(From left) Mark Shinn, MAS; Jessica Hutwelker, MAS; and Daniel Roso met with Washington’s legislators in Olympia.

PPAI joined industry professionals and the Northwest Promotional Marketing Association (NWPMA) last week in Salem, Oregon, and Olympia, Washington, for L.E.A.D. Local events. L.E.A.D. Local is the Association’s state-level legislative outreach effort to deliver the message of the promotional products industry to state legislators, and draws on practices established with PPAI’s annual Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.) in Washington, D.C.

PPAI Public Affairs Director Anne Stone and Government Relations Manager Joseph Landeros joined industry members in Salem on March 1 before traveling to Olympia for meetings at the state capital on March 2. They joined Dani Smith, CAS, owner of distributor Third Day Creations (PPAI 429159) in Hermiston, Oregon, and Daniel Roso, vice president of sales and marketing at Gig Harbor, Washington, supplier TravelChair Company (PPAI 113178) in Salem, and then reconnected with Roso in Olympia along with Mark Shinn, MAS, president of multi-line rep firm Incentives West (PPAI 224617), and Jessica Hutwelker, MAS, a Seattle, Washington-based account manager with supplier The Magnet Group (PPAI 338534).

“It was an honor to work alongside industry veterans like Mark Shinn, Anne Stone and Danita Smith to advocate for our industry this past week,” says Roso. “To me, it is critical that we as an industry tell our individual stories and advocate the value of promotional products to key decision makers in our districts. Building this awareness and fostering relationships with the right people will be invaluable when legislation is put into play and decisions have to be made.”

During the two days at the capitals, L.E.A.D. Local participants held 45 meetings with legislators, educating them on the power of promotional products as a communications tool, the industry, and its impact on the states and their economies. There are 436 promotional product companies in Oregon, generating more than $85.7 million annually and employing more than 3,088 people. And 99 percent of those companies are small businesses. Similarly, 97 percent of Washington’s 706 promotional products companies—generating more than $949.68 million annually and employing more than 6,740 people—are small businesses.

L.E.A.D. Local also shares the mission of L.E.A.D. in Washington, D.C.—to build lasting relationships with elected officials and their offices.

“Our meetings with the representative and senators in Olympia laid the foundation for further engagement between the industry and state legislators,” says Shinn. “We didn’t travel to the capital with any particular requests or legislation in mind. We were there to educate them on promotional products and the industry, to create a continuing dialogue that NWPMA members can use as a bridge with their representatives, and establish that we can serve as a resource that legislators can go to for information on our industry.”

Shinn adds, “On behalf of all of us, I’d like to thank Anne and Joseph for making L.E.A.D. Local possible, and such a productive experience for NWPMA and its members.”

The industry travels to Washington, D.C., April 26-27 to meet with representatives and senators on Capitol Hill. To stay connected with L.E.A.D. Local and PPAI’s legislative efforts, visit the Association’s website or follow @PPAILAW on Twitter.