Navigator Newsletter

January / February 2019 Print

President's Column

2019 and We’re Ready to Roll!

Hello, UMAPP membership.   I am excited to write this column for you as President in 2019!  It blows my mind to think I’ve been in the promotional industry for over 10 years now and involved with UMAPP for over 5 years.  What an honor and a privilege to help shape and lead this great organization into the future.

We did a lot in 2018 to be proud of as an organization and I’m looking forward to what 2019 has to offer.   We are looking to strengthen our membership by reaching out in different ways.  You have already started to see a couple of those with the social media video campaign we launched on Facebook called the “Get to Know your UMAPP Board” series.  It is important to me that our membership learns who we are as individuals, especially because we all know how much of a relationship industry this is and, frankly, that’s why we love it so much!

Another membership outreach initiative we are kicking off this year is a series of Brew & View mini shows in association with our UMAPP CONNECTS committee.  This event in our outlying membership areas will deliver value in a low-pressure, social environment for our members, and for companies interested in joining.  We will be trying two of them this year.  The first will be on April 9 in Fargo, North Dakota, and the second will be October 1 in Des Moines, Iowa. 

Lastly, as we look into the beginning of 2019, please mark your calendars for the Room Show on Monday, February 25 from 9-3:30pm and NOTE the change in venue to the Minneapolis Airport Marriott.

I look forward to serving you this year!  Please take a moment to reach out or email; my eyes and ears are always open!  I’m a big sports fan whether its hockey, baseball, football or golf, so I will leave you each newsletter with a little inspiration.

"The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team." --Phil Jackson

Your President,

Chris Thies


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Calendar of Events

Award Nominations - Due by January 24!  

  • Hall of Fame - UMAPP Hall of Fame Award is given to a person that has achieved outstanding honors within UMAPP Regional Association for their contributions.

  • Lifetime Achievement  - To give recognition to outstanding promotional product individuals who have demonstrated  long?time and successful commitment to their careers and communities. These individuals have made a strong impact through enthusiastic dedication in the promotional
    products industry over their lifetime.

  • Super Star -  To recognize a person within their company who has proven to be invaluable and consistently goes above and beyond what is expected.  These people are often invisible to the industry outside of the company and UMAPP would like to give member companies an opportunity to show support for these heros.  Examples could include someone in the support staff area, customer service, accounting, factory, etc. 

Wild Wednesday Webinar - January 30 - 11:30 am 

"Developing a Sound Marketing Plan.  Your Road Map to Success." 

Presented by Cliff Quicksell, MAS+

Free and available ONLY to UMAPP members!

The UMAPP Room Show - February 25, 2019 

New location!   | Marriott Airport Bloomington  

Distributor registration is open! 

(Note:  the exhibitors for this show have been selected.  Watch for the 2020 application to be available in fall 2019).  

New Event!  Brew & View Shows 

Come for the show . . . stay for a beer!  

April 9      |  Fargo, North Dakota   

October 1 | Des Moines, Iowa 

Note:  The exhibitors for the 2019 shows have been selected.  Stay tuned for the opportunity to exhibit in 2020. 

The Fire & Ice Show - May 22, 2019 

Free parking  | Quick access to show floor  | Easy load in and load out  | No stairs! | No security checks! | Tailgate Party at Shakopee Brew Hall | Seminar with Aaron Keller, Speaker, Author, Branding Expert, and CEO of Capsule (held at the Brew Hall).  

Exhibitor Registration.  Deadline is January 31 to get $100 off booth space!



The Idea Showcase & Client Expo - August 15, 2019

New Name!  (Formerly the Holiday Showcase)

Jimmy's Conference Center, Vadnais Heights, Minnesota
Registration for exhibitors and distributors will open in late May 2019 





Professional Development Seminar - Fall 2019 

Guest speaker Jeremiah Schmid from Schmid Concepts will present on video marketing and social media integration.  Stay tuned for more information.


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Coupon Book

The 2019 Coupon Book is here!  

