contain nearly every product in the industry from more than 3,500 reputable suppliers, to locate supplier firms and to market services to buyers.  ASI provides catalogs, information directories, newsletters, magazines, websites and databases, and offers e-commerce, marketing and selling tools.  Visit