CHERRY HILL, NJ -- National Automatic Merchandising Association chief executive Rich Geerdes unveiled details of the association's plans for change over the next year, at the trade group's annual Coffee Summit here last month.
In a presentation to more than 300 operators and suppliers attending the event, Geerdes explained that NAMA's strategic focus will be organized around four key themes: Innovating, Engaging, Growing and Inspiring, both the industry as a whole and the members it serves. He shared the vending association's plans for a single annual exposition, OneShow, in addition to strategies to build its coffee service division and bolster government affairs efforts.
According to Geerdes, the OneShow -- slated for April 28-30, 2010, at Chicago's McCormick Place -- combines NAMA's traditionally separate National and Spring Expos, while reinvigorating its trade show offerings. With a lineup of business-building opportunities, entertainment and educational programs in store, Geerdes told participants to expect prominent keynote speakers, "must-see surprise and delight moments," and activities for spouses. He said NAMA plans to disclose more information about the OneShow throughout the summer on its website, NAMAoneshow.org.
"The goal is to make the OneShow synonymous with innovation in our industry," he said. "And we will be celebrating innovation in many forms. We expect that our members will soon realize that it's the one show that they simply won't want to miss."
Committed to bolstering the resources the association offers office coffee service operators, Geerdes announced that NAMA's Quality Coffee Certification Program (QCCP) will be expanded into two parts: Coffee Fundamentals and Brewing Fundamentals. The first part will be further expanded into a six-hour session, complete with tasting exercises, to provide all the information necessary to enhance members' brewing and cupping expertise.
As demand for knowledgeable coffee service professionals increases with the growing popularity of coffee, NAMA has created a new professional designation for its members. The Certified Coffee Specialist (CCS) designation can be earned by completing the QCCP courses and other requirements, and passing a CCS certification exam.
On the government affairs front, Geerdes outlined NAMA's legislative priorities. He emphasized plans to amplify member advocacy on bthe federal and state levels, an effort that will be led by the recently appointed Ned Monroe, senior vice-president of government affairs. "NAMA was founded in 1936 on a strong legislative advocacy platform, a tradition that continues today," Geerdes pointed out.
He concluded by informing members that that the association will conduct an image campaign for the industry aimed at consumers, with initial research planned for later this summer.