Remi Walle  /


Volunteers from the promotional products industry are an important and vital part of PPAI’s success. This fourth installment of an ongoing PPB series introducing the volunteers and initiatives that have helped make the Association what it is today, focuses on Bucky Holcomb, owner and president of distributor Pine State Marketing in Mount Airey, North Carolina, and chair of PPAI’s Certification Committee. He also previously chaired the Association’s Leadership Advisory Committee (LAC).

For Holcomb, it’s the people he meets and interacts with that draws him to volunteering, both inside and outside the industry. He says, “I enjoy working with the PPAI staff and other volunteers. A lot of folks have heard me say, ‘If you can’t have fun volunteering, don’t do it.’ I have had the pleasure of working with a great group of people at CAAMP [Carolinas Association of Advertising and Marketing Professionals] and PPAI. At home, I volunteer at our church and at the Children’s Center of Northwest North Carolina. Volunteering is a great way to share our blessings. In Luke 12:48, Luke tells us, ‘To whom much is given, much will be required.’ I have been very blessed and I enjoy sharing when possible.”  

Holcomb adds, “In my opinion, volunteering is not about benefitting our careers. It is about giving back and sharing our talents. However, the friends I have made while volunteering are also a great resource.  They are willing to provide information and guidance when asked. I have learned so much about our industry while involved with CAAMP and the PPAI committees. This has helped me position my company so we provide more services for our customers.”  

The personal connection Holcomb has experienced volunteering has only inspired him to continue offering his time and expertise to developing the industry. He says, “I want to see us grow our volunteer base. I believe that we have to emphasize the personal invitation. I can remember Mark Seay [MAS+, CAAMP’s 2011 board president] and Jim Hayes [MAS, CAAMP’s 2012 board president] coming up to me during one of our CAAMP events and asking me to run for election to the CAAMP board of directors. It was this invitation and their confidence in me that got me involved in volunteering in our industry.” 

While his volunteer work has brought Holcomb several memorable experiences, lifting up the groups he worked with have been his priority. “I am proud of the zebra-striped platform shoes I gave Danny Rosin when his term on LAC ended, or maybe the push-pin map at CAAMP—an inside story. But honestly, there have been no personal accomplishments,” says Holcomb. “I believe that volunteering is all about working as a group. I have been very fortunate to be a part of some great boards and committees that had outstanding leadership before me. While on the CAAMP board, we recognized that too many of our activities were based in Charlotte. We put a lot of effort into expanding our CAAMPfire lunch-and-learn meetings from one to six as we tried to reach our members throughout North and South Carolina. While on the LAC, we fine-tuned a very thorough leadership selection process, but we spent a lot of time improving our communication with the PPAI board of directors to make sure the process was in-tune with the skill set needed by the board. Most recently, my volunteering on the Certification Committee has been cheering on and supporting talented PPAI staff members as they revamped our outdated certification process.”  


James Khattak is news editor of PPB.