about ppai

We Are The Voice And Force To Advance The Industry

Our vision is that promotional products are universally valued and essential to every brand.

 

Promotional Products Association International has worked to unite and advance our marketplace while serving the member community as its most devoted advocate since 1903.

 

The industry’s largest non-profit trade association, we are guided by 15,000 member companies to create solutions, provide resources, share information and lead.

Our message is Promotional Products Work!

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Our Values

We pursue excellence through these values:

 

Growth
We grow through our continuous improvement, accountability, and servant leadership. We foster innovation and seek out advancement opportunities that collectively elevate the industry, our members, and our employees, resulting in financial strength.

 

Integrity
We commit to honesty, transparency, and ethical conduct, cultivating the deepest trust through every interaction and each decision we make for the industry, our employees and our planet.

 

Community
We enable and create connections to bring exponential value to our stakeholders. We seek out diverse viewpoints and embrace belonging while encouraging teamwork and collaboration.

 

Joy
We believe in the joy our industry brings to product recipients and are committed to creating that same feeling through the experience of our members and employees. We strive to build a culture, both internally and externally, that results in true joy for all involved.

Leadership Team

The PPAI leadership team is made up of individuals with a blend of experience in promotional products, associations and business.

Dale Denham, MAS+

Dale Denham, MAS+, has more than 25 years of experience in the promotional products industry. Before joining PPAI as president and CEO in August 2021, Denham spent 10 years at distributor Geiger as senior vice president and CIO. As a member of the executive team, he was responsible for significant growth, including international growth, and successfully led the organization’s digital transformation.

 

Prior to Geiger, Denham was a member of the ASI executive team for 10 years where he was responsible for growth, including all technology, strategic partners and publications. His first experience in the industry came in the 1990s as president of Impact, a company that provided numerous resources to the industry. Before joining Impact, Denham was general manager for several consulting and sales organizations.

Denham served on the PPAI Board of Directors from 2015-2020, including as chair in 2018.

 

He has served on numerous other industry boards and has been a consistent volunteer for PPAI and other industry organizations, as well as a sought-after speaker. Denham graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s in business and a minor in economics.

Ellen Tucker, MAS, CAE

With a 10-year tenure at the association, Ellen Tucker, a part of PPAI’s executive team, spearheads PPAI’s entire revenue stream and marketing, oversees professional development initiatives and orchestrates the industry’s largest trade show, The PPAI Expo.

CW Karstens

CW Karstens, Director of Digital Transformation at PPAI, brings nearly three decades of diverse experience to the promotional products industry. With expertise in operational efficiency, change management, and innovation across sectors like finance, healthcare, telecommunications, and manufacturing, CW has made a lasting impact. 

 

In the telecommunications sector from 2000 to 2012, CW played a key role in managing the development and deployment of pioneering Voice over IP (VoIP) solutions, shaping modern virtual communication. In the past decade, CW served in leadership roles in the Financial Technology (FinTech) industry, collaborating with health insurance companies to optimize payment systems using patented processes and technologies. 

 

As the head of PPAI’s Technology department, CW leads the development, infrastructure, and data integrity initiatives, focusing on swift implementation of emerging technologies and process optimization. His strategic vision and extensive experience position him as a driving force in the organization’s digital transformation journey.

Doris Sweely, SHRM-CP

As the Director of Human Resources, Doris supports PPAI staff in their work to serve the promotional products industry and the companies and professionals within it. Sweely has a myriad of responsibilities which include employee recruitment, retention and relations, the performance review program, comp and benefits management.

 

Additionally, Sweely oversees staff engagement initiatives, professional development and tuition reimbursement. 

 

Doris has been with PPAI since 2016 and holds a Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional Certification along with an SHRM HR Department of One Specialty Certification.

Elizabeth Wimbush

Elizabeth Wimbush is PPAI’s first-ever Director of Sustainability & Responsibility.  Prior to joining PPAI, Elizabeth was the Vice President of Supply Chain and Sustainability for distributor Genumark.  She had started with the company in 2020 as the Director of Supply Chain.

