WASHINGTON, DC - A new public relations video for vending, the first examination for National Certified Executive status, and an expanded array of educational opportunities highlighted the National Automatic Merchandising Association's 2003 National Expo here.
Setting the stage for the National Expo was its leadoff event, the annual membership meeting. This featured the first screening of the new video as well as the presentation of awards for distinguished achievement, the election of new directors, an update on coinage by U.S. Mint associate director Gloria Eskridge, and the keynote address by football Hall of Famer Lynn Swann.
The video, entitled The Fresh Food Choice for People on the Go, has been a high-priority project for NAMA's Image Committee, chaired by Richard Atnip of Atnip Co. (Fullerton, CA). The video, which replaces the now-obsolete Service at the Drop of a Coin, offers an overview of contemporary vending operations. Illustrating the journey of vendible food from production through delivery to today's sophisticated machines, it is designed to give operators a tool to use in updating a widespread perception of vending that too often has been clouded by memories of outdated equipment and misconceptions about vending service practices.
The final version, which premiered at the annual membership meeting, was edited and expanded after a pilot was shown at this year's Spring Expo in Las Vegas, on the basis of operator comments and suggestions. A copy will be sent to all member operators, with a guide to using the attractive new visual program to best effect.
The National Certified Executive program, which was announced last year, began accepting applications in January and held workshops during the first quarter of 2003. Designed to provide objective recognition of commitment to high professional standards, the NCE program is open to industry professionals with at least 10 years' experience in vending, coffee service, foodservice, or in related fields, in operations management, general management or as owner/president.
The first group of 30 applicants participated in this year's workshops, and 20 of them took the first-ever NCE test on the last day of the NAMA National Expo. Another six subsequently were tested at NAMA's Chicago headquarters, and the association is working to schedule the rest.
Plans call for future exams to be offered at Michigan State University and at the 2004 Spring Expo in Las Vegas. Some state councils also have expressed interest in hosting the exam.
Keynoting the annual meeting was Lynn Swann, the former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver now enrolled in the National Football League Hall of Fame, who chairs the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Swann established the theme for another addition to the National Expo program, presentations by dietitian Ruth Lahmayer, the association's latest Knowledge Source consultant, and by Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, the father of modern aerobic exercise. These educational programs are designed to give operators the information they need to emphasize the vital role of physical activity , not simply dietary modification , in maintaining optimum body weight and overall health.
Also updating NAMA members attending the annual meeting was Gloria Eskridge, U.S. Mint associate director. She noted that the Sacagawea "golden dollar" coin remains popular , unfortunately, this popularity encourages people to collect rather than to circulate them.
Eskridge added that the Mint is exploring the question propounded to it by many vending operators, of whether the co-circulation of the ill-starred Susan B. Anthony dollar coin is impairing wider acceptance of the new Sacagawea coin, because the SBA never has been well accepted and people do not want to receive them in change. Also under study are operator requests to receive batches of dollar coins from their banks in rolled, not bagged, form.
The Treasury Department officer reported that plans are under way to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which was organized in 1804 to explore the territories added to the United States by the Louisiana Purchase. To this purpose, the nickel will temporarily be redesigned to recognize President Jefferson's role in the historic event. His head will remain on the obverse of the coin, but the reverse will carry new artwork celebrating the explorers (Jefferson's home and memorial, Monticello, will return in 2006).
Eskridge pointed out that Sacagawea won fame as a member of the expedition, and predicted that heightened public awareness of its enduring significance will provide opportunities to promote use of the Sacagawea dollar coin.
A highlight of the annual meeting was the presentation of awards, which this year included two special honors bestowed at discretion and not made every year.
The late Victor H. Lavay, a cofounder of VENDING TIMES and its publisher emeritus at the time of his death in August, was recognized posthumously with NAMA's Lifetime Achievement Award. The intention had been to make the presentation in person; at the event, it was accepted by Alicia Lavay-Kertes, VT president and publisher.
Also in 2003, NAMA and the Automatic Merchandising Health Industry Council (AMHIC) presented the prestigious Arthur J. Nolan Award for excellence in furthering the cause of vending hygiene and safety. The winner is James Clark, who teaches the highly-regarded vending machine mechanics' training course at Philadelphia's Edison-Fareira High School.
Receiving Legislative Awards for leading successful defenses of equitable sales tax treatment of vending at the state level were Don McDaniel, McDaniel Tom's Sales (Albertville, AL) and Aldo Waters, Southern Vending (Ardmore, OK); neither was able to attend the annual meeting.
Honored for their sustained and successful efforts in support of last year's National Expo in Atlanta were Georgia Automatic Merchandising Council stalwarts Stan Ledbetter, RE Services (La Fayette) and Alan Plaisted, Southern Refreshment Services (Tucker), as well as Juli Burrall, who heads NAMA's Southern Office in Marietta.
Recognized for long service upon completing their terms on the NAMA board were Maytag's Tom Briatico, former head of that company's Dixie-Narco business, and Ron Reinhardt, Take A Break Service (Escondido, CA). A special award was made to NAMA past chairman Anthony Gagliardi, recently retired head of Compass Group North America's Canteen Vending Services unit. Also lauded for long and effective service in planning the 2003 National Expo were general chairman Steve Foley, program chairman Robert Friedman, Coffee Distributing Group (New Hyde Park, NY); trade show chairman Ken Shea, Ken Shea & Associates; and Becky Hoskins, wife of Vistar/VSA's Craig Hoskins, who chaired the Spouse Program Committee.