IMA Hall of Fame And Nomination Process

The IMA Hall of Fame was established in 2016 to honor individuals who through a lifetime of achievements in the incentive marketplace played a major role in the success of the industry. 

Hall of Famers:


Larry Bell (posthumously)

Year Inducted: 2018

Larry Bell was active in the incentive industry for 35 years as a magazine publisher, author, event-adviser and association founder. Bell is credited for his foresight in helping to create associations that would lend cohesiveness to the players in the industry. As a consultant he was involved in various aspects of education that helped everyone learn more about the use of incentives. In 1977 he was honored by the Incentive Manufacturers & Representatives Alliance, (IMRA) as its Incentive Man of the Year. Bell is credited, along with a handful of other representatives, for organizing the National Premium Manufacturers Representatives (NPMR) in 1963. He is also recognized as one of the founders, in 1957, of National Premium Sales Executives (NPSE) later renamed AIM (Association of Incentive Marketing) which became the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA). He also founded the Trading Stamp Institute of America, later called the Association of Retail Marketing Services (ARMS). He also started the Society of Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) in 1973. 

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Greg Canose

Year Inducted: 2017

With over 35 years of experience in the incentive industry Canose has served as a mentor and leader to many. He made consistent and important contributions to the IMA since its inception, including serving as the first president of the IMA Board of Directors. Canose was an active member of IMRA and the IMA. He was also instrumental in the formation of the IMRA SIG.

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George Delta, Esquire

Year Inducted: 2017

As a co-founder and general counsel of the Incentive Federation Inc., Delta uses his deep knowledge of the industry to monitor federal and state legislation and he works diligently for the best interests of the industry. His accomplishments include his work to avert an industry disaster when OSHA stated its proposed ergonomics rule that safety incentives do no work and lead to under-reporting of injuries, and his extensive work on the protection of I.R.S. Code 274(j). Delta has been active in the incentive industry for over 20 years.

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Pete Erickson

Year Inducted: 2018

Pete Erickson, owner and president, Hall-Erickson, Inc., is known for his advancement and support of the incentive industry. Hall-Erickson produced and managed the Motivation Show, the largest exhibition and educational event in the industry. The show encompassed merchandise, travel, gift card, experiential awards and promotional products exhibitors. His dedication to the premium/incentive market to extended to sharing a part of the profits from the shows with the industry associations whose members exhibited and supported the show. In many cases the infusion of monies from Hall-Erickson was what kept some of the associations, including the IMA, in existence. Hall-Erickson was awarded IMRA's Golden Achievement Award in 1986 and Erickson is a past recipient of the IMA President’s Award. 

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Diane Freeland, IP

Year Inducted: 2019

Diane Freeland was at the forefront of delivering digital gift card options, enabling customization of rewards and using social media, all of which are now standards today in delivering gift card incentive programs. Freeland managed gift card programs at Macy’s, SpaFinder and Gift Card Partners. She was a member of the Incentive Gift Card Council (IGCC) and an active participant in the incentive industry. Freeland was often a presenter at industry events. She also shared her knowledge through media interviews, online articles and more. She was admired by many for her professionalism and knowledge of the incentive marketplace.


Jon Hanson, CPIM

Year Inducted: 2018

John Hanson, CPIM, has made a difference in the premium and incentive marketplace for 33 years.  RepLink, introduced in 1993 and now on version 8.0, has made it easier for new suppliers to enter the marketplace and for reseller customers to buy their merchandise from qualified incentive suppliers.  It has helped reps remain competitive and has added new service levels demanded by a changing market place. Hanson and the DataDirect Group team continue to develop and offer new options in technology to further the advancement and professionalism of the incentive industry.

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Barbara Hendrickson, CPIM

Year Inducted: 2018

Barb Hendrickson, CPIM, president, Visible Communications LLC, has been active in the incentive industry for over 30 years. She worked in many facets of the incentive marketplace and has actively contributed to the IMA and its growth in many ways for many years. Hendrickson has long been the steward of education and curriculums that serve as the knowledge base for the incentive industry. She authored “It’s Not About the Money: 10 Steps to Designing Effective Non-Cash Incentive Programs that Retain Employees, Engage Customers and Improve Business”. She developed, helped revise, and currently facilitates the study session on the curriculum for the Principles of Results-Based Incentive Program Design. Hendrickson is a president emeritus of the IMA, has always been an active member, and continues to contribute to the association in a variety of ways. 

