ASI Announces Winners of 2013 Counselor Awards

Polyconcept North America President David Nicholson named Person of the Year;
Chris Lee, chief executive of Brand Addition, selected International Person of the Year

TREVOSE, PA – July 18, 2013 – The Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) today announced the winners of the 2013 Counselor Awards, including David Nicholson as Person of the Year and Chris Lee as International Person of the Year.

The awards, chosen by editors of ASI’s Counselor® magazine, recognize outstanding individuals and companies in seven categories. The winners represent some of the brightest talent in the $19.4 billion advertising specialty industry. At the ceremony, which took place Wednesday at the Art Institute of Chicago, Counselor also announced the Top 40 Distributors and Top 40 Suppliers rankings – the largest companies in the industry based upon 2012 revenue.

“In many ways, these awards represent the long-term commitment to this industry of so many of our winners, from David Nicholson’s 20 years in the business to the third generation of leadership at The Vernon Company,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of ASI. “It was especially fitting for three generations of the Cohn family, owners of ASI since 1962, to stand together on stage and hand out so many of the top awards during such a special evening. This industry is all about relationships and about the commitments we have to each other.”

The winners of the 2013 Counselor Awards are:

  • Person of the Year: David Nicholson, president of Polyconcept North America
  • International Person of the Year: Chris Lee, chief executive of Brand Addition
  • Distributor Entrepreneur of the Year: Scott Alterman and Jordy Gamson, CEO and CEO/owner, The Icebox (asi/229395)
  • Supplier Entrepreneur of the Year: Richard Firkser, owner, St. Regis Crystal (asi/84595)
  • Marvin Spike Lifetime Achievement, distributor: Bill Vernon, CEO, The Vernon Company (asi/351700)
  • Marvin Spike Lifetime Achievement, supplier: Maribeth Sandford, CEO, Bag Makers (asi/37940)
  • Bess Cohn Memorial Humanitarian: Danny Rosin, co-owner, Brand Fuel (asi/145025)
  • Supplier Woman of Distinction: Lori Kates, Vitronic Promotional Group (asi/93990)
  • Distributor Woman of Distinction: Barb Wells, Staples Promotional Products (asi/120601)
  • Distributor Family Business of the Year: Bergman Incentives (asi/137955)
  • Supplier Family Business of the Year: WOV-IN (asi/92980)/Promo Pet (asi/79698)

During the ceremony, which featured video highlights of each winner, Polyconcept North America (PCNA) was lauded as the industry gold standard of sales, service and innovation. With Nicholson at the helm, PCNA has won an unprecedented number of Counselor Distributor Choice awards for service and product development and saw sales grow 8% from 2011 to 2012, making it a $443 million entity.

“Just 43 years old, David is one of the youngest executives ever named Counselor Person of the Year, but thanks to his brilliant leadership over a staff of over 1,500 people, Polyconcept North America has become an industry powerhouse,” said Andrews during the Counselor Awards ceremony. “His company credo is all about what’s next – the next big idea, the next innovation, the next major accomplishment. At the same time, he’s committed to pulling the next generation right along with him – and to helping them think outside the box to adapt to inevitable changes in our industry – and the business world at large.”

For more on the 2013 Counselor Award winners and to view the complete Top 40 Distributors and Top 40 Suppliers rankings click here.

About ASI
The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) is the largest media, marketing and education organization serving the promotional products industry, with a network of over 25,000 distributors and suppliers throughout North America. ASI leads the industry in technology solutions, providing cloud-based e-commerce, enterprise resource planning software (ERP) and customer relationship management software (CRM). ESP Web® is the industry’s leading tool for sourcing hundreds of thousands of products. A family-owned business since 1962, ASI also provides online research, marketing, advertising opportunities, trade shows, education, award-winning magazines, newsletters, custom websites and catalogs to help members sell, market and promote their brands. Visit ASI at and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and the CEO’s blog.

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