DMA's Insert Council roasts and toasts honorees

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The Direct Marketing Association Insert Media Council's 10th annual "Roast and Toast" Holiday Luncheon took place Dec. 13 at the Yale Club of New York with far more toasting than roasting for honorees Frank C. Hudetz, chairman/CEO of Solar Communications Inc., and Jill Eastman-Vidal, director of third party marketing at 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. as well as corporate award winner Bookspan.

Amidst the food, wine and door prize drawings, industry leaders took time to celebrate the best characteristics of the industry.

"This is not a business day," said Jim Zuckermandel, president/CEO of Zed Marketing Group and co-chair of the Council. "It's really a day for passion for what we do."

Each honoree got their time in the limelight, beginning with Ms. Eastman-Vidal, veteran of Newport News, Hanover Direct and Muldoon Direct Inc. At 1-800-Flowers.com she oversees list management, package insert, insert media programs and syndication relationships, and she was recognized for her multitasking abilities.

"There's an old saying, 'If you want something done ask a busy person,'" said Jeff Holland, vice president of New Media Development at Singer Direct Inc. "Nothing could be more descriptive of our first nominee."

Held to standards such as Yahoo Hot Jobs tips, military leadership principles, and the dictionary definition of 'hayseed,' Illinois-native Ms. Vidal was recognized as an icon of integrity, fairness and efficiency by her colleagues and husband through speeches and limerick.

The Bookspan toasting also held its share of cross-channel praise and featured a short movie presented by Sandra Roscoe, executive vice president at Singer Direct Inc., that took viewers on the journey of an insert at the Bookspan distribution center to the tune of Haddaway's What is love?

Love and care for its business partners was something that Bookspan was praised for along with the sheer span of its programs.

"If you are a broker you can't help but include the Doubleday programs in your recommendations," said Marie Buzzeo, vice president of insert management at Direct Media Inc.

Frank C. Hudetz is credited with taking Solar from a single product and market focus as Solar Press to a cross-functional direct marketing production services company that reportedly grosses $60 million in sales with 500 employees.

His younger brother Peter Hudetz, executive vice president at Solar, gave the crowd tips on how to annoy the business leader, such as using his full name or sharing embarrassing childhood stories. Others were more sentimental, including Leon Henry Inc.'s senior account executive Joel Katz.

"I owe my career, my beginning and my existence in this industry to you and your company," he said in reference to Frank C. Hudetz and Solar.

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