We are an entirely different breed of promotional marketing agency - a highly specialized beacon in a choppy sea of choices. Finding someone to paint a logo on and call it a promo is easy. Locating a team of experienced Professionals who sweat the small stuff is far more rewarding.
As the country's leading purveyor of premium corporate gifts, we deliver a curated selection of quality merchandise customized with expert precision. We do what we say we are going to do, trust our clients to do the same, then we execute and deliver - on time and to your complete satisfaction. You've discovered an agency partner you can trust to get it right the first time - without asterisks or exceptions. We are pleased to introduce you to our team of qualified Branding Experts™, who make the impossible happen every day. You are invited to connect with us in the manner you find most convenient whenever we can be of assistance.
RYAN TACCONICorporate Branding Expert™: Chief of Staff
Ryan Tacconi initially began his career as a future Branding Expert™, when he joined our agency in 2019thru our summer apprenticeship program. Ryan studied carefully and quickly learned the broad strokes of how the agency functions while simultaneously working to introduce our business to potential new clients. Ryan demonstrated his natural abilities in project managementby taking initiative with several mid to large scale projects during the unexpected absence of our Project Management team.Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) disabled power to a number of cities and counties within Northern California during certain high risk time periods. These power outages forced the closure of a key office location for several days leading into the busy Holiday season. Ryan was able to work what amounted to Holiday miracles from only his iPhone and a dusty old iPad.
Management was impressed with Ryanâ€™s ability to navigate these relatively complex projects with limited training, especially considering one of the most notable projects was considered ultra-time sensitive: East Coast in hand date just six business days out from first touch. The project scope involved a multi-color imprint onto five hundred custom Beats Pill speakers which, due to the substrate composition and desired logo placement, required ink adhesion testing. A special fixture needed to be designed in order to achieve the placement on the outer edge of the speaker. The manufacturer recommended ink curing window for a three-color imprint is 48-72 hours. Ryan stepped into action and effectively pre-planned the project with our production team, then broke thru each and every milestone like a seasoned Branding Expert™, successfully delivering the project a day ahead of schedule. The end-user client was thrilled and provided glowing unsolicited feedback to Management.
As a result of these efforts and Ryanâ€™s successful management of every other project he accepted, Ryan was promoted to Associate Branding Expert™, after returning from a brief hiatus in December of 2019.
Additionally, in April 2020 Ryan officially became our Chief of Staff, tasked with supporting our Management team in a number of daily functions as the company navigates the uncharted territory which presented early in the new decade.
Ryanâ€™s friendly disposition and positive outlook make him a valuable asset to the agency not to mention a valuable partner and advocate for our clients. Suffice it to say, Ryan makes things happen and always delivers which makes him a wonderful fit for our team.
Ryan grew up in Danville, California where he graduated from California High School in San Ramon. When Ryan is not burnishing his skills in Project Management and finding ways to satisfy his ever growing client list, he enjoys watching and playing sports, particularly basketball and soccer. As well, Ryan enjoys traveling with his family, including his two Brothers.
Justin McGovernChief Branding Expert™: Director of Project Dev
Justin McGovern co-founded the company in early 2009 after having worked with at PDM Steel Service Centers, Inc. - a subsidiary of publicly traded Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. (RS) - as a Technical Account Manager, having worked as a liaison of sorts between domestic and overseas steel mills and end-user clients including steel fabricators, erectors and general contractors. In his second year at PDM Justin was recognized for having sold the most non-ferrous structural steel by tonnage pro rata than any other Sales Representative in company history. The Justin J. McGovern Award for Excellence was named after him and has been bestowed upon a mere two other sales representatives since he departed the company in 2008.
In his current role, Justin works closely with key existing accounts and collaborates with our Sales and Marketing team to ensure all new accounts are properly and efficiently routed and assigned. He works closely with our Account Executives ensuring all customers receive a high level of client service and that nothing comes off of the production line that is anything other than first rate. Justin excels as a Project Manager in large part due to his friendly and genuine demeanor, thoughtful disposition and no-nonsense approach to resolving customer service and internal production or quality control issues when and if they arise.
