The International Casual Furnishings Association announced that it has opened the online voting for the 2012 Sales Representative of the Year, an award designed to recognize and honor the outdoor furniture industry’s best sales representatives.
Votes must be cast no later than Monday, August 20. Voting for the ICFA Sales Representative of the Year Award is limited to the Association’s manufacturer, retailer, designer and supplier membership.
Each dues-paying member in those categories is eligible to cast one vote. The ballot can be found at http://www.icfanet.org/awards/salesrepfinalballot.asp
. The winning candidate will be announced on Friday, September 21, at the ICFA Awards Reception at the Ballroom of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The 2012 Manufacturer Leadership Awards and the Lillian B. Winchester “Best of Show” Design Excellence Award also will be announced at the Awards Reception. This event is for ICFA members and invited guests only.
Finalists for 2012 Sales Representative of the Year include:
Like many casual industry sales representatives, Paul Geiseman says he is in the business because he grew up in it. From age 10, he worked with his father “at every opportunity, and loved it,” he says. His first duties were janitorial, followed by a few years in the warehouse. At 16 he started selling on the retail floor and realized very quickly he was “wired” for sales. “I didn’t know what my future would be exactly, but I knew I would be selling, and patio was my favorite,” he recalls. In 1985 he was hired as a “sub rep” by Tropitone and Grosfillex representative Dick Williams. After two years, Williams retired and Tropitone offered Geiseman his dream job. “I love doing sales training and helping sales people develop powerful sales presentations,” he says. “Simply put, I love what I do and I can’t wait to go to work!” Geiseman has been a rep for 27 years and represents Tropitone and Tri Vantage.
After receiving a degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Rhode Island in 2001, Hesson returned to his home state of Minnesota to work as a management consultant with Accenture. But, surrounded by a family of sales representatives, he went to work with his father – at the time representing Lloyd Flanders and Gloster – after only a year and a half with Accenture. His father, Ted Hesson, still represents Lloyd Flanders, as well as Jensen Leisure and Crimson Casual. His sister, Claire, is in business with his father, and his uncle represents Laneventure. After two years, Hesson split from his father’s business to develop his own package of lines. He currently represents Gloster and Telescope, and continues to consider his dad his number one mentor. He now lives in Falmouth, Maine, with his wife and two young children.
Having begun his career in retail and manufacturing, Justin Pfahl brings a well-rounded perspective to his job as sales representative for Cast Classics, Treasure Garden, Crimson Casual, Patio Renaissance, California Outdoor Concepts and Ancient Mosaics. He has been active in the outdoor industry for 16 years and has been a representative for seven years. He currently covers the greater part of Florida, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. He and his wife reside in Parkland, Fla., where they are raising three children.
After joining his father, Don Smith, in his rep business in 1982, Dean Smith worked for 10 years following the motto, “Profitable lines professionally represented.” Upon his father’s retirement, he traveled the entire territory by himself, covering Southern California,
Arizona, and Southern Nevada. As business expanded, he formed Dean H. Smith Associates Inc., and brought on board his respected associate, John T. O’Brien in 1998. His son, Charlie Smith, joined the business in 2004 and excels as the third generation in the family business. “We are fortunate to have represented for many years some of the finest, award-winning manufacturers in our industry,” he says. He now represents O.W. Lee (31 years), Alumont (23 years), Gold Crest (22 years), Hanamint (15 years), and Gloster (8 years). When he is not on the road, Smith enjoys supporting the arts with his wife, Sandra. He has sung bass with the Santa Clarita Master Chorale since its inception in 2001 and last summer toured Croatia and Slovenia with the group.
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