ASI Chicago Celebrates 15th Anniversary with Fun and Flair

Ad specialty industry kicks off second half of the year at the largest show of the summer

CHICAGO, IL – July 17, 2014 – The Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) celebrated its 15th anniversary of hosting a national trade show in Chicago with a business-boosting event that featured 50 education sessions, leading suppliers, 22 team-building distributor sales meetings and a multimedia keynote by graffiti artist, entrepreneur and motivational speaker Erik Wahl on using creativity to super-charge your potential.

“Erik Wahl’s presentation was astounding,” said Wanda Brooks, of Warehouse Direct (asi/355433). “I’m so inspired to instill what he spoke about today into my business. I rate this keynote a 10 plus.” The keynote was sponsored by Showdown Displays (asi/87188).

ASI Chicago took place Tuesday, July 15, through Thursday, July 17, at McCormick Place and featured 750 exhibiting companiesincluding numerous Counselor® Top 40 suppliers and 105 exhibitors new to Chicago this year. Total distributor attendance was more than 4,300, from distributor firms based in 42 states and eight countries. The showthe largest ad specialty trade show of the summeris a favorite of entrepreneurs, CEOs and small-business owners located throughout the Midwest and beyond.

Go to for complete coverage of the show, including blogs and videos from ASI’s on-site editorial team.

“We have about 30 salespeople here,” said Michael Giachetti, of Standard Register (asi/333647). “We attend all The ASI Shows® because it’s the perfect way for our local and regional teams to take advantage of ASI Education, spend time with our diamond partner sponsors and visit with a wide variety of suppliers. ASI is a wonderful partner.”

Jason Christianson, of JC Imaginations (asi/234328), said, “ASI Chicago has been great. I came looking for new, innovative items for schools and colleges and I found tons.”

ASI’s education, which featured a special half-day session with business coach Stephen M.R. Covey titled “Selling at the Speed of Trust,” attracted more than 350 suppliers and distributors. Covey detailed why high trust is the key driver of better relationships, improved sales and greater workplace productivity.

One of many special benefits ASI members could take advantage of included free education, which featured strategic sessions on scoring sales as well as a new Screen-Printing Success Track, part of ASI’s new relationship with ST Media, sponsored by Workhorse Products. ASI also unveiled the new Signage + Decoration Pavilion, produced in partnership with ST Media, featuring well-known equipment companies and live education allowing attendees to explore niche sales opportunities and speak to experts in potential new markets.

“Being at ASI Chicago is the perfect way to show our technology to ASI members,” said Randy Paar, of Canon Solutions America (asi/14976). “A lot of other industries that are using traditional printing methods, like screen printing, are moving in this direction. This technology really opens up the types of applications that the promotional products industry can supply the end-user. We’re impressed with the show and are glad to be part of the Signage + Decoration Pavilion.”

ASI’s president and chief executive officer, Timothy M. Andrews, said “innovation” was the word of the day at ASI Chicago. “I’ve seen some very new packaging ideas along with some traditional decorating techniques applied to new products. We also had great interest in the new Signage + Decoration pavilion and I’m sure two days of demos made distributors really appreciate all the decorating suppliers do for them. Lots of people got to experience the digital equipment for themselves and many suppliers visited the pavilion to see new equipment they should be specifying for their factories.”

“It’s been great to talk to people and to hear how bullish they are on the second half of the year,” said Andrews. “Suppliers and distributors alike are very positive on our industry and are looking forward to a stronger finish than ever.”

“It was wonderful to end the national show year on such a high note at ASI Chicago,” said Rita Ugianskis-Fishman, vice president and general manager of The ASI Show. “We’ve gotten wonderful feedback from everybodysuppliers, distributors and decorators alike, and we are all super psyched for 2015.”

Exhibitors were delighted with the show because it gave them a terrific opportunity to display their latest, greatest products, talk to numerous distributors and discuss creative ad campaigns.

Jennifer Grigorian from Hit Promotional Products (asi/61125), said, “The ASI Shows deliver very good traffic. We always leave with new relationships and really benefit from spending one-on-one time with our customers. We have a number of our new summer products, as well as new tech items, on display. Take a look around. There are a ton of distributors inside our booth, and outwe can never complain.”

The show also featured the debut of the #ASIpromocar, an “Art Car” decorated with a variety of promotional products donated by ASI suppliers and driven 750 miles from ASI headquarters in Philadelphia to the show, where it was on display and available for people to sign and get their photo taken. The car is intended to drive attention to the creativity and ingenuity in the promotional products industry.

Wednesday, ASI’s product expert, Joe Haley, conducted a live version of his popular “Joe Show,” featuring dozens of cool, new products from leading suppliers. Wednesday night was devoted to nonstop socializing when the fun continued after hours with a special Gala Celebration on the Mystic Blue on the Chicago waterways.

During the show, ASI also hosted the prestigious 2014 Counselor® Awards, held this year at Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications. Norman Hullinger, CEO of Top 40 alphabroder (asi/34063), was named 2014 Counselor Person of the Year. Suzanne Worwood of 4imprint Inc. (asi/197045), was named 2014 Counselor International Person of the Year. The awards, chosen by editors of ASI’s Counselor magazine, recognize outstanding individuals and companies. For the complete list, click here.

At the ceremony, Counselor also announced the Top 40 Distributors and Top 40 Suppliersthe largest companies in the $20.5 billion promotional products industry, based upon 2013 revenue.

Registration for the 2015 ASI Shows opens July 19 at ASI’s 2015 shows are: ASI Orlando, January 4-6, Orange County Convention Center; ASI Dallas, February 3-5, Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center; ASI Long Beach, March 24-26, Long Beach Convention Center; ASI New York, May 6-7, Javits Center, North Pavilion; ASI Chicago, July 14-16, McCormick Place. An unprecedented roster of business and leadership trailblazers includes Steve Wozniak and Peyton Manning. For information on exhibiting or sponsorship opportunities, contact Karen DiTomasso, vice president of sales, at [email protected].

About The ASI Show
The ASI Show was created for active ASI member distributors and suppliers, and attracts more distributors than any other industry show, with 20,000 attendees. Offering a full education conference, networking opportunities and a manageable one-floor/one-hall layout, The ASI Show provides a complete trade show experience. In five host cities per year (Orlando, Dallas, Long Beach, New York and Chicago), The ASI Show is ideal for advertising specialty businesses searching for new ideas and new business. Additionally, The ASI Show runs the Advantages® Roadshow, the ad specialty industry’s most popular traveling show, and ASIlitate, ASI’s hosted buyer event.