2017 Inductees

Follow the links below to view the inductees for this year's Hall of Fame. The inductees will be honored at the 17th annual TOTY Awards ceremony, Friday, February 17, 2017.




Professional Affiliation

Peter Eio

Former President

LEGO Systems, Inc.

Ray Larsen


RLA Marketing

Sydney Rosen

Former Owner of Rose Art



Peter Eio

Peter Eio, Former President, LEGO Systems, Inc.

Peter Eio has more than 50 years of experience in marketing and general management with leading global consumer brands including Alka-Seltzer, Brillo, Playtex, and LEGO. For nearly 20 years, he was responsible for building LEGO businesses, first in the UK and subsequently in the U.S., with a compound internal growth rate of 12% per annum. For more than 12 years he served as President of LEGO in the Americas, developing the LEGO brand into one of the most respected in the U.S. toy industry with a penetration of over 70% among families with children.

He served on the board of the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) from 1985-1988 and was chairman of the Toy Manufacturers of America (now the Toy Industry Association) from 1998-2000. Since retiring in 2001, he has retained a deep interest in the toy industry and was a founding member of the ICTI CARE Foundation that monitors and seeks to improve working conditions in the global toy industry.

Mr. Eio, who was a member of the LEGO global management team, led an organization of 1,100 employees with a turnover of $500 million based in Enfield, Connecticut. During his tenure he headed the negotiation team that established a successful long-term relationship with Lucas Film with LEGO STAR WARS. He also served as a founding member on the Advisory Board of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). The First LEGO League now attracts more than 230,000 young people annually in 80 countries.

Mr. Eio is an alumnus of the IMD Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland. Prior to joining the LEGO Company, he spent 11 years with International Playtex Corporation where he served as General Manager of their Scandinavian operations. He has held a life-long interest in education and has served on the boards of several educational institutions, including The American Forum for Global Education and the University of Hartford where he was Chair of the Board of Regents from 2004-2009 and is now a Life Regent.

He holds honorary degrees from the University of Hartford (Doctor of Commercial Science, Honoris Causa) and Rensselaer Polytechnic (Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa). In 1993, he received the Prince Henrik Medal of Honour for services to Danish industry. His industry experience also includes board memberships with both public and private corporations including Reflexite Corporation and Heska Corporation. He is currently a member of the board of Active International in New York, where he chairs the compensation committee.

Mr. Eio lives in Old Lyme, Connecticut with his wife Jenny. They have three children and five grandchildren and their interests include travel, theatre and gardening.

Back to top
Ray Larsen

Ray Larsen, Founder, RLA Marketing

Raised in Hell’s Kitchen and a New Yorker through and through, Ray Larsen was a pioneer in the toy industry starting in 1958 at age 19, taking over Arthur Pisner’s toy representative business and renaming it Ray Larsen Associates. Mr. Larsen remained active in managing the business for over 40 years until his sudden death in December 2012. Known as an anchor tenant in Manhattan’s iconic 200 Fifth Avenue Toy Building from 1958 on, Mr. Larsen was the very last tenant to leave on the day the building closed in 2005.

He grew Ray Larsen Associates through his personal perseverance, tenacity, strong salesmanship, and relationships, transforming it into the nation’s leading sales agency in the toy industry. He was well-respected by all, and good friends with industry titans and presidents. In his expansive 5th Avenue showroom – the largest independently owned showroom within the building, where worldwide toy retailers passed through – Mr. Larsen hosted top-level meetings for executives from retailers like Toys“R”Us, Childworld, Woolworth, Lionel Leisure and Zayre with our represented manufacturers, and occasionally with manufacturers as diverse as Hasbro, Mattel, and Jakks. He personally escorted and led groups through the showroom, and while selling programs and products he painstakingly pointed out the subtle advantages of his products along with the enhanced profitability for retailers vs. competitive product. While these meetings were going on, buyers from top retailers like Walmart, TG&Y, Kmart and Sears would often drop in unscheduled. Those drop-ins were ever so politely told that there was a meeting in progress and that they should return at a later time. And, each and every buyer did just that. They came back, because everyone wanted to see what Ray Larsen and Associates was introducing for the coming year. Each buyer knew that Mr. Larsen had a knack for finding the “hot toy” – whether it was Tonka, Uno, Breyer, AVIVA Sports, Panosh, Cranium, Dynacraft, VTech, or PlayAlong.

A true innovator, Mr. Larsen was the first to introduce an ‘independent in-store service organization’ for retailers in the mid 1960s. It was a separate company he formed and managed to supplement in-store personnel, because he was not happy with the way his products were represented on-shelf. Mr. Larsen re-introduced that concept in the mid-90s and deployed his own teams to service multiple retailers. That was many years before each retailer defined their own designated group that could work only in their stores. Mr. Larsen was instrumental in guiding manufacturers on marketing, packaging and on-shelf presentation ideas.

He was known as a true professional and a superior salesperson, and for being gracious, well-mannered and always respectful in his approach. He was a strong, persistent and skilled negotiator whose high ethical standards and integrity were never compromised. He set the bar for us all.

Back to top
Sydney Rosen

Sydney Rosen, Former Owner of Rose Art, CRA-Z-ART

Born into the toy business in the early part of the 20th century, Sydney Rosen came to be known throughout the industry as a passionate and creative inventor and entrepreneur. As a young man, Mr. Rosen went to work at the Rosebud Art Company, started by his father, and which his father had named for him (Sydney being the rosebud of father Isidor's eye). Over the years, he developed the company, which he renamed Rose Art Industries, from a small supplier of toys to one of America’s largest toy manufacturers, creating many of the Rose Art products himself.

Eventually, joined by his wife Muriel and two of his children, Larry and Jeff, Mr. Rosen successfully built Rose Art into an industry leader with $350 million in annual sales and over 2,500 employees in the U.S. The profitable company became the prime manufacturer of crayons, toys and crafts, until it was sold to Mega Blocks in 2005.

Throughout his career, Mr. Rosen was not only recognized for his sharp eye for toy trends, but also as a pioneer in manufacturing and product design, holding numerous toy patents. Aside from developing many popular games and puzzles, he was the originator of the big-selling Popeye ring toss which sold over a million units in its first year, and slate and chalk sets, selling tens of millions and becoming known as the “King of the slate and chalkboard business.” He was also one of the first to offer the now popular large art activity sets that included a variety of different art supplies.

And yet it’s not just the toy business that motivated Mr. Rosen. Over the years, he was intimately involved in many kid-focused and Jewish philanthropic programs including the March of Dimes, Hadassah and the United Jewish Appeal (UJA). He was truly adored by all who knew him including family, friends and his loyal employees, whom he also considered family. Mr. Rosen died in 2011 at the age of 94. His enthusiasm and devotion to the industry during a 60-year career is unmatched. His success, leadership, innovation, and charitable contributions are proven.

Back to top