Navigator Newsletter

January/February Newsletter 2018 Print

President's Column

Happy New Year!  

Welcome to 2018 and an exciting year for UMAPP! 

We have a few changes:   The Room Show and Booth Show have changed months; the booth show moves to a new venue at US Bank Stadium; and we are going to bring you more  interactive events and social media posts to keep you in the loop as UMAPP goes to work for us all!

This is also a year to go “back to basics”.  Each of my letters will have an educational focus on UMAPP, committee and board positions and what each role can offer you as you grow professionally and personally.   Our focus is to get more people “in the know” of what UMAPP really does on a regional and even national level and have more of you join us at the board table for meetings.  You are all welcome to join us at any meeting.  Just email myself or Sue Selseth to let us know you’ll be coming. 

In my opinion, the place to start getting more involved on your UMAPP journey is to just join a committee.   Simple as that!

Committee member role definition:  Group of volunteers working as a team on a project or towards an overall goal; a group of persons elected or appointed to perform some service or function.

Join a committee that is around your passion or with people you know and like to work with.   Our current committees are:

  • Professional Development (Pro Dev)
  • Fire & Ice Booth Show 
  • Room Show 
  • Government Relations Council (GRC) 
  • Holiday Showcase 
  • Membership
  • Recognition - Awards and Scholarships 
  • Connects - Member-driven events promoted through UMAPP 

Next you can move into the Co-Chairperson role for a year before perhaps moving into the Chairperson role. 

Co-Chair and Chair role definitions:   The chairperson is the highest officer of an organized group such as a board, a committee, or a deliberative assembly.   The chairperson presides over meetings of the assembled group and conducts its business in an orderly fashion.  

Each Chairperson grooms the Co-Chair to take their place.  So you’re mentored the entire way! 

Our goal here is to let people experience being a part of an organization and groom our future leaders.  We look forward to seeing you in one of these spots soon!

The other thing I’d like to do this year is close each letter with an action item for you.  If you don’t know me, I love personal and professional growth and I like to help others with theirs as well!  If we are not challenged in our lives, and businesses, we can remain at the same place forever with no charge or growth.

Reading through a friend’s New Year’s letter, she mentioned a tip that is easy to do.  As we head into this New Year, let’s take baby steps to ensure success!  Let’s start with a new, fresh approach!  Update your voice mail message, change your signature line on your email, even give people a new greeting or closing when you communicate with them.  Send a handwritten note!  A way to use those pens we all like to sell so much!! 

Traveling home to Illinois for the Holiday, I listened to a podcast from “The 1 Thing”.  It stated:

“You are the AVERAGE of the five people you engage with the most.”

 The word “average” always strikes me oddly…who wants to be average?  So I challenge you to choose these five people wisely.  Don’t be average!! 

Thank you for listening and for joining us in 2018 as we take on some fun new challenges and grow!

All the best,


Sandy Nichols, MAS



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UMAPP Past Presidents Receive Recognition 


Two of UMAPP's past presidents received recognition by PPAI for their work and expertise in the industry.   Both are still active in UMAPP!   Rena is our RAC delegate, and Tom continues to support the Association and participates in our events.   

Rena Ashfeld - "A Day in the Life"  

By Jen Alexander and published in the January PPB Magazine

Working for 22 years in any other industry might be long enough to temper one’s enthusiasm for the job. But Rena Ashfield’s joy remains as unbridled today as it was when she first entered the world of promotional products.   The national sales manager at supplier Advance Corporation in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, credits the mentors she met in her first job for helping her achieve success. 




Tom Donlin - Volunteer of the Month (PPAI) 

As published in PPAI Media - January 2018 

This month, PPAI recognizes Tom Donlin, national sales manager of supplier member ADG promotional products headquartered in Hugo, Minnesota, as the January PPB Volunteer of the Month. The Association’s PPB Volunteers of the Month have dedicated their time to the progress and fulfilling the charge of a committee, advisory group, work group or task force on which they serve. 


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Awards Nominations

Why do we recognize?   | Awards Nominations - Due Now! 


To propose for an honor, award, or the like.

Nominate Today.....
We often get e-mails that asks us to participate in one thing or another but this is important... It takes minutes to nominate a person that you believe is deserving of one or all of the following awards and it can make a big difference in that person's life.



Deadline extended until Thursday, January 25, 2018.    

