ASI Show Chicago Education Speakers
  Brett Bowden, Printed Threads

Brett Bowden is the founder of Printed Threads. He opened the company in in 2010, after being reacquainted with his love of screen printing. He sold his first printing company in 2004, and then spent many years traveling the U.S as a musician. In 2009 he earned a Bachelor's degree in music, but decided that it was necessary to choose a different career path…thus, his return to screen printing. Printed Threads has grown from being housed in a garage into a four-automatic operation, and in 2015 Inc. magazine featured the company at #826 on their 5,000 fastest growing companies list. You can find Brett teaching classes for Ryonet or writing the occasional article for The Ink Kitchen.     

  Jeffrey Brenner, Seiko Watch of America, LLC

Jeffrey Brenner is the director of special markets for Seiko Watch of America, LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in sales, management, client relations, merchandising, product development and marketing within retail channels, wholesale and the corporate incentive, recognition and corporate gift industries. He is also the 2019-2020 Incentive Manufacturers Representatives Association (IMRA) Board President, and has been active in IMRA and the Incentive Marketing Association for over 20 years.

  Jay Busselle, Equipment Zone

Jay Busselle is the marketing director for Equipment Zone. He began his screen printing and graphics career reportedly sometime in the 80's in Mr. Perry's graphics class at East High School. Jay started printing “unofficial replica” T-shirts of his favorite surfing, skiing and skateboarding companies, as well as a few bands which will remain nameless. He landed his first industry job while in college as a cut-and-paste artist for a Yellow Pages publishing company. It didn't take long before he was working for a screen printer, and soon thereafter for his family-owned promotional advertising agency. It's been over 25 years and he’s still in the industry, is a highly regarded speaker and trainer, and is still pretending to grow up.

  Rich Corvalan, Charles River Apparel

Rich Corvalan is the vice president of sales at Charles River Apparel, focusing on strategic and national accounts. He has over 14 years of experience in sales, customer relations, merchandising and management within the promotional products industry. In addition, he has 10+ years of experience in the golf/retail market. The expertise he has developed in both promotional products and retail allows him to provide unique insights and solutions to help his customers thrive in this ever-changing climate. Rich has also been recognized for his leadership within the industry. In 2013 he was named as a “Rising Star” in PPB magazine and in 2018 he was named to the PPEF Board of Trustees.

  Michelle Castells, ASI

Michelle Castells, BASI, is ASI’s executive director of distributor services. She joined ASI in 2018 and brings over 23 years of experience in digital and print marketing sales. She has worked with small- to medium-sized businesses throughout the U.S. to help guide them to grow their business with the right marketing program. Her expertise allows ASI to expand our current offerings to our members, as well as show members additional ways to gain clients in the marketplace.

  Kathy Cheng, Redwood Classics Apparel

Kathy Cheng is the founder and president of WS & Co., one of Canada’s leading full-service apparel manufacturers. She is also the founder of WS & Co.’s in-stock apparel line, Redwood Classics Apparel, which provides promotional and retail distributors with trending garments that are handcrafted in North America. She was honored with the WBE Accelerator Award in 2017, was a recipient of MBE Magazine’s “MBEs Who Rock” Awards in 2016, and was named by CAMSC as the 2015 Supplier of the Year. In 2016, ASI presented Kathy with the prestigious Counselor Supplier Woman of Distinction Award for her positive influence on the industry through her business acumen and leadership abilities. As a diverse-certified supplier of CAMSC (Canadian Aboriginal Minority Supplier Council), WBE Canada (Women’s Business Enterprises Canada) and WE Connect International, Kathy is on the Board of Directors for CAMSC, is a WBE Canada Supplier Advisory Council Member, and serves an Ambassador for CGLCC (Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce).

  Diane Ciotta, Training Classics

Diane Ciotta is the founder of sales-refinement company Training Classics. After two decades in sales and sales management, Diane followed her entrepreneurial instincts and established her company to present integrity-based techniques to sales professionals around the U.S. She is an in-demand speaker, and her philosophies for success have been published in over 60 U.S. magazines and online, as well as in the book Pushing To The Front, which she co-authored with renowned motivational speaker Brian Tracy.

