Navigator Newsletter

July/August 2018 Print

President's Column

Hello Members! 

I hope everyone is enjoying Summer of 2018!  A time to relax a little and prepare for the big months that are in front of us with 3rd and 4th quarter right around the corner.

Our UMAPP summer has not been so quiet!   We’d like to thank the many members that came out to join us at the CONNECT event and happy hour in June.  Thanks to Chris Thies and his team for putting together this great event!  The CONNECTS committee took the energy from the Fire and Ice tailgate party and kept it going to this casual meeting of our members over beers on a perfect night in June!  We are excited to see more great events from this committee!  Let’s keep this new spark of energy going to build a stronger association and network for all members!

Next on our UMAPP summer list is the Holiday Showcase & End Buyer Expo - an end user trade show held at Jimmy’s Conference Center in Vadnais Heights on August 15, 2018.  Please join us to see the new products for the Holiday buying season and network with your favorite industry suppliers.    This is the time to start forming your list of customers and get those invites out to them so they are sure to “Save the Date” and join you at this show!  This is a wonderful opportunity for you to expose your clients to the true Power of Promotional Marketing.

Next on our UMAPP agenda we head into the fall and start preparing for 2019.  We hold our new officer elections and head to the PPAI Leadership Development Workshop(LDW) in Dallas to network and learn with all of the regional leaders nationally.  THIS is the time to start thinking about your future and if you’d like to get more involved in the industry and join us on a UMAPP committee or run for a voting Director position.  Volunteering is an excellent way to grow professional and personally!   Please reach out to me at any time with questions or to learn more about opportunities available.

In closing, I have to circle back to those 2018 goals we talked about in January!  We’re mid year and it’s time to refocus, realign or maybe set new goals if you blew through the ones you set earlier!   

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the summer CONNECT event and at the Holiday Expo!

All the best,


Sandy Nichols, MAS

Back to top

Calendar of Events

Holiday Showcase & End Buyer Expo-August 15

Jimmy's Conference Center, Vadnais Heights, MN 
Distributor and/or client registration is OPEN through August 9. 

Read More / Register

Exhibitors - this show is SOLD OUT!  

St. Paul Saints at CHS Field-August 30

St. Paul Saints Stadium - CHS Field 
Meet at the local brewery, get general admission tickets at CHS Field 

Read More / Register

CAS / MAS Scholarship Applications - September

Do you find it challenging to get enough CEUs to sit for your exam?  UMAPP offers staff of its member companies a chance to win a $1,500 scholarship to attend one of PPAI's major educational events.  

Applications will be available online in September. 

The UMAPP Room Show - February 25, 2019 

New location!   | Marriott Airport Bloomington

The Fire & Ice Show - May 22, 2019 

Returning to Easy at Canterbury Park's Expo Center

Free parking  | Quick access to show floor  | Easy load in and load out  | No stairs! | No security checks!  

Back to top


UMAPP's Todd Pottebaum, MAS+ (Quality Resource Group) is appointed to PPAI's Board of Directors!

PPAI has selected its 2019 Board of Directors officers. They are: Brittany David, CAS, chair; Sharon Willochell, CAS, chair-elect; and Todd Pottebaum, MAS+, vice chair, financial services. Current PPAI chair Dale Denham, MAS+, will take on the role of immediate past chair when the new board officers begin their one-year terms immediately following The PPAI Expo 2019.

Read More



UMAPP's Board of Directors Election Coming Up

Have you ever thought about volunteering for your local promotional professionals association?  Wishing you could make more contacts, learn about leadership, association management, and be more involved?  

For just two hours a month, you can be part of the discussions that decide the future goals and plans for UMAPP.  Board meetings are scheduled for approximately 9 months out of the year and are from 11:00 - 1:00 in the local Twin Cities area.  And we bring in lunch!  Board meetings are business-based, of course, but there is plenty of networking, fun, and comraderie going on as well.    

