Sunday, September 24, 2017 | Today's Vending Industry News
AMOA-New York Will Honor Betson's Nina Byron At April 24 Awards Gala

Posted On: 2/7/2017

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TAGS: Amusement and Music Owners of New York, AMOA-NY 2017 Awards Dinner, AMOA-New York, Nina Byron, Betson Enterprises, H. Betti Industries, jukebox, vending operator, coin-op news, jukebox artist award

AMOA-New York, Nina Byron, Betson Enterprises, jukebox
Nina Byron
NEW YORK CITY -- The Amusement and Music Owners of New York will hold its eagerly anticipated Awards Gala and dinner on April 24 at Ben & Jack's Steakhouse in midtown Manhattan. A highlight of the event always is its recognition of the Industry Person of the Year, an honor that will be bestowed this year on Nina Byron of Betson Enterprises (Carlstadt, NJ). A veteran of four decades in the coin machine industry, Byron will share the spotlight with the recipient of AMOA-NY's 2017 Jukebox Artist of the Year Award, the winner of which is a closely guarded secret.

Byron is widely regarded as one of the best-known (and most-liked) executives in the music and amusements industry. She came to Betson, the nation's largest vending and amusement machine distributor, in 1999 as financial service manager, a position for which she had been amply prepared by her 22 years of service with Mondial Distributing (Springfield, NJ). She had joined that company as a teenager, and rose through the ranks to become its credit manager, assistant controller and executive assistant.

The 2017 AMOA-NY honoree, who was born in Garwood, NJ, and attended David Brearly High School in nearby Kenilworth, was 17 years old when she answered a help-wanted advertisement for a part-time position at Mondial. The distributorship was seeking a high school student for the job, and Byron filled the bill, working 30 hours a week. This enabled her to put herself through Union Community College (Cranford, NJ), where she earned an associate's degree in business, and then William Paterson College (Wayne, NJ) -- now William Paterson University -- where she took her bachelor's in accounting.

Unexpected Vocation

Looking back, Byron reflected that she never imagined spending her entire working life in the coin-operated industries. "Early on, a mentor explained to me that once the vending industry gets into your blood, you never leave; you develop an affinity for and loyalty to it. I'm living proof that it's true!"

She is certain that she made the right choice. "I would like to thank the entire Betti family, Robert Geschine and Kevin Fritz for giving me the honor to work for H. Betti Industries for the past 18 years," she said. "It has been a very rewarding experience, and I must express my appreciation for their support, helping me grow professionally and personally."

AMOA-New York, Nina Byron, Betson Enterprises, Bob Geschine, Kevin Fritz
KUDOS! Betson Enterprises' Nina Byron is pictured with teammates Kevin Fritz and Bob Geschine (r.) in the distributorship's Carlstadt, NJ, showroom. Fritz and Geschine, past AMOA-New York honorees, saluted AMOA-NY for its selection of Byron as its 2017 Person of the Year. The Betson finance executive is the first woman to receive the honor.

Geschine is president and chief financial officer of H. Betti Industries Inc., parent of Betson, and Fritz is vice-president of HBI's financial services division. Byron reports to both executives.

She views the customer relationships that she has established as part of her extended family. "I take pride in the number of years I've known so many members of our industry," she observed. "I have been an eyewitness to our industry's evolution in which many of my clients were 'mom and pop' or sole proprietor routes. Today, most are corporations with multiple business units that include music and games. There's also growth of 'family entertainment centers,' beyond locations with several pieces of equipment."

Fritz hailed the New York association's tribute to Byron. "I predict that AMOA-NY will have, perhaps, what is the largest turnout ever at its April 24th gala because of the following Nina Byron enjoys," he applauded.

Geschine added, "We want to thank AMOA-NY for its most deserved choice of 'Woman of the Year,' and for all of Nina's contributions to Betson's entire customer base, industrywide. Certainly, Betson will be out in force because Nina Byron -- with her team loyalty -- means so much to our company."

Among the award-winner's cheerleaders at the event will be her husband of 34 years, Ed Byron, her daughter Krystina and son-in-law Anthony, and granddaughter Ava.

Honor Roll

Byron is the latest in a distinguished line of AMOA-NY honorees, including Geschine and Fritz, and another Betson executive, Richard Kirby. Other award winners are David Cohen, Firestone Financial (Boston); Michael Maas, AMI Entertainment (Philadelphia); Eugene Jarvis, Raw Thrills (Skokie, IL); Charles "Chuck" Peitz, Tricorp Amusements/PlayerOne (Somerset, NJ); Allen Weisberg, Apple Industries (Greenvale, NY); and Phil Cohn, TouchTunes Interactive Networks (New York City).

The awards dinner will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Ben & Jack's. Guests at the event will enjoy a five-star gourmet dinner. Ben & Jack's is one of New York City's finest restaurants; it is online at benandjackssteakhouse.com.

AMOA-NY executive director Danny Frank was characteristically cagey about the Jukebox Artist of the Year Award. He recalled that AMOA-NY had the honor of recognizing music titan Tony Orlando last year; other award recipients have included the Stylistics, Judy Collins, Dionne Warwick and Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary fame. Anyone curious about this year's honoree should attend the event, he suggested.

Registration for the event is $350 per person for AMOA-NY members and $500 for nonmembers. Onsite registration is $650 per person.

Frank encourages everyone concerned about the prosperity of the music and games business to attend; or, if they are unable, to assist the association by becoming an event sponsor of the commemorative "AMOA-NY 2017 Gala Souvenir Video," which will document the dinner. It will be readily accessible in the United States and around the world. For AMOA-NY members, the cost of a sponsorship is $150; nonmember sponsors will pay $250. Click here to see last year's video.

Worthy Cause

Founded in the 1940s, AMOA-NY Inc. is a nonprofit group that represents the interests of businesses that own and install coin-operated amusement and music equipment in locations throughout New York state. Ken Gold of Emerson Amusements (Woodside) is president.

Frank emphasized that the funds raised by past annual galas have enabled AMOA-NY to prevail in a number of contentious state and local issues that threaten operators' businesses. "Our community continues to face unfair competition from government-sponsored 'gambling' entities and mega-companies that want government-approved exclusives to kick us out of our space, to usurp our operations," he warned. "Anyone who doubts this is welcome to visit and experience at first-hand the challenges we face in fighting back in the halls of government."

Checks should be made payable to AMOA-NY and sent to Frank in care of Emerson Amusements, 72-10 51st Rd., Woodside, NY 11377. Frank also may be reached at dannyfrank@comcast.net or phoned at (212) 279-1041.