PPAI announces the inaugural Promotional Products Pioneers recognition program. The program honors individuals whose business acumen or technological skills have played a key role in the advancement of the industry. The 2016 Promotional Products Pioneers are ASI Chairman Norman Cohn, Norwood Promotional Products Founder Frank Krasovec, Norscot Group Founder Norm Stern, the late Forest Gill, founder of Gill Studios, Inc., and the late Ralph Thomas, executive director of Advertising Specialty National Association (ASNA).

Promotional Products Pioneers are professionals who have distinguished themselves in the industry through their vision, drive, innovation, character and leadership, or contributed to the development of technologies that stand out in industry advancement. These honorees were selected by the Hall of Fame advisory group which reviewed proposed individuals to gauge the true importance of each person’s historic role in the industry, and considered the candidates’ long-term, significant contributions to their industry trade associations and/or the history of the promotional products industry.

The 2016 recipients were chosen for their unique contributions:

  • Norman Cohn was noted for his impact on the development of the industry, building ASI into a powerful for-profit media, marketing and education organization and service provider.
  • Frank Krasovec was the first to bring private equity money into the industry and was a leader in supplier aggregation.
  • Norm Stern pioneered the development of client-specific licensed merchandise programs and business-to-business direct mail marketing, as well as the manufacture and distribution of die-cast scale model replicas.
  • Forest Gill introduced influential new technologies to the industry. After World War II, Gill combined fluorescent ink and self-sticking adhesive to create the self-adhesive bumper sticker.
  • Ralph Thomas joined ASNA as the organization’s executive director in 1956. In 1964, he led the merger of ASNA and the Guild to form the Specialty Advertising Association—now PPAI—and was named its first president.

Recognition of the inaugural PPAI Promotional Products Pioneers will take place Monday, January 11 at The PPAI Expo 2016 in Las Vegas during the Chairman’s Leadership Dinner. Tickets to the awards presentation can be purchased through registration.