Once a year at the end of October, the Board holds it's annual Summit meeting.  This is a 3/4 day event of planning the upcoming year and reviewing the Association's goals.  It is a great learning opportunity and all new board members are requested to attend.  

For the 2019-2020 term, we will have two director spots available:  one distributor and one supplier.  

Please watch for an email announcing the launch of the online application.  Board elections will take place in September and the new terms will begin on January 1, 2019 and run through December 31, 2020.  

Back to top

Coupon Book

Have you been using the 2018 Coupon Book?  

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).  

Back to top

Guest Column

Top-Shelf Tip No. 134:

"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

Theodore Roosevelt

Dealing With Difficult Clients: Six Key Strategies

Used with permission from Promotional Consultant Today

We've all had them—difficult clients. Sometimes their problems come out of nowhere. For example, you have a status meeting with your client and all seems OK. The client appears satisfied with your work or updates presented. But, by the time you get back to the office, he's fired off an email to your boss and your boss' boss complaining that he's not getting what he needs.  Whether you are part of a large marketing agency, a smaller organization or you work solo, managing client relationships is no easy task. Even the best clients can be difficult at times.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share six ways to effectively deal with difficult clients from business writer, Adela Belin.

Set The Right Foundation. As in every relationship, it's important to set the right foundation from the beginning.  Even though you might be tempted to try to impress the client at every stage, remember this relationship is your  biggest chance to be transparent about how your team works, so be sure to lay out your process and state your expectations clearly. Be assertive in your communication.  Practice being polite yet firm from the first day and you'll evade sticky situations in the future.

Manage Expectations. This is the key to strong client relationships. When you are assigned a new project, understand the client's expectations, but don't be afraid to be realistic in your commitments. The worst thing to do is to overpromise and under-deliver. If your client asks you for a revision, ask them for clear and constructive feedback in line with their expectations. This will save both you and your client time. There will always be those clients who tend to be rather unrealistic about deadlines. The best way to deal with this is to assess the workload your team is grappling with and negotiate timelines before beginning any work. If the client insists on expanding the scope of work, make sure you restate this in your contract and are compensated for it.

Provide Updates. Whether you foresee an increase in expenses, face roadblocks along the way or need to share updates on project status—it is a good idea to keep your client informed at every stage. Do this by sending them status reports, calling them at the end of each day or initiating weekly meetings. As the project driver, you must be proactive in your approach. Don't wait for questions, give updates or highlight issues as soon as they're known. Keep the client involved from the first stage and make them aware of your efforts. 

Document Everything. It can be infuriating when a client has a sudden "change of heart" and decides to go back on their word, thereby sabotaging your efforts. While you cannot change your client's indecisive ways, you can document the agreed upon plan as it unfolds. After important meetings or phone calls, email meeting minutes to the client and your team. This will help keep everyone on the same page. And when it comes to seeking approvals, ensure you have them well-documented before acting. 

Stay Calm. When you're stuck with a disgruntled client who is making life miserable, there may be instances where you're tempted to write a scathing retort. But at such times, remember not to act impulsively. Stay calm, put your point forward clearly and communicate your side of the story rationally. If the situation worsens, then escalate matters to those with higher authority.

Know When to Walk Away. After spending so much time securing clients and working on their accounts, it can be upsetting to part ways with them. However, when a client becomes difficult to handle and refuses to meet midway, or if you or your agency must make a stand on a particular issue, it is often best to call it quits. Neither party is being served well if the relationship is unsustainable. You'll save time and energy by working with clients who respect your time and have a better understanding of what you can do for them. Client relationships are always a give and take situation, but they require clear and consistent communication. These six tips will help you tactfully deal with difficult clients and build a solid foundation for future business growth.

Source: Adela Belin is a private educator and a writer at Writers Per Hour. She shares her teaching experience with colleagues, students and writers.    Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

Back to top

Did you know?


