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November/December 2017 Newsletter Print

President's Column

Gratitude and Relationships – The Key

I hope everyone is enjoying the fall and getting ready for that time of the season where we are all busy with family functions and enjoying each other’s company!  I was going to run down a litany of things that we have accomplished this year along with some upcoming events in 2018, but I have decided to take a bit of a different route.  Besides, we will make sure that you are informed about all of the events that we have coming up in 2018- specifically the new Fire & Ice Show with the exciting Tailgate Party- May 8 (Pre- Game Celebration), Professional Development (Training Camp) with Maureen Bausch (CEO of the Super Bowl Host Committee) and our fantastic show on May 9.  Registration is open for suppliers to get their booths and we will be flooding you with reminders and social media messages as 2018 ramps up.  See, I wasn’t going to do that, but I still did - a promoter at heart!!

I do, however, want to devote more of this column to the topic of gratitude and relationships.  When I say the word, "gratitude," I am really referring to that sense of gratefulness and appreciation for what each of us have. I believe so strongly that we must walk through our lives on a daily basis thinking about and appreciating the people in our lives. You see without other people our lives would be empty. Relationships with others are really all we have.  It is wonderful to have those material things that make us happy, but as most of us know all that stuff is fleeting - in the end, all we really have are those relationships we form and develop every day!

I realize this is a bit philosophical, but I really think it pertains to what we do on a daily basis in this industry.  What is it that we do?  From my viewpoint, we meet with people every day and form relationships in hopes that the goods and services we offer will be mutually beneficial and help to make our businesses successful.  But underlying all of that is the people.  If you really want to be successful in any endeavor and especially in the promotional products business you need to focus on the people.  How are many of us, as distributors, able to land that new account? It is usually the key relationship we have with a person in that company that assists us in the process.  How are we able to get things done in a crunch when our suppliers are swamped? It is by reaching out to the Sales Representative or Inside Sales Associate you have developed a relationship with and fostered over time to see if they can assist.

The common denominator to success in this business is the people.

In my twenty years in the promotional products business, I have seen time and time again how organizations have been able to accomplish amazing things from a client and production standpoint. Whether it is putting together an awesome presentation, producing complicated decorated apparel or imprinting something within hours.  All these amazing results cannot occur without the technical capabilities and the machinery to accomplish them but, more importantly it all started with a conversation and a relationship- if you don’t have that personal connection it makes all these tasks so much harder.

The bottom line here is simple.  If you want to be successful in this and all business start with the people. Treat all of those individuals you meet on a daily basis as someone special- not because you can get something from them, but because your lives will be so much more fulfilled. 

This is my last column as President of UMAPP in 2017.  It has been a very rewarding and exciting year.  We have had a great time getting together as a board to discuss how we can further our goals as an organization and how we can help our members succeed and add some value on a daily basis.  I have gotten to know many new members and I am extremely excited about the prospects for 2018 and beyond.  The Room Show in February will be stellar and beneficial, the new Fire & Ice Show in May will be off the charts fun (everyone needs to come to the Tailgate party) and the Holiday Show continues to flourish (bring your clients- yep – end users can see it all!!).  Stay tuned for lots of fun networking opportunities and additional professional development.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t give some shout-outs (yep, I am cool) to a few key people who have really made this work for UMAPP in 2017.  Sue Selseth has been a huge help and continues to steer SS UMAPP year after year.  My Vice President, Sandy Nichols, has had great vision and really helped to keep our eyes forward on the goals for 2017 and 2018. Finally, all the other board members and UMAPP members have been extremely helpful and gracious throughout 2017 and I thank you all very much., 

Best of luck to you all and I am forever grateful to have had this opportunity!!!

Carter Sharp

UMAPP President 2017

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Fire & Ice Show


UMAPP's 2018 home for the Fire & Ice Show!  


  • "Tailgate Party" - May 8 (5:00 pm- 8:00pm+) in the Stadium's Truss Bar.    Food, beverages, stadium tours and more!  

  •  "Training Camp" - May 9 (8:30am - 10) - Professional Development with Maureen Bausch, CEO of the Minnesota Superbowl Host Committee. 

  •  Fire & Ice Show - Hottest Booth Show . . . Coolest Ideas - 10:00 - 2:00. 
  • Exhibitor registration is OPEN!   Sign up early for the best discounts.  