  Matthew Cohn, ASI

Vice chairman of the ASI Family of Companies (composed of The ASI Show!®, ASI Computer Systems®, and ASI®), Matthew Cohn, MASI, has launched businesses in publishing, e-commerce, trade shows and medical information. He has also served as President, Education Chair and Treasurer of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Young Entrepreneurs Organization and is on the board of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Young President's Organization (YPO). The Philadelphia Business Journal recognized him in their "40 Under 40" awards, and he was named among the "Top 100 People to Watch" by Business Philadelphia magazine, as well as one of the "100 Most Influential People" in the trade show industry by Tradeshow Week. He has been a featured speaker at national conferences such as American Society of Association Executives, Direct Marketing Association, Internet World, Annual Catalog Conference, Seybold Seminars, International Association of Exposition Managers and SISO.

  Michael D'Ottaviano, ASI

Michael D'Ottaviano, MASI, is an executive director of corporate accounts at ASI. He specializes in strategic solutions, helping ASI distributors members realize opportunity and grow their businesses by utilizing creative website design combined with innovative marketing campaigns. He also works with distributors to develop social media campaigns to increase web presence and grow their customer base. Michael is passionate about technology and implementing integrated solutions to help distributors streamline their business processes and grow their businesses.

  Conrad Franey, Elements of Success Consulting Group

Conrad Franey is the managing director of Elements of Success Consulting Group, which he launched in 2018. He has 35 years of proven success as a straight-commission salesperson, sales manager, chief marketing officer and business owner. In 1994 he became the vice president of sales – and the sixth employee – of promotional products distributor GatewayCDI; at its peak, the company had 100 employees and revenue of $35 million. Conrad is also an author, and he provides advice and counsel via real-world examples that help people succeed.

  Danny Friedman, DANNY, Inc.

Danny Friedman is the president of sales training company DANNY, Inc. A multimillion-dollar sales professional with over 28 years of experience, he has achieved success in the promotional products, office equipment, commercial real estate and sporting goods industries. He delivers a winning, energizing message to his audiences, and he’s a frequent speaker at national association trade shows and corporate functions both in the U.S. and abroad.

  Andrew Graham, Marine Layer

Andrew Graham is the director of custom projects at Marine Layer. He launched his career as the eighth employee at Groupon and spent five years seeing the company through exponential growth followed by a fall after going public. After Groupon, Andrew started a sales team at a software start-up before joining Marine Layer three years ago. As a HUGE fan of Marine Layer – and one of its top customers – he embraced the opportunity to launch a new department for the company. In addition to custom projects, he also manages Marine Layer’s wholesale relationships and sustainability initiatives.

  Catherine Grosz, BMO Financial Group

Catherine Grosz is the manager of supplier diversity for BMO Financial Group. Her role is to define a great customer and supplier experience through BMO’s Supplier Diversity Program. She’s held a number of progressive roles in the Branch Environment, Corporate Head Office, the Chairman’s Office and Strategic Sourcing. In 1997, she joined Strategic Sourcing to manage and negotiate with suppliers on behalf of BMO – a key function given the Bank’s focus on improving their competitive position and improving their productivity. Catherine was awarded as one of Canada’s 2015 Top 10 Influential Women in HR & Diversity by DiversityCan Magazine. In September 2018 WBE Canada acknowledged her as Supplier Diversity Leader of the Year. Most recently she was selected as a 2019 Top 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity from DiversityPlus Magazine. Today, she sits on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and is Chair of the Board of Directors with WBE Canada Council.

  Stan Hansen, ASI Computer Systems

Stan Hansen is the director of tax for the ASI Family of Companies. Before joining ASI over 15 years ago, he was a tax partner in a public accounting firm and an adjunct professor teaching tax and accounting. He holds Bachelor’s degrees in accounting and finance from the University of Iowa and a Master’s degree in tax from Drake University.

  Theresa Hegel, ASI

Theresa Hegel, MASI, is the executive editor of ASI’s Wearables magazine, where she keeps readers up to date on the latest apparel decoration trends, techniques and technology. Prior to joining ASI, she worked as a journalist for several daily newspapers.

  Barb Hendrickson, Visible Communication

Barb Hendrickson is the president of Visible Communication, which helps companies be more visible in their marketplace through effective marketing and communication strategies. She is also a charter member of the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA). Through her companies, Barb has sold merchandise gifts, rewards and incentives, gift cards, travel rewards and designed performance improvement programs, as well as promotional products. She has also provided national fulfillment for clients as well as manufacturers. She is a past president of the IMA and a member of the IMA Hall of Fame, Class of 2018.

