Congratulations to the following 2023 award winners!
Carolyn Barbarite is the creator and president of Javamelts Flavored Sugar, a certified women-owned business. As a disruptive innovator, she introduced four-time Best Product Award-winning Javamelts Flavored Sugar (two awards from CTW NAMA Show in 2019 and 2021) into the marketplace for OCS and vending. Barbarite says her goals are to inspire, motivate and encourage her three daughters and others to follow their dreams. Sustainability is a priority, along with creating jobs, mentoring and educating those coming up behind her, attending charity events, making contributions for those in need, and using only natural and clean ingredients and recyclable packaging. Javamelts Flavored Sugar is made with pure cane sugar and natural flavor, is vegan, non-GMO, kosher, gluten-free, and offered in Flavored Sugar Packets as well as 1.5-lb granulated resealable pouch bags for coffee, tea, protein shakes, yogurt, oatmeal, baking, artisan cocktails and more.
McKee Foods Corporation
Ann Crosby has worked her way up the ranks at McKee Foods Corporation. She was pleased to join the Little Debbie Vending Team as a regional sales executive for the Southeast region of the United States. Crosby has a passion for the vending industry and offering top-selling products that fill a great need for vending operators. She works closely with a team of vend brokers to provide great service to their customers.
For the last 23 years, Jennifer Fox has managed a wide variety of responsibilities ranging from operations to sales and customer service. In this time, she has grown Fox Vending’s customer base, streamlined routes, reduced overhead and increased the bottom-line. The accomplishment she is most proud of came in 2021 when she launched Dragonolia in honor of her late brother Justin, who died from a heroin overdose in December 2018. Dragonolia is a community of people sharing their stories of recovery to show the world that there can be beauty in the darkness of addiction. One dollar from every bag of Dragonolia coffee sold goes to Herren Project, a national nonprofit organization providing free resources and support for the treatment, recovery and prevention of substance use disorder.
Kimberly Graves started as an administrative assistant but quickly moved up when her managers saw her passion (maybe borderline obsession, she says) for saving money – when she asked for her first time off for the Black Friday holiday. Graves loves saving money and making people happy at the same time, so her job allows her to do just that. She is spearheading the company’s commitment to be a greener company. She has been working on increasing healthy, affordable options in its markets and vending machines and working with more local vendors to reduce transportation costs and support local businesses. Outside of work, Graves runs marathons to honor the service and sacrifice of fallen military heroes.
All Star Services Inc.
Caroline Holden, a third-generation member of All Star Services Inc., has spent her life in the convenience services industry. Since graduating with a Business Administration degree from Western Michigan University in 2009, she has actively contributed to her family’s business. Starting as a member of the accounting team, she later shifted her focus to customer service and sales within the office coffee and specialty services department, where she now serves as the director. In addition, Holden manages All Star’s product portfolio and supplier partnerships, constantly seeking to enhance operational efficiency and elevate customer experiences. With her extensive industry expertise, unwavering commitment to excellence and strong leadership skills, Holden ensures that All Star Services remains a trusted provider of breakroom solutions, always adapting to meet the changing demands of its customers.
365 Retail Markets
With six years of experience at the company, Mollie Krupp is an integral member of 365 Retail Markets’ executive team. She is a dynamic, accomplished leader who serves as the vice president of people at 365 Retail Markets, where she oversees human resources, hiring, careers and M&A people integration. Her ability to build strong relationships and foster a positive workplace culture has helped create a thriving, productive environment at 365 Retail Markets. Known for her engaging and approachable demeanor, Krupp has earned a reputation as a beloved and respected leader who inspires her team to achieve their best. She has built teams, programs and structures to ensure that the right people are hired, retained and promoted to maintain 365’s growth objectives.
365 Retail Markets
Pam MacKay has been an integral part of the sales team at 365 Retail Markets since she joined in 2018. She began managing and growing key relationships with customers who have since become some of the company’s strongest partners. MacKay was promoted and tasked with building the account services department. Under her direction, that team become trusted and respected product and sales consultants to 365’s large customer base. Throughout the company’s fast growth with new acquisitions and product innovations, MacKay has armed her team with the knowledge and training necessary to provide effective solutions to meet both the company and the customers’ business objectives. With a calm demeanor, she is committed to providing excellent and responsive communication, and customers feel supported. She is an astounding female leader and role model in the convenience services industry, evidenced by how she supports and encourages the contributions of the women on her team and the entire company.