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Calendar of Events


February 19, 2018 

Hilton Airport / Mall of America 

Want your customers to love you? 
Bring them new marketing ideas!   
Distributor registration will open soon.


May 9, 2018

US Bank Stadium

Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Exhibitor registration is OPEN

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Welcome New Members



Orbus Exhibit & Display Group (Supplier)

Kyle McDonald

9033 Murphy Road 

Woodridge, IL  60517


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Guest Column

Promotional Products Industry Benefits from PPAI Government Relation Action Council Efforts

 By Dale Denham, CIO at Geiger 


Did you know that UMAPP also participates in the LEAD Conference each year?  The Association sends three individuals to this conference and assists in the costs associated with the trip.  They coordinate legislative efforts with PPAI, make appointments, visit legislators, and not only represent the industry, but also UMAPP.    In 2017, UMAPP asked Scott Hareid, Brad Ness, and Devin Martin to attend LEAD on behalf of UMAPP.  


Scott Hareid and Devin Martin (far right) meeting with a legislator in Washington, DC.  



Each year PPAI spends makes a significant of time and financial resources to ensure the health and success of thepromotional products industry through Government Relations.

In 2016, PPAI began efforts to educate the industry and government officials on the danger of the proposed Border Adjustment Tax (BAT). Each year for the past 7 years, PPAI members have visited DC as part of PPAI LEAD (Legislative Education and Action Day) and developed strong relationship with elected officials. This year as in the 6 previous years, hundreds of industry participants contacted government officials while 80 industry volunteers went to Washington DC and made personal visits. 

While several topics are discussed each year, the BAT was at the topic we spent the most time discussing while in Washington DC in 2017. Over 200 individual meetings were held where we laid out the number of industry jobs at risk as well as the greater risk to the overall American economy. Using very detailed information provided by PPAI, we were able to convincingly demonstrate the downside to the proposed BAT. 

The Border Adjustment Tax would require American importers to pay taxes on the sales of their foreign-made inventory, but would not allow them to deduct the cost of that inventory. This would increase what American companies must pay the government on imports by up to 20 percent. Meanwhile, the plan would not tax U.S. companies’ earnings on exports. Bottom line, this means consumer prices for all imported goods go up including, promotional products, automobiles, food, and everything in between.

As powerful as PPAI volunteer meetings and letters were, PPAI wanted to send an even stronger message. That is why PPAI joined forces with Americans for Affordable Products (AAP), a coalition organized in January by the National Retail Federation. AAP eventually grew to include 600 companies and associations including PPAI.

Some touted the border adjustment tax as a buy-American initiative and a revenue replacement plan that would allow them to cut the U.S. corporate tax rate. PPAI opposed the border adjustment tax because it would force companies and individuals to pay higher prices on everyday items. Distributors and suppliers would have had to pass the cost increases, due to the BAT, along to customers causing higher prices and less consumption.

Members of Congress want to hear from their constituents and the efforts of PPAI members volunteers made the difference. These volunteers are all backed up by a group of dedicated individuals who serve on the PPAI Government Relations Action Council (GRAC). GRAC is focused on government relations and to serve as a volunteer group to assist the efforts of PPAI and the regional associations in influencing legislation and regulations affecting the promotional products industry at all levels of government.

PPAI Government Relations Action Council Members include:

·        Myself – Dale Denham, MAS+, Geiger, Chair

·        Rick Brenner, MAS+, Logical Advisors

·        Cami Chandler, Gibco

·        Nick D’Eramo, Triple Stitch

·        Eric Ekstrand, MAS+, HALO Branded Solutions

·        Dana Floyd, SAGE

·        Tom Goos, MAS, Image Source

·        David Hawes, MAS+, Geiger

·        Peter Hirsch, MAS, Hirsch Gift

·        George Jackson, George Jackson Promotions

·        Michele Jennrich, MAS, Michele Jennrich

·        Dale Limes, MAS, HALO Branded Solutions

·        Chuck Machion, ASI

·        Joseph Miller, AIA/Logotools

·        Mitch Rhodus, CAS, HALO Branded Solutions

·        Mary Jo Tomasini, MAS, Competitive Edge, Chair

·        Anne Stone, PPAI Staff Liaison

·        Maurice Norris, PPAI Staff Co-Liaison

·        Cliff Andrews, CapCity Advocates

·        Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI Staff

·        Melissa Weber, PPAI Staff

PPAI will be hosting LEAD again in 2018 in Washington DC May 16 & 17th 2018. In addition, PPAI and GRAC will be supporting several LEAD local events throughout the country in 2018. You can see more about important Government Relation topics and get involved by visiting