How do you access this incredible book of savings? A full year of savings from industry suppliers.  Available ONLY to staff of UMAPP member companies!  If just one person from the company uses this book 2-3 times, membership dues in UMAPP should have just paid for themselves.    The dollar amount of savings varies, but we have heard of HUNDREDS - sometimes thousands - of dollars a year being saved by one company. 

  • 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.

CLICK HERE for a list of the participating suppliers.

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PPAI Provides FREE Market Forecasts

PPAI provides a variety of research to its members and the Market Outlook Report (MOR) is one of the most popular and helpful. ITR Economics has been producing this quarterly report since 2014 with its insightful look at broad economic forecasts and trending, plus leading indicators for the promotional products industry reaching down to the supplier and distributor level.

Here is an example of the report from the Q1 2018:

Focus on hiring and retaining employees to ensure that your labor supply is sufficient to handle expansion into at least late 2018. Direct your training programs toward developing unskilled new hires as a tightening labor market will make qualified applicants increasingly rare this year.


Get your free copy of the latest Market Outlook Report

Text “MOR” to 444999

The report is written in plain language with actionable insights for PPAI supplier and distributor members of all sizes.   ITR has had a 99% accurate rate with its most recent forecasts for the suppliers and distributors promotional products market indices!

 A second part of the MOR is a summary of member survey information.  This is so important!  Supplier and distributor members are encouraged to participate in a short, 14-question survey. Your information is kept in strict confidence by ITR.  It is not shared with the association nor any other business or non-profit agency.  It is used only in a consolidated manner in this summary report. The complete MOR, with survey information, is available to those members who participate in the survey portion of the report. You can participate by requesting the current report using the text messaging shown above.

MOR v2.   A task team of industry members working with ITR this past summer created version 2 of the Market Outlook Report which will be released at the end of Q1 2019. In addition to the forecasts, leading indicators and trending information the report historically provided, ITR is adding regional trending information, forecasts for the industry’s top 5 users of promotional products and trending for 5 industries we compete with for the advertising dollar. In addition to that, a dashboard tool has been developed whereby you can enter your business information and see how your Company’s performance compares with industry and peer group averages.

Your next steps: (1) Decide to take advantage of this membership benefit and order your FREE copy of the Market Outlook Report today (2) Text “MOR” to 444999; and (3) Participate in the confidential survey so that we can continue to offer this valuable information and report to all members. 

Want to learn more?  EMAIL Gary Haley (PPAI volunteer) or Eric Post (ITR Economics).

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Collegiate Scholarship

UMAPP Partners with PPEF for Collegiate Scholarships

New for 2019!  UMAPP is offering a $1,000 collegiate scholarship through a competitive application process to all staff of UMAPP member companies and their children.  

This program replaces the previous application process through Scholarship America.  

Why PPEF?  The Promotional Products Education Foundation is an industry-based educational, charitable, and nonprofit organization.  PPEF awards college scholarships to students who have a parent working in the promotional products industry or who are working for a company in the industry.

Since 1989, PPEF has awarded $1,942,000 in college scholarships to 1,113 students.

UMAPP is always thinking of ways to maximize member benefits and to manage the best financial decisions.  Moving to PPEF to offer collegiate scholarships to our members will provide excellent opportunities for students, yet also allow UMAPP to direct funds into other areas that are needed by our members.  

The application for the 2019-2020 academic year will be available HERE by late January 2019.  The deadline for submission is March 15. 

  • The name to note on the applications is The UMAPP Collegiate Scholarship.




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Guest Column

Top-Shelf Tip No. 233:

"It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it."

Lou Holtz

Six Stress Management Strategies For Work

Reprinted with permission from from Promotional Consultant Today.

Have you ever considered yourself to have a "full plate" at work? Your to-do list appears endless, with an ever-growing series of responsibilities that all seem to be high-priority, and need to be accomplished now. In addition to the "basic" list, your boss is demanding that you complete a very time-consuming report, you have back-to-back meetings, and—don't forget—you also have the added pressures and responsibilities of home life.

Some people would consider the constant influx of responsibilities to be a good sign. It's a sign that people can count on you. But there is a breaking point—one that is both physically and mentally taxing.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share six key strategies offered by Patti Johnson, CEO of  PeopleResults and a career and workplace expert, to help you keep from feeling overwhelmed at work.

  1. Decide what must be done today and this week. It can be overwhelming to think about everything that needs to be done today, tomorrow, this week and in the months ahead. It's a never-ending list that's constantly made longer by life's natural demands. Avoid this type of thinking. This all-at-once or all-or nothing mentality can leave us feeling these responsibilities are more than we can handle—and they are. (That's why they're spread out over time, after all.).

Instead, make it easier on yourself by thinking very short term. Think today. Think tomorrow. Think this week. Write down due dates and deadlines, or block work time for future needs, but for now, let them go now.

  1. Know the best use of your time right now. This step further breaks down the idea of thinking very short term. When you contemplate the best use of your time now, it will provide you with added clarity and focus. If you have a series of impending deadlines, schedule accordingly. Leave all nonpriority items for the late afternoon and guide your behavior appropriately to address these tasks.
  1. Don't be the hero. Let others help. If you are the "go-to" person at work and in your family, don't overdo the self-reliance. Sure, it feels good, but it can also be incredibly exhausting. Stop and ask yourself, " What am I doing now that someone else could do or at least help with?" Now, for the hard part: ask them to help, and then let them. You can't lessen your responsibilities while also being the hero.
  1. Remember what you can control and influence—and what you can't. We spend so much of our time and energy focusing on life events that we simply cannot change or have no control over.

Make a list of what is in your control and influence. Decide how to spend your time and energy here and set aside the rest. Focus on the areas where you can have an impact-and remove the other thoughts from your wavelength. 

  1. Put yourself first. Lower the stress of life with healthy choices. This is very individualized. For you, it could be anything from taking a yoga class or walking, to office culture, your diet or your daily schedule. 

Johnson shares an example of a client who gradually slipped into working every night and on most weekend days—yet it was only making her feel more overwhelmed and anxious, and less accomplished. Once the client realized that her list of to-dos would be endless no matter how much she worked, they developed a plan together that would result in much-needed free time. To do so, the client delegated more, renegotiated priorities with her boss and changed her schedule. She decided to work late one night each week, start early another day and set boundaries for herself on the other days. She also incorporated more time to take walks. 

  1. Ask yourself if it will it matter in three days, three months or three years. And then decide accordingly. You've probably heard many variations to this question, but when you're frustrated, stop and consider how much it truly matters.

Will it matter in three days? If not, then it's probably not worth spending any more time on. Find a quick resolution and let it go.

Will it matter in three months? If yes, this indicates importance and longer-term impact, so it's probably worth a time investment. 

Will it matter in three years? If yes, then it is essential in your life and deserves special attention.

These are usually the big ones—relationships, happiness and work efforts that make a difference.

Make time for these, because they rarely show up as urgent items on your to-do list.

Source: Patti Johnson is a career and workplace expert and the CEO of PeopleResults, a change and human resources consulting firm she founded in 2004. Previously, she served as a senior executive at Accenture and has been featured as an expert in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Money Magazine and Working Mother.


Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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Did you know?


. . .  nutmeg has been used as a spice for 3,500 years?  Nutmeg residue was recently found on ceramic potsherds in Indonesia, dated to 3,500 years ago -- about 2,000 years before any previously known use of the spice.  Peter Lape, PhD, professor of anthropology, University of Washington, Seattle, and leader of a study published in Asian Perspectives.

. . . watching golf improves insomnia?  Golf won four times as many votes as cricket in a poll asking respondents what they considered the dullest, most boring and potential sleep-inducing sport.  Baseball and soccer tied for third place.  Survey of 1,002 Americans by  

. . .  there's an easy way to report unwanted text messages?  Forward the message to SPAM (7726).  This gives it to a consortium of carriers that will use the information to try to block future spamming.  Federal Trade Commission, Consumer.

