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2006 Silver Apples awarded

NEW YORK-Six direct marketing veterans and one leading direct mail company were presented with the 2006 Silver Apple Awards from The Direct Marketing Club of New York at a gala luncheon event at the NY Hilton and Towers on Nov. 10.

Recipients included Margaret Raven Ginns, Gordon Grossman, Liz Kislik, Larry May, Don Mokrynski, and Lee Marc Stein. The Corporate Silver Apple Award was given to Leon Henry Inc. These awards are given to recipients for 25 years of distinguished service to the New York direct marketing community.

Leon Henry, chairman and CEO of Leon Henry Inc., an insert media firm in Scarsdale, NY, said he was deeply grateful to receive the corporate award.

“When I received a Silver Apple in 1992, I could not believe it, and I still can’t believe it,” he said. “I am deeply honored to have won the corporate Silver Apple.”

Mr. Henry also thanked his wife Thelma to whom he has been married for 52 years.

Thelma, he said ” is not only my partner, mother of our 3 children and 8 grandchildren but also my muse and soul mate…most importantly, her job as president and treasurer is what has kept us in the profit column for the past 50 years. It pays to be married to the boss.”

Other winners gave similar heartfelt and gracious speeches.

Ms. Ginns, for example, a Brit whose first experience in direct marketing was in 1965 with The Kleid Company, thanked “so many friends in this wonderful, free-spirited industry.”

Ms. Ginns, who eventually became the executive vice president of the management division of Stevens-Knox & Associates, currently works part-time for List Process Management Inc. in its Sarasota, FL office. In closing she enthusiastically shouted, “God save the Queen,” to uproarious applause.

In accepting his award, copywriter Gordon Grossman of Gordon W. Grossman, Inc., Chappaqua, NY, shamelessly plugged his new book–Confessions of a Direct Mail Guy, which was published last month. Holding up his book, he told the crowd, “one thing I am not going to do is plug my book,” which brought laughter from the packed audience.

Mr. Grossman started his career as a copywriter for Pleasantville, NY-based Reader’s Digest Association Inc. As a consultant, he developed the regression-based customer selection systems for both Time-Life Books and Rodale Press, working with a mathematician. These systems are still in use today.

When Ms. Kislik, president of consulting firm Liz Kislik Associates LLC, Rockville Centre, NY, accepted her award, she said it brought guilty feelings.
“Am I really doing enough to receive this honor?” she said, adding that after she “signed up for two more committee positions, she felt really, really happy.”

Ms. Kislik’s professional development began with summer jobs in a call center. After starting out as an account executive with Pinole, CA-based CCI Telemarketing, one of the first telemarketing agencies in the US, she worked her way up to executive vice president. In 1987 she opened her own consultancy.

When Larry May, CEO of Direct Media Inc., a Greenwich, CT-based list brokerage and management firm accepted his ward, he said that for him, the award should be called the Silver Barnacle Award, “for affixing myself to every successful and talented person I know in the industry and refusing to let go.”

In 1993, Mr. May founded May Development Services, a division Direct Media that provides direct mail fundraising services to a variety of non-profit organizations, specializing in health, social service and religious appeals. Last year, MDS participated in over 350,000,000 pieces of fund raising mail, making it the largest list brokerage for nonprofits in the industry.

When Don Mokrynski, founder and former chairman of Hackensack, NJ-based Mokrynskidirect accepted his award, he said direct marketing “has been a part of my life for the better part of 35 years, and I can’t remember a boring day in the industry-although I can remember some challenging ones.”

In 1978, Mr. Mokrynski founded Mokrynski direct , a full service marketing company. In June 2006 it was acquired by Omaha, NE-based infoUSA.

Lee Marc Stein, of Long Island, NY-based Lee Marc Stein Ltd., is a consultant and copywriter who began his career as a copywriter at Upper Saddle River, NJ-based Prentice-Hall 42 years ago. Mr. Stein joked about his name when accepting his award.

“People don’t know whether to call me Lee or Lee Marc,” he said, adding that he started using his middle name many years ago “when I started getting feminine hygiene products in the mail. When I added my middle name, they stopped coming.” He added: “You can call me Lee or Lee Marc, but today you can just call me lucky.”

The award ceremony was emceed by well-known list professional Ralph Stevens of Boca Raton, FL-based Ralph Stevens and Associates Inc.

During the event friends and family paid respects to four direct marketing veterans who passed away this year: Bill Carney, Bob Castle, Al Goodloe, Jr., and Jack Oldstein.

A moment of silence also took place for Andy Ostroy and his family. Mr. Ostroy lost his wife, Adrienne Levine, suddenly last week.

“This year’s recipients reflect the best qualities of our industry,” said Jane Weber, immediate past-president of the DMCNY who oversaw the final selection process. “Not only have they had outstanding and sustained careers, all have generously given back to the industry by volunteering, mentoring, and myriad other ways.”

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