. . .  tiny shampoo bottles are on the way out? Some hotel chains are replacing them with larger, wall-mounted shampoo dispensers - saying that those cost less and are better for the environment.  Marriott and InterContinental Hotels are rolling out the larger bottles at many of their hotels.  But some chains say guests do not believe communal bottles are clean and kept full, so they are staying with small ones.  Choice Hotels and Wyndam are retaining the small bottles.  The Wall Street Journal.  

. . . cash use is dropping among younger adults?    Among US millennials, 63% say they hardly ever use cash.  US adults in this age group are twice as likely as baby boomers to use alternative mobile payments and messaging payment apps such as Venmo.  The Future of Money report from The Innovation Group at J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, New York City.  

. . .  you share brain waves with your closest friends?  Brains of close friends respond in remarkably similar ways when they view a series of short videos.  Researchers could predict the strength of two people's social bond based on their brain scans alone.  Study by researchers at University of California, Los Angeles, and Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, published in Nature Communications.    

. . .  stick with a dumb home.  Smart homes, connected homes, and the Internet of Things are amazing technological advances that represent the wave of the future.  They're also data factories that churn out huge amounts of personal information, all of which is then collected and sold by the companies that give these devices life.  Many smart home devices feature digital assistants such as Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple's Siri.  These voice-directed devices are always listening - they have to in order to function.  You can set privacy settings to turn off the microphone and prevent these devices from waking or taking instructions, but then, what's the point of owning one?  From the Bottom Line Personal's interview with Andrew Selepak, PhD, director of the master of arts in mass communication program with a specialization in social media at University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, Gainesville.  

"Sometimes the greatest meals on vacations are the ones you find when Plan A falls through." 

Anthony Bourdain, chef, author, and television personality (1956-2018).



Back to top

Guest Column II


Top-Shelf Tip No. 64:

"One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation."

Arthur Ashe

You Nailed The Job Interview. Now What?

Used with permission from Promotional Consultant Today.

I was recently speaking with a friend who owns four children's swim schools. As part of his business, he hires (and fires) a lot of young employees for front desk administration, lifeguarding and swim instruction. He told me the person who usually gets the interview (and the job) is the one who sends him a thank-you note. And apparently, this doesn't happen very often.

Over the next four days, Promotional Consultant Today shares a four-part series on employment tips for job seekers and employers, from Patrick McHargue, director of talent for PromoPlacement, a staffing services agency for the promotional products industry.

We've all found ourselves in this situation: You just nailed the in-person interview for your dream job. You're coming down from your adrenaline rush and a nagging question pops into your head: Now what? What do I do next?

What's the best way to follow up on your job interview?

1. Say Thank You. During the interview, ask for a business card from every contact you make and send each a thank-you email. Schedule your email to arrive in their inbox first thing in the morning on the day following your interview. It will get more attention at this time. Do not wait to send these as they can quickly be forgotten or pushed aside.

2. Follow Directions. Many companies will give you a homework assignment or lay out next steps for the interview process. Listen carefully and follow directions. Your ability to stick to the agreed upon plan will tell employers a lot about what it will be like to work with you.

3. Show Your Interest. Follow up with your company contact to see where things are. Understand the timeline for a decision or the next steps in the process. Be professional and show your passion for the opportunity. Sell yourself as a great fit for the role. Don't be a pest but let the hiring manager know you are interested.

4. Stay On Point. Just because your interview is over doesn't mean that your evaluation is. Stay professional in every interaction you have with your potential employer. If you're sending them paperwork, make it prompt, crisp and legible. If you're speaking with them on the phone, be sure that you are somewhere you can be easily heard and understood. Keep it professional at all times.

Great job interview follow-up is all about putting your best foot forward and keeping it there. Follow these simple steps and you'll succeed in showing your gratitude and knowledge of business etiquette, illustrating how diligent a co-worker you'd make, sell yourself for the opportunity with passion and reinforce the strong impression you made in your interview.