. .  more than a million books were self-published in 2017? That record number was a 28% increase over the number of titles self-published in 2016.  Publishers Weekly.  

“I will greet this day with love in my heart.  For this is the greatest secret of success in all ventures."  --Augustine "Og" Mandino, American author (1923-1996).  

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Guest Column II

Top-Shelf Tip No. 241:

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life."

Prince, "Let’s Go Crazy"

Three Business Lessons From Prince

Throughout his life, singer-songwriter Prince was referred to as a "musical genius." He recorded 40 Billboard Hot 100 hits and penned hits for numerous other artists, including Stevie Nicks, Madonna and Alicia Keys. He released 40 albums, won seven Grammy Awards and two Academy Awards. In addition to being musically gifted, Prince was also a shrewd businessman, credited with a net worth of $300 million when he died.

Black Star Fund CEO Kwame Anku had the privilege to work with Prince, having spent time discussing life and business with him. Anku recently discussed the three most important business lessons that Prince taught him,  which we'll share in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today. 

Be prepared for plan A to be outrageously successful. We all create contingency plans to be prepared when things don't work out, but few plan for when things go well. As a contingency planner, Anku found this advice to be puzzling at first, but later, he said it was liberating.

Anku stated, "Prince taught me that the mindset of someone preparing for great success differs from someone focusing largely on contingency plans." Instead of thinking to yourself, "If plan A doesn't work out, at least I'll have plan B," start thinking, "Plan A is going to be successful," and move forward from there.

Opportunity is always where people are afraid to go. Prince didn't take the path of least resistance. He once told Anku, after an intense discussion about direction in a music video, that when he works with new collaborators, he likes to put them in a tough situation to see how they handle it. Anku acknowledges the value in putting yourself in these positions. He said, "When you start off in the deep waters, in almost impossible conditions, it forces you to tap into a deep part of yourself-the part where your real power is."

Tech comes second. Prince believed that people hide behind technology instead of using it as a tool. This is a ubiquitous problem in America, and can be seen by the sheer amount of people texting while in class, driving, at work, out to dinner, during get-togethers, etc. At times, it can seem like people are glued to their devices. Anku says he has drawn from this lesson in seeking tech solutions that enhance the human experience instead of just replacing human function that claim to make our lives easier. Anku encapsulates Prince's belief by saying, "Technology should help us solve problems human can't solve instead of simply making things we already know how to do easier."

Source: Kwame Anku is the chairman and CEO of Black Star Fund, an early-stage innovation fund, a strategic growth advisor for Color Farm Media, an international speaker and one of Prince's selfproclaimed, biggest fans.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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Industry News

The American Solutions for Business senior leadership team volunteered at the local United Way in November 2018 in Alexandria, MN. They packaged boxes of food for children and families in need during the Thanksgiving holiday. The following day, a team from American delivered these boxes to the local elementary school, where they will be distributed.

Aspiring to further promote its Exclusive Brands, Allen/ColorCraft, Blanchester, OH, announced its partnership with Maloney & Associates; Ed Maloney and Blake Dugger Multi-line Sales Representatives.  Ed and Blake are to cover the following states:  Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Hawaii.   Additionally, Allen/ColorCraft announced an exclusive agreement with Thermos LLC to bring its products and Under Armour drinkware to the collegiately-licensed college and university and promotional products markets.

Multi-Line Rep Agency, Hareid Marketing, Inc. would like to introduce the addition of Garrett Haugen to their promotional products team. The addition of Haugen marks his return to Hareid Marketing, Inc. In 2015, Haugen completed a six-month internship with the agency following his graduation from Farmington High School, Farmington, MN. Upon completion of the internship, Haugen enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he served as a Communications Marine in Okinawa Japan until May of this year. Scott Hareid, President of Hareid Marketing, Inc. said, “First and foremost we are very thankful for Garrett’s service to our country. We are thrilled to have Garrett back working in our agency. He has incredible energy and a contagious spirit that our customers will love.