 

Elizabeth is a value-oriented professional with a diverse range of experience that prioritizes ethical and sustainable business growth, spanning 20 years. Organically influencing positive change from the ground up in organizations is the name of her game.

 

Most of her free time is spent with her two dogs, riding her motorcycle, hiking or swimming. On the road or in the woods, alone or with friends, “I’m never bored when I’m out in nature,” she says.

Josh Ellis

A 2021 addition to PPAI, Josh brings nearly two decades of journalistic experience to the Association’s media efforts.

 

Formerly the editor-in-chief of SUCCESS magazine, a national newsstand publication that has served entrepreneurs and businesspeople for more than 125 years, Josh built and led a talented staff that competed for and won numerous national awards, including back-to-back editorial team of the year nominations.

 

In 2017, the trade journal Folio: named him a 30-under-30 honoree and one of the 100 most influential people in the magazine industry. In his role with PPAI, he oversees PPB magazine, the newsletters PPB Newslink and PC Today, as well as editorial content across the Association’s digital footprint.

Lindsey Davis, MAS

Lindsey Davis is the director of business development for PPAI and also oversees the association’s professional development initiatives. A promotional products lifer, she previously served as president of Solar Advertising, a promo supplier founded by her parents, and lead the company’s successful purchase by Raining Rose, where she focused on their promo efforts as director of sales.

 

As an active volunteer in the industry, she also has served on the Promotional Products Education Foundation’s board of trustees and the PPAI Board, before joining the association’s staff in 2022.

Troy Naef

Prior to coming to PPAI, Troy served as Regional Vice President of Operations for Blue Cloud Pediatric Surgery Centers and in that role oversaw operations and was the direct report for multiple surgical centers. Prior to Blue Cloud, Troy was one of the founding partners of Children 1st Dental and Surgery Center where he served as the company CFO/COO for 11 years.

 

Troy also worked as the CFO for Cottonwood Medical Group and managed 4 Hospitals in Texas and Louisiana. Prior to working in healthcare, Troy received his CPA license in the state of Washington and worked as an auditor for Ernst & Young and as a controller for Newport Construction. Troy graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor and Master of Accounting.

Renae Ward, MBA

Renae has worked in the promotional products industry for over 30 years, getting her start on the supplier side in her family’s manufacturing company.

 

Her experience was amassed from various roles within the organization, including serving on the executive management team as corporate vice president. Upon joining PPAI in 2021, she was able to draw on her industry knowledge as well as her experience to provide guidance to the finance department.

 

As the director of finance and administration, she oversees financial operations and activities for PPAI. Renae graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a minor in business from the University of Minnesota, Moorhead. She received her MBA from Texas A&M University, Central Texas.

Shannon Johnson

Shannon supports PPAI’s executive staff and Board of Directors, as well as manages the volunteer program, facilities, and employee engagement.

 

Throughout her career, Shannon has spent many years in startup environments, sharpening her ability to adapt, innovate, and thrive in fast-paced, ever-evolving environments.

Our Strategy

The PPAI Strategic Plan provides a roadmap for the Association’s strength and impact, both now and in the future. It consists of five key pillars that guide all of our efforts.

  • Drive member and community value.

  • Ensure economic sustainability and scalability.

  • Elevate corporate social responsibility in the industry.

  • Facilitate the industry's digital transformation.

  • Be the voice of the industry.

Board of Directors

Andrew Spellman, CAS

Board Chair (Class of 2026)

Andrew Spellman, CAS

Andrew Spellman is the new vice president corporate markets for Therabody. Spellman formerly served as the senior vice president and general manager for Magnet, LLC. Magnet, LLC has been the world’s leading manufacturer of promotional magnets, and has won numerous awards for their products, service, and innovation. Prior to his tenure at Magnet, Spellman was the vice president corporate markets for Victorinox Swiss Army where he successfully managed their branded products division for over 14 years.