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Howard Henry

Year Inducted: 2018

Howard Henry, retired  was a driving force in creating a stronger, unified voice for the incentive industry.  For over 40 years he served as executive director of National Premium Sales Executives, later known as the Association of Incentive Marketing, and finally as the Incentive Marketing Association. He also co-founded the Incentive Federation, Inc. (IFI) and served as its executive director for 25 years. During that time he fostered collaboration under the IFI umbrella bringing together all of the leading organizations in the incentive industry. The collaborative strategy and unified approach was successful in tackling key political and regulatory issues affecting the use and taxation of premiums and non-cash incentives. Henry had a major impact on the personal and professional success of members. His dedication to the strength and growth of the incentive industry and its members was evidenced by the untiring hours he devoted to advancing both. 

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George Kling (posthumously)

Year Inducted: 2017

Over his 50+ years in the incentive industry, Kling is known for having helped many people and brands get started in the industry and for bridging the gap between promotional and premium products. Kling taught distributors how to sell incentives and showed brands how to sell to the advertising specialty market. Kling is a Past President of the Association of Incentive Marketing, a precursor to the IMA. He was a member and advisor of many state and regional incentive and promotional product associations and organizations.  Kling passed away in 2013.

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Norma Jean Knollenberg, CPIM

Year Inducted: 2018

Norma Jean Knollenberg, CPIM, retired ─ Throughout her career, Knollenberg accomplished many “firsts”. From her involvement in National Premium Sales Executives as the first female president of the organization, to her valuable presence on the steering committee to form the Incentive Marketing Association, Knollenberg has always been at the forefront of the industry. She was the first manufacturer president of (IMRA) and the first representative of the incentive marketplace to serve on the board of directors of Promotional Products Association International. Knollenberg has served as a leader in every organization she joined, including president of the IMA board. Her impact on the industry has been extensive. She is a tireless advocate for certification and encouraged many to pursue their certification. 

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George Meredith (posthumously)

Year Inducted: 2018

Meredith was an incentive industry editor, author and association executive for more than 50 years.  Meredith began his editorial career with Premium Practice, now Incentive magazine. He wrote a foundational book “Effective Merchandising with Premiums”, and co-authored “Incentives in Marketing”. Meredith was a founding member of four incentive associations, first executive director of three, the National Premium Sales Executives, Incentive Manufacturers & Representatives Alliance and Society for Incentive Travel Excellence. He became executive director of the Association of Retail Marketing Services in 1979 and until his retirement. Meredith was also an active member of the Incentive Federation, Inc. 

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Cindy Mielke, CPIM

Year Inducted: 2019
Cindy Mielke is an incentive industry trailblazer, thought leader and consummate incentive-industry ambassador. She is viewed as a “go to” person for mentorship and leadership and for setting high standards and working tirelessly for the IMA and the industry. Mielke regularly speaks on event and webinar panels, participates in media interviews and passionately champions the business benefits of well-designed incentive programs. Throughout her more than 20-year incentive-industry career Mielke has been active in the IMA and many IMA-Strategic Industry Group (SIG) initiatives. Known for her forward-thinking approach, Mielke was the IMA’s first female president in 2005. She has also been actively involved in the gift card and solution provider segments of the industry, including serving as the Incentive Gift Card Council (IGCC) president in 2008. Mielke was instrumental in reaching across several IMA SIGs to encourage them to combine efforts as the Incentive Engagement & Solution Providers (IESP). She chaired the IESP board in 2016 and continues to serve as an IESP board director. Note: Cindy Mielke also received the 2019 Karen Renk Fellowship Award.


Mike Murrell

Year Inducted: 2019
Mike Murrell became involved in the incentive industry over 20 years ago when he joined Lakewood Publishing as publisher of Potentials in Marketing magazine. At Lakewood, Murrell’s publishing leadership grew to include Incentive magazine. When Incentive moved to a New York publisher, Murrell launched his own custom B2B publication called SalesForceXP, in partnership with BI Worldwide. Later, he also acquired Training magazine and transitioned SalesForceXP to what is now Sales & Marketing Management (SMM) magazine. Murrell is currently President and Publisher over both media brands (Training and SMM), which encompass conferences, webinar networks, digital presence and bi-monthly print publications. Through his journalistic leadership at these publications, Murrell ensures the content, featured articles and product features provide relevant content to help readers improve their businesses. Content often focuses on resources for merchandise, gift card and travel incentives; and incentive solution providers, in ways that businesses of all sizes can relate to. Murrell is a charter IMA member having served on the task force that developed the IMA.


