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.
Derek R. HaskinsPresident and Chief Branding Officer
In our business, the devil is in the details. With Derek’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 country’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 Website Product Managers and digital marketing team, 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 company’s central nervous system. In today’s fast changing market, he understands the need to produce cutting edge designs in order to maintain our position as the country’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 failsafe’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. Derek and his better half Lynette enjoy traveling, and while away from the office they spend time trend spotting brands and product lines to add to the company’s ever increasing offering.
Justin McGovernLead Project Manager and Co-Founder
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.
Amy LiOffice and Accounting Manager
Amy Li joined our team in January 2017 as our Office and Accounting Manager. Amy was born in Xi'an, China where she lived during her formative years. Xi'an is one of the oldest cities in China and is famous as the home to the Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.
After attending High School in Xi'an Amy moved with her family to the United States, where she studied marketing at San Francisco State University. While she missed home and the amazing food in Xi'an she quickly adapted to life in the United States and excelled in her studies, having graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Marketing.
Prior to coming to work at EPI Amy worked for Struxtur, Inc. where she was mostly in charge of Accounting and Bookkeeping in a role similar to her work at EPI. Amy is an extremely efficient and detail oriented Accounting Professional and takes tremendous pride in her work. Her responsibilities within the company include accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, managing payments, client invoicing and general office administration. She is the friendly voice who answers the phone as well!
Amy enjoys working at EPI because she enjoys the friendly almost family-like environment within our office. She is constantly observing and suggesting ways to improve office operations and client service and has quickly become a key team member.
Outside of work Amy enjoys hiking, traveling and watching movies. She also enjoys playing League of Legends.
Gina ThorntonProject Manager Extraordinaire
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
Carlos BatistaProject Manager
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.
Karla NevarezWebsite Product Manager
Karla Nevarez works for the company as a Website Product Manager. Based in our Mazatlan, 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 Optimization in general.
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.
Roberto LopezWebsite Product Manager
Roberto Lopez joined the team in 2014 as a Website Product Manager. Roberto is based in our Mazatlan, 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 ELITE, 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 ELITE 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.
BRITTANY JEPSONDigital Marketing Analyst, Social Media
Brittany Jepson joined our agency in 2019 shortly after graduating Magna Cum Laude from Sonoma State University, where she earned a B.S. in Business with an emphasis in Marketing. Brittany has enjoyed being able to apply what she learned while gaining more in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience related to digital advertising including: Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine and Social Media Marketing.
Brittany is responsible for ensuring the content on our website is produced and published in accordance with company defined standards and generally accepted best practices. She collaborates closely with our Website Product Managers to ensure information displayed throughout our website is kept current, is easy to read and process. Brittany is a skilled writer which allows her to efficiently develop, plan and publish snappy, engaging content which helps set our website apart as the leading authority within the industry.
Her strong work ethic and people-oriented approach to developing and implementing solutions have ingratiated her with our close-knit family of Branding Experts™. In a relatively short period of time, Brittany has made a measurable difference not only in terms of helping the company achieve certain goals and milestones, but by helping create a better user-experience online for our valued clients. A self-starter, Brittany has singlehandedly transformed our social media presence thru carefully thought out publications and meaningful updates to existing content.
A significant part of Brittany’s recipe for professional success is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, running (with and without her dog, London, a very handsome Black Lab) and other fitness initiatives. She also spends her free time traveling, exploring new places and enjoying time with friends and family.
RYAN TACCONIAssistant Project Manager
Ryan Tacconi initially began his career as a future Branding Expert™ when he joined our agency in 2019 thru 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 management by 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 Ryan’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 Ryan’s successful management of every other project he accepted, Ryan was promoted to Assistant Project Manager after returning from a brief hiatus in December of 2019.
Ryan’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.
YOUR NAME HEREMarketing Manager
ELITE PROMO INC (EPI™), one of the fastest growing Promotional Product Distributors in the United States two years in a row according to the Advertising Specialty Institute, is seeking a full-time Marketing Manager. We are an industry-leader specializing in Branded Luxury™. Our new Marketing Manager will work hand in hand with Management to pave the way for continued growth within our niche.
The right candidate will be fulfilled professionally, creatively and otherwiseconsidering they will be tasked with oversight, management and implementation of the following:
EPI™ was founded on a shoestring 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 effect 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 enabled with broad decision making authority 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 contact us in the manner you find most convenient.
411 Borel Avenue, Suite 350
Río Lerma No. 232, Pisos 28, 29 y 30,
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