- The National Automatic Merchandising Association is planning a wide-ranging overview of today's vending, foodservice and office refreshments market for its annual Spring Expo. The event is set for the Las VegasConvention Center from April 6 through 9.
For the first time this year, the Better Vendors Association plans to co-locate its annual convention with the Spring Expo. BVA is a purchasing cooperative founded nearly four decades ago and owned by independent operators around the country (see box on Page 19). The group plans to host meetings and other events for its members, and those members also are invited to take part in Spring Expo activities.
Again this year, the Spring Expo will offer early-bird activities on Wednesday, April 6 and four in-depth educational sessions on Saturday, April 9. The trade show will take place on April 7 and 8.
On April 6, NAMA will conduct the latest in its ongoing series of Quality Coffee Certification courses from 8:00 AM to 4:45 PM. Led by coffee veteran Mike Tompkins, who heads Newco Enterprises' "Cafe 98" business, the all-day course offers detailed information about the many variables that affect coffee's characteristics, from country of origin and processing method through sorting and grading, storage and shipping, roasting and grinding, blending and packaging to brewing and holding. Special attention is paid to the brewing process, including the effect of weight and grind, water purity and temperature, and contact time on the finished beverage.
Separate registration is required for the course, which includes a valuable set ofmaterials and culminates in the certification exam.
Also on Wednesday, NAMA will host its 3rd Annual Golf Classic at the Paiute Golf Resort. It features four-person "modified scramble" format, with a "shotgun start" at . Transportation is available from the Las Vegas Hilton at . Advance registration is required, and proceeds benefit the NAMA Foundation and the educational and student scholarship programs of the Arizona Automatic Merchandising Council, California Automatic Vendors Council, Colorado Vending Council, Intermountain Vending Council and Northwest Automatic Vending Association.
On Thursday, the Expo program gets under way with a General Session from to . NAMA board chairman Steven Ross, Bertsch Services (Warsaw, IN) and president and chief executive officer Richard M. Geerdes will offer opening remarks, and will oversee the drawing for winners of the 2005-06 NAMA Foundation Scholarships.
Keynoting the General Session is Doug Lipp, former head trainer at WaltDisneyUniversity and a nationally renowned speaker and author. He will review the advantages of leadership by example in his address, titled "Lead the Way, Your Customers and Employees will Follow."
The trade show opens at and closes at .
Educational sessions on timely topics will be offered in the exhibit area. The"VendTec" program that made its debut to great acclaim at the 2004 National Expo last fall will offer a presentation on Cashless Vending Systems from to , and another on Data Capture and Reporting from to .
"Hot Topic" sessions scheduled for the NAMA booth on Thursday include "Preparing for The New Color of Money"from 11:30 AM to 12:15 PM; "Brand Your Vending Operation to Increase Sales and Profits," from 1:00 to 1:45 PM; and"Financing Options for the Operator," from 2:00 to 2:45 PM.
From to , a "Hot Topic" session will ask, "So What is the NCE All About?" and provide an overview of the benefits to operators of completing NAMA's National Certified Executive course.
At , exhibitors will beam showgoers up to "Star Trek: The Experience" at the Las Vegas Hilton for the festive "Spring Fling" reception, which concludes at .
On Friday, April 8, four concurrent educational sessions will be offered from to .
"The How-Tos of Linking Sales Compensation and Motivation" will be explored by Jim Proebstle, president of Prodyne, Inc. (Deer Park, IL), a NAMA Knowledge Source consultant. Proebstle will probe sales incentive programs and suggest guidelines for establishing an effective compensation program.
The always-popular Coffee Service Open Forum will be moderated by Steve Hyde, vice-president of Newco Enterprises, Inc. (St. Charles, MO). Once again, a panel of industry experts will field questions from the audience. This spring's Open Forum will concentrate on the proliferation of single-cup brewing systems and what this means for workplace refreshment service operations.
Protecting profits will be the subject for Mark Manney and Keith Shearon, respectively president-loss control and director-process analysis of Market Integrity (Raleigh, NC). They will discuss "Protection from Internal Theft, Process Improvement and Change Management: Creating a Culture of Control."
