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Obituary: Marvin Spike, Former ASI President

(12/26/2012)

Marvin Spike, the former president of ASI who worked at the company for more than 40 years, passed away on Sunday, December 23. He was 74.

Spike, a passionate supporter of the ad specialty industry, began working at ASI as a promotion copywriter and advanced rapidly to become president and chief operating officer in 1973 and then vice chairman in 1999. He retired from ASI in 2006, but definitively left his mark on the company and the market overall.

"Marvin's passing is a great loss to the industry and to everybody who knew him," said Norman Cohn, chairman of ASI. "Marvin cared about each ASI member as if they were his own family. Until the day before he passed away, Marvin sent me ideas and thoughts on how ASI could help the industry succeed and grow. My family, ASI, and the whole industry will miss him."

In tribute to his lifelong support of the industry, ASI uses the occasion of the annual Counselor Awards ceremony to honor an industry executive with the Marvin Spike Lifetime Achievement Award. In determining winners each year, Counselor's editorial staff and ASI look for executives who display the same characteristics as Mr. Spike: Somebody who shares a passion for the ad specialty industry and who has been an ongoing source of ideas, concepts, energy and encouragement for others.

"I am so heartbroken," said Fran Ford, president of Castelli North America (asi/44305) and the recipient of the 2012 Marvin Spike Lifetime Achievement Award. "Marvin was a man that always had a keen eye for young talent and always had a helping hand out to those that wanted to make a future in our business. We have lost a true founding father and we will miss him."

Spike oversaw many important products and projects at ASI, including the creation of the Counselor State of the Industry issue, as well as the original list of the Top 20 companies in the industry, which has now been expanded to the Top 40.

Spike also established Imprint magazine, the first end-buyer publication in the industry, and Advantages magazine, which exists in the same format to this day. Displaying his constant backing of the industry and its impact on the general business world, Spike also was a sought-after speaker at many national and regional shows throughout his career. Among his many industry honors, Spike was elected to the PPAI Hall of Fame in 1997.

"Marvin brought a level of professionalism that our industry has always needed," said Bob Lederer, chairman of Top 40 supplier Prime Line (asi/79530) and winner of the Marvin Spike Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. "He lived and breathed our industry. His style is missed at so many industry functions. I and many in the industry will miss him sorely." Added Bonni Shevin-Sandy, president of Dard Design International (asi/48499): "He was my personal mentor when I was trying to figure out if I wanted to give up my career and come into the industry. I simply loved him."

Spike is survived by his wife, Eileen, three children (Rob, who is vice president of distributor services at ASI, Andrea and Ricky) and eight grandchildren. Services were held yesterday in Southampton, PA. In lieu of flowers, the Spike family requests that any donations be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's research.



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