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John Stangle, CRM, Creative Awards & Screen Printing
President, Awards and Personalization Association


(January/February 2023) Well, this past year has sure flown by. I want to thank everyone for the journey of being associated with this great organization.


On the surface, the APA is an organization that connects you to a wider group that is committed to talking about engraving or awards or gifts or the many other commonalities we share. But the APA is also a family—a community if you will. I have been fortunate enough to meet some of the nicest and most dedicated volunteers who all share one common trait: the love for our industry.

John Stangle, CRM, Creative Awards & Screen Printing
President, Awards and Personalization Association


(November/December 2022) APA’s 2023 International Personalization & Awards Expo is coming along beautifully. Our website,, has all the information you need about the Expo, including a list of suppliers that will be showing off classic and new products. On the website, you can register for the Expo and select educational classes you would like to attend. In addition to learning opportunities, attendees will be able to take part in the Party on the Show Floor on Wednesday evening, the awards celebration on Thursday evening (for an additional fee) and the member breakfast meeting on Friday morning.

John Stangle, CRM, Creative Awards & Screen Printing
President, Awards and Personalization Association


(September/October 2022) Tony Robbins, a prolific motivational speaker, doesn’t mince words when it comes to volunteering. According to an article on his website, Robbins says: “Giving back is paramount to finding meaning in your life. Why? Because the secret to living is giving. No matter how busy or cash-strapped you might be, you have something unique to offer others.” 

John Stangle, CRM, Creative Awards & Screen Printing
President, Awards and Personalization Association


(July/August 2022) I received a phone call the other day, with the caller wanting to know if we had any trophies. I told her, “Yes, we do!” She said she was looking for an unusual trophy, something to do with dogs. I told her we had dog figures available. She further explained that she was looking for an inexpensive trophy for a fundraiser. Sound familiar so far? She then said it could be something we had lying around, like a discontinued or leftover trophy. By now I’m thinking to myself, “How do I get rid of this call politely?”

Shon Roti, Owner, 9th Street Designs

(May/June 2022) I take it for granted that information is available at my fingertips whenever I want. The difficulty now is determining what is relevant and useful.

Over the last decade or so, I’ve discovered many online resources that are indispensable to me and my career. These resources include, but aren’t limited to, fonts, images/photos, production tutorials, community resources, templates, color knowledge and examples, graphic design tutorials, fabrication tips and design inspiration.

John Stangle, CRM, Creative Awards & Screen Printing
President, Awards and Personalization Association


(March/April 2022) I recently saw a football helmet that had a phrase that stuck with me. It said, “It takes all of us.” While I like that sentiment, I feel the message should go one step further and say: “Success—it takes all of us.” After all, one thing the pandemic made abundantly clear is that we need each other—as friends, as family and as a larger business community.

By Lisa R. Higginbotham, CRM, Fivestar Awards And Engraving, and Awards and Personalization Association president


Another ‘Unprecedented’ Year Proves the Resiliency and Ingenuity of our Personalization Professionals.

(January/February 2022) Wait! Did I just blink? Has it already been a year? I guess time flies when you are having fun…or living through a pandemic. This is my last president’s message, and that makes me sad.

Marty Burke retired July 1, 2021, from Marco Awards Group, having created countless treasured relationships with retailers and suppliers alike during his 47 years in the awards and personalization industry.

By Peggy Doherty


Back to school is exciting for every grade—whether it’s preschool or graduate school. Think about all the possible items to personalize and gifts for those starting a new adventure.

By Lisa R. Higginbotham, CRM, FiveStar Awards and Engraving, and Awards and Personalization Association president


A look at the many values of membership

(May/June 2021) Wow, has this been a year or what? I can’t believe it is April (as I write this column). And since I always live in my numbers, looking back at April 2020 was sobering. I am grateful that April 2021 is showing an upward trend. Jeff and I both got our vaccines, and we are so ready to travel! I am still sad that we had to cancel the 2021 International Awards & Personalization Expo, but please know that we value our membership’s health and safety above all. It was not a decision made lightly. In fact, it was very difficult.

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Awards and Personalization Association

The Awards and Personalization Association is the organization for retailers and suppliers of personalized and customized items. By providing education, meetings, and access to a vibrant network of professionals, the Awards and Personalization Association is the one place to ensure the growth of your talent, your business, and your professional community.

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Awards and Personalization Association
8735 W. Higgins Road, Suite 300

Chicago, IL 60631
(Fax) 847.375.6480

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