Spellman has also served on the Board of Directors of Guardian Angel Settlement Association in several different roles, including being chairman of their golf committee, vice chairman, and then escalating to the role of chairman of the Board. Guardian Angel has provided childcare services as well as social services in the city of St. Louis for over 150 years. In addition, he served on the Board of Directors of the St. Vincent De Paul Mission of Waterbury during his brief time in Connecticut.

Spellman received his BS in Business Administration from the University of Missouri in St. Louis. He lives in Wildwood, Missouri with his two teenage daughters.

Chris Anderson

Vice Chair, Financial Services (Class of 2026)

Chris Anderson

Chris Anderson joined the promotional products industry in 2002 with supplier HandStands and became president of the company in 2009 and CEO in 2010. Under his leadership, HandStands expanded its distribution into 138 countries and closed multiple strategic acquisitions, including the sale of the business to HPG in 2018. Anderson became CEO of HPG in 2019.

Dan Pantano

Director (Class of 2027)

Dan Pantano
Dan Pantano joined alphabroder in 2013 as President, leading the commercial side of the business and playing an integral role in multiple corporate acquisitions and transforming the companies “go to market” approach. With a thoughtful succession plan in place, Dan’s advancement to President & CEO took shape in the Spring of 2021 as the business embraced his passion, energy, and drive to lead the entire organization.
Dan Pantano spent 20+ years working for three different fortune 500 companies – Baxter Healthcare, McKesson and Thermo Fisher Scientific…all leaders in their respective markets.  He developed his leadership skills as he progressed his career at each company where he successfully led different business units.  His management style and leadership approach were honed through experience and strong leaders he worked with along the way.

With an amazing team in place, Dan is leading the way to capitalize on the company’s unique value proposition; being the industry’s only true One Stop Shop Solution. Dan has been known to say,

“Your attitude determines your altitude”. Colleagues and Customers alike can count on his positive winning approach that offers Employees an engaging environment to advance, while providing Customers a trusted partnership to profitably grow their business.

Danny Rosin, CAS

2023

Danny Rosin, CAS
Danny Rosin is co-owner of Brand Fuel, a Raleigh based distributor that is a certified B Corp. He is the co-founder of Band Together, a nonprofit that has donated $12 million to nonprofits through live music experiences. He serves on the board of A Place at The Table, a “pay what you can” café and is advisor to Gabi’s Pals, a nonprofit that empowers people with special abilities through fulfillment programming. He is also the co-founder of social impact orgs like PromoKitchen, PromoCares, Reciprocity Road and Operation Smile International’s Student Programs. He is married with two teenage daughters and has come to grips with the idea that well-behaved women rarely make history.

Denise Taschereau

Chair Elect (Class of 2027)

Denise Taschereau

Denise Taschereau launched Fairware after realizing how difficult it was to source promotional merchandise that reflected the social and environmental priorities of the many of brands and organizations she admired. Previously, Taschereau oversaw the Mountain Equipment Co-op’s national environmental programs, community grant-making and ethical sourcing programs, and wrote their award-winning first Sustainability Report. She is currently a board member of PromoCares, an industry group driving awareness and education around sustainability issues in the promotional product industry.

Erin Reilly

Director (Class of 2028)

Erin Reilly
As a senior at John Hopkins University, Reilly and her best friend Sterling Wilson started making Pantone-matched sunglasses and accidentally fell head over heels into the promotional products industry. Launching College Glasses in 2012 and rebranding to Pop! Promos a year later, Reilly has worn just about every hat at the Philadelphia-based supplier, scaling the firm from a small startup to an award-winning organization with more than 125 employees in offices across the globe. Reilly also serves on the PPAI Women’s Leadership Committee.