Discount Marketing Products (ASI#49891, SAGE#50398, PPAI#582106) a leading supplier in the exhibit category has hired multi-line reps in the following territories:  Midwest, Preferred Lines Marketing, Paul Rizzo and Kent Getsee; Southeast, TMB Marketing, Brad Schroepfer; Northeast, Paul Sprunk & Associates, Paul Sprunk; Mid-Atlantic, Kenneth Cecco & Associates, Ken Cecco and the Southeast, S2 Marketing Group, Steve Rater and Steve Seifert.  “I hired the best reps in their respective territories based on their long-term relationships and their consistent performance throughout their careers, said Dalan Cohen, president of Discount Marketing Products.  

Halls & Company, manufacturer of ID Line, is excited to announce the appointment of new regional sales manager, Dino Bartolomei. “We are really looking forward to Dino being a force in the industry representing Halls & Company and our capabilities,” said Eric Johnson, vice president of sales at Halls & Company. “Dino has the right mix of industry knowledge and our product knowledge to make the transition to our company easy and quick. Our longtime friendship will make this partnership fun!”

The Pro Towels Family of Brands, including Pro Towels, Kanata Blanket Co., Neet Feet and Superior, is excited to announce the recent hire of Becky Blyth as Strategic Accounts Director, Western Region.

Based in Colorado, Blyth has been in the promotional products industry for over the last 10 years. She began her career working on the distributor side at Geiger and then transitioned to the supplier side most recently at RuMe and The Magnet Group. With this new position, Blyth brings strong already-developed business relationships with many of the accounts in her territory. Her valuable background and experience provide her with a wealth of knowledge and expertise that will be invaluable in helping her customers.

IMAGEN Brands, parent company of Crown and Vitronic, is giving back in a unique way, with a teddy bear. Many in the industry know one of its most respected leaders, the late Francis “Fran” Ford, Jr., CAS and his memorable greeting, “Hey, Buddy!” In remembrance of this industry icon, Hey Buddy™ Bear was born. This adorable, fun loving teddy bear was designed with hearts on its paws, a “Hey Buddy™” imprinted t-shirt, and comes with a hang tag with an image of Fran and a special heartfelt message. With every bear sold, IMAGEN Brands will donate towards the Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF). Hey Buddy™ Bear will make his grand debut at the 2019 ASI Shows and PPAI Expo.

Supplier Maple Ridge Farms (PPAI 114165) in Mosinee, Wisconsin, has promoted Jodie Schillinger, CAS, to executive vice president. She will report directly to President Tom Riordan. Schillinger is a 20-year company veteran who has held positions as assistant to the president, director of customer care and customer service manager."

Jodie's ability to lead is founded in her passion for serving our customers' needs, total concern for our team of employees and dedication to the continued growth of Maple Ridge Farms," says Riordan. "I have watched Jodie grow both professionally and personally during the past 20 years and have complete confidence in the leadership abilities she brings to her new role." 

ETS Express, the leader in promotional drinkware, is pleased to announce the addition of Nick Wright as a Regional Sales Manager. In this role, Nick is responsible for the Southwest Territory which includes; Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Nick has worked in the promotional product industry for almost 20 years. A majority of that time was spent at OGIO, where he was responsible for introducing their retail brand to the promotional industry. He was successful in building significant industry recognition for the company. He has extensive experience in working with customers, account management, and for several years served on the executive team at OGIO and Callaway as Vice President.

Salt Lake City, Utah, January 14, 2019 – In a deal finalized on December 21st, 2018, HandStands PROMO ( joined HUB Promotional Group ( which is now comprised of eight A+ rated Suppliers.







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Advertising with UMAPP

These suppliers signed up to sponsor UMAPP's website.  Space for 2019 is sold out, but watch for 2020 opportunities!


SNUGZ USA  Advance Corporation  Showdown Display
December 2018  January 2019  February 2019 

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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:  [email protected]  

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