Regional Association Community 2018 Volunteer of the Year

It’s an unexpected honor to be recognized for doing something that has been of tremendous value to me both personally and professionally. I was so grateful to be added to this exclusive community of volunteer leaders recognized for service above and beyond the requirements of our positions.

When someone tells you “don’t hide your light under a barrel”, they’re trying to gift you a gift. Let them. Someday you might be inspired enough to win an award as a result.

So, You’re in Sales? The Successful Skill Set- 2019 Edition

30 years and countless awards later, Rob Dube and the team at Forbes Small Giant  ImageOne have built a culture of success. Listen in as Rob shares his thoughts on the current skills most necessary for success in sales as a career. In part 1 of this 2 part interview, we cover the journey from start up to award-winning business, how two important milestones in their journey unhinged their success and the ways selling has changed (and how it has not)

Regional Association Challenge IGNITE Session October 2018

Binge watching Netflix and Amazon has forever changed the way we consume content.

We released the PromoCares concept at PPAI EXPO 2018 to much interest. We weren’t ready with whatever we should have done to be ready when you touch on a lightning rod. We weren’t then, but, in launching the Regional Association Challenge, we do so with some aces up our sleeve and we come to this moment saying, we have a path for differentiation for Regional Associations to offer members and especially non-members should we have success using the PromoCares Regional Association Challenge as it’s intended, which is to create a case study around the effectiveness of promotional products as a medium in comparison to other ways non-profits currently budget for marketing.

Here’s how I positioned the challenge to the group attending the IGNITE session at LDW this year. Many thanks to PPAI for live streaming this. Bill Petrie will come to love or loathe this video. Not sure where we’ll settle on that, but give it a listen for some perspective.

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The Power of Inspiration – Andy’s Journey


When I first met JR (pictured above) & Taylor at Force Fitness, it was a typical encounter between a professional trainer and a potential client. His question to me was the same any person in his position would ask. My answer served as the kickoff for what proved to be a unique relationship.

My youngest son Ryan, at 20 years old is on a journey, (a quest?), to become a Division 1 College Hockey player. To do so, he has delayed the beginning of his college education and enters his 3rd season of amateur hockey. This year finds him in Shreveport, LA, playing for the MudBugs of the North American Hockey League.

Amateur hockey is supported in small communities all over the South, and the fans of those teams are involved in ways above and beyond fans of professional NHL franchises, in that volunteers from the community sign up to have these 16 – 20 year old young men live in their homes. Sure, there’s a stipend for doing so, but I can assure you as the parent of a boy who polishes off an entire quart of strawberries nightly, it’s not about the money.

Our 1st two seasons as Wichita Falls Wildcats saw Ryan in the good hands of Mary, Darrell, and Andy Albertson. The Albertsons are among some of the finest people in the world and our families will forever remain entwined, in ways more than this story might reveal.

Our first visit with the Albertsons to move Ryan in revealed a paradox. Andy, only a couple years older than Ryan, was fit(ish), friendly if somewhat shy and mostly kept to himself. The paradox was the Andy we’d met was but a fraction of the size of the Andy in the photo’s around the house. Being polite, my questions stayed swallowed but my head was swimming thinking of the potential reasons why Andy may have been so, well, large.

Here’s why:

It was remarkable to watch, but the story only starts here.

We stood in the stands of a cold suburban Minnesota hockey rink, cheering our team toward a bid at their League Championship. Andy was delaying surgery to attend; a surgery that would remove the evidence of his dramatic weight loss and give him the chance to live life without the shackle extra skin can be for a fit 20-something. In that moment, he admitted that the forced idle time his 2-month recovery would require was intimidating to him, as he now equated idleness with being overweight.

I made a casual suggestion that Andy find a way to keep his brain busy while his body was idle, and nudged him in the direction of finding a way to tell his story. The topic came up a number of times over the weekend, but I had no idea he’d take the suggestion and turn it into that video.

A number of months passed, and as my wife and I sat at breakfast with Mary, she showed us the as-yet-unveiled but now-finished video. As we wiped the tears from our eyes at its’ conclusion, Mary, wiping away tears of her own told me that it was a result of my suggestion that Andy had chosen to tell his story.

“It’s because of you Andy had the courage to do this”

As I stood in the gym with JR, his question was simple.

“What’s your goal?”

Instead of throwing out a target weight, a specific BMI or any of the ordinary answers he might hear in reply, I simply said:

“I’ve already achieved my goal”

His furrowed eyebrows told the story, but in the weeks afterward, during our 3 hours per we spent together, I shared with him Andy’s story, my role in it, and how his courage had fueled me to improve my overall health. I wasn’t there to lose weight – mine was a life changed, and time in the gym was but one result of that change.

It was in our next visit to see Ryan and the Albertson family that I surprised Andy with 22 fewer pounds. The time was mine to make Andy understand how his courage had inspired me. It’s gratifying to get 300,000 views of your video (I know because he told me so), but it’s something completely different to know you’ve changed another person’s life.

We’re all on a journey of some sort. Be it to play college hockey, overcome the fear of sharing your story, or to live a healthy life, every journey benefits from inspiration. Don’t be afraid to seek inspiration, be even less afraid to provide it, and never ignore it when presented to you.

P.S. – JR & Taylor at Force Fitness in Winston Salem, NC could not have been better. Their knowledge and talent in challenging me came at the perfect time, and I am forever grateful for their role in helping me make the change I articulated to them during my first visit. While distance keeps us apart, as Taylor has been known to say “Friends who lift together, stay together!”


I Made It…..So NOW What?

This isn’t your average birthday.  Today I become the age of my father in the year of his passing.

At 20 years old, I had absolutely no idea the profound impact his death would have on my life.  In retrospect, many important decisions have been directly influenced by his absence, and I’ve often made decisions out of fear that I would have only those same number of years on Earth.  For what seemed like an eternity, I viewed 2014 with dread.

As my children become young men, I’ve left the fear and doubt behind and replaced it with an air of determination; a desire to be a part of their lives in much the same way that I am certain I would have wanted my dad to be in mine.  While boys need their mothers, young men need their fathers, as the decisions they face are best measured in the crucible of another man’s experience.  We may occasionally chafe at our fathers direction, but the advice is almost always given from a loving place.  Just because I was unfortunate doesn’t mean that life is doomed to repeat itself, and fear is a tough place from which to live your life.

So, for those of you celebrating with me today, know the context of this landmark, and do me a special favor.  Hug your children and call your Dad (ok, you can call your mom, too). Tell them how much you love them.  You never know when you won’t be able to again.


commonsku – Distributor Digest May 2013


Join me as we talk with commonsku CEO Mark Graham about the background of writing software specifically for the Promotional Products industry, what and why a distributor may be interested in the platform, what other products commonsku might replace in a distributors business and the nuances of launching a new product into an unsuspecting marketplace.

Distributor Central

In this episode of Distributor Digest, we’re joined by Vice President of Sales for Distributor Central, Tiffany Tarr.  Tiffany is in the photo as the smiling lass on the left. (The smiling lass on the right is my friend Megan Erber from Jetline)


Our discussion focuses on what the impact would be to a Distributor as he or she considers the possibility of migrating to the Distributor Central platform, how she came to be Vice President of DC and her role as a Volunteer in the Promotional Products industry.