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Summit Board Meeting

On October 30, 2017, UMAPP volunteers came together at the Hopkins Center for the Arts to learn more about the Association and help to plan upcoming events for the 2018 year.   Incoming president, Sandy Nichols, lead the group through a personality test so everyone learned more about each other, and themselves.  Sandy also talked about volunteering for UMAPP, how to get more involved, and shared some of her experiences from being a part of the Association. 

Board members also had an orientation presentation that had useful information for everyone in attendance, including a history of UMAPP, along with more of the nuts and bolts of association management and operation.

UMAPP's newly-expanded Fire & Ice Show committee was also in attendance and spent the afternoon mapping out the subcommittees and responsibilities.   

All in all, a fantastic day!   Many thanks to all of the volunteers who took the time out of their schedules to help guide UMAPP for 2018, as well as quite a few who travelled long distances to join this group.    

Patrick Watercott, Ruth Ann Pederson, Dawn Lucchesi, Elroy Vesta, Jeff Cardille, Lisa Rutten, Bob Engh, Melinda Marr, Devin Martin, Rena Ashfeld, Sarah DeJarnett, Matt Wagner, Tessa Flanary, Kim Hamlin, Jamie Johnson, Kent Dunham, Scott Hareid, Mason Linn, Chris Thies, Tessa Trumble, Sandy Nichols, Carter Sharp, Sue Selseth.



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Did you know?


. . .   renting of US homes is approaching a 50-year high?  The percentage of households renting their homes increased to 36.6% in 2016 from 31.2% in 2006, nearing the rate of 37% for 1965.  Between 2006 and 2016, the number of home owners remained relatively flat, but the total number of households in the US grew by 7.6 million.  Pew Research Center, Washington, DC,  

 . . .   that a banana can help ripen an avocado?   Put an avocado in a paper bag with a ripe banana - the ethylene emitted by the banana will speed the avocado's ripening.

 . . .   get your flu shot early in the morning.    Recent finding:   Senior citizens who received their flu shots between 9am and 11 am had a higher antibody response to the flu one month later compared with those who had their shots between 3 pm and 5 pm.  Study of 276 senior citizens by researchers at the University of Birmingham, UK, published in Vaccine

 . . .  just one hour of exercise weekly can reduce depression risk.      People who do one hour a week of any type of exercise, at any intensity level, have a 44% lower risk of developing depression over a decade than people who do not exercise at all.  More exercise or more intense exercise is not better from a mental-health standpoint.  Any type of physical activity, including simple walking, had the same benefit.  Samuel Harvey, PhD, associate professor, School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, and leader of an analysis of a Norwegian survey of nearly 34,000 adults, published in American Journal of Psychiatry.  

"Clean living keeps me in shape.  Righteous thoughts are my secret.  And New Orleans home cooking."  Fats Domino, 1928-2017

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Guest Column II

Top-Shelf Tip No. 192:

"Ask your customers to be part of the solution, and don't view them as part of the problem."

Alan Weiss


New Ways To Deal With The Difficult Customer

Reprinted with permission from PC Consultant Today. 

We've all experienced the loud, cranky, very demanding customer. He requests a price in which
there's little to no margin. He demands his product be delivered in an impossible timeframe. He
wants credit terms that are unreasonable. And while you want to live by a "the-customer-is-alwaysright"
philosophy, this particular client can be a detriment to your business.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share these six tips from business writer Minda Zetlin on dealing with difficult customers. 

  1.       Empathize.  Zetlin says that you must remember that the customer believes that the unreasonable request is, in fact, quite reasonable. To turn this situation around, begin by standing in your customer's shoes for a moment. Knowing what they know, and not what you know, does this seem like a reasonable request?  Fully understanding where they're coming from is the necessary first step to solving the problem.


