PPAI Honors Nevins, Woods, Duggan and Lazarus At Chairman’s Leadership Dinner

The late Janelle Nevins, formerly senior vice president at Silver Spring, Maryland-based distributor Summit Group, and David Woods, MAS, retired president and CEO of Neenah, Wisconsin, distributor AIA Corporation, received PPAI’s highest honors Monday night as they were inducted into the 2018 PPAI Hall of Fame. The presentation took place at the Chairman’s Leadership Dinner during The PPAI Expo in Las Vegas.

For more than 40 years, the PPAI Hall of Fame has honored leaders in the promotional products industry who have had a monumental impact on the industry and their communities.

The event also honored two other volunteers for their selfless dedication and volunteerism to PPAI and the industry—Charles Duggan II, MAS+ and William “Bill” Lazarus were presented with the PPAI Distinguished Service Award. The award recognizes PPAI members who consistently contribute their skills and expertise toward the betterment of the Association through volunteer service and leadership.

Duggan is the national and strategic key accounts manager, West, for San Diego, California-based supplier Goldstar. Lazarus is owner and vice president of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, distributor Promotional Breezes.

The elegant black-tie event was hosted by PPAI Chair Mary Jo Tomasini, MAS+, and Paul Bellantone, CAE, president and CEO of PPAI, in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center ballroom, with nearly 200 in attendance including current and past board members, volunteer leaders, and industry legends and luminaries who came to pay tribute to this year’s honorees.

In addition to the four award winners, the Association also recognized three individuals in its annual Promotional Products Pioneers tribute for their vision, drive, innovation, character and leadership in the industry. Marty Lott, owner and president of SanMar, was honored for developing a highly successful business model which grew out of a t-shirt business he launched in his parent’s basement after college graduation; the late Bill Schmidt, former owner and president of Hit Promotional Products, was honored for a new and highly successful business model  that created one of the largest supplier companies in the industry; and S. Allen Dohan, CEO of The Allen Company, was honored for his decorating innovations in drinkware and for testifying in Washington, D.C., about product safety in the 1980s.

Nominator Marsha Londe, CEO of Tango Promotions and a longtime friend of Nevins, presented Nevins’s Hall of Fame induction by lauding her many qualities, contributions and talents. “Janelle was part of a group of women who didn’t know there was a glass ceiling. To be more like Janelle, each of us can create a culture in which we want to perform and encourage the best in others. Tonight, we honor Janelle not only for her accomplishments in business but how she accomplished business. An industry icon, breaker of glass ceilings, fearless risk taker, leader, mentor, friend. Our industry is stronger for Janelle’s presence, example and influence.” Nevins’s daughter, Whitney, accepted the award in her mother’s honor.

Nevins found her start in the industry while working at a marketing business owned by her husband and father-in-law. She landed Coca-Cola as a client with a cold call, a client she kept for the rest of her career. In the following decades, Nevins Marketing Group grew into a prominent Atlanta-area presence in the promotional products industry, and later became a part of the Summit Group.

Nevins served on the PPAI Board of Directors as well as on the Public Relations Committee, the PPAI Centennial Committee, the Conventions Advisory Council, the Public Relations Advisory Council and the Distributors Advisory Council. Outside of PPAI, she was active in the Georgia Association of Promotional Products (GAPPP) and a board member. She was named the ASI Person of the Year in 1998 and the Counselor Person of the Year in 1999, and was a founder of the PeerNet Group, an alliance of promotional products and marketing distributors. Nevins passed away in August 2012 after a long illness.

In 2013, she was honored posthumously as a recipient of the PPAI Woman of Achievement Award, and in 2016 was the first inductee to the Georgia Association Of Promotional Products Professionals (GAPPP) Hall of Fame.

Steve Slagle, CAE, retired president and CEO of PPAI, introduced Woods by recalling the pair’s many experiences together during Woods’s volunteer years as PPAI board chair and his brief tenure as COO at the Association. “David has had an enormous impact on the people he met, those he worked with and those he served with as a volunteer in the Association,” said Slagle.

Woods accepted the honor by thanking about a dozen people, many in the room, to whom he said he owed much of his success. “There are no self-made men or women,” he noted before announcing that his family would create a Woods Family Scholarship endowed in perpetuity for need-based Promotional Products Education Foundation scholarship applicants.

When Woods retired from AIA Corporation in 2016, it concluded an industry career that began in 1991 when he joined the Lee Wayne Company as president and CEO. Over the next 25 years he held top leadership positions and was responsible for key turnarounds at Lee Wayne, HALO Promotional Products and Adventures In Advertising, now AIA Corporation. He also served briefly as COO at PPAI while the Association was moving The PPAI Expo from Dallas to Las Vegas.

Woods’ professional history is characterized by extensive volunteer service and leadership. He has served on the PPAI board and as chair, on the International Committee and as chair; as a member of the Strategic Planning Committee and as a member and chair of the Events Action Group. Woods was also a PPEF board trustee.

PPAI board member Danny Rosin, CAS, presented the PPAI Distinguished Service Award to his friend Charles Duggan with a humorous, tongue-in-cheek tribute. “We need more Charles Duggans in this world,” he said, before inviting Duggan to the stage.

“My goal is to make someone smile and make their day,” Duggan said, recalling the many times he’s thanked people in service positions with promotional products—and the wonderful memories those experiences made. “Gifts come in many forms. Share your time and talent and the rewards will be yours.” He challenged listeners to volunteer in the industry at their regionals or at PPAI. “If you haven’t done it yet, do it this year,” he urged.

Duggan is a former member of the PPAI Board of Directors and was a member of the Distributors and Membership Services Committees; the Marketing Information and Research, Public Relations, Product Responsibility and Professional Development Action Groups; and the MAS/CAS Certification Board. He also served on PPAI’s Global Task Force and Leadership Advisory Committee. He is a regular speaker at PPAI and regional association education programs, and is an active member of the Promotional Products Association of the Midwest, including serving on its board as president in 2015.

The work and volunteer contributions of Bill Lazarus, MAS, were lauded by friend and colleague Joel Schaffer, MAS, CEO of Soundline, and son, Steven Lazarus, MAS, president of distributor Promotional Breezes. The pair presented Lazarus with the PPAI Distributor Service Award recalling his many valuable contributions and dedication to the Specialty Advertising Association of Greater New York (SAAGNY) and the Gold Coast Promotional Products Association (GCPPA). “These people are givers,” said Schaffer about both of the 2018 Distinguished Service Award honorees.

A long-time industry volunteer, Lazarus has lent his talents to both PPAI and the regional association community. His volunteer service with PPAI has included leadership roles with the Conventions Advisory Council, the Distributors Advisory Council, the Education Advisory Council and the Distributors Advisory Council, as well as with the Association’s Distributors Committee, Leadership Committee, Conventions Committee, Strategic Planning Committee and the Chairman’s Committee of 100.

He has also held leadership positions at SAAGNY and GCPPA and in 2009 was GCPPA board president.

Read more about the lives and contributions of this year’s award winners in PPB magazine’s January issue.

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