Leadership

Ted A. Vlamis

President and CEO, Pioneer Balloon Company

Ted A. Vlamis describes his position as the head “philosopher,” whose job it is to nurture Pioneer’s direction as well as guide the overall company’s strategy and growth. Consolidated American Industries, Inc., which developed and marketed Swiss Chalet Salad Dressing and Salad Crispins, brought Ted and his family to Wichita in 1971. Prior to then Ted held a number of management positions with General Mills, including overall responsibility for GMI’s largest consumer food products plant. Ted is a graduate of Yale University and received his MBA from the University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business, Executive Program.

Betty Vlamis

Executive Vice President, Pioneer Balloon Company

Betty shares responsibility for overall company direction and growth. She is on the Board of Directors and is a member of the Executive Operating Committee. She has executive responsibility for the Creative Strategies group and in very involved in marketing and new product development. Prior to entering the business field in 1971, Betty was involved in numerous voluntary organizations and was a medical technologist. She and Ted have worked together as business partners for more than 45 years. They have three sons, two of whom hold management positions in Pioneer, and four grandchildren. Betty has an Associate of Arts degree from Harcum College.

Daniel A. Flynn

Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, Pioneer Balloon Company

Dan Flynn joined Pioneer Balloon in 1982 and has held a variety of positions in the marketing, communications and operations before becoming Chief Operating Officer in 1996.  As COO, he is responsible for the day-to-day activities and direction of the company, and serves as chairperson of the Executive Operating Committee.  Dan has been very active in the balloon industry throughout the world. A founder of The Balloon Council, an industry-wide trade information organization, he has served as chairman of that organization since its inception in 1990.  He has testified before a Senate panel on toy safety and appeared nationally on ABC News.  In addition, Dan has been quoted as an industry spokesperson in numerous newspapers and articles. He graduated with honors from Grinnell College in 1981, with a B.A. in American Studies.

Ted J. Vlamis

Vice President, Pioneer Balloon Company

Ted J. Vlamis joined Pioneer Balloon Company in 1981, working as a Sales Representative covering sev-eral Midwestern states. In the mid-80’s he began handling Pioneer’s international business, and as Pioneer’s international business expanded, he began devoting his concentration on this part of the company’s business. As Vice President, Ted is responsible for overseeing Pioneer’s facilities in Hamilton, ON, Canada, Puebla, Pue., Mexico, Acatlán de Juarez, Jal., Mexico, Bishop’s Stortford, Herts., UK, Sydney, N.S.W. Australia, and Jundiai, SP, Brazil. Through these facilities and third party distributors, Pioneer’s balloons are sold in more than 100 countries.

Randy Smith

Director of Marketing, Pioneer Balloon Company

Randy Smith has been the Director of Marketing since he joined Pioneer in 2014 and oversees the marketing team, consisting of Product Development, Marketing Communications, and Market Strategies. Randy is a graduate of the University of Missouri – St. Louis and has 30 years of brand management experience, which includes Hallmark Cards and Nestlē among others. His favorite thing about working at Pioneer is the people and the passion they have for balloons. “I’ve heard it said that ‘balloons can get in your blood,’ and that is clearly true of the entire Pioneer organization.”  

Marie Gransbury

Managing Director, Pioneer Europe Limited

Marie Gransbury has been the Managing Director for Pioneer Europe for nearly 5 years. In addition to her day-to-day focus of streamlining operations, enhancing profitability, and increasing sales, Marie oversees the strategic development of the balloon and party markets in more than 35 different countries. Her introduction to the world of balloons began in 1983 when she started working for Fairlaine UK, a company that manufactured foil balloons. Marie considers herself a proud member of the “Pioneer family” and enjoys developing new concepts to help shape the future of the balloon and party industry across the globe.

Lois Devlin

Commercial Director of Emerging Markets, Pioneer Europe Limited

Lois Devlin’s foray in the balloon industry began in 1985 working for a small UK distributor based in London. After joining Pioneer Europe’s sales team in 1991, Lois quickly advanced to General Manager in 1993 and became Managing Director in 1995. In her current role as the Commercial Director of Emerging Markets, Lois Devlin and her team develop the professional balloon markets for Qualatex in India, Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia. “For me, going to work is a pleasure, not a chore. Thank you, Pioneer, for giving me so much for the last quarter of a century.”

Itamar Silva

Managing Director, Pioneer Balloon Brasil Ltda.

Itamar began his career at Pioneer 17 years ago as a Sales Coordinator in the Wichita office before moving back to his home country of Brazil in 2001. Itamar is responsible for the establishment, maintenance, and expansion of Pioneer’s affiliate location in Brazil, as well as all aspects of business development, marketing, logistics, training, and sales. He also speaks multiple languages, including French, Spanish, Portuguese, and English. “I like the fact Pioneer gives you the freedom to create and to pursue projects that at the end of the day contribute to the quality of our products and team commitment.”

Bruce Fraser

Managing Director, Pioneer Balloon Australia

As someone who oversees the national distribution for Pioneer in Australia and New Zealand, Bruce is very familiar with the world of sales and management. His experiences as a Operations Manager for Second Cup Coffee Co., a National Canadian specialty coffee retailer, as well as a Restaurant and Special Events Manager for McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada have served him well in his current role. Bruce’s career at Pioneer spans 30 years, beginning in Canada and then transferring to Australia in 1996. During this time he has served as former National President of BASA A (Balloon Artists and Suppliers Association of Australia).