Source: Patrick McHargue is the director of talent at PromoPlacement, an industry search and placement firm. He grew up in the promotional product industry, earned an MBA in international business, and managed a $35 million sales territory before focusing on the development of tools and services to benefit the promotional product industry.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

Back to top

Industry News

Fields Manufacturing, Saint Cloud, MN., announced the addition of Rob Lindholm as the Mid-West Territory Rep and Key Account Manager.  Rob joins the Fields sales team with 7 years of experience in the promotional products industry as a distributor.  “We’re proud to bring Rob on board as a part of the Fields team.” said Matt Wagner, vice president of sales at Fields MFG.  “Rob’s focus on the Mid-West will help us extend our reach and strengthen our partnerships.”  The Fields family of companies represents Fields, Targetline, Better Life Line, American Greenwood and Sprout Tyme.  “Fields manufacturing is a trusted brand that I am excited to represent and utilize my experience to support our customers.” said Rob Lindholm.  “Their core values and commitment to success has rooted partnerships in the industry.”

IMAGEN Brands National Accounts Manager, Rory Campbell, has expanded his role to include additional partners, Safeguard, AIA, and The Partnering Group.  Campbell shares, “I’ve been with Vitronic for 15 years. I started as an Inside Sales Rep, then 11 ½ years as a Regional Sales Manager. I moved into my current role as National Account Manager for the past 2 ½ years. I’m excited to start working with Safeguard, AIA, and The Partnering Group distributors, and discuss with them all things IMAGEN Brands has to offer to help them serve their clients in the best possible way.”

IMAGEN Brands is proud to congratulate Dana Zezzo, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, for receiving the #7 spot on the #Online18 Most Influential People in the Promotional Products Industry. The Top 18 Most Influential People are chosen primarily based off engagement, delivering good content is not enough. IMAGEN Brands commends everyone on the list for their online success.   

The 2018 #Online18 Promo Marketing Magazine Author, Dale Denham wrote, “Dana was one of the first people to leverage social media in the industry to build his personal brand and then carry that into the brands he represents. He moved from his hotel view posts to his very engaging field testing with his products. Dana continues to leverage online marketing, as well as adjust his approach as tastes change.

ETS Express, the leader in promotional drinkware, is pleased to announce the addition of Kathryn Brewer as a Regional Sales Manager. In her new role, Kathryn is responsible for the Southeast Territory which includes; Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama.   Before her professional career, Kathryn studied in college, double majoring in Retail Marketing and Fashion Design. After working in the retail industry, she went on to start her own distributorship. She focused primarily in apparel and embroidery for almost twenty years before transitioning into supplier sales. She represented an apparel supplier in the promotional industry for a couple of years before recently joining ETS Express.

The Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) out of Fairfax, Virginia, has recognized Beacon and 23 other member companies for their sustainable business practices in 2017.  Companies being recognized had to complete a number of projects that helped improve safety and health, reduce environmental impact or improve business efficiency in their workplaces.

HUB Pen Company has hired Graphic Designer Tom Spirito.  He will be responsible for assisting HUB Pen’s Marketing department in creating sales tools for company and customer use.  Tom comes to HUB with 14 years of experience in print, apparel, and web design, and has worked as a senior artist in the sports licensed division of Adidas.  He has also worked on countless freelance projects as a design consultant.  “I’m excited to be a part of the HUB team,” said Tom.   “I’ve loved getting to know the friendly and supportive staff.”

A veteran of the industry with over 20 years’ experience. He has spent 17 years working as a distributor and is now a huge success on the supplier side.   “We are thrilled to welcome Tom Clouser to the IMAGEN Brands team. Tom joins us with a vast reputation as an industry leader, great relationships and dedication in the industry,” says Mike Rubin, District Sales Manager. “He is currently a member of RAC board and a past member on the TRASA board. His experience as a distributor and supplier rep will bring our National Accounts to the next level.”

HUB Promotional Group, has added Debco Bag Distributors,  Ltd. ( to its portfolio of companies. Like all other HUB Promotional Group companies, HUB Pen Company (, Beacon (, Best Promotions (, and Cooler Graphics (, Debco is an A+ rated supplier and also the winner of the Supplier of the Year award in Canada for 22 of the past 24 years. Founded in 1983 and renowned for its best-in-class tote bags and drinkware, Debco is the leading Canadian supplier across a broad portfolio of products. Relocating to a new 250,000 square foot facility in nearby Vaughan, Ontario in the fall, Debco will add the HUB Pen line to its Canadian production facility later in 2018.

