Bill Vernon_2011

NEWTON, IA – In September 2016, Bill Vernon, Chairman of The Vernon Company, marked a career and company milestone by becoming the first person in the company’s 114 year history to celebrate 60 continuous years of service in its corporate office.

Vernon joined his family’s company in 1956, after college and a tour of duty overseas in the U.S. Army. He was elected President of The Vernon Company in 1969 and became the Chairman and CEO after the death of his father, Bill Vernon, Sr., in 1974.

During his 60-year tenure, the company’s annual sales grew from $5 million in 1956 to $70 million today. “My father has been the most instrumental person in the company’s success over the past six decades,” said Chris Vernon, current CEO. “His contribution to this company, to the industry and to our family is remarkable and is an important legacy in the company’s history.”

In addition to the contributions he has made to his company, his industry accomplishments are just as impressive. He was named Chairman of the Board of Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) in 1971, inducted into the PPAI Hall of Fame in 1985, named the Counselor’s Person of the Year in 1986 and received the Marvin Spike Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.

Outside of the industry, Vernon has also left his mark in the state of Iowa. He was the founder of the Iowa Games and the creator of the Iowa Sports Foundation. He served as chairman of the Des Moines Civic Center, was a member of the board of directors for the Des Moines Art Center, and served on the Wells Fargo Iowa Board for almost 30 years. He was also a civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army for Iowa and a delegate to the Republican Party National Convention. Additionally, he served on the board and helped co-found Progress Industries in Newton, Iowa – a nonprofit organization designed to provide job skills and independence for citizens with disabilities.

“I’ve had a perfect balance between civic and business activities over the years,” said Vernon. “Being involved has helped shape my pride and enthusiasm for this company, my home town, and the state of Iowa. I hope that the involvement I have had, professionally and personally over the past six decades, has left a lasting impression and that my family and our company will continue to build on that legacy.”



Newton, IA – Twelve employees of The Vernon Company have been recognized as Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) Fellows. The new PPAI Fellows Program is a way to thank and recognize individuals who have continuously supported the promotional products industry through personal involvement, and who have contributed to a culture of rich volunteer engagement. The twelve Vernon employees recognized in this inaugural group of PPAI Fellows are:

  • Jerry Delgado (Puerto Rico)
  • Sue Moore (Nebraska)
  • Michael Propst (Ohio)
  • Dave Regan (Iowa)
  • Hal Small (Florida)
  • Andrea Smith (Iowa)
  • Bill Szydlowski (Iowa)
  • Jeff Thomas (California)
  • Chris Vernon (Iowa)
  • Bill Vernon (Iowa)
  • Dale Worden (Florida)
  • Rick Yood (Florida)

Each of these individuals were recognized based on their combined contributions in one or more of the following activities: serving on committees, advisory groups, task forces or boards for five years or more; mentoring, facilitating or teaching education sessions; contributing articles to PPAI publications; and volunteering in the promotional products industry.

Chris Vernon Named CEO


The Vernon Company recently announced that Chris Vernon, Co-CEO of The Vernon Company, has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman effective July 1, 2016. Chris will continue to serve as President and manage daily business operations across all Vernon operating divisions. William F. (Bill) Vernon will continue as the Company’s Chairman.

Chris Vernon has been with the Company since 1987 and has held various responsibilities in sales and marketing. He was appointed to Co-CEO in 2014 and President and Chief Operating Officer in 1999. He is a graduate of Lake Forest Academy, Lake Forest, Illinois, and has an undergraduate degree in political science and a master’s degree in business administration (Kellogg Graduate School of Management) from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He worked for Harris/Lanier Corporation and NCR Corporation in the 1980s prior to joining Vernon.

“This is another step in our succession planning & leadership transition process that has been occurring the past several decades,” stated Bill Vernon. “Chris has proven himself to be an effective leader in our business, our industry and within the community during both good and difficult business cycles.  He has also built an outstanding executive and administrative team to whom we are deeply indebted. We are very proud of the success and growth of our businesses in the promotional product and sign graphics markets.”


The Vernon Company awarded Rick Buckley, who represents Tri-Mountain, as Supplier Account Manager of the Year at the company’s National Sales Meeting held April 18 – 20 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Vernon strives to recognize people who continually go above and beyond expectations. The company began honoring individual supplier representatives four outstanding service and dedication to Vernon and its account executives in 2014.

“Rick has been working with Vernon for many years and makes it a practice to exceed expectations in helping our account executives,” said Vicki Palm, Director of Marketing for The Vernon Company.  “They know they can reach out to him anytime for help with client projects, and he will deliver.”

“The Supplier Account Manager of the Year award means a lot to me because The Vernon Company is like family to me,” said Buckley. “The Vernon account executives and support staff are always nice and friendly to work with. Vernon is one of my top accounts, and it was an incredible honor. I want to thank Vernon for the years of great business and great relationships.




The Vernon Company recently recognized SanMar with the 2015 Supplier of the Year Award during the company’s annual National Sales Meeting held April 18 – 20 in Des Moines, IA.

The Supplier of the Year Awards is given annually to the industry supplier that provides the best overall service to The Vernon Company and its customers. The award is based on important quality considerations including product selection and quality, pricing, customer service, problem resolution and marketing support programs.

“SanMar is a great partner to The Vernon Company,” said Vicki Palm, Director of Marketing for The Vernon Company. “They have been instrumental in helping increase our overall apparel sales as a company.  In a survey to our account executives and internal support departments, SanMar received more ’exceptional‘ votes than any other supplier.”

“We are deeply honored to accept the Supplier of the Year Award,” said Susan Rye, Director of Strategic Accounts at SanMar. “It is humbling for us to be recognized by such an amazing organization as The Vernon Company. As much as we appreciate this award and as grateful we are for it, the greatest reward is simply being given the opportunity to work with a group of wonderful people at Vernon.”


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The Vernon Company hosted its annual national sales meeting, Vernon University, April 19 – 20, at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown in Des Moines, Iowa. The three day event brought together 100 Vernon account executives from coast-to-coast and over 75 supplier partners in Central Iowa. This was the first time in almost 50 years that the company held a national event in Iowa.

Day one featured educational workshops and round table discussions, with topics ranging from social media to college licensing, and a welcome reception that was open to all Vernon corporate office staff, as well as the account executives in attendance.

The second day included supplier presentations and a special trip to the Vernon corporate headquarters in Newton, Iowa where account executives were able to tour the facilities and meet support staff.

“This year’s meeting in our home town allowed our account executives to bond with members of our internal support team,” said Dave Regan, Vice-President of Sales & Marketing for The Vernon Company. “Both staff and account executives enjoyed the interaction and walked away with a stronger appreciation for what the other does on a daily basis.”

The final day of Vernon University included a trade-show featuring the company’s preferred vendors and a luncheon honoring Vernon’s Million Dollar Club members. The day concluded with a formal awards banquet recognizing the company’s top producers, rising stars and supplier partners.

Next year’s Vernon University is being planned for April 2017 in Palm Springs, California.

The Vernon Company is recognized as one of the largest and most successful promotional product firms in North America. Founded in 1902 by F.L. Vernon, we serve more than 40,000 customers from our Newton, Iowa corporate headquarters.

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