Burdette Beckmann Inc. (BBI)
Lisa Mattias joined BBI in 2008 through the Pacific Brokerage acquisition. Following her father’s steps, she has worked in the convenience service industry for over 30 years, where she discovered her love for working with customers, distributors and manufacturers as a broker. She leads BBI’s unattended retail sales team in the West. Mattias understands the impact of women’s contributions driving the confectionery industry’s growth, which is why she is a member of NAMA’s Women in the Industry group, advocating for the empowerment of women professionals. In 2020, NAMA recognized her contributions by featuring her in InTouch Magazine’s spring edition. Additionally, Mattias was awarded Supplier of the Year from the California Automatic Vendors Council and serves on the executive board further demonstrating her commitment to the industry’s advancement. She is proud to work for a company that constantly recognizes and promotes its employees for their hard work and commitment.
A pioneer in the coffee gear space, Karalynn McDermott is the vice president of business development at Eversys. She started her career in marketing and sales in coffee equipment manufacturing. McDermott has been a noteworthy leader in the coffee equipment space. She has worked in developing new technologies and can be credited with contributions in Pulse Brewing, IoT capabilities, thermal holding systems and brewing equipment programming to achieve excellent coffee bloom. Driven by a mission for innovation and entrepreneurship, McDermott is best known for inspiring and supporting operators and roasters on new coffee gear technology to aid the progression of their businesses. She has been honored with Specialty Coffee Association’s Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award, and Remote Equipment Management Gold Team Award from Connected World Magazine. She serves on the board of directors for the National Automatic Merchandising Association.
DAC Total Refreshments
Kim Miros is new to the convenience services industry. Her first career was an educator, teaching elementary and high school for 18 years. She resigned from teaching in 2017 to take on a different career path as an entrepreneur. Miros purchased Drop A Coin Vending and has grown the business from two routes to five routes and from having only vending machines with no VMS to vending, micro markets and office coffee. With her company’s growth, she changed the branding and name to DAC Total Refreshments. Miros has also been strongly involved in her community for 38 years, on several educational boards, and has been involved in The Salvation Army and Women’s Pregnancy Center. Today, she continues to be involved with the local high schools by volunteering her teaching talents and donating to school programs. Miros is involved in NAMA and attends the Fly-In and other events. She enjoys connecting with other operators and mentoring new ones in the industry.
McKee Foods Corporation
Karen Nation has played an integral role in making Little Debbie Vending a successful brand. Over the past few years, Nation has worked diligently with key personnel in the manufacturing facilities to ensure that Little Debbie products had a high fulfillment rate. She also handles daily customer service for operators, distributors and brokers. Her dedication to the brand, her customers and coworkers is unmatched. She works tirelessly to ensure orders are filled accurately and delivered on time, the regional sales team has everything they need to be able to sell efficiently, and customers are well taken care of.
365 Retail Markets
Jenny Ortiz is the director of operations and accounting at Parlevel Systems, an unattended retail solutions provider within 365 Retail Markets’ family of companies. With her keen eye for process management, organization and her ability to motivate her team, she remains a vital asset to Parlevel’s growth. For the past seven years, Ortiz has led the accounting, logistics, administration and human resources teams, and she continues to manage transformative projects across the company as 365 Retail Markets continues to expand its product offerings and global footprint to better serve its customers.
Malin Östman, a visionary and creative leader, serves as the chief marketing officer at Selfly Store. Since joining in summer 2022, she has been instrumental in redefining the company’s brand and marketing strategy, successfully positioning Selfly Store as an innovative growth leader in the vending, micro market and office coffee service industry. Leveraging her background in management consulting and communications, Östman has championed innovative marketing approaches, such as the Metaverse launch of the first intelligent vending freezer on the market, the Selfly Freezer. Her commitment to embracing cutting-edge technology and creative solutions has fueled the company’s rapid growth in brand awareness, lead generation and customer base. Her passion for driving change and pushing the boundaries of the vending industry is evident in her work. Her inspiring leadership continues to motivate others in the sector to explore new possibilities and advance the industry.
