ASI Announces Winners of Prestigious 2022 Counselor Awards

Jim Shannon, CEO of S&S Activewear, named Person of the Year; John Lynch, founder of Lynka, named International Person of the Year

CHICAGO, IL – July 21, 2022 – The Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) today announced the honorees of the 2022 Counselor Awards, including Jim Shannon, CEO of S&S Activewear (asi/84358), the industry’s third largest promotional products supplier with over $1.5 billion in 2021 North American promo revenue, as Person of the Year, and John Lynch, founder of leading European decorator Lynka, as International Person of the Year.

Counselor Award recipients were honored Wednesday night at an elegant awards ceremony at the McCormick Place Convention Center during the 23rd ASI Chicago trade show. Profiles of the 10 industry leaders and family businesses named Counselor Award honorees are now live at

“Two years of COVID taught us many lessons – foremost among them is the certainty that we can triumph over anything,” said Timothy M. Andrews, ASI president and chief executive officer, at the awards ceremony, celebrated in person after two virtual celebrations. “We’re all still here, together, in an industry we all love. Tonight, through the Counselor awards – a tradition dating to 1965 – we’re honoring our industry’s fortitude, self-reliance and success, exemplified by our honorees.”

In the past 18 months, Shannon orchestrated major acquisitions of former Top 40 supplier TSC Apparel and TSF Sportswear, and arranged the sale of S&S to private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. S&S also remains a leader on several major fronts in the promo industry, including sustainability and the growing availability of brand names.

In 2021, Lynch sold majority ownership of his Polish-based company to Top 40 supplier Vantage Apparel (asi/93390), launched a new print-on-demand business, and published a novel that topped the Polish best-seller list. The humanitarian also launched Corporate Aid for Ukraine (CAU), a rapid response, front-line charitable organization created to raise funds from U.S. businesses, while transporting Ukrainian refugees to shelters and the homes of Polish citizens.

Also Wednesday, ASI’s award-winning Counselor magazine revealed its annual Top 40 distributor and Top 40 supplier rankings the largest companies in the industry based on 2021 promo revenue.

“Two years of COVID taught us many lessons – foremost among them is the certainty that we can triumph over anything,” said ASI CEO Tim Andrews

With $822 million in North American promotional products sales, HALO Branded Solutions (asi/356000) remained the number-one distributor for the second year in a row, followed by 4imprint (asi/197045), Staples Promotional Products (asi/120601), Proforma (asi/300094) and Cimpress (asi/162149).

SanMar (asi/84863) once again topped the supplier list with $2.88 billion in sales. Rounding out the top five were alphabroder (asi/34063), S&S Activewear (asi/84358), Polyconcept North America (asi/78897) and Hit Promotional Products (asi/61125).

The 2022 Counselor Award honorees are:

  • Person of the Year: Jim Shannon, CEO of S&S Activewear (asi/84358)
  • International Person of the Year: John Lynch, founder of Lynka
  • Technology Executive of the Year: Mike Knapick, chief information officer of SanMar (asi/84863)
  • Distributor Entrepreneur of the Year: Lisa Smith, founder of Republic Promos (asi/307316)
  • Supplier Entrepreneur of the Year: Amin Siddiqui, founder of imprintID (asi/73651)
  • Distributor Family Business of the Year: Barker Specialty (asi/132690)
  • Supplier Family Business of the Year: Shelbyville Pencil Company/Shepenco (asi/86850)
  • Woman of Distinction: Debbie Abergel, chief strategy officer for Nadel (asi/279600)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Fred Oesen, co-founder of Team Task Force, the first organization to offer U.S. suppliers a chance to visit major markets in Canada, and a former Vice President of ASI Canada
  • Bess Cohn Humanitarian Award: Ben Grossman, co-president of Grossman Marketing Group (asi/215205) and founder of SwagCycle

The 2022 Counselor Awards are nominated by industry peers and chosen by an in-house committee. Recipients are featured in Counselor magazine’s annual State of the Industry (SOI) issue, published in late July and online. Using data from the magazine’s annual SOI survey, Counselor provides coverage and analysis of what matters most to the promo market.

For more information on the Counselor Awards or ASI Media, please contact Michele Bell, ASI vice president of editorial, education and special events, at [email protected].

About ASI
The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI®; serves a network of 25,000 suppliers, distributors and decorators in the $23.2 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 content, live events and educational programs that enable companies in 53 countries to be more efficient, productive and profitable. ASI’s media and research operation provides the most authoritative business content in the industry, and the ASI Certification Program features 200+ live and online education courses for industry 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.