Counselor Top 40 Distributor list features billion-dollar companies for the first time; ASI Chairman Norman Cohn receives the Lifetime Achievement Award
|CHICAGO, IL – July 27, 2023||
The Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) today announced the honorees of the 2023 Counselor Awards, including Andy Shape, CEO of Stran & Company (asi/337725), as Person of the Year, and Teresa Fang, vice president of supply chain at alphabroder (asi/34063), as International Person of the Year.
For the first time, the Counselor Top 40 Distributor list of the most successful companies in the promotional products industry, based on 2022 North American promo revenue, featured billion-dollar distributors. The Counselor Top 40 Supplier list included three multibillion-dollar promo companies, based on 2022 revenue.
Counselor Award recipients and Top 40 companies were honored Wednesday night at a festive awards ceremony at the McCormick Place convention center during the annual ASI Chicago trade show. Profiles of the 12 industry leaders, humanitarians, entrepreneurs and family businesses chosen for a Counselor Award are now live at asicentral.com/news.
“The stories of this year’s honorees are extraordinary and speak to everything that’s great about this industry and, in my mind, our country: the boundless potential to innovate, to create and to impact lives,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of ASI, the leading technology, marketing and information provider in the $25.8 billion promo industry.
In tribute to his unwavering commitment to the promo products industry, ASI Chairman of the Board Norman Cohn received the 2023 Counselor Lifetime Achievement Award. The innovations Cohn has championed since 1962, when his family bought ASI, range from print product encyclopedias, magazines and catalogs, to microfiche, CDs, DVDs, software, web and now artificial intelligence (AI).
“Across his seven decades and the seven continents, Norman Cohn has been the single most passionate flag bearer for the truth that promotional products fuel the greatest marketing ideas,” said Andrews. “From humble beginnings in Iowa, selling food gifts, Norman helped to reinvent the industry from one peddling promo items to a sophisticated industry offering integrated solutions to solve the most vexing marketing problems of businesses of every size.”
“The stories of this year’s honorees are extraordinary and speak to everything that’s great about this industry and, in my mind, our country: the boundless potential to innovate, to create and to impact lives,” said ASI CEO Tim Andrews
Led by Counselor Person of the Year Andy Shape, Stran & Company increased full-year sales 35.8% in 2022, with revenue of $64.25 million. In one of the boldest moves in recent promo history, Shape took a risk in late 2021 taking Stran public. “He’s playing the long game, investing in his people, embracing technologies and seizing strategic acquisitions,” Andrews said. “I applaud his focus and determination to take a path few promo companies have taken, but the path many people are watching closely as they consider their own goals. That trailblazing is the epitome of leadership.”
International Person of the Year Teresa Fang played an essential role in leading alphabroder during pressure-bearing situations like COVID, a major supply chain crisis and the rapidly evolving post-pandemic present. Her tenacity and innovation not only benefited alphabroder, the industry’s third-largest supplier with 2022 revenue of $2 billion, but had a lasting impact on the entire industry. From diversifying sourcing networks beyond China to embracing sustainability, she’s committed to progress and innovation.
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 2022 North American promo revenue.
4imprint (asi/197045) and HALO Branded Solutions (asi/356000) made history with 2022 revenue of $1.1 billion and $1 billion, respectively, marking the first time that the Top 40 Distributor list features billion-dollar firms. London-based 4imprint achieved a 45% year-over-year North American sales increase by processing 30% more orders in 2022. Staples Promotional Products (asi/120601), Custom Ink (asi/173232) and Proforma (asi/300094) round out the top five.
SanMar (asi/84863) continues its reign as the largest promotional products supplier with an estimated $3.4 billion in 2022 revenue. The Issaquah, WA-based firm was recently deemed one of the Best Managed Companies in the U.S. by Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal. Rounding out the top five were S&S Activewear (asi/84358), with an estimated $2.1 billion in 2022 revenue, alphabroder (asi/34063), PCNA (asi/66887) and Gildan (asi/56842).
The 2023 Counselor Award honorees are:
Person of the Year: Andy Shape, CEO of Stran & Company (asi/337725)
International Person of the Year: Teresa Fang, vice president of supply chain at alphabroder (asi/34063)
Technology Executive of the Year: Irwin Goldstein, vice president of enterprise and solution architecture at HALO Branded Solutions (asi/356000)
Distributor Entrepreneurs of the Year: Jon Alagem and Michael Scott Cohen, founders of Harper + Scott (asi/220052)
Supplier Entrepreneur of the Year: William Lovelace, founder of Diamondback Branding (asi/49546)
Distributor Family Business of the Year: Walker-Clay (asi/354530)
Supplier Family Business of the Year: Burnside/Sierra Pacific (asi/87224)
Woman of Distinction: Mary Dobsch, president of The Chest (asi/44830)
Lifetime Achievement Award: Norman Cohn, Chairman of the Board at ASI
Bess Cohn Humanitarian Award/Distributor: Donna Raucher, CEO of Proforma GPS (asi/490714)
Bess Cohn Humanitarian Award/Supplier: Teresa Fudenberg, CEO of Storm Creek (asi/89879)
The 2023 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 print and online August 1. 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].
The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI®; asicentral.com) serves a network of 25,000 suppliers, distributors and decorators in the $25.8 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.