Justin provides valuable insight and feedback as it relates to certain business decisions and regularly provides advice and insight taking into account his considerable experience working for various technology companies throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. He has been instrumental in helping to develop our sales team, and consults closely regarding strategy, particularly as it relates to company growth and expansion into new product categories and markets.
Justin has held a number of Sales and Account Management roles at well-known companies and startups throughout Silicon Valley including Riverbed Technology, Inc. (RVBD), Palo Alto Networks (PANW) and DataStax, Inc.
Justin was born in San Francisco, California and grew up in South San Francisco. He attended Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, having graduated from Burlingame High School. He went on to attend college in San Diego, California where his studies included Business Administration with an emphasis on Marketing. Justin resides in San Mateo with his wife Nicole, a Certified Public Accountant, his two young daughters and their rascal of a dog Posey.
Outside of work Justin is interested in home improvement, health and fitness and sports including baseball, basketball and Golf.
Carlos BatistaCorporate Branding Expert™: Project Management
Carlos Batista joined EPI with 10 years of account management experience and a great deal of knowledge in project administration and customer service. Carlos dedicates himself to providing the best experience for clients and building long-term business relationships.
Many of his core values and work ethic stem from his career in the military, a life-long dream of his. Immediately after graduating from Burlingame High School, Carlos enlisted in the military as an infantry rifleman in the United States Marine Corps from December 2003 to December 2007. He served two tours in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After his military commitment ended, he was honorably discharged and moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Carlos truly enjoys working as team and being able to oversee a variety of projects from start to finish, including assisting clients with tailored proposals; thru to design conceptualization and eventually onto successful and timely delivery.
Outside of the office, Carlos especially enjoys spending time with his wife and three children. Having them join him on outdoor adventures, like camping and snowboarding truly puts a smile on his face. He also enjoys playing basketball, mountain biking and attending sporting events.
Jennifer ValenzuelaBranding Expert™: Client Engagement
Jenny Valenzuela joined our agency in 2022 after a successful early career in the foodservice and hospitality industry. She is the friendly and professional voice who most often answers telephone calls at our agency and genuinely enjoys engaging with and getting to know our Clients.
In her time away from the office Jenny enjoys spending time with her family, shopping and visiting local beaches here in the Bay Area.
WILLIAM C. DRAPERCorporate Branding Expert™
William Draper was born in Philadelphia but moved to Los Angeles, California in his early teens, where he lived with his Aunt and Uncle on his Motherâ€™s side together with his two cousins who are also his very best friends. William attended Harvard Westlake School where he excelled at sports including football and basketball. After High School, William attended the USC Marshall School of Business, where he burnished many of his skills which allow him to perform as such a successful Branding Expert™, with our agency.
Since moving to Northern California in 2010 he has never looked back and enjoys the lifestyle the San Francisco Bay Area supports.
William lives in San Mateo, California where our office is based. William strives to enjoy a healthy lifestyle and enjoys swimming, basketball and golf when he is not busy serving his valued clients.
Derek R. HaskinsPresident and Chief Branding Officer™
In our business, the devil is in the details. With Derekâ€™s unwavering attention to the finer points, she simply has nowhere to hide. As our President and Chief Branding Officer™, Derek wears a number of (custom branded) hats while overseeing daily functions of a small (but growing) enterprise, including: Marketing, Operations, Project Management, Website Development, Graphic Design as well as Client and Supplier Relations.
Prior to establishing the company, Derek worked at PDM Steel Service Centers, Inc., a distributor of carbon steel products then servicing the western United States. In this role he developed a basic understanding of business principles and supply chains together with a more in-depth understanding of how to create value in a commoditized market. In 2009, Derek decided to apply a seemingly straight forward formula to a new business venture: do what you say you are going to do, provide a high level of personal service and forge mutually beneficial, meaningful relationships with clients, vendors and colleagues. Lastly, enjoy your professional endeavors and daily work. In the years that ensued, that business evolved into EPI™, – the countryâ€™s leading purveyor of premium corporate gifts and incentives.
Since inception, Derek has worked to embed the aforementioned values into the company culture and DNA while developing what has become an ultra-efficient, nearly bulletproof process. Never complacent, considerable time is invested researching and developing process improvements to help ensure the company adapts, evolves and sets the standard for operational efficiency. All of this ensures the company successfully completes the projects it is called upon to deliver. 2019 marked a significant operational milestone whereby every contract was delivered timely and without reported defects or claims related to the customization we provided.
On the Marketing front, Derek oversees our internal web development and digital marketing teams, while collaborating closely with our senior web developer to ensure our site maintains its position as the premier online platform within the industry. Recently this has included a number of design aesthetic and UX improvements including more user-friendly desktop and mobile navigation, convenient browsing and faster page loading.
Derek collaborates closely with our Project Mangers to ensure approved orders under contract are flowing efficiently and clients are satisfied during every engagement, at each milestone and with every deliverable. Derek has been instrumental in developing our Project Management team into the class-leading group of Professionals they are today – firing on all cylinders without exception.
Derek manages and leads our internal and external graphic design and quality control divisions which function as the companyâ€™s central nervous system. In todayâ€™s fast changing market, he understands the need to produce cutting edge designs in order to maintain our position as the countryâ€™s leading purveyor of premium corporate gifts. A hands-on, detail-oriented approach to managing these aspects is an important key to our continued success. All which it takes to break a project is one transposed character, an overlooked symbol or mismatched ink color. By implementing multiple failsafeâ€™s throughout the design, production and quality control process we have been able to entirely eliminate errors which might otherwise effect project deliverability. This sets the company apart from nearly all of its competitors.
Outside of work, Derek strives to enjoy a healthy lifestyle including regular exercise to include running, calisthenics, basketball and schedule permitting, golf. All aspects of design and visual aesthetic are of interest to him personally and professionally. When he is not working he enjoys traveling while trendspotting the next best industry trend.
Gina ThorntonCorporate Branding Expert™: Project Management
Gina Thornton joined the company in November 2015 as a Customer Service Representative and Sales Assistant. Gina came to us with ten years of experience in the promotional product industry, having worked for a mid-sized promotional product distributor in Maryland for as many years. She has considerable experience not only with the traditional distributor model, but also with managing company stores and fulfillment programs.
In early 2019, Gina was promoted to Account Executive as a direct result of her dedication to the Company and its valued clients. Gina now handles a number of key accounts and continues to excel with project management due to her ability to multi-task, to listen to customer needs.
One of the things she enjoys most about working at EPI is the relaxed boutique style work environment, and the truly unique level of synergy among the office staff. What she enjoys most about her work itself is being able to be a part of something that is going to make someone feel good, whether the item in question is a high-end custom logo jacket given to employees in recognition of an achievement or a more basic trade-show give away, the fact is, when people receive a promotional item it usually elicits a positive response. This is what makes Gina tick, professionally speaking.
Gina is a proud Mother of two girls, and mostly enjoys spending time with her kids, friends and family in her spare time. When she is not making her clients smile by helping to produce some of the most amazing and eye-catching promotional gifts and incentives or spending time with her beloved children, she enjoys shopping, taking road trips and furniture restoration.
OFFICE HOURS (Pacific Standard Time):
Monday: 6: 00 AM until 2: 30 PM
Tuesday: 7: 30 AM until 4: 00 PM
Wednesday: 6: 00 AM until 2: 30 PM
Thursday: 7: 30 AM until 4: 00 PM
Friday: 6: 00 AM until 2: 30 PM
Roberto LopezBranding Expert™: Web Development
Roberto Lopez joined the team in 2014 and specializes in website development and digital marketing. Roberto works from our Mexico office and is tasked primarily with adding, updating and managing products on the company website. With Roberto's professional assistance, we have been able to grow the company website from approximately two-thousand products to nearly seven-thousand, and Roberto works diligently on a daily full-time basis to continue to help develop our website into a world-class business-to-business e-commerce platform, where clients can conveniently view accurate product information, high quality imagery from various angles in multiple colors, and technical specifications as well as imprint methods and locations.
