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NAMA Reports Strong Registration For Feb. NJ OCS Education Summit

Posted On: 1/11/2008

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CHICAGO -- The pace of advance registration for the upcoming Coffee Service Education Summit  shows that the ground-breaking event meets a real industry need, according to the National Automatic Merchandising Association. The event is set for February 12 and 13 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Early registration, not only by operators but by suppliers supporting the new coffee service education initiative, has exceeded expectations, said NAMA director of coffee service Roger Stewart.

"This will be the most exciting coffee education event offered to operators and suppliers," Stewart predicted.

The epochal educational program is chaired by David Gellman,  founder of Gellman Associates (Norristown, PA), a pioneer in OCS and vendible product distribution who was honored as Allied Member of the Year by NAMA. The curriculum is designed for operators involved in coffee service delivery, and will provide education tracks for senior, middle and sales management levels. The faculty has been recruited from successful coffee service operators, expert speakers and local suppliers.

The two-day event will feature coffee business-building seminars and face-to-face meetings with many of the industry's best-known leaders. Key features of the two-day event will include a coffee-tasting room hosted by Ellis Coffee (Philadelphia). It will be open during registration, starting at 7:30 AM on Tuesday, February 12, and will enable participants to sample a variety of coffee blends and watch a master roaster "cup" coffee to determine the characteristics and assess the quality of bean samples.

The opening session will be moderated by Elliott Maras, editor of Automatic Merchandiser, who will present a "state of the coffee service industry" report, then lead an open-forum discussion during which participants will be able to question, and trade views with,  an operator panel. The luncheon speaker will be John Lord, Professor of Sports Marketing at St. Joseph's University (Philadelphia). And NAMA Knowledge Source Rick Leffke, president of R.C. Leffke & Associates (Dallas), will lead a session on "Does Your Coffee Service Keep You Awake at Night?"

Also on tap is a detailed survey of the best available technology to improve efficiency and maximize profitability. This portion of the program, which is sponsored by Holiday House Distributing and Kool Tek Coolers (Land O Lakes, FL), will feature 10-minute presentations by representatives of four software companies that market management suites for coffee service and vending. The overviews of the systems offered by CompuVend USA (Metairie, LA), Crane Streamware (Norwood, MA), MEI (West Chester, PA) and Validata Computer & Research (Montgomery, AL) will be followed by a question-and-answer session facilitated by NAMA Endowed Professor Dr. Michael Kasavana, Michigan State University (East Lansing).

Michael Vlahos of Lacas Coffee (Pennsauken, NJ) will provide an insider's look at the coffee market from the trading floor of the New York Board of Trade. Vlahos is a Certified Coffee Grader for NYBOT.

An approach to maximizing customer sales, and a preview of the "breakroom of the future," will be provided by Jim Mosley, sales manager for Southern Refreshment  Services (Tomball, TX), and Susan Hartley, Coffee Perks (Jacksonville, FL), the recipient of NAMA's 2007 Silver Service OCS Operator of the Year Award.

David McCaffrey of Predictive Assets, a veteran of the coffee service and vending industries, will recommend using a "6-Pack" to avoid expensive hiring mistakes.

Leffke will close the first day's program by summarizing key points made in each session, and the day's activities will culminate in a networking reception and business-building discussion with supporting supplier company representatives, followed by a buffet dinner.

On Wednesday, February 23, Leffke will lead an opening session titled "The Coffee State of Mind." Following a break, Van Houtte Inc. (Montreal) workforce learning development specialist Eileen Cooke and director of brewing technologies Marie Claude will explore "partnering with customers for growth."

The closing session will be led by Randy Parks, ProStar Services (Carrollton, TX), a winner of NAMA's Silver Service OCS Operator of the Year Award and presenter of the always-popular OCS Best Financial Practices seminars at NAMA expos. The program concludes at noon on Wednesday.

"Just one of the reasons to attend this program is because it gives you the opportunity to network with the industry's most successful leaders," Stewart summed up.

Operators can register in advance online at for $199, which includes two people from the same company. Each additional person from that company is $75. The onsite registration fee is $225.