The Main Hall at McCormick Place in Chicago is empty; the exhibitors and their exhibits are all home, but the excitement from NAMA’s national expo lingers on. The show was one of the best in recent memory with attendance and enthusiasm high, proving once again that NAMA expos are absolutely the “must attend” events of the year.
Consider this one testimonial from Roger Egli of Hydro Life Inc.: “We had more orders than we ever thought possible and had the opportunity to visit with several customers that we have been trying to speak with for years, but without success. Every year, the NAMA Expos just get better and better.”
Hundreds of exhibitors offered products and services to help vending owners and operators better manage each and every part of their overall operations. From the best products available to satisfy consumers to valuable professional advice to help operators understand how to grow the bottom line, this show offered it all.
International attendance grows
In addition, the show featured a strong contingent of international representatives. More than 200 international guests visited from around the world, underscoring NAMA’s work cultivating the global growth of our industry.
Attendees visited from Italy, Belgium, Russia, Mexico and China, demonstrating the prestige of NAMA. The importance of attending the expos is recognized world-wide.
The show officially opened Wednesday afternoon and included a cocktail reception on the trade show floor so attendees could enjoy themselves while they caught up with colleagues and shopped.
The excitement continued the next morning, thanks to a riveting keynote address delivered by Tom Izzo, head coach of Michigan State University men’s basketball team, who shared his insights about effective leadership.
Thursday night featured the annual awards banquet where five of our industry’s most prominent leaders were recognized for their service, accomplishment and dedication to our industry.
Seminars gave take-home value
In addition, the show offered a wide array of educational opportunities for everyone. For those looking forward to retirement, Rick Leffke, president of Leffke & Associates, moderated a discussion among operators who are moving into the next generation in charge of a family owned company.
Brad Bachtelle and Gary Terrell of Bachtelle and Associates Inc. delivered a session on profit enhancing opportunities in vending.
NAMA’s Pat Caffarelli, CFO and assistant secretary treasurer, led a well attended seminar, “Your Road to Improved Profitability,” as participants discussed how vending, coffee service and foodservice operators could improve their profits.
John Walsh, president of Alignment/NOW, Inc., delivered “Lucky In Leadership,” where attendees learned the techniques and tactics of successful leaders, and for those who wanted help in business prospecting, “Making Your Phone a Trusted Ally” was offered by Steve Bregman, owner and president of Insightful Sales Solutions, LLC. During the session, Bregman taught attendees how to use leverage and creative prospecting strategies along with smart relationship planning so that cold calls could turn into warm calls, building better territory for new customers.
Two of the popular Friday sessions included Richard George, Ph.D. of St. Joseph’s University, who offered strategies to deliver exceptional customer service, and Mark Manney, founder and CEO of Loss Prevention Results, who discussed the “Loss Prevention – Profit Enhancement Revolution” in the vending/foodservice industry.
More to come in Las Vegas
As exciting as the show was, we are already planning to build on the stellar start we had last year at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, which is sure to be another high energy, highly successful event.
For more information, visit www.vending.org or call NAMA at 312-346-0370.
Dan Mathews, NCE, is the senior vice president and chief operating officer of the National Automatic Merchandising Association.