TREVOSE, PA – Aug. 4, 2005 – Counselor magazine, published by the Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI®), the largest media organization serving the promotional products industry, profiles the 2005 Counselor Awards winners in its August issue, which is mailing this week to subscribers. The most prominent recipient amongst the seven awards is China, named Counselor ‘Person of the Year’.
The annual awards recognize outstanding individuals for the categories of ‘Person of the Year’, ‘Woman of Distinction’, ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’, ‘Supplier Entrepreneur of the Year’, ‘International Person of the Year’ and ‘Client of the Year’.
Melinda Ligos, editor-in-chief for Counselor magazine, said: “The Counselor Awards recognize dynamic businesspeople and industry-leading companies, that are making a mark upon the promotional products industry in innovative and profitable ways.”
The 2005 Counselor Awards winners are:
This year is the first time the ‘Person of the Year’ category recognizes a country. Typically, this award is presented to an individual, however China was selected because the awards panel believed no other entity or individual has impacted so many areas of the promotional products business in recent years, with the prospect of large impacts yet to come.
“China has long been the single largest producer of promotional merchandise, representing, by some estimates, three-quarters of total products,” observed Timothy M. Andrews, president of ASI. “There is some great concern in our industry about the potential entry of Chinese manufacturers directly into the United States, which we do not support or encourage, and which we need to be mindful of. As an industry, we need to continue to balance the important role China has with its potential competition.”
Indeed, Chinese products continue to play an important role in the U.S. promotional products market. This year’s Counselor State of the Industry survey, released last month, reports that nearly sixty percent of suppliers imported products into the United States from foreign countries, with fifty-three percent of those saying that their imported amounts increased between 2003 and 2004. With products increasingly coming from Asia, industry companies expect the number of imports to grow even further, making China a country to watch.
The ‘International Person of the Year’ recipient is Trevor Gnesin, owner of Logomark, Inc. (asi/67866). Gnesin, who built Logomark after emigrating to California with his family from South Africa in the early 1990s, is proud that his firm provides an exceptional level of customer service. Logomark has achieved revenues that have always increased year-to-year, at a rate never less than thirty percent, and is set to top $150 million in sales within the next two or three years.
“I won’t settle for just doing something right,” said Gnesin. “What we do can’t just be right, it has to be good. Whether you are a client ordering five pieces or five thousand, you have to be happy.”
The ‘Supplier Entrepreneur of the Year’ award recognizes the dynamic team of Brady and Jeff Anderton, co-founders of Leashables by Oralabs (asi/75202). The company, which produces lip balm wrapped in neoprene and attached to a lanyard, achieved $4 million in sales in 2004, including $1 million in promotional products revenues. It is poised to double that figure for 2005, with the help of Jeff’s creative marketing ideas, Brady’s back-end business savvy and their ability to listen intently to their clients.
Brady Anderton noted: “One thing we’re very willing to do is go to a customer’s site and hear how we can help them customize the product to fit their needs.”
Jodi Fishman-Osti, president of International Merchandise Concepts, IMC (asi/62820), ‘Woman of Distinction’, was recognized for her tremendous role in growing IMC, where she rose from receptionist to president. Under her guidance, IMC has become a recognized leader in stylish, innovative products. Ross Silverstein, president of iPROMOTEu (asi/232119), was recognized as ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’. He originally launched his business as an Internet startup, realized the business model wasn’t working, was forced to reduce staff dramatically, and then implemented a new business model. He now anticipates 2005 sales of $20 million.
To learn more about each of the seven dynamic 2005 Counselor Awards winners, read the August issue of Counselor magazine, at http://asicentral.com/asp/open/news/counselor/index.asp, or contact Melinda Ligos, editor-in-chief, at 800-546-1350 or at [email protected].
Advertising Specialty Institute is the largest media organization serving the promotional products industry, with a membership of 21,000 distributor firms (sellers) and supplier firms (manufacturers) of promotional products. Supplier firms use ASI print and electronic resources to market products to more than 18,000 distributor firms. Distributor firms use ASI print and electronic resources, which contain more than 750,000 promotional products, to locate supplier firms and to market services to buyers of promotional products. It provides catalogs, information directories, newsletters, magazines, websites and databases, and offers interactive e-commerce, marketing and selling tools. Visit www.asicentral.com.