The Hall of Fame award is designed for individuals who have been active in the UMAPP organization and made significant contributions to the industry.  More details are listed on the application form.   



Deadline extended until Thursday, January 25, 2018.    

The Llifetime Achievement award is designed for individuals who have been a prominent contributor to the promotional products industry.  More details are listed on the application form.  


Deadline extended until Thursday, January 25, 2018.   

The Super Star award is NEW!   This honor is for the individuals within a company who make an impact behind the scenes.  More details are listed on the application form.

Why do we feel the need to nominate our peers?
To be recognized in front of your peers is so very important because it validates to that person being recognized that the commitment they made is important and it validates that they made a difference and had an impact on this industry. It also motivates others that being committed and a part of the industry they thrive in is meaningful and has real value.  
The acknowledgment of something as valid or as entitled to consideration: the recognition of a claim.
The acknowledgment of achievement, service, merit, etc.

Award recipients will be honored at the February 19, 2018 luncheon held during the Room Show (Hilton Airport / Mall of America).  

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Calendar of Events


February 19, 2018 

Hilton Airport / Mall of America 

9:00 am - 3:30 pm   

Want your customers to love you?  Woo them with new marketing ideas!   
Distributor registration is OPEN!  Register before February 12. 




May 9, 2018

US Bank Stadium | Minneapolis, MN

Show Hours:  10 am - 2:00 pm  

* Exhibitor registration is open - Register by January 31 to receive discounted booth space.  

* Distributor registration will open soon. 

Exciting events with the show: 

  • Maureen Bausch, CEO of the Super Bowl Host Committee will be our keynote speaker for Wednesday, May 9 (8:30 - 10).  
  • "Tailgate Party" (reception) - May 8 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.   Great food, beverages, stadium tours, slide shows, photo booth, and more!  Free and open to UMAPP members (company must be a member and this covers all staff).  

  • Product Pavilion - on display all day - May 9.  






Champion Show Sponsor


Touchdown Sponsor
Photo Booth Sponsor:   

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Coupon Book

The 2018 Coupon Book is Here!  

Did you know about this feature for UMAPP members?  The Coupon Book contains HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS of savings and can be used over and over by any staff of any member company.   How do you access this incredible book of savings? 


  • From the UMAPP website , click "Login" and sign in with your email address and the password you created when setting up your account.   Or click the graphic to the right to go directly to the member area to sign in.  

  • Do you work for a UMAPP member company, and don't have a website account?  CLICK HERE to create one.  Note:  New website accounts must be approved before they are useable.  You will receive a "welcome" email once approved (usually is done right away).  

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Guest Column

Top-Shelf Tip No. 241:

"When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested,

they want to contribute."   

Simon Sinek



Create A Positive, Productive Workplace 

Reprinted with permission from Promotional Consultant Today

I once worked in a setting that was not a happy place. My boss always had her door closed and did not welcome questions or conversation, which created an isolated environment. Plus, the company's structure was continually changing, so job security was always in question. And there was a definite pecking order of favorite employees, causing animosity among teammates. Working in an environment like this can be stressful, distracting and downright depressing. 

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share a model for creating a happy workplace by looking to one of the most cheerful places on earth— the North Pole—and Santa's workshop. Human resources expert Susan Heathfield has studied the elves who work there (well, the concept anyway), and says they are always happy and continue to meet production demand for toys as the world's population of children increases. Based on this model, here's what Heathfield says are the keys to a creating a happy workplace.  

Create a purpose.  Santa's elves have a higher purpose than themselves by providing little boys and girls all over the world with exactly what they want for Christmas. Bringing joy through their work and knowing that they are participating in an activity that impacts millions in a positive way brings a sense of purpose and happiness.

Know your customer. Elves have a customer intelligence gathering system that allows them to get up close with customers—literally. They get to see people in shopping centers all over the world and ask them what they want. Elves listen and they build intelligence on the customer. These insights are rewarding in allowing them to be targeted in their work. And by meeting the customer needs, they have happy customers who will refer their work to others.

 Create a sense of security. Elves feel totally needed and secure in their employment. Santa simply can't serve the entire world on his own. It takes a spirit of teamwork between the elves, reindeer and the entire North Pole operations team. Elves have lots of customer orders and they know they will never run out of work. Job security and teamwork are desirable conditions to create happy employees.

