CHICAGO — As part of a major restructuring plan, the National Bulk Vendors Association said it will reassign several administrative functions previously handled by the association’s legal counsel, Morrie Much of Much Shelist Denenberg Ament & Rubenstein P.C. The reorganization was approved in October by the NBVA’s board of directors.
Chief among the planned changes will be the appointment of a dedicated association administrator to oversee the NBVA’s day-to-day operations, operator outreach programs and public relations. Accounting functions will also be outsourced. Additionally, Much will continue to serve as the association’s legal counsel; NBVA officials told VT that an important part of its restructuring plan is retaining Much’s industry expertise.
“Prompting the decision were key NBVA association members who have stepped up and offered their time and resources to ease the transition and implement the needed changes,” said NBVA president Randy Chilton of Coinstar. “There is a lot of excitement around the anticipated changes.”
The NBVA was founded in 1950 as an operator response to the U.S. Treasury Department’s attempts to classify bulk venders as gambling devices and tax them accordingly. Since winning that skirmish, the association has acted as the industry’s advocate in a number of legal battles and lobbying issues. These have included the successful campaign to allow commingling of plastic charms with ball gum in the early 1950s, as well as successful lobbying efforts for sales tax exemptions on both the state and local levels. More recently, the association has been involved in efforts focused on import taxes and toy safety issues.
CHANGE = STRENGTH
The move by NBVA leadership to update the association, according to Chilton, was in response to a financially challenging year, due in part to a consolidating industry and a difficult economy. However, what was originally viewed as a measure to conserve funds through restructuring was quickly perceived as an opportunity to update the organization to better meet the needs of existing and potential membership. “The way we do things tomorrow will be very different from how we did them yesterday,” said Chilton. “We feel the association will be stronger than ever with the changes.”
While the association is still in a transition phase, Chilton and other NBVA leaders see major changes in store for the organization. Among the more apparent shifts will be a more decentralized management structure.
The NBVA’s administrative offices are being relocated to Scottsdale, AZ. It is dedicated NBVA office space located within Brand Imports. The association’s accounting responsibilities are being transitioned to Andrew Belsky of First Vending Partners (Walled Lake, MI), a CPA by trade. Phil Brilliant of A&A Global Industries is heading the transition team.
(As VT went to press, the NBVA announced the appointment of Kaydee Mooney as its administrator. She comes to the newly created position after working as an account manager at Brand. See story below.)
Chilton explained that the NBVA will promote volunteerism and transparency to become a member-driven organization. Improved communication will play a key role in this effort, he said, beginning with a re-vamp of the association’s website. An enhanced Internet presence could make the website a one-stop educational shop for bulk vending operators, he explained. They could engage in real-time online discussions regarding industry trends and provide input regarding the association’s agenda, for example.
“We’re definitely heading down the path of increasing communication between the board, the executive committee and membership,” Chilton said. “And when in doubt, we’re going to reach out to membership to help with key decisions. You’ll see a healthier association, and we hope a result of this will be increased membership roles.”
Chilton also said the association is exploring synergies with other trade groups, including the Amusement and Music Operators Association. However, the possibility of collocating its show with another association’s has been met with resistance by NBVA members.
LEAVING LAS VEGAS
Among the first decisions made since the October 6 restructuring announcement was a resolution to move the annual trade show out of Las Vegas. Chilton said a polling of membership determined this.
The 2009 trade show, currently scheduled for April 23-25 at Caesar’s Palace Hotel in Las Vegas, will fulfill the association’s multi-year contract made several years ago. The NBVA is studying a number of potential East Coast convention venues for 2010.
“There is an unprecedented amount of work needed to be done by NBVA members to get all this accomplished,” Chilton summed up. “However, being involved in most of the conversations, I’m impressed at how the membership is stepping up to take it on. That’s what makes it exciting.
“And that’s the only way this entire enterprise is possible,” he added. “There are people betting against our ability to do this, but in my mind that’s not a smart bet.”
NBVA Appoints Moonie Administrator
SCOTTSDALE, AZ — The National Bulk Vendors Association has named Kaydee Mooney its new administrator. Her duties include billing, membership relations and assisting NBVA committees on general oversight of the trade group. Mooney will also aid members on legislative issues, communications and the planning of the association’s annual trade show.
“I’m extremely excited about this opportunity, and hope to really reach out to the membership and provide ways for people to get more involved than they have been in the past,” Mooney said. “I also look forward to working with both the board and new members.”
For the NBVA, Mooney’s appointment is the first time in its more than half-century history that someone has held such a post. Previously, the association’s legal counsel, Morrie Much of Much Shelist in Chicago, managed administrative functions. The change is part of the group’s restructuring plan. Much continues to provide legal services to the NBVA.
Mooney comes to the newly created position after working as an as account manager with Brand Vending Products. She will be based here in office space leased to the association by Brand. The association’s new toll-free telephone number is (888) NBVA-USA.