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Counselor Senior Editor Michele Bell's slanted view of the world.

Break Out the Crystal Ball!

Filed under: Editorial

Hi Everyone!

I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving and didn’t pass out in a tryptophan-induced coma face down in a Jell-O mold. ; )

As we enter the last month of 2009, it’s a natural time to look ahead and try to prepare for what 2010 has in store for us. In that vein, I’ll be moderating a Webinar this Thursday, 12/3, from 2 p.m.-3 p.m. (ET) called, “Get Ready for 2010: Top Sales and Market Trends.”

My whip-smart panelists are three of my favorite people in the industry, all of whom are at the helm of distinguished supplier companies and each of whom is on this year’s Counselor Power 50 list.

My pal Bonni Shevin-Sandy is the executive vice president of Counselor Top 40 supplier Dard and this year’s Counselor International Person of the Year. My girl knows her stuff, and is so savvy when it comes to finding new markets into which to sell that the international and custom division of Dard, of which Bonni is president, was up double-digits in 2009.

Bill Korowitz, president of Counselor Top 40 supplier The Magnet Group, is a new friend of mine. He’s very much the renaissance man — a trained economist as well as a guitar aficionado (he’s been known to stay up til 2 a.m. jamming, with his amp cranked “to 11″). Bill has one of the driest, most sardonic wits I’ve come across in some time and is equally astute at reading sales and marketing indicators both for our industry and the U.S. economy.

And last but not least, we have Ira Neaman, owner of Counselor Top 40 supplier Vantage. Ira is one of my oldest friends in the industry, and the person who — when I was new to the ad specialty business nearly 13 years ago and knew nothing about imprinted apparel — was patient enough to give me many in-depth tutorials. Still, to this day, when I have an apparel-related question and need someone to explain the intricacies to me, Ira — who was one of the youngest people ever to graduate from Harvard Business School — is first on my list. For that reason, I have always called him my wearables “Yoda.” As apparel constitutes the largest category of product sales in our industry, Ira the Yoda is an expert on the latest trends and applications. Learn from him, you will.

If you’d like to listen in to the Webinar this Thursday to hear Bonni, Bill and Ira discuss such topics as keeping your company competitive in a down economy, where industry sales will be in 2010, new growth markets for ad specialties and the smartest thing companies can do in the upcoming year to be successful, click on the link below to register.


 Cheers, and more next week!

— M

Photos From This Year’s ASI Power Summit!

Filed under: Travel

ASI’s third annual Power Summit is in full swing at La Costa Resort & Spa in sunny Carlsbad, CA. Two hundred of the industry’s most prominent professionals are here, taking part in panel discussions on topics like safety and legislation issues, new media for marketing and challenges for the industry for 2010 and enjoying many great networking events.

I’m moderating a panel at 8:30 am, Cali time, on the topic of keeping employees motivated in a down economy with Lon McGowan, owner of iClick, my pal Eric Johnson (aka, “E”), executive vice president of Halls & Co., Tina Montgomery, president/CEO of L.W. Barrett Co. Inc., Fred Albrecht, founder and co-owner of Proforma Albrecht Co. and Mark Ziskind, COO of Counselor Top 40 distributor Caliendo-Savio Enterprises (CSE) — all of whom have been on Counselor’s “Best Places to Work” list for the past two years. With this fabulous panelists, it should be awesome

More later and enjoy the photos!
— M

When last year’s Power Summit attendees said they wanted more networking time, we responded with our own version of “speed dating” for networkers, in which people sat at a circular table and rotated seats so they could meet 10 new people in 20 minutes. It was a hit! (From left): Here’s my BFF Jim Hagan, president of Counselor Top 40 supplier Sweda and a member of Counselor’s Power 50 this year; Neal Harper, Logomark’s COO and owner Trevor Gnesin’s consigliere; and the illustrious Trevor himself. LOVE these guys!!!
Scott Pearson, vice president of merchandising for Sweda and the genius behind their “24”-themed YouTube videos touting the company’s 24-hour service, gets ready to show Trevor Gnesin, owner of Logomark and a member of Counselor’s Power 50, the love. On the second night of the Power Summit, I hosted a table of some of my industry favorites including, from the left, Scott Siegel, owner of R.S. Owens; Todd Singleton, owner of The Singleton Co. Inc. — who was on our “Marketing with New Media” panel and did an awesome job; and the lovely and talented Laura Holt, a Geiger MVP.
A view of La Costa’s spectacular golf course from view on the patio of the resort’s Legends Grille. When we arrived on Friday and took a tour of the facility, ASI executive vice president/publisher Rich Fairfield, Counselor editor Andy Cohen and education coordinator Dana Reaume and I came upon an Oktoberfest Party, complete with lederhosen-clad musicians playing polka.
Here’s Rich Fairfield, Dana Reaume and Andy Cohen, posing with the Oktoberfest mascot. A view of the Resort Pool, where dinner will be held on Monday night and this year’s Counselor “Power 50” will be announced.
Because we were here on Halloween, the fun and festive staff at La Costa got into the spirit by donning costumes. “Medusa” was our cocktail waitress at the Blue Fire Grille. ASI Show director of operations Cheryl Childers, senior vice president/editor-in-chief Melinda Ligos and Rich Fairfield at La Costa’s Blue Fire Grille the night before ASI’s third annual Power Summit began.
ASI vice president of supplier sales Ron Ball and Dana Reaume at dinner on Saturday night. Jo-an Lantz, executive vice president of Counselor Top 40 distributor Geiger (left) and Vera Muzzillo, co-CEO of Counselor Top 40 distributor Proforma. LOVE my pal Jo-an’s butterscotch leather jacket!
A group shot of all industry attendees at ASI’s Power Summit, for an upcoming issue of Counselor. Sunday night’s dinner was held outdoors, on La Costa’s Terrace Lawn. It was chilly, but fun!
Industry BFF’s Marc Simon, president of Counselor Top 40 distributor HALO/Lee Wayne (left) and Jonathan Isaacson, president of Counselor Top 40 supplier Gemline. Suzie Gunsauls, vice president of sales for Counselor Top 40 supplier Sweda (left) and Tina Montgomery, president/CEO of distributor company L.W. Barrett.
Barry Deutsch, vice president of sales for Counselor Top 40 distributor BDA (left) and Memo Kahan, owner of Counselor Top 40 distributor PromoShop. (From left): Ira Neaman, president of Counselor Top 40 supplier Vantage; Kris Robinson, vice president of Counselor Top 40 distributor PromoShop, ASI’s Melinda Ligos and Andy Cohen.
(From left): Shepenco’s Dan Townes, Todd Singleton, owner of distributor The Singleton Co. Inc., and PromoShop’s Memo Kahan.