Roberto was born in Mazatlan, Mexico and grew up in both Mazatlan and Hermosillo, Mexico. He attended high school at Instituto Cultural de Occidente and attended college at Universidad de Guadalajara Virtual. Prior to beginning his career with EPI, Roberto worked for a local entertainment facility where he was in charge of accounting related functions and general administrative oversight.
Roberto enjoys his work at EPI mostly because it has allowed him to learn new skills, improve upon skills learned previously and because his work helps contribute to the success of not only a small business but to the success of his fellow colleagues.
In his spare time Roberto enjoys fitness including gym training and cycling, and also enjoys playing video games.
Karla NevarezBranding Expert™: Web Development
Karla Nevarez works for the company as a Branding Expert™, specializing in website development. Based in our Mexico office, her work involves adding, updating and managing products on the company website on a full-time basis. Karla is also in charge of the company's online paid search campaigns, and has become well-versed in Google Adwords and also Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
Karla has been instrumental in helping create a better website with an unmatched product selection. This has directly benefitted not only the company but most importantly our valued customers. She's a true whiz when it comes to adding products not only quickly but together with great attention to detail to help ensure all published information and imagery is accurate. Karla is a good problem solver, which has been evident in her ability to find various solutions that allow her to work more efficiently without compromising the quality of her work.
Prior to joining our team Karla worked for a company in Mexico which specialized in billing and invoicing for a variety of industries. Her role there was training individuals to learn the software. She was born in Ensenada, Mexico and grew up in Mazatlan, Mexico where she currently resides with her family. Karla attended high school in Mazatlan, and went on to attend college at ITESUS University, where she studied criminalistics.
Karla takes a tremendous amount of pride in her work, and mostly enjoys being a part of a small professional team where her work truly makes a difference. Her work at the company has been rewarding in that it has allowed her to learn a number of new skills, while improving her English which is an ongoing professional development goal for her.
In her spare time Karla mostly enjoys spending time with her friends and family. She also enjoys playing video games and reading.
Aaron LeschnerCorporate Branding Expert™: Project Management
Aaron Leschner is an esteemed Corporate Branding Expert- specialized in Project Management and Business Development. Aaron joined our team with invaulable experience in the custom print and promotional merchandise industry having worked for a mid-sized publishing company specializing in international trade publications. For more than fifteen years Aaron collaborated with businesses of all sizes - including numerous Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies - to supply one-of-a-kind guides to international trade which featured customized covers which helped his valued Clients promote their own brand.
Aaron resides in Marin County and enjoys playing tennis when he is not advocating for Clients or helping to diligently manage their projects. Additionally, motorcycles are a personal interest and he.
RUPERT J. COINEBranding Expert™: FiServ - Controller
Rupert Coine has been a part of our team since 2012 having thoughtfully assisted us in various informal roles including early advisory regarding business structuring, strategy and liquidity planning. In 2018 Rupert formally joined our agency in a part-time capacity as our Controller specializing in end-user credit access and facilitation.
During his expansive career, Rupert has done stints at several well-known financial services and accounting companies, including:
Rupert is an experienced and knowledgeable Accountant, Economist and Financial Analyst with an uncanny ability to multiply numbers without the use of a digital or analog device. Rupert assists our agency with financial report preparations, periodic credit reviews, accounts receivable/accounts payable analysis and other certain functions which help keep our small but growing business moving along. In certain unique and uncommon instances, we lean on Rupert to assist with client collections and pre-collections. Rupert could be described reasonably as a â€˜Financial Personal Trainerâ€™ to our agency: itâ€™s not always pleasant or enjoyable in the moment but you always end up loving him once hindsight sets in.
Rupert Coine was born in North Caldwell, New Jersey and moved to Chicago, Illinois just before starting Kindergarten. He continued to reside in Chicago until 2006 at which point he relocated to Northern California. When he is not working he is usually learning or relaxing over a warm cup of his home-brewed French press coffee. Rupert is currently studying to become a licensed Attorney in the State of California and intends to take the California State Bar Exam no later than early 2023. He stays fit and healthy with a rather fierce early morning lap-swimming routine.
ALISTAIR FRANCISCreative Branding Expert™: Associate Publisher
Alistair Francis joined our agency in 2018 as staff-assistant to our then Creative Director. Alistair was born and grew up in Charleston, South Carolina and studied graphic design at the Pratt Institute. After completing his formal education, Alistair moved to Southern California before relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area.
As our Creative Branding Expert™, Alistair heads our entire graphic design and publishing team. He oversees daily functions ensuring all graphic designs and preparations run smoothly, this ensuring an always positive outcome with finished products.
Alistair also serves as our in house Publisher overseeing all print and electronic publications including brand catalogs, look books and other endeavors.
Alistair currently resides in Palo Alto, California with his FiancÃ© Peter and their two furry four-legged children. In his free time he enjoys creative writing, hiking and exploring various wine regions throughout Northern California and beyond.
ALEXA RAYEBranding Expert™: Client Engagement
Ms. Alexa Raye hails from Bartlett, Tennessee – a suburb of Memphis - where she was born and eventually developed into one of our most thoughtful and creative Branding Experts™,.
Alexa is tasked with ensuring all client engagements – inbound, outbound and otherwise – are handled with the utmost care and attention to detail. Alexa is oftentimes found live chatting with prospective clients thru the engagement portal on our website, or calling around to new and existing clients to let them know about current programs and offers as well as imprint and customization processes as they develop and evolve.
Alexaâ€™s calm, cool and friendly demeanor make her wonderful asset to our team of Branding Experts™,.
Alexa resides in Burlingame, California and works from our San Mateo, California office location. In her free time she enjoys cooking, gardening and making her own homemade honey. Whenever possible, she likes to travel the visit interesting small towns throughout the US and Canada. She is an avid Yoga and Pilates enthusiast.
EPI™, was founded in 2009 by Derek Haskins and Justin McGovern, longtime friends who met while attending Burlingame High School. In its original model the business provided professional golf event management and production services to corporate and non-profit clients throughout the Western United States. As the company matured, demand was noticed within our existing client base for customized merchandise. Initially product was sourced thru various online merchants who promised the moon and usually delivered storm clouds. Service failures began to adversely affect client relations. In 2012 the company restructured its supply chain and created an online platform with a limited selection of branded golf apparel, embroidered pullovers, imprinted golf balls and other golf-themed promotional items.
Over time the agency refined its area of expertise and began developing a carefully curated selection of products consisting of what we consider to be the finest corporate gifts and incentives. Strategic alliances were established with many of the key retail brands we offer to date. Presently our agency delivers a most unique, sought after collection of more than one hundred interesting brands, many of whom are premium lines who have trusted us to supply the corporate marketplace. Many of our most meaningful partnerships represent brand exclusives - several of today's leading retail brands choose to partner solely with EPI™, in the corporate B2B market. In doing so, they have recognized an unwavering commitment to representing premium brands in a manner which strategically enhances their retail footprint.
End-user clients of all sizes including a number of Fortune 500 companies have come to trust our agency having learned we will deliver no matter what, and in many cases when no one else can. Dedicated, single point of contact Project Management allows us to assess the situation and swiftly develop a bulletproof plan to deliver even under the heaviest time constraints. Unlike the businesses who try to compete with us, our Branding Experts™, are empowered with decision making abilities allowing them to efficiently manage and deliver the most complex projects. All of this together with prompt, unambiguous communication and careful attention to detail allow our agency to accept projects others have labeled 'impossible'. If you are interested in becoming a client or would like to learn more about our agency, please connect us in the manner you find most convenient.
411 Borel Avenue, Suite 350
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