PPAI Technology Committee Adds ‘Highly Technical, Strong Business Presence’ in Essent CEO

Eric Alessi

The chairman of the PPAI Technology Committee is welcoming "a highly technical, strong business presence” in new board member Eric Alessi, who says one of his top goals is to leverage technology to reduce friction in the promotional products supply chain.

PPAI appointed Mr. Alessi, the Essent President & CEO, to a three-year term on the PPAI Technology Committee through 2017.

As the president of a technology solutions provider that serves distributors, decorators, and suppliers of all sizes, Alessi is in a unique position to understand the needs of the industry and how distributors, decorators, and suppliers work together.

"Eric provides both a highly technical as well as a strong business presence to the committee,” said Technology Committee Chairman Jon Norris, a fifth-year member who is the Vice President of Operations for Starline, a supplier. "His industry experience and involvement is definitely an asset that we welcome on the committee!  I look forward to his help and input for years to come.”

Mr. Norris and Mr. Alessi recently discussed their outlooks for the 2015 PPAI Technology Committee.

Unique skills and passion for industry

"Our volunteers make invaluable contributions to their committees and we are proud to have them on the PPAI team."

PPAI Executive Vice President Robert I. McLean Jr. said volunteer board members play a crucial role in PPAI achieving its mission.

"Each selected volunteer brings a unique skill set to their committee, in addition to having strong industry knowledge and depth of experience.  Our volunteers make invaluable contributions to their committees and we are proud to have them on the PPAI team,” Mr. McLean said.

Mr. Alessi said he accepted the board position because, "I love technology and I love this industry.”

"At the North American Leadership Conference in 2014 I spoke to the attendees and I went on the record about my passion for this industry and my desire to help make it as efficient as possible through standards and technology,” Mr. Alessi added.

Technology to reduce friction

"I love technology and I love this industry."

Mr. Alessi said it’s an exciting time to serve on the PPAI Technology Committee.

"We live in an age of technology that I could only dream of as a boy. We live with supercomputers in our pockets with high-speed wireless connections to an international network,” he said.

But the promotional products industry is "behind the times” in the widespread application of information technology, Mr. Alessi said.

"There is still an amazing amount of friction in the supply chain. Other industries have benefited tremendously from information technology and industry leadership. So now more than ever it’s imperative that PPAI shows strong technology leadership. The Technology Committee is the technology leadership for the industry. It’s a hugely important role and an incredibly exciting time.”

Committee initiatives include growing Technology Summit

The PPAI Technology Committee provides technology-related education and guidance to PPAI staff and members to enable a more efficient industry, Mr. Norris said. Norris said committee initiatives for 2015 include creating a PPAI Technology Survey as well as a Wiki page for industry technology resources.

The committee is also planning for the rapidly growing PPAI Technology Summit, which is scheduled for August in Nashville, Tennessee. Essent is the lead sponsor for the Summit.

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