For the foodservice segment, Dr. Dennis Reynolds, Washington State University College of Business & Economics Ivar Haglund Distinguished Professor of Hospitality Management, will summarize the relationship between effective leadership and good communication in an interactive, multimedia workshop designed to increase awareness of "internal" and "external customer" communication cues, and propose techniques for responding to them in a manner that will boost the bottom line.
The trade show opens at on Friday, and closes at . Two Booth Hot Topic sessions are scheduled. From 12:00 N to 12:45 PM, showgoers will be able to learn about the federal government's "Energy Star" power consumption standards program and how it affects vending equipment, particularly cold packaged beverage machines. New technology that enables venders to exceed "Energy Star" requirements will be discussed.
From to , certified executive chef Joe Rodrigues, owner of Valley Catering (Dublin, CA), will explain the principles of "Planning, Executing and Celebrating a Great Catering Event." He will outline methods for attaining excellence while keeping costs under control, such as partnering with local catering companies in order to build on complementary skill sets. Rodrigues also will conduct a "fun food" prep demonstration from to .
The Spring Expo Spouse Program is scheduled for on Friday. Themed "Behind the Curtain," it will offer participants a behind-the-scenes look at the staging of Bally's "Jubilee" show, one of the most opulent and dramatic events in a city known for those qualities. The program will include a tour of one of the largest stages in Las Vegas and a look at the dressing rooms required to support a cast of 100 dancers and singers, plus $3.5 million worth of costumes. A tour guide will be transformed into a glamorous Las Vegas show girl. The registration fee for the Spouse Program includes transportation, the tour guide, admission, and a buffet lunch at the Palms.
Again in 2005, Saturday will be devoted to educational programming. A highlight will be a half-day "VendTec" program, offering in-depth information about the present state of a number of fast-evolving information and communications technologies. This requires separate registration, and participants receive in return copies of the Cashless White Paper and brand-new MDB, DEX and DTS White Paper. Both are comprehensive descriptions and resource listings, prepared by Dr. Michael L. Kasavana, NAMA Professor in Hospitality Business at MichiganStateUniversity's School of Hospitality Business.
THE LEADING EDGE
Dr. Kasavana will be joined by Jim Turner, vice-president, Intelligent Vending at USA Technologies (Malvern, PA) and Craig Lewis, senior marketing manager, Vending & Amusement for MEI (West Chester, PA) and John Powell, director of vending services, Transaction Network Services, for the session.
Titled "Leverage New Technology to Grow Your Business," the seminar will include an introduction to vending systems; an overview of contemporary vending machine technology; a guide to understanding the terminology and jargon commonly used; an overview of available payment peripheral devices and services; and an approach to evaluating new technology.
Also offered in the session will be a summary of financial modeling for operators of networked, interactive retailing points (a system that Dr. Kasavana calls "V-commerce"), and a primer in cashless payments using major credit and debit cards. A panel of operators will share their experiences and success stories.
At , registered applicants for National Certified Executive certification will be able to take the NCE exam.
UP TO SPEED
Also starting at is the always-thronged "Vending 101" seminar, led by Jim Brinton, president, Evergreen Food Services (Tukwila, WA) and Victor E. Pemberton, president, Pepi Food Services (Bainbridge, GA). This course is designed to give newcomers to vending equipment operation a good grounding in sales, customer relations and critical financial reporting to determine profitability. The session will run until .
Performing a similar function for operators new to the OCS business is "Coffee Service Best Practices," scheduled for . It features a panel of operators moderated by Randy Parks, ProStar Services (Carrollton, TX). Parks, winner of the Mike Savoie Memorial Silver Service Award as outstanding coffee service operator of 1991, and recipient of NAMA's highest honor, Industry Person of the Year, in 2004, will present a roadmap of office refreshment service operations, and the panel of expert operators will field audience questions.
Also from to , Josh Patrick, president of The Patrick Group (South Burlington,