Donna Oldenburg

Year Inducted: 2019
Donna Oldenburg’s many contributions to the incentive industry over the past 25 years have contributed to growth for the industry and the IMA. Oldenburg championed the industry and delivered the message of the business benefits of incentive programs through multiple channels. She was actively involved in publishing and industry events with Premium Incentive Business, Meeting News, Business & Incentive, and Incentive magazines. Oldenburg was also involved in show management for the New York Premium Show and the Motivation Show. She a founding member of the IMA. Throughout her career she has been an active supporter of the IMA as well as many of the IMA’s Strategic Industry Groups. Oldenburg led the steering committee that engaged the incentive industry groups in joining together under the IMA umbrella. She received the IMA President’s Award in 2008.


Karen Renk (posthumously) 

Year Inducted: 2017

Over 18 years ago, Karen Renk envisioned an association that encompassed all aspects of the industry, one that would deliver a united message to the corporate world. To realize this vision, she helped create the IMA and served as its executive director for 14 years. Before forming the IMA, she served as the Executive Director for IMRA. Renk was valued for her support of IMA members and their careers as well as championing the growth of IMA and the incentive industry. Renk passed away in 2014.  In 2015 the IMA began awarding the Karen Renk Fellowship Award in honor of her tremendous efforts.

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Michelle Smith, CPIM, CRP 

Year Inducted: 2018

Smith is an accomplished international speaker, strategist, executive and author. She was named as one of the Ten Best and Brightest Women in the incentive industry and to the Employee Engagement Power 100 list. She has worked in every facet of the incentive and recognition industry. She is known for her passion for the industry and she has given countless hours of her time to the IMA and its’ Strategic Industry Groups (SIGs). Smith is a president emeritus of the IMA board of directors, was active in several IMA SIGs and supported the transition of those SIGs into the current Incentive & Engagement Solution Providers (IESP), and served on the IESP board. Smith was instrumental in the successful protection of the 274(j) tax legislation for service awards and safety incentive programs. She is also past president of the FORUM for People Performance at Northwestern University and was the founder and editorial chair of Return on Performance Magazine.

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Walt Tabor (posthumously) 

Year Inducted: 2018

 

Tabor was the publisher for Premium Incentive Business magazine for many years. He was known for his dedication to the incentive industry and his support of industry associations. Tabor mentored many industry professionals. Before he passed away he created an Incentive Manufacturers & Representatives Alliance (IMRA) scholarship for children of IMRA members.

 

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Spencer Toomey, CPIM

Year Inducted: 2018

Toomey has been an industry leader, serving on association boards and leading organizations such as the Premium Marketing Club and Sales Executives Clubs in his home state of New York as well as the Incentive Manufacturers & Representatives Alliance (IMRA) and the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA). He is recognized by many for his leadership in guiding these organizations through change. While guiding IMRA through the transition of becoming part of the IMA, he served two terms as president. While serving as IMA President, he led the organization through a change to a new association management company. Toomey has earned many industry awards and has several times been named in industry leader lists by incentive magazines.  His expertise is well-known, making him a sought-after mentor for new reps and sales managers.  

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Melissa Van Dyke

Year Inducted: 2019

Throughout her career, Melissa Van Dyke has been a driving force in advancing the business case for incentives and recognition. From her early Maritz days (and as an IMA member and Recognition Council volunteer) to her present role as President of the IRF, Van Dyke has been tireless in her pursuit of the data the C-suite needs to support engagement recognition and incentives as a business strategy. Her IRF team brings the research to life, and puts it in the hands of the industry, the clients, and the business owners. Van Dyke has been named one of the "Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry", a "Perennial Leader in the Meetings Industry", and was selected as Incentive magazine’s “Top 25 Most Influential People in the Incentives Industry." She has authored numerous magazine articles and several chapters in leading management best practice books such as the “Compensation Handbook.”

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