Kara Keister, MAS

RAC Delegate (Class of 2025)

Kara Keister, MAS

I am a passionate go-getter who has learned to ask questions and never take no for an answer.  I started my promotional professional career 12 years ago in distributor sales.  My role allowed me to use my marketing background and love of all things brand to become a top-level salesperson within the company and eventually birth and grow Social Good Promotions. I served as a volunteer on regional industry Boards in an executive capacity.  After my tenure as regional board President, I was elected to the Regional Affiliate Council where I have played an integral role in advancing the way regional associations will operate within the promotional products industry moving forward.

I am a self-proclaimed nerd willing to learn and accept any challenge that comes my way.  I have survived injuries, breast cancer, and mental hurdles, all while advancing my career and building a successful small business.  I attribute that survival to my tribe, my amazing support system, and my work ethic.

I was named to the Promotional Products Association International Rising Star list in 2021. Our company has received PPAI Silver Pyramid Awards in the Social Responsibility Program and Digital Self-Promotion categories.  Social Good was named to the AIM Eco Leaders list in 2020 and we have consistently grown our gross sales by over 80% per year since our 2019 inception. 

My passion is for education, advocacy, and volunteerism for the promotional products industry and organizations close to my heart like Special Olympics, local schools, and leadership programs for youth.

Karie Cowden, MAS

Director (Class of 2025)

Karie Cowden, MAS

Karie Cowden, MAS is Founder and President of Connect the Dots Promotions out of Phoenix, AZ.  Karie brings a wealth of experience to the board with almost 30 years in the promotional products industry.  She has had the opportunity to work on both the distributor and supplier sides of the fence which brings a unique perspective to share with the PPAI Board of Directors.  Karie served as President of her regional board Azppa, RAC President as well as on the PPAI board 2008-2012.  While RAC President, with the help of her board she initiated the Affiliate program with 28 regionals then on while on the PPAI board the SAGE initiative was born.  She is currently a board member of PromoCares, an industry group driving awareness and education around sustainability issues in the promotional product industry. Karie is married to Steve and has 2 lovely teenage daughters, Emma and Averie and a black lab named Luna.

Kevin Walsh, CAS

Immediate Past Board Chair (Class of 2025)

Kevin Walsh, CAS

Kevin Walsh, CAS is a proud member of the Showdown Displays team, where he has worked the past eight (8) years serving in several leadership roles, the most recent of which is President. Kevin’s creative vision and ‘customer first’ mentality has contributed to the success of numerous industry suppliers including New Buffalo Shirt Factory, Lee Printwear, VF Imagewear and Wrangler Jeans and Shirts. In each of these organizations, Kevin has demonstrated a leadership philosophy that is founded in the belief of having the vision to recognize evolving landscapes and the courage to embrace the change needed to succeed. Kevin’s sales and marketing expertise combined with his bias for solutions utilizing technology, will prove to be a great addition to the PPAI Board.

Lori Bauer

2015

Lori Bauer
Prior to joining iPROMOTEu, Bauer spent 23 years at Koozie Group, where she was an integral part of the supplier’s success with responsibilities spanning across sales and marketing. Named a PPB Rising Star in 2010 and honored with the PPAI RAC Volunteer of the Year Award in 2015, Bauer has long been a supporter of PPAI’s Women’s Leadership Conference, serving on the WLC Advisory Group for multiple years.Bauer has also served as president of the Promotional Products Association of Florida (PPAF) and as board chair of the Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF).

Zack Ottenstein

Director (Class of 2028)

Zack Ottenstein
Ottenstein joined The Image Group in 2016 and became president of the Holland, Ohio-based firm in 2020. During his tenure, Ottenstein has led the company’s transformation into a vertical-focused marketing solutions business. Prior to promo, he served as an investment analyst and director of marketing communications for Welltower, a $40 billion-plus enterprise value company. A 2018 PPB Rising Star, he is currently a board member for several local nonprofits and is also a highly involved member of the Young Presidents’ Organization.

