ASI Announces Outstanding Winners of Prestigious 2018 Counselor Awards

ETS Express CEO Sharon Eyal honored as Person of the Year; National Pen President and CEO Peter Kelly selected as International Person of the Year

CHICAGO, IL – July 26, 2018 – The Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) today announced the winners of the 2018 Counselor® Awards, including ETS Express CEO Sharon Eyal as Person of the Year and president and CEO of Cimpress-owned National Pen, Peter Kelly, as International Person of the Year.

The awards, nominated by industry peers and chosen by the editors of ASI’s award­-winning Counselor magazine, recognize outstanding individuals and companies in eight categories. The winners represent the best and brightest entrepreneurs, small­-business leaders and CEOs in the $23.6 billion promotional products industry.

Click here for stories and videos on each of the 2018 award recipients and here for a photo gallery and livestream videos of acceptance speeches from the Counselor Awards black-tie ceremony on ASI’s Facebook page (#ASIawards), held Wednesday evening at The Geraghty in Chicago.

During the industry’s most anticipated awards ceremony, Counselor also unveiled the Top 40 Distributor and Top 40 Supplier rankings – the largest companies in the industry based on 2017 revenue. For the first time in many years, the number-one companies topping the Top 40 lists are brand new to the top slot.

Among suppliers, SanMar (asi/84863) was number one, setting an industry record with $1.4 billion in sales, with alphabroder (asi/34063) and Polyconcept North America rounding out the top three spots on the list.

Among distributors, 4imprint (asi/197045) was number one, with a record-setting $608 million in North American promotional products sales, with Staples Promotional Products (asi/120601) and HALO Branded Solutions (asi/356000) coming in at numbers two and three.

“The acclaimed Counselor award recognizes the hardworking companies and creative individuals who are always moving forward, helping to grow our industry,” said Timothy M. Andrews, ASI president and chief executive officer. “ASI is delighted to commemorate their contributions.”

The winners of the 2018 Counselor Awards are:

  • Person of the Year: Sharon Eyal, CEO of ETS Express (asi/51197)
  • International Person of the Year: Peter Kelly, president and CEO of Cimpress-owned National Pen (asi/281040)
  • Supplier Entrepreneurs of the Year: Erin Reilly and Sterling Wilson, founder/CEO and founder/president of Pop! Promos (asi/45657)
  • Distributor Entrepreneur of the Year: Mitch Mounger, CEO of Sunrise Identity (asi/339206)
  • Family Business of the Year: Scarborough Specialties (asi/319940)
  • Technology Executive of the Year: Jonas Temple, CIO at The Magnet Group (asi/68507)
  • Distributor Woman of Distinction: Faride Jarufe, owner of Grupo Fama (asi/215405)
  • Supplier Woman of Distinction: Kellie Claudio, senior vice president of sales/marketing at Sweda (asi/90305)
  • Marvin Spike Lifetime Achievement Award: Gene Geiger, owner/CEO of the Geiger Group (asi/202900)
  • Bess Cohn Humanitarian Award: Peter Hirsch, president of Hirsch Gift (asi/61005)

With the 2018 Person of the Year at the helm, Oxnard, CA-based ETS Express is the market leader in the industry’s drinkware category, setting the standard for customer service and production with a five-year overall growth rate of 97% and nearing $100 million in annual sales. ETS was also named the number-one large company on Counselor’s 2018 Best Places to Work list, as voted on by Eyal’s 500+ employees. Also this year, ETS won a unanimous jury decision in a massive trademark infringement case brought by S’well. Eyal emigrated to the U.S. from Israel when he was nine, mastered English and soon began climbing the ranks of the supplier firm his father, Ely Eastman, founded in 1985.

“I’m especially happy to present this award because I think this winner represents one of our industry’s greatest success stories,” said Andrews when honoring Eyal at the awards ceremony. “In fact, it’s one of our country’s greatest success stories. Our winner began working part-time as a teenager at ETS. By 18, he was full-time, doing everything from washing mugs and unpacking shipments to loading and unloading trucks, driving a forklift and running printing equipment. By his early 20s, he was managing the company, working 20-hour days and displaying an enthusiasm and energy that became legendary.”

For in-depth profiles of all the winners, visit or read this month’s special State of the Industry issue of ASI’s Counselor magazine, available in print and online.

The 2018 Counselor Awards took place during ASI Show® Chicago at McCormick Place, held Tuesday, July 24, through Thursday, July 26, and featuring a keynote by Shark Tank co-host investor Robert Herjavic.

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 $23.6 billion promotional products industry. ASI’s flagship product, the technology platform ESP®, manages the industry’s entire supply and marketing chain. ASI also produces award-winning digital and print content, live events and educational programs that enable companies in 55 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: