ASI Announces Winners of 2017 Counselor Awards

Boundless CEO Henrik Johansson named Person of the Year; PFConcept CEO Ralf Oster selected International Person of the Year

TREVOSE, PA – July 13, 2017 – The Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) today announced the winners of the 2017 Counselor® Awards, including Boundless CEO Henrik Johansson as Person of the Year and PFConcept CEO Ralf Oster as International Person of the Year.

The awards, chosen by the editors of ASI’s award­-winning Counselor magazine, recognize outstanding individuals and companies in 11 categories. The winners represent the savviest and most successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, family-owned companies and CEOs in the $23 billion promotional products industry.

Click here for stories and videos on each of the 2017 award recipients and here for a photo gallery from the Counselor Awards ceremony on ASI’s Facebook page.

In addition, Counselor announced the Top 40 Distributor and Top 40 Supplier rankings – the largest companies in the industry based upon 2016 revenue.

Among suppliers, alphabroder (asi/34063) was number one, setting another industry record with $1.14 billion in North American sales, with SanMar (asi/84863) and Polyconcept North America rounding out the top three spots on the top 40 list.

For distributors, Staples Promotional Products (asi/120601) remains the largest distributor in the industry, with $592.9 million in sales, with 4imprint (asi/197045) and Proforma (asi/300094) rounding out the top three spots.

Johansson is the CEO and co-founder of multimillion-dollar distributor firm Boundless. Since his start in 2004 at the Austin, TX-based distributor, Johansson has played an essential role in the company’s 12-year annual sales gain. Ranked 21st on Counselor’s list of the Top 40 largest distributors, Boundless increased year-over-year revenue about 18% in 2016.

“With the 2017 Person of the Year award, I’m delighted to say we’re celebrating a man who immigrated to the United States from Sweden to pursue his very own American dream – and who realized that dream, in great part, through astonishing success in our industry,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of ASI, on Wednesday night during a black-tie celebration at Morgan Manufacturing in Chicago, IL.

The winners of the 2017 Counselor Awards are:

  • Person of the Year: Henrik Johansson, CEO of Boundless (asi/143717)
  • International Person of the Year: Ralf Oster, CEO of PFConcept, the European arm of supplier Polyconcept
  • Supplier Entrepreneurs of the Year: Jason Lucash and Mike Szymczak, founders of Origaudio (asi/75254)
  • Distributor Entrepreneurs of the Year: Shaun Lichtenberger and Chris Sinclair, co-owners of Brand Blvd (asi/145124)
  • Supplier Family Business of the Year: Charles River Apparel (asi/44620)
  • Distributor Family Business of the Year: Midwest Promotional Group (asi/270800)
  • Distributor Woman of Distinction: Shamini Peter, COO of Axis Promotions (asi/128263)
  • Supplier Woman of Distinction: Cindy Bergler, president of Express-A-Button (asi/53408/84820)
  • Technology Executive of the Year: Eric Shonebarger, chief information officer of Hit Promotional Products (asi/61125)
  • Marvin Spike Lifetime Achievement Award: Paul Lage, president and CEO of Gill Studios (asi/56950)
  • Bess Cohn Memorial Humanitarian Award: Philip Koosed, president of Bamko (asi/131431)

The 2017 Counselor Awards took place during ASI Show® Chicago at McCormick Place, held Tuesday, July 11, through Thursday, July 13, and featuring a keynote by Daymond John, co-host of the Emmy Award-winning reality TV show, Shark Tank.

For more on the 2017 Counselor Award winners, go to or read this month’s special State of the Industry issue of ASI’s Counselor magazine, available online and in print.

For more info on the Counselor Awards, please contact Counselor Editor-in-Chief Dave Vagnoni at [email protected].

About ASI
The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI®) serves a network of 23,500 suppliers, distributors and decorators in the $23 billion promotional products industry. ASI’s flagship product, the technology platform ESP®, serves the industry’s supply and marketing chain. ASI also produces award-winning digital and print content, live events and educational programs that enable companies in 61 countries to be more efficient, productive and profitable. ASI’s Counselor® magazine provides the most authoritative business content in the industry, and the ASI Certification Program features 500+ live and online education courses for over 40,000 professionals. The company, family owned and operated since 1962, is proud to have been consistently ranked among the “Best Places to Work” in Philadelphia and Bucks County, PA. For more info: