National Expo Focuses on Generational Issues

As summer draws to a close, vending, coffee service and on-site foodservice management professionals start thinking about the world’s largest show dedicated exclusively to our industry, the NAMA Expo in Chicago, Oct. 10 to 12. This year, we’ve added some show stopping speakers and entertainers who are sure to make this year’s event better than ever.

Keynoter: MSU Coach Tom Izzo

Our keynote speaker on Thursday morning will be Tom Izzo, head coach of Michigan State University men’s basketball team who is one of the best known figures in college sports today. Izzo built his reputation over the past 12 years reigning as director of the MSU Spartan program, racking up an impressive array of accomplishments, including a NCAA National Championship, four regular season Big Ten Championships, two Big Ten Tournament titles, four Final Four appearances, four National Coach of the Year awards, and 10 straight NCAA tournament appearances.

For this year’s Industry Awards Banquet, The Coca-Cola Co. will help us recognize the 2007 industry award winners and will sponsor a glamorous celebration, “An Evening with Frank Sinatra,” featuring Ron Hawking. Hawking is producer and star of the hit musical, “His Way, A Tribute to the Man and His Music,” and has played to audiences all across the country.

This year’s Expo officially kicks off on Wednesday where attendees can enjoy the exciting and popular new format introduced last year, with the trade show floor opening at 3 p.m. The opening will be followed by a cocktail reception right on the show floor so attendees can mingle with colleagues while they peruse the floor to see what’s new.

At this year’s Expo, we will also be unveiling a special new program created specifically for our second and third generation members. We’ve heard again and again from these members about the special problems they face dealing with everything from working with family members to obstacles they face taking over management of the company.

Focus on new generation members

To help them better cope with these issues, we’ve created a special session called “Second Generation Open Forum/Discussion Group and Reception” which will be held on Tuesday at 5 p.m. The event will be led by Rick Leffke, president of Leffke & Associates and a NAMA Knowledge Source Partner who is best known for his success training and developing leadership and management skills.

During this event, attendees can network with each other and share in an open, moderated discussion about all of the challenges and experiences their colleagues in the same situation have experienced. The program has deliberately been created to allow for plenty of time for attendees to get to know each other, share experiences and network.

This new session is just the beginning of a variety of resources we plan to create for our members facing generational issues of company ownership. We will be working with these members to identify what the problems are, what resources would be helpful, and exactly how NAMA can help.

Additional show highlights

Other highlights include:

  • An updated and expanded quality coffee certification program Wednesday sponsored by Procter & Gamble.
  • Over 20 hours of free specialty education, including retail ethnography for vending, secrets of better for you vending, and hot topic discussions in the NAMA booth.
  • A 4-day supervisor development program sponsored by PepsiCo Foodservice, Tuesday through Friday.
  • A silent auction sponsored by Mars Snack Foods.
  • Saturday and Sunday will be free to enjoy the Chicago sites or spend time at home with the family.
  • In the end, there are so many reasons to attend the NAMA Expo it’s hard to imagine how anyone could afford to miss the event. It’s a chance to see what’s new, learn how to do things better, connect with suppliers, peers and innovative leaders, and just have fun, all for just $25.

LyNae Schleyer, CMP, is senior director of education and meeting services at the National Automatic Merchandising Association.

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