PPAI Magazine March 2023

Community | Inside PPAI Nick DiNicola Joins PPAI As Digital TransformationManager IN LATE 2022, PPAI hired Nick DiNicola to serve as the Association’s digital transformation manager. DiNicola’s primary focus is PPAI’s Promo Data Exchange (PDX) initiative, free and available to all PPAI members and intended to help streamline communication between suppliers and distributors. He also leads a PPAI technology committee that looks for ways to leverage technology that supports members’ businesses in the most efficient ways possible. “We as an industry spend way too much time using the phone and visiting websites, where if we shared data effectively, we’d save that time and have more time to sell and grow our businesses,” DiNicola says. DiNicola joined the promotional products industry in 1996, launching research tools. He joined ASI in 2000 to launch ASITransact, the company’s online order status function. He held a variety of roles there over the next 20 years, including event planning and tradeshows. In 2020, DiNicola joined Florida-based distributor Kool Stuff as its executive director of sales and marketing. Having worked on both sides of the industry, DiNicola has a deep understanding of the daily problems members face. “As a distributor, I foundmyself spending way toomuch time calling suppliers and visiting their websites trying to confirm inventory levels to sell products,” he says. “Sometimes I would have an apparel order and needed to utilize several vendors to obtain proper inventory. It took a lot of time, or we had to use our back-end people who spent the better part of their days doing this. “Distributors want to spend time with our prospects and customers and find that a struggle due to inefficiencies. PDX will greatly help with this.” Outside the office, DiNicola is a huge fan of ’70s and ’80s music and enjoys seeing his favorite bands from those eras while they’re still touring. An avid gardener, he also enjoys cooking his homegrown ingredients with good music in the background. PPAI Welcomes New Account Manager Heather Mangold, CAS IN DECEMBER, PPAI hired Heather Mangold, CAS, as an account manager, serving PPAI members in the Northeast region. “I am so excited to have Heather join our business development team,” says Lindsey Davis, MAS, PPAI director of business development. “Her industry experience will make her an immediate asset to PPAI, and her passion for promo will bring an exciting newperspective to an already stellar teamas we look for newways to bring value to our members.” Mangold previouslyworkedwith Davis at Iowa-based supplier Raining Rose, where she served as Central territory account executive and later as sales support manager. “I spent a little over four years at Raining Rose, and I can’t say enough about howmuch that moldedme in not only becoming an advocate for the industry, but also in learning how to best helpmeet customers’ needs and expectations, even in the trickiest of times,” Mangold says. “This industry is ever-evolving, and having a supplier backgroundwill definitely helpme think about all angles and avenues for the success of our members.” Mangoldwill work remotely in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She looks forward to devoting her focus to suppliers in the Northeast region, building strong relationships with themand providing the support they need. “What intriguedme about the account manager role was the ability to have a territory and build a relationshipwith thosemember suppliers in that region,” she says. “I like that it gives me a focus and I can truly get to know the teams I will be working with. “I love that I can become an industry expert to provide them with information and tools to allow them to achieve the brand awareness they are looking for, whether it’s booth space at The PPAI Expo or a spot within PPAI Magazine to promote a new item, and also help their team become successful with the education and resources made available. PPAI’s success is based upon our members, and I am super pumped to be able to be a part of that process!” Mangold attended NorthernMichigan University. Outside the office, she enjoys spending time with her 8-year-old son, Brant, watching baseball and hockey, and supporting the Iowa Hawkeyes. 80 • MARCH 2023 • PPAI