  Nate Kucsma, ASI

Nate Kucsma, MASI, is ASI’s executive director of research and corporate marketing. He joined ASI in March 2014, and brings with him over 20 years of domestic and international marketing research experience. He earned his MBA in marketing from Rutgers University, and throughout his career has worked for such well-known companies as Dow Jones, MetLife and ETS. In 2018 Nate and Counselor editor-in-chief Dave Vagnoni were honored with a Neal award for Best Editorial Use of Data in a business publication for the 2017 State of Industry issue.

  Bobby Lehew, commonsku

Bobby Lehew is the chief content officer at commonsku, a cloud-based CRM, order management, and social collaboration platform designed for the promotional products industry by promotional product experts. A 25-year industry veteran, he was formerly the CEO at Robyn, a branded products fulfillment company that specialized in private-label, e-commerce company stores. A PPAI Gold Pyramid Award winner, a PPAI Silver Technology recipient, an Addy Award recipient, and recognized (in his work with Robyn) three years in a row by Inc. Magazine as one of the 5,000 fastest growing private companies in the U.S., Bobby is a national speaker on topics related to B2B marketing, company stores, productivity, and storyselling.



  Craig Mertens, Digital Art Solutions

Craig Mertens is the cofounder, president and CEO of Digital Art Solutions, which provides products and services to companies in the promotional products, apparel decoration, sign making and awards industries. His approach to building a profitable business is based on a concept called ASSET: (A)rtwork + (S)oftware + (S)upport + (E)quipment + (T)raining = Success. With 30 years of industry experience, Craig has been teaching electronic art production and marketing for 23 years, and he invented the process of creating rhinestone heat transfers and rhinestone decals with a vinyl cutter. He is also the creator and lead instructor of the Digital Art Solutions free weekly online education program.

  Cindy Mielke, Tango Card

Cindy Mielke, CPIM, is the director of brand relationships for Tango Card, and has spent more than 20 years working with clients and partners on their incentive and recognition program rewards. She has led integrated sales and marketing teams to success in large national companies such as Staples and Omaha Steaks. A strong advocate for the incentive industry, Cindy is President Emeritus of the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) and past president of the Incentive Gift Card Council. She currently serves on the board of the Incentive and Engagement Solutions Providers council, where she has also served as president.

  Joan Miracle, ASI

Joan Miracle, BASI, is an executive director of corporate accounts at ASI. She’s been providing business counseling to entrepreneurs for over 23 years, with seven years in the ad specialty industry. Her background includes successfully running a $46M operation, including the startup of numerous businesses from real estate development and acquisition to open profitable operations. Her main focus and passion has been in sales and sales training, assisting new business owners with startup marketing, and helping established businesses grow through strategic marketing plans that emphasize online marketing and improving operational efficiency.

  Ryan Moor, Ryonet

Ryan Moor is the founder and CEO of Ryonet, a business he started in 2004 after printing shirts in his garage for his punk rock band. Since that time, Ryonet has grown to 120 team members who have been a part of helping more than 125,000 screen-printing companies, from garage startups to award-winning ROQ automatic shops.

  Steve Oswald, ASI

Steve Oswald, BASI, is ASI’s executive art director, and has been creating in Adobe Illustrator for over 20 years. During his 28 years with ASI, Steve has helped to direct and shape the advertising for many of ASI’s first-class brands. He has extensive experience creating vector artwork for decorating promotional products, including screen-printing, embroidery and direct-to-garment printing.

  Meridith Elliott Powell, MotionFirst

Meridith Elliott Powell is the president of MotionFirst, an author and an award-winning business-growth expert. Her background includes corporate leadership positions in banking, finance and healthcare, and she shares a cutting-edge message that’s rooted in real-life examples and real-world knowledge. Her work is regularly featured in publications such as Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., Investment News, and American Banker, and her most recent book, Own It: Redefining Responsibility – Stories of Power, Freedom & Purpose, inspires ownership at every level to create profits at every turn.

