YORK, PA -- The Tri-State Automatic Merchandising Council held it annual membership meeting at the Heritage Hills Golf Resort & Conference Center here. The event was held in conjunction with the Harry Mowery golf tournament, and was highlighted by presentations on topics of current concern to the industry.
The Tri-State board elected officers for the 2012-2014 term. Chosen president is Susan McManus, Vistar (Hatfield, PA), who succeeds Tony Buckholz, Goodman Vending (Reading, PA). Moving up to vice-president is Elliot Teitelbaum, Elliot's Vending (Huntingdon Valley, PA). Elected secretary is J. Scott Bidding, DeMitri Chesapeake Sales (Palmyra, PA), while Jeff West Jr., Valley Vending (Parker Ford, PA), becomes treasurer.
Highlights of the ensuing presentations included an overview and update on the National Automatic Merchandising Association's "strategic vision" initiatives and Positioning for Growth campaign by NAMA executive vice-president and chief operating officer Dan Mathews. He emphasized the need for broad support from all industry stakeholders, especially the state councils and operator members, in facing the challenges involved with advocating on NAMA's behalf.
President-elect McManus announced the board's commitment, on behalf of Tri-State council, to contribute $25,005 ($5,001 over a five-year period, starting next year) to the NAMA Positioning for Growth campaign.
Pam Gilbert, NAMA senior manager for government affairs (Arlington, VA), offered a review of legislative issues in which NAMA is involved. These include the calorie-disclosure regulations drafted by the Food and Drug Administration as required by 2010 healthcare reform legislation, potential changes to coins and banknotes, the 48" reach provisions of the updated Americans with Disabilities Act regulations, proposed Department of Energy requirements affecting vending equipment, and more.
Gilbert explained that she receives a daily legislative report of state issues that may affect the vending industry through a subscription service paid for by NAMA. She encouraged Tri-State members to alert her to any state, city or county issues which come to their attention, because local issues are not always included in the report.
David Tive, Tive Lobbying Group (Harrisburg, PA), spoke about issues affecting the vending industry in Pennsylvania, including HB 1776 (the Property Tax Independence Bill), which would eliminate property tax to fund schools and replace it with a single-source state or individual district tax.
Tive recommended that the Tri-State council hold a legislative event next year to keep the industry in front of legislators. The board agreed to conduct a State House or Lobby Day next spring. Tive will reserve an area in the Capitol; Tri-State members will be urged to make appointments and visit with their legislators. Industry and association information and "goodie bags" including better-for-you snacks will be distributed, and ideally, a vending machine showcasing the industry's new technologies will be on display.
The government relations expert emphasized that the most valuable effort is personal contact with legislators, and encouraged members to visit and introduce themselves and their businesses to the legislators representing their districts.
Tom McMahon, the Tri-State council's legislative consultant, explained that budget constraints have prevented the association from retaining a legislative counsel in Trenton, NJ, for several years. He reported that Jim Crilley, a veteran operator who remains active in local politics in New Jersey, is available to assist the association.
Representatives of machine manufacturers and distributors attending the annual conference were invited to speak about the new rules drafted by the Department of Justice, as required by legislation updating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Taking part in the ensuing discussion were Jim Wittler of Betson (Pittsburgh) and Jerry Gutierrez of U-Select-It.
According to information and conversations NAMA has had with the DOJ, the legal requirements apply to "fixed" equipment -- equipment that would not fall freely if the room were turned upside down. Therefore, only equipment that is bolted to the wall or connected by conduit or plumbing must conform to the new reach requirements. Those requirements apply to new equipment, or equipment that is installed in a new (or newly renovated) space. Of course, clients might request ADA-compliant machines.
Tri-State's incoming vice-president, Elliot Teitelbaum, and Andy Calhoun of Canteen (Middletown, PA) reviewed the association's scholarship program in honor of John Boyle, and discussed Boyle's legacy to the industry he loved. The scholarship will fund the recipient's tuition, plus $250 toward travel expenses, to the NAMA Executive Development Program, held in conjunction with Michigan State University (E. Lansing). Tri-State will continue to hold an annual scholarship golf tournament to raise additional funds each year.
The recipient of the 2012 John Boyle Scholarship is Jeff West Jr., Valley Vending (Parker Ford, PA). NAMA's next EDP program is scheduled for Oct. 21-25. Jeff Hahn of Goodman Vending was the 2011 scholarship recipient.
Alan Drazen, Midlantic Vending (Moorestown, NJ), spoke to the group about his memories and experiences working with Harry Mowery, and the history of the Harry Mowery tournament and award. Jim Rowles reported that 36 golfers had registered for the Harry Mowery Golf Tournament the next day.
The Tri-State Automatic Merchandising Council was formed by the amalgamation of the Pennsylvania Automatic Merchandising Council and the Automatic Merchandising Council of New Jersey, and includes industry members from Delaware. It is a NAMA affiliated state council.
PHOTO:Congratulating 2012 John Boyle Scholarship winner Jeff West, Jr. (second from left) are (l. to r.) Elliot Teitelbaum, Andy Calhoun and Susan McManus.
PHOTO:Outgoing Tri-State Automatic Merchandising Council president Tony Buckholz passes the gavel to Susan McManus, who holds the distinction as being the first woman to serve as the association's president.
PHOTO:Susan McManus presents NAMA's Dan Mathews with $25,005 Capital Campaign pledge on behalf of the Tri-State Automatic Merchandising Council.