 Live the mission and vision. Elves have clear direction. They must meet the goal of delivering presents on Christmas Eve. They must do whatever it takes to make that delivery happen. And they have a vision: to create joy for boys and girls around the world. It's an aspiration that keeps the elf team motivated and focused, and when they hit their goals, the impact is highly rewarding. Elves know they make a difference to millions of lives.

 Have an open-door policy. One key principle at the North Pole is that jolly old elf, Santa. He creates an atmosphere of laughter and trust, yet he motivates and delegates across the elf teams. He doesn't play favorites because every elf matters to get the work done, and every elf's ideas are seriously considered. Santa creates an environment in which he's approachable by all elves, no matter their roles.  Tap into these elf-friendly tips to create a happy and productive workplace for your team in 2018.

 Source: Susan Heathfield is a human resources expert. She is a management and organization development consultant who specializes in human resources issues and in management development to create forward-thinking workplaces. She is also a professional facilitator, speaker, trainer and writer.


Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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Welcome New Members



Good Luck Glove – Supplier

Nichole Vivacaqua

605 West Stone Avenue

Fairfield, IA  52556



Kellie’s Embroidery & Crafts – Distributor

Kellie Woodruff

20378 Idaho Court

Lakeville, MN  55044



Pin High Promos, LLC  - Distributor

Janelle Sladek

686 E. Lake Geneva Road NE

Alexandria, MN  56308


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Past President's Luncheon

Past Presidents Luncheon - Annual Event 


In December 2017, UMAPP's past presidents congregated at the Radisson Blu in Bloomington, Minnesota for a delightful luncheon and conversation.   Held annually, this event is hosted to welcome the past presidents into discussions about the past, current, and future UMAPP, as well as to welcome our new board members, and thank our current members for their service.  



Many thanks to RiteLine for donating personalized pens!


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Did you know?


. . .  dogs also get colds?    Dogs have similar cold symptoms to humans, including coughing, runny nose and watery eyes.  Many of these symptons could be the result of a dog cold virus, but they also could be symptoms of more serious medical conditions including kennel cough, canine flu, or bronchitis.  If your dog is exhibitng symptoms of a cold, call your veterinarian.  American Kennel Club, New York City,  

 . . .   flip phones are regaining popularity?  Although more than three-quarters of American have smartphones, some people are sticking with or switching back to flip phones.  Reasons:  Flip phones make it easier to avoid news headlines and social-media chatter . . . discourage instant response to e-mail . .  do not distract users from getting jobs done.  

 . . .   many retirees are upsizing, not downsizing?  Thirty percent are moving to bigger homes, compared with 51% who report downsizing.  "Home in Retirement:  More Freedom, New Choices" study by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave.  

 . . .  brain problems caused by tackle football are most likely when kids start playing before age 12?  Children who started before that age were twice as likely to have behavioral problems in adulthood, including apathy and cognitive difficulties, and three times as likely to have clinically elevated depression scores, as kids who started playing later.  Study of 214 former football players, average age 51, by researchers at Boston University, published in Translational Psychiatry.  


In honor of Martin Luther King Day:  "We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now."  Martin Luther King, Jr. 1929-1968

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Guest Column II

Top-Shelf Tip No. 253:

"Stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in."

 Craig Davis 



A New Year. A New Marketing Plan.

Reprinted with permission fromPromotional Consultant Today 


Developing a marketing strategy as part of your overall business plan helps you focus on how you will sell your products or services. However, your goals, and how you intend to reach them, may change as your business grows. For that reason, your marketing plan should be reviewed annually to update your go-to-market strategy.

 Begin 2018 with a review of your integrated marketing plan by following the tips in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today from writer and editor Carol Deeb.

Review Your Purpose.  The purpose of your marketing plan is to outline how you will reach your target audience and sales goals. But your audience changes and your goals can fluctuate with market changes. Make sure your goals are updated to current conditions. Also review your goals for reaching specific audiences. Have these buyer profiles changed? Are there new platforms that are more effective at reaching your specific buyer groups? Ask these questions to determine if your goals, strategies and customers' needs are aligned.

 Review Components of Last Year's Plan. To develop your new-year marketing plan and annual strategy, review your progress from last year's plan. Once you've established where you want your company to be in the coming year, figure out how you'll get there through your marketing plan. Focus on seasonal sales and how to improve during lulls and busy times. Repeat the strategies that were most effective, and include the cost estimates for each one. Project product pricing and competition, and determine if you will need to raise prices, which may impact your sales and marketing goals.

