PPAI Magazine January 2024

Must Read | Icon Awards “Anything that I have become that is good is because of all the pieces of people that have been part of me and made me who I am,” he says. But there is one person whose relationship with DeGreeff might be emblematic of both of their characters: Peter Hirsch, who nominated DeGreeff for the Hall of Fame. DeGreeff was one of the first people that Hirsch, president of the eponymous PPAI 100 supplier, met when he was entering the industry. Both based in Texas, they would become lifelong friends, and their most important partnerships centered around organizing hurricane relief in the Houston area over the course of multiple disasters over many years. In an official capacity, DeGreeff volunteered countless hours to promo associations as well. In 1985, he became president of the Houston Promotional Products Association – the first of his three terms as president. He has given his time to PPAI’s Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.) advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill and served as the executive director of Promotional Products Association Southwest. He served on the PPAI Board of Directors from 2011-2013 and then joined the Promotional Products Education Foundation board. In 2020, he was elected to the HPPA Hall of Fame, and in 2021 he retired after a five-year run as HPPA’s executive director. The ways in which he has given his time to the business are stunning when you consider what was already demanded of his schedule. “It always just felt right that I was giving back to an industry that was giving me so much,” he says. A Full-Circle Return The industry cannot give DeGreeff back the time that his work took from his family and the sacrifices he made for colleagues, but it can honor his service and commitment by inducting him into the PPAI Hall of Fame. He now reconnects with his original passion while working as a substitute teacher. He has five grandchildren and is happily making up for lost time. “The work was hard, and my body broke down after a while,” DeGreeff says. “But the people were key and what I loved about the industry.” Auping is a news editor at PPAI. See DMP for all your Display Products needs! For great new ideas and custom display products visit us at PPAI/582106 SAGE/50398 BOOTH 3467 FEATHERFLAGS TENTS TABLECOVERS 56 • JANUARY 2024 • PPAI