Baseball Great Cal Ripken Jr. Encourages ASI Orlando Audience To “Stay In The Game”

“The Iron Man” urges promo distributors and suppliers to prepare for everything, be ready for anything

TREVOSE, PA – January 5, 2019 – Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. advised a rapt audience of entrepreneurs at ASI’s annual Orlando trade show that to hit a home run in business they need passion, preparation and perseverance.   

“It starts with having the right approach and the right attitude,” said Ripken, who played 21 seasons for the Baltimore Orioles and shattered Lou Gehrig’s record for most consecutive games played – a record that stood for 56 years. “It’s also about passion – the love for what you do. Passion brings you back when times are tough.”

Ripken’s keynote before nearly 400 small-business owners, sales reps, distributors and exhibitors took place on the final exhibit day of ASI Show® Orlando (#asiorlando), hosted this week by the Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) at Florida’s Orange County Convention Center. The show grew this year to 4,700 attendees, with nearly 600 exhibitors, 70 new to Orlando.

Ripken, a 19-time All-Star and two-time American League Most Valuable Player who now owns several minor league teams, drove home the importance of detailed mental preparation, whether on the field or in the office. “Prepare for everything that can happen on a sales call so you’ll be ready for anything,” he said. “There are no shortcuts. The more you prepare and think, the more chances you have.”

Distributor Gary Weitzmann of Total Marketing (asi/345675) raved about the keynote. “I thought the speech was absolutely fantastic and inspiring,” he said. “Ripken made great parallels between business and sports, which I found very applicable and interesting.”

The keynote was a highlight of ASI’s three-day trade show, held Thursday, January 3, through Saturday, January 5. ASI Orlando attracted exhibitors and distributors from 49 states and 25 countries, including 821 attendees from Florida, 284 women-owned and 252 minority-owned companies.

Plus, 17 distributor companies chose Orlando to host sales meetings, including many Counselor® Top 40 companies.

“I couldn’t be happier with the strong showing at Orlando,” said Rita Ugianskis-Fishman, senior vice president and general manager of ASI Show. “We got great numbers (even on a Saturday so close to the holidays!), enthusiastic distributors and engaged suppliers. Once again, Orlando provided plenty of sales action, along with the perfect opportunity for distributors to dive into a brand-new selling season browsing the latest, greatest promo products.”

ASI President and Chief Executive Officer Timothy M. Andrews said he was thrilled to see so many young people walking the show floor, infused with energy and ready to take on the world. “In order for this industry to keep growing, we need to keep evolving and embracing fresh marketing ideas and new ways of doing business,” Andrews said.

On Education Day, more than 820 businesspeople enjoyed all-new tracks and classes covering myriad subjects like social media, marketing, sales and design. During the New Product Preview Reception, more than 400 people mingled over new supplier products while networking with the day’s education speakers and other distributors.

Exhibitors and distributors alike said they enjoyed robust first-quarter sales action and up-close face-time with clients and prospects.

“I’ve never attended an ASI Show before, and it more than exceeded my expectations,” said distributor John Perrigo, of Image Branding Group (asi/230096). “Getting the chance to talk to sales reps has really sparked some new ideas, and I learned a lot.”

Supplier Cody Larsen, of Gamehide (asi/46701), said, “We come every year to stay in front of our customers and it’s always great to see them in person rather than speaking to them over the phone. Being from the Midwest, we love coming to this show to enjoy the warm weather and get some business done at the same time. The early start date gets our business off to a great start.” 

In addition to promoting deal-making on the show floor, Orlando kicked off the new year with numerous celebrations, including the 65th anniversary of Counselor magazine, the 86th birthday of ASI Chairman Norman Cohn and the annual Counselor Distributor Choice Awards, with Las Vegas-based Digispec (asi/49716), founded and owned by Ed Hamilton, named 2019 Counselor Supplier of the Year. Digispec was also honored for winning the top spot in the mouse pads category for 12 straight years.

At the ASI Show Bash at Universal CityWalk, over 800 people braved early rain to meet and mingle at a huge block party, enjoying food, street entertainment, DJs, live music and more.

For complete editorial coverage of the show, including photos and videos, visit

Upcoming ASI Shows are in Fort Worth, February 4-6, featuring a special keynote by First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter, Jenna Hager, at the Fort Worth Convention Center, and in Chicago, July 9-11, featuring TEDx speaker Luke Williams, at McCormick Place.

For more information on ASI shows, contact Cheryl Kahan-Radhuber, Director of Marketing, at [email protected].

About ASI Show
The ASI Show Family of Events – ASI Show, fASIlitate, fASI500 and the ASI Roadshow in the U.S. and Canada – fosters business-building relationships among ASI member distributors and suppliers, and includes options to meet the needs of the entire membership base. ASI Shows, the flagship series, are large-scale convention center trade shows held in Orlando, Fort Worth and Chicago. fASIlitate is a hosted buyer event that brings together the industry’s elite – top suppliers and million-dollar distributors – for three days of scheduled one-on-one meetings in select hotels across the country. FASI500 is a new hosted buyer event which brings together suppliers and distributors who sell over a half of a million dollars in the promotional products industry. The ASI Roadshow visits top cities across North America and gives distributors an opportunity to escort their top clients. Visit for more information about our full event portfolio.