Implementation. Once you understand what you need to accomplish to grow your business, implement your strategy by matching the strengths and talents of your employees to different segments of your plan. For example, if a goal is to increase your online presence, the staff member who has the most experience and success with web content, advertising and social media can take the lead. Explaining your annual marketing plan to your employees helps them understand why they are assigned to certain tasks and how their efforts benefit them and the company through increased sales.

Review. Finally, schedule time to periodically review your marketing plan throughout the year. Look at your goals and the strategy you developed to achieve them, and determine if you are on track for reaching them. Ensure that you are accomplishing your strategic plan, and if you need to make any changes to it due to unforeseen circumstances, such as an increase in cost of goods sold or a new competitor. This process is ongoing, so your new-year marketing plan and strategic goals are not a once-a-year endeavor but a quarterly one (or even more frequent). This focus will allow you to manage resources, be responsive and be efficient in achieving your goals.

Source: Carol Deeb has been an editor and writer since 1988. Her work has appeared in magazines, newspapers and online publications, as well as a book on education. Deeb is a real-estate investor and business owner with professional experience in human resources. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from San Diego State  University.


Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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Board of Directors Election

Welcome to the 2018 Board of Directors 


President - Sandy Nichols, MAS, Hareid Marketing 
VIce President/Treasurer  - Chris Thies, alphabroder
Secretary - Kent Dunham, Showdown Displays 
Supplier Director - Devin Martin, Advance Corporation 
Supplier Director - Tessa Trumble, Evans Manufacturing 
Distributor Director - Patrick Watercott, Vernon 
Distributor Director - Kim Hamlin, American Solutions for Business 
Immediate Past President - Carter Sharp, Gator Garb 

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Industry News




Sue Tobias Retires 

Fields Manufacturing announces the retirement of Sr. Vice President of Sales, Sue Tobias.  Sue is retiring at the end of 2017.    She has been a part of Fields for the past 18 years and in the industry since 1968.   Her career started in 1968 with Shedd Brown.  She later joined Awardcraft for 15 years before joining Fields.  She looks forward to travel with her husband and enjoying life. 



UMAPP Editor’s Note:   Sue Tobias has been an integral part of UMAPP since its inception back in the 1970s.  A past president, Hall of Fame winner, and Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Sue has supported the Association by attending nearly every trade show and event that UMAPP has hosted.  Her expertise, wisdom, industry experience, and professionalism have made her an icon in our industry and Association.   She has also been a mentor to many people, and still is.  We wish her life’s most happiest moments in her retirement. 




ETS Express has hired Matt Mertins and Laird O’Cain as Regional Sales Managers.  Matt Mertins is responsiblefor 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.

The Pro Towels Family is excited to announce the promotion of Keith Lofton to the role of Vice President of Sales.   Keith has been an invaluable member of the team for almost 6 years, from a starting role as regional director in the southeast, to most recently National Accounts Director, East. Former VP of Sales, Brian Porter, on Keith’s promotion “Keith is one of the hardest working, most forward thinking, and true team players I’ve had the honor to call a coworker and a friend. We came in at the same time, with a single goal… to make Pro Towels the undisputed largest and most well-respected towel companies in the industry. Mission accomplished! With my departure, I couldn’t imagine someone more equipped to continue that mission with Superior, Kanata and Neet Feet!” 

alphabroder, the leading distributor of imprintable sportswear and accessories in North America, is pleased to announce the addition of Prime Line to its’ family of brands.  The combination of these two great companies establishes a new standard in the industry for convenience, service and solutions – creating the industry’s first true ‘one-stop-shop’.

Terry Town (asi90913, ppai230911, sage66966), frequently awarded Supplier of Towels, Blankets, Robes and related accessories, has announced the hiring of McGovern Marketing, Kurt & Kyle McGovern, to represent the company in the states of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.

Quality Certification Alliance (QCA), the promotional product industry’s only independent, non-governmental accreditation organization dedicated to helping companies provide Brand Safety, has awarded QCA Accreditation to Starline.  Starline becomes only the third supplier in 2017 to achieve Accreditation status as a result of meeting the rigorous qualifications of the promotional products industry’s only certification dedicated to product quality, product safety, supply chain security, social accountability and environmental stewardship.

