Allan Palecek, CEO, founder and lead designer of Palecek , will be the next Academy of Achievement Award recipient, the Accessories Resource Team  (ART) and the Dallas Market Center  announced recently. Palecek will accept the award at the 23rd annual ARTS Awards during the January Dallas Market.
ART Executive Director Sharon Davis says Palecek deserves this honor because of his commitment to building a legacy and protecting the environment.
“What makes him stand out so significantly is not only his longevity in the industry, but also how he’s fostering another generation to make sure his legacy lives on,” Davis says. “Also, he’s committed to sustainability and other issues of the day, and that made him perfect for this year’s honoree.”
Palecek, who first introduced his company of the same name at the San Francisco Gift Show in 1973, says being honored by his peers is the ultimate honor, but that it is not meant for him alone.
“It’s really the whole company that’s being recognized - suppliers, salespeople, staff, customers, reps and family members,” he says. “That’s the Palecek of it all and I’m lucky enough to be the spokesperson of all this. It’s the support and the other people committed to the same idea that makes it work.”
The company is known for its commitment to sustainability, which is something that evolved naturally based on Palecek’s family history of farming.
“It didn’t even occur to anyone at that time to talk about sustainability, but when I first got into this business, I was fascinated with the different natural materials and fibers and how those raw materials could be turned into something very decorative and very useful,” he says. “So when ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ became buzzwords in the industry, we looked around and said gosh, that’s us.”
Palecek is careful with the materials he selects, using mostly natural materials that can replenish themselves in a year or two. He is also careful with his choice of wood, and is very involved with reforestation programs.
In addition to environmental issues, Palecek also gives back in other ways, such as by getting involved with local communities where the company’s materials come from and lending a hand after those places experience a natural disaster.
The business is truly a family affair, with Palecek’s wife Nancy managing the company’s marketing and merchandising, their son Andrew serving as the company’s vice president and their daughter Karey having worked there as a designer.
“I have so many people come up to me who are surprised that there’s really a Palecek behind all this, and I think having a person behind the company makes us more recognizable,” he says. “There are very few companies where there’s a person who’s involved as much as I am with a company that’s as diversified as we are. Not everyone has something to pass on, but it’d be a shame to not pass this along.”
Ultimately, Palecek says he is proud of the legacy he’s created for his company, which is a member of the ARTS Awards Hall of Fame.
“I’ve been on that stage a number of times, and I hope I never take it for granted because it means a lot,” he says.
The ARTS Awards will take place on Saturday, Jan. 21, at a new location, the Hilton Anatole Hotel next door to the Dallas Market Center. Tickets will be available online starting in November.