  Cliff Quicksell, Jr., Cliff Quicksell & Associates & iPROMOTEu

Cliff Quicksell, Jr., MASI, is the president and CEO of Cliff Quicksell & Associates and serves as the exclusive sales and marketing consultant and acting director of marketing for iPROMOTEu, Inc. During his 35+ years in the industry, his passion for education and training has been exemplified by his having served five terms as the education chairperson for the regional trade association CPPA of Maryland, and he currently serves on the board and is the chair for the Awards Committee. The author of thousands of articles and recipient of numerous awards, Cliff speaks, trains and consults internationally to associations and national business groups on more effective ways to market themselves and their products and services, as well as how to motivate their personnel.

  Lore Rincon, Continental Premium Corporation

Lore Rincon is a sales manager at Continental Premium Corporation. For over 17 years she has helped companies choose brand-name merchandise for use as corporate gifts, employee rewards and in all manner of incentive programs.

  Bob Robinson, Stahls’

Bob Robinson is a sales and education specialist for Stahls’ with over 20 years of experience. His knowledge of production and business-to-business sales brings a benefit to customers seeking technical information, decorating techniques, placement specs and product information for apparel decoration. His production experience has ranged from small custom orders to high-volume garment decorating by means of embroidery, cutting, and heat seal applications. Since he has experience with both sides of the apparel decorating business, he provides valuable information for those seeking advice to improve their business and production methods, particularly with heat-applied graphics.

  Steven Sewell, Steven Sewell Enterprises

Steve Sewell is a speaker, counselor, author and entrepreneur. He has over 30 years of experience in counseling and training in business and community development, hospice and corporate chaplaincy, and bereavement. His heartfelt, engaging approach allows him to encourage leadership and strengthen teams and individuals during times of change, adversity and loss.

  Carolyn Strauss, Carolyn Strauss Consulting

Carolyn Strauss is a sales and persuasion expert who spent 18 years on-camera on the Home Shopping Network; she personally sold over $160 Million of her clothing line The Carolyn Strauss Collection. During that time she developed her "Dollars Per Minute™" sales and relationship-management strategy to train salespeople and executive teams across all industries. She has studied and worked with some of the world’s foremost experts on gender communication, and has appeared on PBS, CNN, ABC, NBC, Food Network, and Lifetime Television Network. She is an active member of the Screen Actors Guild, the author of five books, and believes that a good day includes chocolate.

  Charlie Taublieb, Taublieb Consulting

Charlie Taublieb is the president of Taublieb Consulting, which specializes in technical screen-printing consulting for textile printers. He’s been in the screen-printing industry since 1976 and has worked with shops in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America. He’s a technical writer for screen-printing trade publications in many countries, and since 1980 he has conducted workshops and seminars at countless shows and with distributors of screen-printing products around the globe. 

  Ryan Tickle, Cannabis Promotions

Ryan Tickle is the vice president of sales for Cannabis Promotions. With his assistance, Cannabis Promotions has been pioneering the promotional products side of the cannabis industry since the company’s inception in January 2018. Ryan shows distributors the best ways to sell into this rapidly growing market, and studies daily reports on changes within the cannabis industry and its laws and regulations.

  Steve Treat, Council for Relationships

Dr. Steve Treat is a senior therapist and former director and CEO of Council for Relationships (CFR), the nation’s oldest and largest counseling agency. He oversees the running of 14 clinical offices throughout the Greater Philadelphia area, numerous professional and public educational programs, and maintains his own busy clinical practice at CFR. Dr. Treat received his doctorate in 1976, and is licensed to practice marriage and family therapy in the state of Pennsylvania. He has coauthored two books, along with numerous book chapters and articles on process and content of marital and family therapy.

  Dave Vagnoni, ASI

Dave Vagnoni, BASI, is the editor-in-chief of Counselor magazine. He’s responsible not only for the magazine, but also for Counselor’s digital presence, including the e-newsletter PromoGram. In addition, he hosts ASI videos and serves as producer for several ASI events, including the Counselor Distributor Choice Awards, the Counselor Awards dinner and the Power Summit. Prior to joining ASI in 2008, Dave worked as a TV reporter at multiple network affiliates on the East Coast. He was recognized as one of the top TV storywriters in the country in 2004, honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. He won a 2018 Neal Award for Counselor’s State of the Industry issue and has also been nominated for two Emmys.