ROCKPORT, ME -- New England's six state vending associations honored Steve Foley of Foley Coffee & Vending (Norwood, MA) as the 2012 recipient of the Harry Wishart Award.
The New England trade groups are the New Hampshire Vending Association, Massachusetts Vending Association, Pine Tree Vending Association, Connecticut Vending Association, Rhode Island Vending Association and Vermont Vending Association. They held their combined meeting in mid-June here at the Samoset Resort, where Foley was presented with the award.
The Harry Wishart Award recognizes an operator or supplier who has demonstrated effective leadership in promoting the vending industry's interests in any New England state. In keeping with tradition, last year's honoree, Melissa Johnson of Harold W. Young Inc. (Natick, MA), a vend brokerage, selected this year's winner, with the concurrence of past recipients.
Foley was a driving force behind the vending industry achieving a $3.50 tax exemption in Massachusetts in the late 1990s. In 2000, this effort was recognized nationally when Foley received the National Automatic Merchandising Association Chairman's Award, which recognizes excellence in legislative affairs. In 2003, Foley was chairman of NAMA's National Expo held in Washington.
The Wishart winner is a past president of the Massachusetts Vending Association and the New England Office Coffee Association, and has been an active board member of MVA since 1983. Foley is now chairman of MVA's scholarship fund, which Johnson hailed as being the "first and most successful scholarship fund in the vending industry."
He has also been featured on Comcast's "Nitebeat" and WCVB's "Chronicle" TV shows, speaking on behalf of the vending industry on newsworthy topics. He was the first vending operator in New England to open a micromarket, and has so far deployed 16 of the self-checkout stores.
The second-generation operator has been Foley Coffee & Vending's president since 1993. He grew up in the family vending business and joined it full time in 1977. Over the years, Foley, who is joined in the business by his two brothers, held every position within the company and developed many of its management systems and controls. Today, he concentrates on the financial management of the business and information technology.
"Steve Foley is always willing to help his vending friends -- offering advice for those starting up their own micromarkets or allowing vendors to come and learn from him, whether it be the markets, vending or their software programs," Johnson said. "He has passion for this industry which shines through him."
Todd Hedrich of Hedrich Vending (Presque Isle, ME) conceived the award that honors the memory of the late Harry Wishart, a vending pioneer from Maine who is widely regarded as one of the first independent product brokers. Wishart is credited with unifying the New England associations. Past recipients are: Rob Tappen (2000); Mike Campbell (2001); Ed Jones (2002); Ed Dooley (2003); Todd Hedrich (2004); Allan Gilbert (2005); Larry Cohen (2006); Howard Michaels (2007); Lloyd "Bud" Willey Jr. (2008); in the memory of Loren Athearn (2009); Eric Mueller (2010); and Melissa Johnson (2011).