Holiday House Distributing
Barbara Russell, vice president of sales and marketing for Holiday House Distributing (HHD), began her career in the OCS industry with Holiday House Coffee Service in Lynbrook, New York, in 1985 and with US Coffee from 1990 to 1998. After relocating to Florida in 2002, Russell went back to work in the industry and is now on the supplier side with HHD. She is passionate about the industry and is always looking to find ways to help operators – whether it is trying to source industry products or promoting service and technician training. Russell started the Holiday House Distributing Technician Training event in 2020. It held its second event in February 2023 and had over 45 OCS operators (150 attendees) attend three days of hands-on coffee equipment training. She was awarded the 2020 NAMA Coffee Legend and is one of the founding members of NAMA’s WIN group. Russell also serves on the NAMA Trade Show Committee and Coffee Service Committee.
Seventh Wave Refreshments
Linda Saldana is the co-founder and CEO of Seventh Wave Refreshments. She joined the industry almost 12 years ago as a sales director at Southern Refreshment Service and fell in love with the industry. Seventh Wave Refreshments was established in 2020 with a mission to “Bring Joy to the Workplace” in the most unsettling time in refreshments. With a deep passion for the customers and a heart for innovation in the industry, Seventh Wave Refreshments has led a refreshment revolution in Atlanta – pioneering new ways of servicing and offering a white glove approach to hundreds of offices in just two years.
Throughout Melissa Schwartz’s 20+ years in the industry, she has implemented key business strategies – from route, warehouse, service, account management, finance and IT to sales. Schwartz began her career as a route accounting implementation leader responsible for replacing the paper-based route order and vend management process to leveraging handhelds and DEX capabilities. Today, she leads the operation teams for the Aramark Refreshments division across the U.S. and Canada. Schwartz’s handprint on transformations includes development of a single view of the customer for end-to-end customer experience from prospecting, contracting, installation, customer service and account management, along with a warehouse forecast tool. She was also instrumental with the introduction of aramarkrefreshments.com and has extensive experience with the acquisition process. Schwartz’s recognitions within Aramark include Ring of Star recipient for Operational Excellence as well as a two-time CEO Star of Excellence recipient for Sell and Service with Passion and Front Line First. Her eye for improvement and mentoring those around her has allowed Schwartz to pave ways for future women leaders in the industry.
Elyssa Steiner joined Cantaloupe in 2017. As chief marketing officer, she oversees all aspects of the marketing team. Her responsibilities include the development and implementation of all strategic marketing campaigns that drive measurable results and support the company’s business objectives. Steiner has been in the self-service retail industry since 2010. Before joining Cantaloupe Systems, she served as the vice president of sales and marketing for Avanti Markets, where she was one of the early pioneers to introduce micro markets to the industry. During her tenure in this market, Steiner’s enthusiasm and success have led her to become a well-respected mentor and award-winning executive in the industry. In 2013, she was voted Automatic Merchandiser Readers’ Choice Manufacturer Representative of the Year. She has served on NAMA’s Government Affairs, WIN and ELN committees. Steiner has a master’s degree in communication and leadership from Gonzaga University and a Bachelor of Arts in business and marketing from the University of Washington.
Five Star Food Service
Tammy Stokes returned to Five Star Food Service after five years with Canteen Corporate heading the Southeast division – office coffee and pantry line of business. Her 30+ years of experience in the food and beverage industry with companies such as Pepsico, Sysco, and Compass Group North America provides a great amount of diversity for the Central region team. Stokes specializes in cultivating dynamic leaders to impact the customer experience at the highest level. She supports Five Star Food Service in all things coffee, water and pantry lines of business and leads multiple teams and projects for Five Star. Recently, she led an entire rebrand of John Conti Coffee, now Conti Coffee, which took over a year to complete. Her determination to see the project finished and of high quality is admirable. Stokes studied communications and education at the University of Louisville.