  1.       Lift the veil. Once you understand your customer's point of view, you need to help them understand yours. One of the best ways to do this is to share inside information. If the customer is being demanding about price, for example, explain the cost of manufacturing that product or the materials that go into that product.


  1.       Ask why. Why does this project need to be completed by next week? Why do they want you to reduce your price? What problem do they have that has led to this request, and how else might you help them solve it? What kinds of offers are they getting from your competitors and are those offers really the same as what you're offering? By asking key questions, you can get to the root of their frustration and potentially offer another solution.


  1.       Weigh the consequences. What are the consequences of saying no, and perhaps losing the customer, compared to saying yes? If what they've asked is flat-out impossible, and you fail to find an acceptable alternative, then you won't have a choice. But often it's more nuanced-you could comply with their request if you cut your profit margin completely, pull an all-nighter, or agree to another concession. There may be a different right answer in every situation. You need to determine if the customer is worth the cost to do business.


  1.       Consider a one-time deal. If you really don't want to lose the customer, and you can't find an alternative that is good for both of you, then consider taking the hit. Tell them you can offer special consideration because of your history together. Emphasize that this is a one-time-only deal that won't be repeated, and stick to it if they ask again. Otherwise, you will lose credibility. There are risks to this approach. You may be merely delaying the inevitable if the customer leaves the next time the same situation arises. An even bigger risk is that your other customers hear about it and ask for similar concessions. But sometimes this is the best among bad choices.   


  1.       Apologize. If you just can't agree to the demand, then make sure to apologize. After all, you are genuinely regretful that you can't make them happy. And an apology can go a long way toward preserving a relationship. One caveat—if the customer's request made you angry, take a deep breath, take a walk, play a video game, or do whatever you need to do to get over that feeling before interacting with the customer. Otherwise, your relationship-building overtures won't come off as sincere.


Source: Minda Zetlin is a business technology writer and speaker, co-author of The Geek Gap, and former president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. She lives in Snohomish, Washington. Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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Industry News


Team Donlin Joining Advance Corporation.  Advance Corporation (PPAI 111135/ASI 32180) headquartered in Cottage Grove Minnesota – prominent manufacturer of awards, gifts, special recognition, and building signage is proud to announce the addition of Steve Donlin/Team Donlin as their Midwest Sales Multi-Line Representative. He will be representing Midwest Territory covering MN, ND, SD, NE, IA, WI, IL, MI, IN and OH.  

The Pro Towels family is pleased to announce a new addition to its sales team. Nick Chipchase with Mac Marketing will cover Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. He will represent products from each company: Pro Towels, Kanata Blanket, Neet Feet and Superior. 

Beacon Promotions, Inc. has hired Nichole Heiderscheidt as a Customer Care Representative. Nichole will be handling accounts in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina.    Nichole is from a small town just west of New Ulm, called Sleepy Eye.  Nichole has been busy learning her new job role in an industry that’s brand new to her.  Away from work, she is busy with her wedding plans and remodeling their new home. Her fiancé, Andrew, is a police officer for the city of Springfield.   When she and Andrew are not busy with wedding plans or house projects, they enjoy spending time with family or traveling – often times with their two dogs.  They enjoy going to a new place each year.   

Additionally, Karen Haala was hired as a Customer Care Representative. Karen will be handling accounts in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.    Karen was born and raised in Hanska, MN – a small town southwest of New Ulm.  She graduated from New Ulm High School and Rasmussen Business College.  Karen has worked in customer care for the past 13 years.  Karen and her husband, Larry, live in the country with their two boys, ages ten and one.  They live within a 3 mile radius of both sets of parents and the farm/country sites they each grew up on.  Karen says “they love being so close to their families and having the benefit of their parents being there to help with their kids.  They are very fortunate.”

 Towel Specialties brings home the gold in SGIA Golden Image Awards.  The Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) of Fairfax, VA announced that Towel Specialties won the Gold Award for Excellence in Digital Decorating on Textiles. The winning entry was for beach towels that promoted “Froster Beverages” for Circle K. The full color process design featured vibrant images of the multi-colored, frozen Froster drinks.

