TAGS: New England Automatic Vending Association, Harry Wishart Award, Scott Brennan, Brennan Food Vending Services, Eric Mueller, Bud Willey, Canteen Vending, Jeff Terban, vending, office service, Carla Balakgie
NEWPORT, RI -- The New England Automatic Vending Association presented its highest honor, the Harry Wishart Award, to New Hampshire's Scott Brennan of Brennan Food Vending Services during its annual meeting here. In keeping with tradition, last year's Wishart winner, Larry Lathrop of Lathrop Vending Co. (Uncasville, CT), selected this year's recipient.
The award's namesake was a vending pioneer from Maine who is remembered as one of the first independent vend product brokers. Wishart was also a driving force who brought the New England state associations closer together. The Connecticut Vending Association hosted this year's meeting, which took place from June 1 to 4 at the Newport Harbor Hotel and Marina.
Brennan is a second-generation vending operator who began working for the Londonderry, NH, company, started by his father Mike Brennan, when he was in high school and through college. Brennan Vending has served the Concord, Manchester, Nashua and Salem markets for more than 20 years, and the areas around Tilton, NH, and Waltham, MA, for 15 years.
Lathrop described Scott Brennan as a courageous businessman and individual who will step up to any challenge. "When his dad suffered a heart attack, Scott was there to take over the business," Lathrop said. "And when the New Hampshire Vending Association needed a strong leader, Scott stepped up to be that leader."
Three years ago, Brennan was part of the business constituency that stopped a GMO labeling bill in the New Hampshire Legislature. Citing health concerns, proponents wanted mandatory labeling so consumers could choose foods without GMOs. Opponents said there is no evidence of a GMO health threat and that states cannot regulate food in interstate commerce. The state's House voted down the bill in January 2014.
Upon accepting the award, Brennan said his father's example was his guide that led him to success. "My dad is the reason that I am accepting this award," he said.
This year's New England meeting also celebrated the career of Lloyd "Bud" Willey of Canteen of Maine, one of the oldest Canteen franchises in the nation. Willey, who's been involved in vending operations for more than 40 years (his family for almost 70 years), has officially retired. Bud's wife Jennifer talked about his long vending vocation, recalling how he built a modest operation in central Maine with just five employees into a robust service organization with 25 employees. Willey sold his company earlier this year to Casco Bay Vending, which is part of the Canteen network.
The National Automatic Merchandising Association's chief executive, Carla Balakgie, and government relations head, Eric Dell, attended this year's New England meeting.
WISHART WINNER: BBI's Jeff Turban (l.) and Lathrop Vending's Larry Lathrop (r.) bestow Harry Wishart Award on Scott Brennan.
CAPITAL GOODWILL: Todd Hedrich of Hedrich Vending Inc. (Presque Isle, ME) presents $1,000 check to NAMA's Carla Balakgie. The donation, on behalf of the Pine Tree Vending Association, goes to NAMA's Capital Campaign, which has raised over $5 million.
BUD WILLEY: Maine's Bud Willey reflects on a decades-long vending career and bonhomie of the annual New England meetings.
WELCOME: The Connecticut Vending Association hosted this year's New England meeting. Here, CVA's Eric Mueller (l.), United Snack Group (Cheshire, CT), welcomes, from left, NAMA's Carla Balakgie and Torry and Eric Dell. USG is the largest, and one of the last, honor box operations in New England.
COME ONE, COME ALL: The New England Automatic Vending Association held its annual Spring Getaway at the Newport (RI) Harbor Hotel & Marina from June 1 through 4, and a good time was had by all. Welcoming getaway-goers on the eve of the event, from left, are Rick Dutkiewicz, National Coffee; Dave Jorgensen, Burdette Beckmann Inc.; Ryan McWhirter, 365 Retail Markets; Kristin Overstreet, Twinings North America; Jeff Terban, BBI; Holly Hines, Wonderful Pistachios and Almonds; LeeAnn Literski, Merisant; Michael Ustaitis, Shamrock Farms; and Kevin Garrison, BBI. NEAVA is an umbrella organization whose members are the Connecticut Vending Association, Massachusetts Vending Association, New Hampshire Vending Association, Pine Tree Vending Association, Rhode Island Vending Association and Vermont Vending Association. All are affiliated state councils of the National Automatic Merchandising Association (Chicago). Burdette Beckmann was a Platinum Sponsor of the conference.