It was a busy 2011 for the awards and recognition industry.

JANUARY

Johnson Plastics, Minneapolis, rolled out Vapor Apparel’s Defender compression T-shirts for sport and casual wear.  Johnson noted that the shirts feature Vapor Apparel’s permanent moisture wicking technology, and are constructed of 93% Polyester and 7% Lycra.  More information at www.johnsonplastics.com or 800.869.7800

FEBRUARY

Crystal D, Hollywood, Fla., a leading supplier of corporate awards and plaques, launched a new and improved private label website for distributors.  The new site allows distributors to showcase awards on a website that represents their distributor brand.  Distributors can control the look of the website and the information contained in it including a customizable banner, pricing, and product selection. In addition to customization, distributors will also receive downloadable leads and website statistics from their website. Distributors can get started at http://www.crystal-d.com/cd_forms/private-label-request or contacting their Crystal D territory manager at 800.544.1131.

MARCH

Darlene Love

New Orleans piano maestro Dr. John wore a bright purple suit for his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, leading a class with Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper and Tom Waits. Singer Darlene Love, whose voice cut through Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound,” called her induction into the Hall her best 70th birthday present.  The Awards and Recognition Association’s Facebook page noted the Hall of Fame induction includes a trophy made by Chicago’s own R.S. Owens.

Crystal D won three awards at the 2011 Awards and Recognition Association (ARA) Show in Las Vegas. It was the Minnesota company’s first time exhibiting at the show.  Meanwhile, Johnson Plastics added Vapor Apparel’s new fleece to their growing line of sublimatable apparel.

APRIL

Continental Awards and Trophies, Bartlett,Tenn., welcomed Bob Laird to its sales team. Laird brought more than 25 years of experience in the retail and wholesale arenas of the awards industry. The company said Laird would be instrumental in launching CAT’s equipment sales division as it entered both the Laser and Rotary Engraving machine markets.

Universal

Universal Laser Systems Inc., a leading manufacturer of CO2 lasers and laser systems, has added a new laser processing accessory to its product line.  The Universal Pin Table is a modular fixturing solution designed to increase the cutting quality of materials such as acrylic and wood by minimizing material defects caused by laser back reflection.

According to the company, the Universal Pin Table uses repositionable aluminum pins that suspend the material above the table surface. This ensures that any laser energy reflected back onto the material is too diffuse to have any effect. The Universal Pin Table itself is also designed to absorb laser energy, providing an extra layer of protection against back reflection. Details at www.ulsinc.com.

MAY

The Dallas Mavericks bested the Oklahoma City Thunder 4-1 in a seven game series to win the NBA’s western conference championship. Meanwhile, the Miami Heat took the eastern conference series from the Chicago Bulls by the same margin to advance to the finals. The following month the Mavs beat the Heat in the NBA final series to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy. The trophy, made of 14.5 pounds of sterling silver and vermeil with a 24 karat gold overlay, is designed to look like a basketball about to enter a net. The basketball itself is nine inches in diameter, about the same size as a NBA ball. Valued at $13,500, the trophy is manufactured by the Tiffany & Co. Silver Shop every year. The winning team maintains permanent possession of the trophy.

JUNE

Continental Awards & Trophies announced its acquisition of General Awards, a 30-year-old family company with locations in South Florida. Meanwhile, Johnson Plastics released its new Sublicrylic, an innovative alternative for sublimation decorators. The new process makes it extremely easy to decorate Sublicrylic pieces using a silicone heat pad, standard heat press and transfer paper with sublimation inks.  More information at www.johnsonplastics.com or 800.869.7800.

Managers and employees of Crystal D participated in the QBQ! training program, which is also known as The Question Behind the Question. This training program is a how-to of personal accountability developed by John Miller, an expert in training and development. “We chose to implement QBQ! because it fits so well with our corporate values,” said Chuck Dahlgren, president of Crystal D. The company participated in four weekly training sessions, each lasting at least two hours.

JULY

Posting on its Facebook page, Accolades Awards & Recognition Gifts, Monroe, Ga., displayed a custom plaque it had created featuring fatigue-colored shower sandals.  This is what makes our job fun!” the post read.  “We can help you come up with a creative way to thank them for their hard work!”

AUGUST

Jim Thome, first baseman of the Minnesota Twins, was recognized for his milestone home run number 600 on August 18. During the recognition ceremony Thome accepted an award created by the E Group and Crystal D – the Starburst Award.  

The recognition ceremony took place at Target Field, in Minneapolis just before a game against the New York Yankees. Thome is one of only eight major league players to reach the 600-homer milestone.  In addition to a crystal award, Thome received a commemorative embroidered jersey with the number 600, a vacation voucher, and a fishing lure.


SEPTEMBER

Xenetech Global Inc., the Baton-Rouge, La.,-based manufacturer of laser and computerized engraving and cutting systems, announced that it had established distribution operations in Europe. Xenetech Europe, GmbH was formed in Germany and Xenetech UK. Ltd. was registered in the United Kingdom.  Xenetech Europe is contracting with independent distributors in countries throughout Europe to represent the company and its broad product line of laser and rotary engraving systems. Beginning immediately, Xenetech Europe and Xenetech UK will provide complete sales, support, and technical service to customers in Europe. For more information on Xenetech and its family of engraving products, visit their website at www.xenetech.co.uk.

OCTOBER

On its Facebook page, Epilog Laser, Golden, Colo., was encouraging fans to leave messages regarding to many creative ways the company’s laser products are being put to use.
Fans obliged, displaying cutting and etching work on everything from a doctor’s stethoscope to a cork coaster or fleece fabric.

The 10 finalists were announced for ARA’s seventh annual sportsmanship award, given to one outstanding NCAA Division I collegiate football player who best personifies the spirit of sportsmanship.  The 2011 Sportsmanship Award recipient, University of Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones, would later be chosen from 10 finalists.

The 2011 finalists, in alphabetical order were:

• Ben Boothby, University of Northern Iowa  

• Drew Butler, University of Georgia

• Austin Davis, University of Southern Mississippi

• Gilbert “Chaz” Hine, University of South Florida

• Stuart Hines, University of Kentucky

• Barrett Jones, University of Alabama

• Jared Karstetter, Washington State University

• Cory Leman, Eastern Illinois University

• Adam Replogle, Indiana University

• David Ruffer, University of Notre Dame

www.arasportsmanshipaward.com

NOVEMBER

Northwest Trophy and Awards, Seattle, opened a third brick and mortar location in neighboring Woodinville.  Meanwhile, ARA asked members to respond to a new executive order requiring Federal agencies and departments to limit the purchase of promotional type products, particularly plaques, mugs, clothing and commemorative items. The order calls for a 20% reduction in spending. Members are asked to contact President Obama at the White House as well as their congressional representatives and the media to express the importance of the recognition industry to local business economies.

DECEMBER

Engraving Concepts, Arlington Texas, noted on its Facebook page:

Each year we organize a toy drive for American Military Family, Inc. This year we were asked to provide toys for children of parents in the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Carson in Colorado. Thanks to our distributors, friends, associates and everyone at Epilog (Epilog Laser, Golden, Colo.) for your donations. And a big thanks to Jessica Carney for organizing this!

Meanwhile, Epilog Laser’s Zing product was again selected as one of the products to be demonstrated at the WIRED Magazine stores in Times Square, Manhattan.

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