Keynote speaker Jesse Itzler: “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you create one”
TREVOSE, PA – February 5, 2020 – The three-day ASI Show® Fort Worth trade show delivered inspiring messages from two maverick entrepreneurs who urged suppliers and distributors throughout the $25.8 billion promotional products industry to break the mold and become masters of their own destiny.
The show, which ended Wednesday at the Fort Worth Convention Center, attracted nearly 2,650 attendees, with 391 exhibitors, including 37 new to the Texas show this year.
The show, which relocated from Dallas last year, attracted exhibitors and distributors from 46 states and 10 countries, along with 653 companies from Texas, 167 women-owned and 165 minority-owned companies.
Plus, 14 distributor companies chose Fort Worth to hold meetings, nine of which were top 100 companies, including HALO Branded Solutions, Proforma, AIA Corporation, iPROMOTEu, Kaeser & Blair, Safeguard, The Vernon Company and more. American Solutions for Business (ASB) held its National Sales Conference in conjunction with Fort Worth, with 359 sales associates attending the show.
Rita Ugianskis-Fishman, senior vice president and general manager of ASI Show, said she was thrilled the 2020 show built upon the momentum from last year’s launch while creating new buzz. “While we’re disappointed that dire weather forecasts impacted attendance on the last day of our event, it was still higher than overall final attendance in Dallas, solid proof that our decision to move the show was a positive change for suppliers and distributors.”
ASI Fort Worth (#ASIFortWorth) is the first major show in the No. 1 region for promotional product sales and product sourcing. According to the annual Promotional Products State and Regional Sales Report published by ASI’s Advantages® magazine, the South leads the nation with promo sales of $9 billion, with Texas alone posting $3.2 billion in promo sales.
Tuesday and Wednesday, distributors scoured the aisles for the latest innovations, connected with suppliers, talked promo trends like the importance of sustainability and made new business connections. The new product preview reception drew 188 while nearly 500 attended the ASI Show Bash at Billy Bob’s Texas, featuring a full bar, buffet, live music and a bull riding show.
“We always love partnering with ASI, wherever their meetings are, but Fort Worth has been our place of choice for last year, this year and next year,” said distributor Larry Zavadil, of American Solutions For Business (asi/120075). “I encourage you to partner with ASI, go to a show and have a great time.”
Supplier Robin Gallagher, of Bam Bams (asi/38228), prizes the personal connections ASI shows and events provide. “Being at each of the ASI Shows helps our business tremendously,” said Gallagher. “So many of our salespeople work with their customers day in and day out over the phone and email, so these shows provide us the important opportunity of meeting with them in-person. Putting a face to a name takes the relationship to another level, making it a more personable and memorable connection.”
On the heels of 2019’s inaugural Fort Worth Show, the Trade Show News Network (TSNN), the world’s leading online resource for the trade show, exhibition and event industry, named ASI Show® Fort Worth “Best of Show” among top trade shows across the U.S. for creating a sense of community and providing “wow” experiences.
On closing day, wildly successful entrepreneur, ultra-marathon runner and social media trendsetter Jesse Itzler blew away his audience with an empowering message that challenged everyone to zero in on what differentiates them from their competitors, rid themselves of self-doubt, thrive on pressure and make their own luck. “Luck doesn’t happen sitting on the couch watching the Kardashians,” said Itzler (@JesseItzler). “As entrepreneurs, when we get motivated, we hit the gas… If you don’t have a seat at the table, you create one.”
Itzler, a father of four who’s married to Spanx billionaire Sara Blakely, shared lessons from his fast-moving business life, co-founding Marquis Jet, the world’s largest private jet card company, before partnering with Zico coconut water. His hard-charging keynote energized everyone.
“Everything he said was completely true,” said Allan Burgardt, of Kaeser & Blair Inc. (asi/238600). “You have to make your own plan, figure out what you want to do. You alone are the one responsible for your destiny. No one else will get you there.”
Richard Feiden of Pheido Advertising (asi/466052) said, “It’s interesting to watch someone who doesn’t have any background or skills still be successful. It gives you hope when you hear that and makes you reflect on your life and what you need to be doing. It was also a lot of fun!”
The Fort Worth show offered industry pros tons of education and inspiration. During a motivational breakfast on Tuesday, PepsiCo executive Richard Montañez shared the powerful story of how he rocketed from janitor to superstar businessman by successfully pitching the concept of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos to Frito-Lay executives. He encouraged the audience to be bold, saying, “You weren’t created to fit in, you were made to stand out.”
ASI’s Education Day attendance was 368, with attendees learning from industry experts about sales, marketing, social media and design, choosing from 50 free classes.
On Wednesday, the Promotional Products Association Southwest (PPAS) hosted a “State of the Industry” roundtable discussion moderated by ASI President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Andrews, featuring Tracey Barton, director of distributor support for Top 40 Safeguard/Deluxe (asi/316203/178720); Bob Lilly, Jr., president of Bob Lilly Promotions (asi/254138); and Steven Meyer, VP of customer development/operations for supplier RiteLine USA.
The execs discussed fast-breaking issues like the impact China’s coronavirus is having on the industry, and the critical need for greater integration and improved technology. Afterward, Lily shared his appreciation for the entire three-day event.
“Fort Worth is a lot of fun and has a lot of character,” said Lily, who brought nearly 30 people to the show. “This particular venue with the restaurants and the hotels right around it makes it really easy. The energy level is up. They really built on the first year and people have great things to say about this year. All in all, this is a fantastic show and it’s the one show every year that our entire team comes to. We’ll be back!”
Registration is open for ASI Chicago, Tuesday, July 21-Thursday, July 23, at McCormick Place, featuring a keynote by NFL legend Terry Bradshaw.
For more info on ASI shows, contact Cheryl Kahan-Radhuber, director of marketing, at [email protected]. To learn more about exhibiting or sponsorship opportunities, contact Paul Elmer at [email protected] or (215) 953-3652.
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. FASI500is 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 asishow.com for more information about our full event portfolio.