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NAMA Recognizes Vending Industry's 2014 Shining Stars

Posted On: 6/2/2014

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TAGS: Marc Whitener. Refreshment Solutions, Vending Industry Person of the Year, Dan Marchetti, Vending Operator of the Year, David Henchel, Coffee Service Operator of the Year, Randy Smith, Bryan Real, vending business, office coffee service, vending operator, vending machine industry, National Automatic Merchandising Association industry awards, NAMA awards, Dean Gilland, NAMA OneShow

CHICAGO -- The National Automatic Merchandising Association's Industry Awards program recognizes members' achievements in vending and refreshment services. In addition to supporting NAMA and its state associations, award-winners must be innovative, demonstrate a willingness to expand conventional practices and consistently adhere to principles that accord with the NAMA Code of Ethics.

Award recipients are also recognized for their contributions to the communities in which they do business. The vending association presented the awards on April 10 at a ceremony during its OneShow in Chicago.

Marc Whitener of Refreshment Solutions is Industry Person of the Year. "Marc is an excellent choice as the person of the year," said Dean Gilland, NAMA's vice-president of sales. "He's committed to the industry as well as his community. We're very excited for him."

Joining Whitener are Dan Marchetti, who is Vending Operator of the Year; David Henchel, Coffee Service Operator of the Year; and and Randy Smith and Bryan Real, who are Allied Members of the Year.

Industry Person of the Year
Refreshment Solutions (New Orleans)

 MARC WHITENER Refreshment Solutions' chief executive has led Louisiana's largest independent vending company since 2006. With 4,000 machines in the field serving 35,000 customers daily, the company has been at the forefront of adapting to new technologies, most notably credit card acceptance and bundled purchases. Whitener serves on NAMA's board of directors. He is also a NAMA Certified Executive, a designation awarded to professionals who demonstrate the commitment, knowledge, integrity and leadership characteristics that distinguish themselves in their profession. He also served as the co-chair of NAMA's Positioning for Growth campaign, helping raise more than $5 million to fund initiatives in the association's strategic plan.

Vending Operator of the Year
Rendezvous Music & Vending (Eureka, CA)

 DAN MARCHETTI The third-generation operator began his vending career in Oregon in 1973 after serving in the U.S. Army. He relocated to Eureka, CA, to join the family vending business founded by his father and grandfather, beginning as a route driver and climbing the ranks to president. Marchetti is a board member of the California Automatic Vendors Council and was voted its Operator of the Year in 2013. He is also a member of the Amusement and Music Operators Association and the newly formed California Entertainment Machine Association.

Coffee Service Operator of the Year
Corporate Coffee Systems LLC (Westbury, NY)

 DAVID HENCHEL Serving greater metropolitan New York City for 30-plus years, David Henchel has been at the forefront of industry advancement. The Corporate Coffee Systems founder was an early adopter of thermal and single-serve brewing technology and was a pioneer in introducing specialty coffee to the workplace. CCS continues to grow both organically and through strategic acquisitions. Henchel has received several awards, including the Eastern Coffee Service Association's Operator of the Year, the National Coffee Service Association's Java Award for marketing excellence, and induction into the National Beverage & Products Association's Hall of Fame.

Allied Member Of The Year -- Vending
LightSpeed Automation (Alpharetta, GA)

 RANDY SMITH LightSpeed Automation develops, installs and supports new technologies used to increase operational efficiencies across multiple business verticals. Its pick-to-light warehouse automation system is widely used by the vending industry. Smith cofounded the company in 2008 and serves as president and chief executive. Prior to leading LightSpeed, Smith spent 12 years as an operator as president of Georgia Vending Services, a full-service vending company based in Atlanta. Smith is a member of NAMA's board of directors and the association's Strategic Planning Committee. He formerly served as president of the Georgia Automatic Merchandising Council and chairman of the Southeastern Vending Association. Smith is also the cofounder of The Axios Group, a team of Atlanta-based business executives encouraging others to be accountable to faith-based business principles.

Allied Member of the Year -- Coffee
United Food Group (Elgin, IL)

 BRYAN REAL The 30-year industry veteran began as an operator, launching Unified Beverages, an office coffee and vending company in the mid-1980s. As the business grew, he developed his own line of dry powder mixes for use in his vending machines. In 1995, Real sold Unified Beverages and started Food Concept Developers Inc. to create a national brand of products for vending, OCS, convenience, club and grocery stores. Real established United Food Group in 2005 to concentrate on continued brand building, contract packaging and property equipment design. United Food Group continues to develop its own proprietary brands with a focus on packing and designing new and innovative equipment for the beverage industry.