Dale Denham, MAS+

Ex Officio Member

Dale Denham, MAS+

Dale Denham, MAS+, has more than 25 years of experience in the promotional products industry. Before joining PPAI as president and CEO in August 2021, Denham spent 10 years at distributor Geiger as senior vice president and CIO. As a member of the executive team, he was responsible for significant growth, including international growth, and successfully led the organization’s digital transformation.

 

Prior to Geiger, Denham was a member of the ASI executive team for 10 years where he was responsible for growth, including all technology, strategic partners and publications. His first experience in the industry came in the 1990s as president of Impact, a company that provided numerous resources to the industry. Before joining Impact, Denham was general manager for several consulting and sales organizations.

Denham served on the PPAI Board of Directors from 2015-2020, including as chair in 2018.

 

He has served on numerous other industry boards and has been a consistent volunteer for PPAI and other industry organizations, as well as a sought-after speaker. Denham graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s in business and a minor in economics.

Cory Halliburton

Ex Officio Member

Cory Halliburton

Cory Halliburton is an attorney with the law firm of Freeman Law, PLLC, a tax, white-collar, and litigation law firm based in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and with clients throughout the world. He has served as General Counsel for PPAI since May 2014. He serves as outside general counsel for other international trade associations, public charities, multi-state engineering firms, and others. Cory Halliburton graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas Tech University School of Law in 2003.

Frequently Asked Questions

Curious about buying promotional products? Or how PPAI supports industry businesses? Here’s help.

What Are Promotional Products?

What Are Promotional Products?

Essential to every brand, promotional products – often referred to as merch, swag, promo, or advertising specialties – are customized items, typically given to clients, employees, business partners, and others.These can take many forms but are most commonly apparel, drinkware, pens, bags, or tech products.

How Does PPAI Advocate For The Industry?

How Does PPAI Advocate For The Industry?

The Association supports public relations on behalf of the entire promo market, as well as end-buyer outreach such as the Promotional Products Work initiative to enhance the recognition of our medium as a valuable piece of any brand’s marketing tool.

Can Anyone Join PPAI?

Can Anyone Join PPAI?

Association membership is open to qualified distributors and suppliers, as well as business services firms eager to provide solutions for the industry – a $26.1 billion market in the U.S. in 2023.

Is There A Cost To Joining PPAI?

Is There A Cost To Joining PPAI?

When joining PPAI or renewing a membership, businesses have the opportunity to choose the level of benefits they wish to receive from PPAI. A small business may elect to receive only basic benefits at a minimal cost initially, and as the business grows, they have the option to take advantage of more membership perks.

What Is PPAI’s Relationship With SAGE?

What Is PPAI’s Relationship With SAGE?

SAGE is PPAI’s official technology partner, providing members with the most advanced, cutting-edge technology services in the industry. The partnership creates a cost-effective bundle of access to quality products, services, education, and resources essential to any growing promotional products business.

What’s The Difference Between PPAI And ASI?

What’s The Difference Between PPAI And ASI?

PPAI exists as a not-for-profit trade association that is owned and directed by the promotional products industry itself. ASI (Advertising Specialty Institute) is a private, for-profit company.

Contact Us

PPEF Scholarship Foundation

With the support of industry member companies and individuals, the Promotional Products Education Foundation provides college scholarships to promotional products industry employees and their children to support general studies and industry-related educational goals.

PPAI History

The use of physical goods to drive movements and inspire action traces back to ancient times, but it was the founding of PPAI that turned promotional products into a true industry. The Association started with just 12 member companies more than 120 years ago.

 

Over the decades, our Association has led the medium’s evolution and been a trusted partner to thousands of professionals. PPAI united the promotional products market through professional education, member services and events, including promo's largest and longest-running trade show, The PPAI Expo, now held every January in Las Vegas.

 

Through it all, PPAI has remained a loyal partner to promotional products companies and professionals, expanding its offerings to now serve members through technology services, sustainability solutions, exclusive research and more.

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