— Increased educational sessions and a revised schedule are on tap for the 2007 National Automatic Merchandising Association Spring Expo. The event will be held during the second week in April at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino here. The new venue will bring the headquarters hotel and exhibit area under the same roof for the first time since the final NAMA Western Show in the Ambassador Hotel (Los Angeles) nearly four decades ago.
New this spring will be the weekday-only format that made its debut at the National Expo last fall. The Spring Expo will open formally on Thursday, April 12, but a full schedule of early-bird educational opportunities is planned for the preceding day.
And a day earlier, on Tuesday, April 10, the next presentation of NAMA’s new Supervisor Development Program will get underway at 1:00 PM. Designed to strengthen operating companies’ middle management by providing a unique opportunity for intensive professional development, the program will continue all day Wednesday and Thursday, and will wrap up at noon on Friday, April 13, in time for the graduates to tour the exhibits. Separate registration is required for the program, which is described in more detail by LyNae Schleyer, NAMA’s senior director, education and meeting services, on Page 45 of this issue.
On Wednesday, April 11, early arrivals will enjoy several options. The 5th annual NAMA Western Golf Classic is set for 11:00 AM through 5:00 PM at the Silverstone Golf Club; complimentary round-trip transportation departs from Mandalay Bay at 9:30 AM. Registration is $175 per player, and hole sponsorships are available for $250.
The tournament benefits the NAMA Foundation as well as the educational activities, including student scholarship programs, of the Arizona Automatic Merchandising Council, California Automatic Vendors Council, Colorado Vending Council, Intermountain Vending Council and Northwest Automatic Vending Association, NAMA’s affiliated state councils in the Western region. Coca-Cola USA is overall event sponsor, and Crane Merchandising Systems will add to the festivities by auctioning off three vending machines.
Two standalone educational opportunities also will be available on Wednesday. NAMA will conduct the latest in its ongoing series of Quality Coffee Certification Programs from 8:00 AM to 4:45 PM. Covering the progress of coffee from its region of origin through the harvesting, drying, grading, shipping, roasting and grinding processes to brewing the best possible beverage, the program will be led by Mike Tompkins of Newco Enterprises. It’s sponsored by Procter & Gamble. Advanced registration and a separate fee are required.
On Wednesday afternoon, Brad Bachtelle of Bachtelle & Associates will conduct an in-depth category management workshop for vending operators. Slated to run from 12:30 PM to 5:00 PM, the session will satisfy the interest aroused by Bachtelle’s much-discussed seminar at the National Expo (see VT, December 2006). The event is sponsored by Hershey Co. and, as a result, the regular registration fee of $199 has been slashed to $49.
Registration for the Spring Expo opens at 11:00 AM and closes at 4:30 PM on Wednesday. It reopens on Thursday, April 12 at 8:00 AM.
At 8:30 AM, the formal educational program kicks off with the general session, which will be keynoted by noted educator, sales trainer and consultant Dr. Dale Henry. The author of The Proverbial Cracker Jack: How to Get Out of the Box and Become the Prize, Dr. Henry will speak on “How to Get your Whack Back.” The general session wraps up at 10:00 AM, at which time the trade show will open.
From 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM, convention-goers can get an overview of the consumer attitude survey commissioned by NAMA and conducted by Harris Interactive, with funding from Masterfoods USA. The study’s finding were summarized at the National Expo (see VT, November 2006).
Thursday’s trade show closes at 5:00 PM. It will be followed at once by the eagerly-anticipated Spring Fling, slated to run until 6:30 PM.
On Friday, April 13, four concurrent education sessions will be available, all starting at 8:30 AM.
The first, “Understanding Remote Machine Monitoring,” will be moderated by Dr. Michael Kasavana, NAMA Endowed Professor in Hospitality Business at Michigan State University. A panel of experts will provide an overview of the application of telemetry to vending, an increasingly practical proposition that has the potential to reduce route costs, improve customer satisfaction, boost sales and minimize service expense.
At the same time, Brad Bachtelle and Gary Terrell, Bachtelle & Associates (Tustin, CA) will explore “Managing For Improved Profit: An In-Depth Look at Your Financial Decisions.” The session will look at vending’s profit history and suggest ways in which operators can enhance profitability.
Also at 8:30 AM, Beverage Marketing Corp. (New York City) will provide a detailed look at “What America Drinks: Trends in Beverage Consumption,” revealing which categories are hot and which are not, and why. The session is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Co.
Rounding out Friday’s choices is the always well-attended OCS Open Forum, moderated by Steve Hyde of Newco Enterprises (St. Charles, MO). This session encourages operators to ask questions, offer answers, compare notes, trade opinions and otherwise interact with a panel of industry veterans.
Exhibits reopen on Friday at 10:00 AM and close at 5:00 PM, climaxing this year’s Spring Expo.