Dedicated to our readers

In this issue, I have the pleasure of presenting the 2012 Readers’ Choice People of the Year awards. For the last 18 years, Automatic Merchandiser has been recognizing the best and brightest in the industry through nominations from its readers. And 2012 was no exception.

Nearly 90 people took the time to visit the online nomination page and suggest exceptional people dedicated to the industry. That made it extremely difficult to choose just five winners for this year’s awards, but they are a great group of people.

Barry Frankel, of the Family Vending Co. is a 30-year vending operator who still feels optimistic about the industry. Dave Hart started his coffee service business, Coffee To You, 12 years ago and finds personal satisfaction in giving back to the industry through associations. Greg White, Burdette Beckmann, Inc. believes in bringing manufacturers, operators and distributors together to make a better team. Jim Parsons of Vistar NorthWest strives to be an asset to the industry. And, Shanme Dalton of Mars Drinks North America is dedicated to supporting operators in as many ways as she can.

New look for Readers’ Choice awards

Next year the Readers’ Choice awards will have a new look and feel. Watch for the products of the year nomination coming to your inbox or on in early 2013.

Technology and consumer engagement

Also in this issue, we continue to look at the opportunities and challenges that face vending every day. Technology is always at the forefront of operators’ minds as they weigh the cost of investment with the financial return, as well as how to implement the changes. To address this topic, we have a new contributor, Ben White, who makes his writing debut in this issue of Automatic Merchandiser. White worked for many years at a Maryland vending operation as general manager and recently began his own consulting business. He is excited to share his tips for implementing technology with our readers in the article: 4 steps to technology integration.

Michael Kasavana, Ph.D., is back with part 3 of his V-Engineering series. This installment focuses on mobile devices and how vending can use them to engage with consumers and successfully market products in order to gain revenue.

Whether it’s the story of an exceptional vending operator or the latest trend in mobile marketing, Automatic Merchandiser remains dedicated to the vending industry, and all the segments it encompasses, including micro markets and coffee service. Enjoy the read.