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NAMA Names Carla Balakgie CEO; Longtime Executive Dan Mathews Serves In Interim

Posted On: 10/7/2011

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Balakgie led the Electronic Transactions Association since 2003. She takes the helm at the vending association on Dec. 1

National Automatic Merchandising Association, vending machine industry CHICAGO -- The National Automatic Merchandising Association has selected a professional from the digital transaction industry as its new president and chief executive. Carla Balakgie, who will be the first woman to hold the top spot at the 75-year-old association, succeeds Richard Geerdes, who held the reins for more than a decade.

Balakgie comes to NAMA from the Washington, DC-based Electronic Transactions Association, where she served as chief executive for eight years. She will assume her new post with the Chicago-based vending association on Dec. 1. NAMA executive vice-president and COO Dan Mathews will serve as interim chief executive.

Geerdes will continue to work with NAMA through the end of the year to aid the transition. NAMA's board of directors announced its CEO transition plan a year ago. | SEE STORY

The ETA's membership spans the payment industry, from financial institutions and transaction processors to independent sales organizations and equipment suppliers.

When Balakgie joined ETA in May 2003, her first task was to establish the organization's national headquarters in Washington and put together its first full-time staff. She is credited with numerous accomplishments, including development of an active and influential government relations function, the organization of such educational events as the Strategic Leadership Forum and, more recently, the launch of ETA's Certified Payments Professional credentialing program.

Balakgie also increased ETA's profitability, yielding average net contributions of $260K annually and a 6% average gain in net assets each year.

See NAMA's official press release for more background information.

Mathews joined NAMA in 1999 and has been involved in creating an executive development program with Michigan State University and the association's own Supervisor Development and Certified Executive Programs. He also played a key role in creating NAMA's Balanced for Life and Fit Pick healthy vending tools, and launching a remake of the association's national trade show called the OneShow.

Presently, Mathews is overseeing NAMA's new Industry Growth Strategy, including the recently launched Vend.Love.Win Facebook contest and Vending Gratitude Tour, an interactive mobile exhibit that's on the final leg of a seven-city tour that kicked off last month.

"There's no question that with Carla's background and Dan's depth of experience and knowledge of NAMA, there has never been a better time for our industry," said NAMA chairman Brad Ellis, Crane Merchandising Systems. "We know they will be a powerful team and we look forward to welcoming in a new era at NAMA."

Geerdes joined NAMA in 1988, following a career in vending operations that included senior management positions with Interstate United Corp. and Canteen Corp. He became president and chief executive on Jan. 1, 1999, after holding a variety of posts with responsibility for membership, conventions, education, strategic planning, public relations, accounting and management information systems.

NAMA's board of directors will honor Geerdes and his achievements for the vending industry at the 2012 OneShow. The show will be held in Las Vegas in late April.