Meredith Storm, markets sales representative at Mahaska, has worked extensively for several years in sales and marketing throughout different industries in her career, but she says that working in the micro market and vending industry for Mahaska has been the most rewarding of all her jobs. Storm made a career change into a new industry, but after a little over a year, she has quickly learned aspects of the equipment, continuing to grow her industry knowledge, and she has helped the company grow its new customers in under a year. Mahaska, a seventh-generation family-owned company, has seasoned employees with over 30 years of experience in micro markets and vending, so she uses her experience in sales and marketing to create the perfect mix for a dynamite team. She looks forward to helping take Mahaska to the next level.
Christine Vertucci has been a customer service professional for over 30 years. During her 25-year career with W. R. Grace & Co., she became the North American customer service manager for its Specialty Construction Chemicals division where she oversaw the consolidation of customer service operations into a national service center. She has been with Vistar for six years and quickly assimilated into the candy, snack and beverage industry. Vertucci has set a standard for service excellence, where she and her team support one of the largest Vistar operating companies in the country. Vertucci leads by example and enables her team through empowerment. She is a champion for growing female leaders, as evidenced by several internal promotions from within her team. Vertucci attended the University of Wisconsin, is a certified Six Sigma Greenbelt, co-chairs Vistar’s customer service best practices team, and is a member of the Women at PFG Associate Resource Group.
MoBeauty Supply Vending
Maureen Washington is an entrepreneur and community leader who has made significant contributions to the beauty industry. As the founder of MoBeauty Supply Vending, she revolutionized the way women access beauty products. Her innovation empowered countless individuals to become entrepreneurs. Despite facing numerous challenges, including racial profiling and discrimination, Washington persevered to achieve success. She is a strong advocate for women in the convenience services industry and has demonstrated her commitment to supporting minorities through the development of the Vending Grant of Minorities. She is also dedicated to promoting the vending machine industry and has been instrumental in establishing the first National Vending Machine Day in Georgia. She was recognized for her achievements and was a recipient of the 2020 Enterprising Women of the Year Award. As a respected figure, Washington continues to inspire others with her entrepreneurial spirit, leadership and dedication to creating positive change.
Burdette Beckmann Inc. (BBI)
Joanne Weissman is a highly accomplished senior account executive for the unattended retail channel at BBI, a national sales agency. She joined BBI in 2014, managing Vistar OPCO accounts in Denver, Colorado, and Portland, Oregon. Prior to this, Weissman worked for 20 years at Vistar in Kissimmee, Florida, and 10 years at Warner-Lambert Consumer Products, calling on retail convenience headquarters and grocery headquarters. With over 30 years of experience in sales and marketing, Weissman has honed her skills in developing sales strategies, generating new business and marketing products to key accounts. Her extensive training has earned her numerous awards, including being recognized as the #1 Account Executive of the Year multiple times and receiving the President’s Club Pentathlon Award in 1992. Her passion for building solid relationships with her customers and being a mentor for their businesses sets her apart as a respected and sought-after figure in the retail industry.
AAA Vending Services
At AAA Vending Services, Kathy Wygant, along with brothers Ken and Gary Gehrlein, have achieved distinction by putting competition aside to invest in the well-being of others, the local business community and the vending industry. Led by the example of their father, Gordon, who founded the snack and beverage business in 1986, AAA Vending has promoted additional business opportunities in the Erie area by supporting other vendors. Wygant’s pursuit of ways to keep customers interested, buying and returning has resulted in the maximization of competitor buying experiences with the ability to special order and place orders that will be compiled for pickup; generation of a company social media presence that supports local job hunters, businesses and the vending industry and provides another avenue for customers to submit order and service requests; a tailored program offering better-for-you choices; and special items for captive accounts.
Jaime Wynette has had the great pleasure of working with Guardian Refresh as her introduction to the vending industry. Her passion for helping people is in direct alignment with the Guardian Refresh motto. She has a background in marketing and advertising, which she has used to increase the client base of Guardian’s growing network of operators. Her business acumen and out-of-the-box thinking has helped drive Guardian’s innovation and elevation of service. Working alongside industry leaders, Wynette is learning and adapting her skill set to continuously improve Guardian’s impact in the management space.