David Bywater, of distributor, Bankers Advertising Company (PPAI 101972; ASI 131650; UPIC BACADV) has been named chair of Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI).  Mr. Bywater is a longtime ABI board member and a well-known Iowa business leader. He is president of distributor Bankers Advertising Company, founded in 1896.  The election marks the first time a third-generation family member will chair ABI. Mr. Bywater's great great grandfather and Bankers Advertising founder, Samuel Wakefield Mercer, served as chair of the organization in 1907 - then known as the Iowa Manufacturer's Association - an organization that he assisted in creating. His father, Bill Bywater, also of Bankers Advertising Company, served as chair in 1995.   “We are proud of this legacy, and I have a passion for the work of this organization”, Mr. Bywater said in his remarks at the annual Taking Care of Business Conference last week in Iowa City. “In the coming year, we look forward to actively building on the best. Our goal is to continue the momentum currently helping to create opportunities in this state and build great, sustainable organizations that all stakeholders can proud of.”

HUB Pen Company has hired Quality Specialist James Macri.  He will be responsible for ensuring HUB Pen’s commitment to quality as the company continues to grow.  Macri comes to the company with many years of quality control experience, most recently with a New England pharmaceutical company and previously with a manufacturing company specializing in injection molding.

By applying to participate in the QCA Accreditation program, Universal Strap - more commonly known throughout the industry under their line names WOV-IN®, Promopet®, and Footprints USA™ - has joined other industry-leading suppliers by taking a hard look at their business models and compliance programs. The Quality Certification Alliance (QCA) is the promotional product industry’s only independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to brand safety through “verified” responsible sourcing best practices.

Webb Company announces the hiring of Jake Peterson as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. With 10 years of experience in the promotional product industry, Peterson comes to Webb from LarLu Manufacturing where he most recently held the position of National Sales Manager.  Peterson has an outstanding track record for quality relationships and business growth.  In his new role, Peterson will be instrumental in growing select key accounts and the development and implementation of marketing strategies. Peterson comments, “I am eager to join Webb Company and help them reach new levels of success!” Peterson holds a liberal arts degree from Winona State University.  He resides with his family in Winona, MN and will have a Winona-based office for Webb.

Last month at Bankers Advertising Company’s (ASI/131650, PPAI/101972) National Sales Meeting in Galena, Illinois, company president David Bywater, MAS, announced that a new award had been established: the Willis M. Bywater Creativity Award, an addition to several other named awards presented each year. The inaugural recipient would be the award’s namesake himself, Bill Bywater.  Long an advocate for the industry’s creativity, Bill Bywater has over 57 years of service to the company and the industry. He is a former Promotional Products Association International board member and is a PPAI Lifetime Member. Bill is also a member of the PPAI Fellows Program and was inducted into the PPAI Hall of Fame in 2004. He served as chair of the initial Gold Pyramid Awards Committee from 1972-1976.

Distributor Bankers Advertising Company (PPAI 101972; ASI 131650; UPIC BACADV) recently gathered sales partners and supplier representatives together for their 2018 Gathering of the Stars National Sales Meeting in Galena, IL.  The meeting, themed “Soaring to Success,” was held at Galena’s Eagle Ridge Resort. The meeting began with a reception and dinner for more than 75 Bankers representatives, guests, suppliers and employees who attend the annual event.   The meeting included education sessions, networking with suppliers, a product-trend tradeshow and awards ceremonies celebrating the career achievements of Bankers’ Top Sales Partners. Additionally, attendees enjoyed a Historic Galena trolley tour and a delicious meal at the historic DeSoto House, which was once frequented by Abraham Lincoln and Civil War hero Ulysses S. Grant.

Back to top



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:  

Back to top