 Prime Line®  announced today that Paula Shulman stepped away from her role as Vice President of Sales at the end of 2017 and continue with the company as a consultant.  “It’s been a difficult decision for me but one that is right at this time. With the merger of alphabroder behind us, now is the right time to transition,” said Shulman. I know that my team is in great hands with our sales leadership and I feel confident that the company and employees will continue to prosper now that we are with alphabroder.

Terry Town (asi90913, ppai230911, sage66966), award winning supplier of towels, blankets, robes and accessories, has announced the promotion of Aaron Bradley to National Sales Manager.    Bradley, who also holds the title of Director of Compliance at Terry Town, has proven to be a major catalyst and positive influence in Terry Town’s rapid rise in sales and popularity in their product categories.

Beacon Promotions, Inc. is making changes to their insides sales team. These changes are being done to provide additional selling support to our distributors. 

Cami Larson and JoAnn Sprenger – National Associate Account Executives.   Their focus is on sales growth through outreach and support to our key accounts and buying groups.

Cami joined Beacon in 2008 as an Inside Sales Representative, bringing 14 years of prior promotional products experience.  The past 5 years she has been part of the Customer Care Department, servicing large national accounts. Cami is excited to return to the sales team.

JoAnn came to Beacon in 2007.  She has held a number of positions while here, including Customer Care and Quoting Specialist. JoAnn enjoys creative selling and problem solving and she says her new role feels like a natural fit.

Amy Wendinger – Buying Group Specialist.  She will support our key accounts and buying groups via electronic media, samples, mailings, newsletter submissions, etc.  With the variety of duties Amy has held, she will be very knowledgeable in her new position.   Amy has been in promotional products for 25 years!  She started at Canyon Outback Leather in 2003 working with the collegiate, special markets and promotional channels.  In 2011 Beacon acquired Canyon and she became part of the Beacon team.  At Beacon she worked with those same channels, but also added Corporate Gifts and purchasing to her responsibilities.

Tiffany Portner – Associate Account Executive.  Her focus is on sales growth through outreach and support to our distributors for leather and Corporate Gifts.  In 2009 Tiffany joined Canyon Outback Leather in order processing and customer care.  In 2011 Beacon acquired Canyon and she too became part of the Beacon team.  She has worked in various roles at Beacon, including order entry of leather and Corporate Gifts and then moved to the Canyon special markets. 

Andrea Konkol – Ecommerce Specialist.  Andrea came to Beacon in the fall of 2012 as a seasonal and moved into a full time order entry position.  From there she moved into the Ecommerce specialist position in summer of 2017.  She works with distributors who have an ecommerce presence, providing images, product info, product specs and pricing.  She is also responsible for Beacon’s Social Media. 

In 2017 HUB Promotional Group was created to bring together only the Best of Brands that are recognized as leaders in their respective categories. Each Brand has top industry ratings and has won multiple awards for service and top quality products. Based in Boston, MA, HUB Promotional Group is the corporate headquarters for the Family of Brands that provides the best promotional and marketing solutions for the promotional products industry.

The Pro Towels Family of Brands, including Pro Towels, Kanata Blanket Co., Neet Feet and Superior, is excited to announce the recent hire of Chris Hart as National Accounts Director.  Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Hart grew up in the industry with his father being a 30+ year promotional product veteran with a top 40 supplier. Chris obtained a Business Management degree from Kennesaw State University and began his career on the distributor side with Jack Nadel International out of Atlanta. This experience provides him with a unique perspective that has been invaluable in helping his customers.

Terry Town (asi90913, ppai230911, sage66966), award winning supplier of towels, blankets, robes and accessories, has announced the hiring of Livier Gomez, bringing added strength to their national sales team.

Beacon Promotions, Inc. has added a new Customer Care Representative.  Mandi Smith joined the Customer Care Team at Beacon in the fall of 2017.  Mandi worked as a graphic designer and retail associate at a business product company before coming to Beacon.  Mandi will be handling the states of Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. 

2018 marks the 50th corporate anniversary for the E.A. Dion Company, which began in 1968 when the company founder Edward A. Dion, Sr. began producing and marketing jewelry from the back room of a plumbing supply store in Attleboro Falls, MA. The company is now headquartered in a 30,000 square foot facility in the Attleboro Industrial Park and employees approximately 80 people.

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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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