Awards Dinner Salutes Bedding Leaders

Passaglia, Lava, Diamonstein and Perry honored at ISPA Industry Conference.

Dave Perry reflects on the ISPA awards night dinner and his retirement.

The International Sleep Products Association recently honored four bedding leaders who devoted their lifetimes to the industry. It was a special evening, one that unfolded in St. Petersburg, Florida, where ISPA held its Industry Conference.

One of those lifetimes happens to be mine, but my story was just one that we celebrated. I was honored to share the stage that night with three bedding veterans I’ve known and admired for decades. Together, we’ve devoted a total of 160 years to the home furnishings industry, and most of that was to the mattress category.

It was nice to see my good friend Ron Passaglia receive ISPA’s highest honor, the Exceptional Service Award, one that he richly deserved for his years of work with ISPA and its Better Sleep Council, both of which he led, and his work with a number of leading mattress brands over the years.

I first worked with Passaglia when he was at Simmons, which he joined 50 years ago. Later, I worked with him when he led Restonic. He is a thoughtful, caring leader, one who mentored me and many others over the years. I always appreciated his wise counsel and his well-informed opinions on industry issues.

I was also pleased to see someone who sets a fast pace — Adam Lava — receive recognition for his work at A Lava. Lava, who likes to drive race cars, zoomed ahead in his mattress industry work, pioneering the development of boxed beds by leveraging bedding compression technology and an appreciation of the potential of online mattress retailing.

He was the first recipient of ISPA’s Vanguard Award, one that recognizes individuals or companies who lead the industry with innovative approaches to the business, and he was the perfect choice for that award.

Together, we’ve devoted a total of 160 years to the
home furnishings industry.

It was also wonderful to see Richard Diamonstein, managing director of Paramount Sleep, recognized for the important role he played in the growth and success of the industry’s Mattress Recycling Council.

Diamonstein, a former ISPA chair, was “an early and strong advocate for mattress recycling,” notes ISPA President Ryan Trainer. He was the first chair of the MRC when it was formed in 2013 and continues to play a key role on the MRC board.

I always enjoyed my visits with Diamonstein and his team at Paramount’s Wrenn Street showroom in High Point. He cares deeply about the men and women in the mattress industry and strives to build a better industry for all.

The awards dinner ended with a salute to my decades of work in the mattress industry, which I’m wrapping up with my retirement from full-time work for ISPA. (I will continue to write my columns for ISPA through the end of this year, and I’ll have more reflections on my career in later columns.)

The salute began with an eight-minute video that featured funny outtakes from video shoots and serious comments from more than a dozen home furnishings and bedding leaders thanking me for my service to the industry.

That video was produced, fittingly, by Mynda Bullock, the video pro I’ve worked with for several years, including during my time at ISPA. Ours has been a fruitful, rewarding partnership, one of the highlights of my career. Thanks, Mynda, for making me look good in all of those videos. I know you and the ISPA team will continue to do great work together.

Then bedding veterans Gary Fazio and Mark Hobson offered their takes on my career, and Trainer presented me with a retirement gift from ISPA.

Thanks to all of you who made that tribute so meaningful for me and my wife, Karen, who joined me at the dinner. And thanks to Ryan, Mary Helen Rogers and the entire ISPA team for that memorable evening.

In all of the excitement of the night I neglected to mention a person who contributed so much to my success in journalism, and in life. That is my father, Aldo, who passed away last year at 97. He was a steady source of encouragement and insight over the years. He was excited to see what I would do in retirement. Dad, I’ve now taken that next step in my life. I hope my retirement will be as successful as yours.

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