DARD Products is pleased to announce and welcome Susan Lewandowski as Vice President of Marketing and Business Development. Susan will be responsible for the leadership of the DARD sales team, developing new business opportunities and creating customized solutions to customer

Hub Pen Company is pleased to announce the addition of customer service representative Alex Anagnostaras to their award-winning team.  The Massachusetts native comes to Hub with a background in customer care starting with his family’s business; then with a local high tech giant; and most recently with a large promotional products distributor.

Halls & Company, manufacturer of ID Line, is excited to announce the acquisition of Atlanta-based promotional products supplier, ActNow Media. “It is with great excitement that we announce our acquisition of ActNow Media,” said Janet Adams, president of Halls & Company. “Fred has developed a stellar reputation in the industry as he’s grown his business over the years. We look forward to broadening our line and providing greater opportunities for our customers.” 

The Magnet Group welcomes Becky Blyth, a 13 year industry veteran, as Director of Key Accounts. The Magnet Group’s Sr VP of Sales, Aaron Gunderson, says "Becky is a well-respected, talented and hard-working individual, we are thrilled to have her part of The Magnet Group Team.” Becky can be reached at

Hub Pen Company is pleased to announce the hiring of seasoned IT specialist, Terese Cook, as Business Systems Support Analyst.  Terese comes to Hub after 17 years with international IP video company Piksel. “I mapped business processes to system functionality for a variety of end users with Piksel,” says Terese.  ““Here at Hub I’ll be improving the business processes throughout both Hub and Beacon Promotions, both as an analyst and project manager. I love the people here, and the projects I’m working on.  It’s fun!”   “We feel very fortunate that we were able to find someone of Terese’s caliber to join our team,” says IT Software Manager Glenn Walker.  “Her wealth of knowledge has already made a substantial impact and I’m confident that Terese will play a key role in Hub’s success as we continue to grow.” 

Geiger, an industry top ten distributor (, has promoted Dawn Ruler, MAS to the position of Division Sales Vice President for Geiger Midwest effective December 1, 2017.  Ruler joined Geiger in 2015 as an independent sales partner, excelling in providing branding solutions for her client base.  Dawn has worked in the promotional products industry for over 17 years. She serves as a current board member of PPAChicago and has served in volunteer roles for PPAI, including the Distributor Committee and the Women’s Leadership Work Group.  At the 2017 Geiger Galleria, Dawn earned the GEM award recognizing Marketing Excellence.  Dawn is also a finalist to receive a Pyramid at the 2018 PPAI Expo in the category of Image Awards. In addition to her industry service, she has been involved with the Friends of Jason Gould Foundation, raising money for cancer research.  Dawn holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Illinois State University and is a certified Holistic Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.   In her spare time, she has a passion for fitness, having completed seven marathons to date, and enjoys gardening and cooking. Dawn and her husband Ted make their home in Oswego, Illinois. 

ETS Express, a leader in promotional drinkware, is pleased to announce the addition of Matt Mertins and Laird O’Cain as a Regional Sales Managers.

Matt Mertins
is responsible for the South Central territory which includes; AR, LA, OK and TX while Laird O’cain is responsible for the Mid-Atlantic territory which includes: MD, NC, SC, VA and WV. Matt has a Communications degree from the University of Houston to go along with minoring in Public Relations. He spent the last 12 years working in the Print Industry where he held several roles including a management and mentoring position. In his most recent role Matt was a Global Account Representative responsible for partnering with Fortune 500 companies in numerous areas of print management. Matt spends most of his free time at the various sporting events his kids are involved in and as a former baseball player and a lifelong fan, he is currently enjoying the Houston Astros World Series victory!

Laird studied Engineering at Clemson University before transferring to the University of South Carolina where he earned his Associate’s Degree in Applied Science. In 1999, after 11 years with a 3rd generation family-owned distributorship, Laird accepted a Regional Sales Manager position in the Mid-Atlantic region with a prominent Top 40 Industry Supplier. There he spent the following 17 years developing an in-depth knowledge of his customer base and establishing countless lifelong friendships. Laird is a life-long outdoorsman and enjoys spending time with his wife and 8-year old son. 







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This is a newsletter provided by the Upper Midwest Association of Promotional Professionals.  UMAPP is a professional trade association for companies in the promotional products industry.  UMAPP covers the states of Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa, and Western Wisconsin.  Membership is by company, but all staff are included under the umbrella of the company membership.  

For more information, contact the UMAPP office at:  

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