Our leadership team of technologically-minded suppliers, distributors, and service providers have personally experienced supply chain communication problems. Their years of experience in the promotional products industry have led to the development and implementation of groundbreaking electronic communication standards.
Eric Alessi is the Co-founder and Chairman of PromoStandards, Founder of Essent Corporation, and Chief Architect of Essent’s innovative business management and commerce software solutions. In his 30+ years leading Essent, Eric has consulted with companies ranging from startups to multinational corporations, including Air Products, AT&T, Merck, Nestlé, Papa John’s Pizza, and Pfizer. During his tenure, Eric transformed Essent from a regional custom software development house to a multimillion-dollar corporation focused on business commerce automation solutions that serve thousands of trading partners worldwide.
Since college, Eric has spoken professionally to business and information technology professionals on integrated business systems engineering and automation. Eric holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Cognitive Psychology with Computer Science from The Pennsylvania State University and has performed graduate studies in computer science, operations research, accounting, and business management.
He holds an MBA in General Management from Harvard Business School and a BS in Industrial Management from The University of Alabama.
Philip Gergen brings 19 years of experience in the promotional products industry. Phil has been working with PromoStandards since its inception and is currently the organization's Treasurer.
He is responsible for all technology in Koozie Group and maintains a focus on digital transformation. Phil also became an evangelist in communicating data electronically with business partners. Previously, he worked in infrastructure and support before transitioning to a career in data governance and quality assurance. He holds a BS in Information Systems and Technology from the University of Minnesota Duluth.
He holds an MS in Computer Science from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a BS in Computer Science from Loyola University Chicago.
Irwin has 25 years of IT experience in the promotional products industry and years of prior IT experience in various other industries. He enjoys his current role as an IT executive, looks back fondly on his days as a coder and builder of solutions, and is always happy to engage in technical discussions. From PromoStandards' earliest beginnings, Irwin's been there to help bring process efficiencies to distributors and suppliers alike. He holds an MS in Computer Science from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a BS in Computer Science from Loyola University Chicago.
Catherine Graham is the CEO of commonsku, a workflow collaboration platform enabling promotional product distributors to work seamlessly with clients and suppliers. It was originally built in-house for Rightsleeve, a promotional products agency, where Catherine spent 12 years as President before selling the business in 2019.
Her role before joining Rightsleeve was as a management consultant at A.T. Kearney, working with Fortune 500 companies in various areas, including merger integration, marketing strategy, and operational efficiencies. Outside of work, Catherine sits on a variety of boards in the nonprofit space, including PromoStandards, the Loran Scholar Foundation, and Communitech. She holds an MBA from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and a BAH in Political Science and Psychology from Queen’s University.
Michael Knapick leads SanMar’s IT group as its Chief Information Officer to implement process improvements and major software upgrades to their ERP and e-commerce platforms. Before joining SanMar in 2014, Mike led the IT team at Isilon Systems, was the CIO at Expedia, and began his career as a Project Manager at Accenture, delivering projects of varying scope and size at posts including Microsoft and Expedia. He holds an MS in Mathematics from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a BASc in Mathematics from California State University, Long Beach.
Jon Norris is the COO at Starline Inc., based in Buffalo, NY. Over the past 18 years, he has held many positions within the company, including Industrial Engineer, Systems Operations Manager, and VP of Operations. At PromoStandards, Jon serves on the Executive Committee and heads up the Education Workgroup on the Membership Marketing and Education Committee (MMEC). As the inaugural Chair of PromoStandards, he oversaw the formation and formalization of the organization. Other board services include being on the Alumni Advisory Board for the University of Buffalo School of Engineering, the Customer Advisory Board for FedEx C-suite, and the Executive Committee for PromoKitchen.
He is passionate about the intersection of technology and operations in the branded merchandise space. As a frequent speaker at industry events, his goal is to evangelize the industry about the power of technology and the transformative nature of PromoStandards supply chain integrations. Jon is a repeat member of the ASI Power 50 and was named Technology Executive of the Year by ASI in 2019. He holds a PMBA in Business Administration from the University at Buffalo School of Management and a BSIE in Industrial Engineering from the University at Buffalo.
Amy Rabideau brings to PromoStandards 20 years of work experience in the promotional products industry, specifically in product and project management, and is skilled in procure-to-pay best practices. She has also served on the PPAI Board of Directors, the Regional Association Council Board of PPAI, and the Georgia Association of Promotional Products Professionals. She holds a BS in Business Administration from Medaille University.
As President of Hit Promotional Products, Eric Shonebarger is responsible for all facets of the business. Eric has a proven executive management track record with 18 years of experience in the promotional products industry, enabling company growth through technology, business process optimization, and hands-on leadership. Before his current role, Eric was the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Information Officer at Hit. Previously, he worked in electronic medical records and as an Information Technology Consultant in both the public and private sectors.
Eric is recognized as a thought leader in the industry as ASI’s Technology Executive of the Year, Print and Promo’s 40 Under 40, and PPAI's Industry IT Collaborator of the Year. He has earned an MBA and an MS in Business Analytics from Indiana University, an MA in Leadership from Southeastern University, and a BA in Economics from the University of South Florida.
Steven Stanley joined the PromoStandards Board with over 15 years of experience in the promotional products industry. He has spent over 20 years writing software and working other IT jobs, providing a well-rounded view of technical needs. Steven is a major supporter and contributor to the PromoStandards and loves solving problems and collaborating with others to build solutions. He holds a BSBA in Computer Science from Oregon State University.
Shawn White is the Vice President of Information Technology for Geiger, the largest privately held promotional products distributor. He has been part of the promotional products industry for over 22 years, managing and working closely with the operations and support teams. For the last 10 years, he's been managing people and projects within the Geiger IT department. Shawn is an Agile Certified Scrum Master, soon to be ITIL 4 certified, and is working on his BS in Leadership and Organizational Studies from the University of Southern Maine.