PPB September 2022

policies in the works and how things could have an effect on our industry. “He has amagic in his delivery that takes complex issues and helps to unravel, simplify and explainwhat is taking place and the potential impact or repercussions issues could have on our industry.” PPAI’s government affairs initiatives—led by PPAI Director of Member Engagement Anne Stone, CAE, andmanaged day-to-day by Norris—are critical to protecting the interests of all PPAI members, distributors and suppliers. In nearly every state, the promotional products industry employs thousands or even tens of thousands of professionals. Norris collaborates closely with PPAI’s Government Relations Advisory Council (GRAC), which brings the Association together withmember volunteers to assess legislation’s impact on the promotional products industry and how they can leverage their influence to shape it. The industry’s most high-profile legislative outreach is through PPAI’s Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.), an annual event Norris helpsmanage that connects with lawmakers and their staffs inWashington, D.C. to inform and educate themon regulations and issues affecting promotional products businesses. “ThroughGRAC, through L.E.A.D and through the constant attention of Maurice, PPAI has had great impact in staving off onerous legislation, or adding language to bills favorable to the industry,” says Rick Brenner, MAS+, former PPAI board chair and a GRAC leader. “Maurice is a consummate professional. He not only tracks the progress of bills, he researches the backstory, the impact on our industry, and champions a strategy to enlist volunteers and get the work out. Maurice is a gemand PPAI has been very fortunate to have himon board.” Davis says, “In an industry that is somewhat still amystery, we don’t want to get overlooked in Washington. We need to be a voice, not an afterthought, on howbills and laws affect our industry and our people. The relationships that are built through L.E.A.D., lobbying and initiatives that PPAI puts together are powerful. They give a name and face to a voice on the hill. Maurice has been a huge champion in our government affairs.” Often the point man for the Association on legislative affairs, Norris typically has the television in his office tuned to CSPAN, tracking Congress’s deliberations. And he is quick to share his assessments of new policy announcements and tease out relevant points from the jargon of government legislation. Much of his attention is focused on regulatory areas of particular importance to the promo industry. “Most of the issues I have encountered here involve labor, trade or tax concerns,” Norris says. “In the trade category, tariffs have certainly had impacts beyond the additional costs they impose on our members. The supply chain problems also adversely affect our members’ access to their products. In all three categories, there has been a litany of legislative and regulatory proposals that we have worked on, ranging “My interest in government stems froma pursuit of public service,” Norris says. “Most ofmy career positions involve some aspect of service to others." | SEPTEMBER 2022 | 65 GROW