Automatic Merchandiser announces the 2023 40 Under 40 Award winners

Sept. 7, 2023
Automatic Merchandiser recognizes young leaders in the vending, micro market and office coffee service industry.

Automatic Merchandiser is honored to present the 2023 40 Under 40 Award winners. This annual program recognizes outstanding individuals who demonstrate leadership and a commitment to advancing convenience services for vending, micro markets and office coffee service.

Automatic Merchandiser's team studied the nominees and selected the top 40 Under 40, Class of 2023, also featured in the September/October 2023 issue.

Congratulations to the following award winners who have shown dedication to their companies, their customers and the industry.

Marcos Acuña

Marcos Acuña is an Argentinian entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Quick Scan & Go, a Miami company with a mission to bring buying and selling experiences to the 21st century through the use of technology. Acuña has 20 years of executive experience in the food and beverage industry. The Quick team, led by Acuña, opened Latin America’s first fully autonomous supermarket in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2021. In 18 months of operation, they opened 16 Quick Scan & Go markets in Argentina and 18 in the U.S. Before founding Quick, Acuña led the FAN ID technology project for Latin America. He was also vice president of the Banfield Athletic Club and chairman of the members subcommittee and assembly member of the Argentine Soccer Association (AFA).

Jared Black

As a highly driven plant engineer for Everest, Jared Black played a pivotal role in the development of Everest’s cutting-edge ice and water vending machine. His unwavering commitment to optimizing manufacturing efficiency was evident in the state-of-the-art technology utilized in the machine. The process of achieving this feat was not without challenges, but by conducting a thorough analysis and optimization, Black was able to improve Everest’s commitment to sustainability by implementing a bottled frame design that streamlined the manufacturing process and increased efficiency in machine production and assembly. As a leader, Black spearheaded an impressive team that brought in an expansion of new skills and ideas and fostered a culture of collaboration, leading Everest to unprecedented success in setting new standards for innovation and sustainability in the vending machine industry.

Alex Braun

Alex Braun grew up working summers at his family-owned and operated business in Dickinson, North Dakota. In 2017, he graduated from Bismarck State College with two degrees in pursuit of one day owning Braun Distributing. After college, it was his mission to help grow the vending and micro market side of the business. Braun Distributing had always operated the old-school way of showing up to a machine with a truck loaded with candy and filling the machine off the truck. And at that time, they had just opened its first micro market. Braun worked with Cantaloupe to purchase telemetry devices to install, which now allows them to pre-pick orders and deliver them in a more time and fuel-efficient fashion. In the last six years, they have opened 12 additional micro markets. Braun looks forward to seeing what’s next in the vending industry as technology continues to develop.

Jennifer (JB) Bulcao

JB Bulcao is the executive director of the NAMA Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the convenience services industry. Bulcao’s current focus at the NAMA Foundation is to provide industry members the advocacy tools to make their voices heard and educate policymakers at every level, in addition to conducting research that empowers businesses to make informed decisions and inspires industry innovation by delivering critical data on workplace, consumer and technology trends. Additionally, Bulcao has served for over two years as the National Automatic Merchandising Association’s board and governance liaison. In this capacity, she works closely with NAMA’s president and CEO, Carla Balakgie, on designing and executing the association’s leadership meetings. Bulcao finds this position extremely rewarding, as she works closely with the convenience services’ top leaders on strategic planning for the continued growth of the industry. She has over 15 years of experience in fundraising, executive office management and governance meeting design.

Charlotte Callahan

Charlotte Callahan, regional director for Canteen in Miami, Florida, is a seasoned professional with a passion for the vending, coffee and foodservice industry. With a career spanning over 15 years, she has honed her skills in various critical areas, including operations, client management, team collaboration and strategic planning. As a thoughtful and forward-thinking leader, Callahan has shown an exceptional ability to navigate dynamic and fluid environments. She thrives under pressure and consistently delivers measurable results through effective process improvements and the cultivation of high-performing teams. Known for her pragmatic and decisive nature, she takes ownership of her responsibilities, ensuring every aspect of her work is executed with precision and excellence. Her dedication to her clients has been instrumental in maintaining high standards of service and quality. With an unwavering commitment to excellence, Callahan continues to lead her team with inspiration and dedication, fostering a culture of collaboration and teamwork that drives the organization forward.

Thomas Denardo

Thomas Denardo, national service manager for Everest, has been instrumental in transforming the department into a proactive and results-driven team since joining the company. Through his leadership, they have implemented new policies and procedures that have led to remarkable growth. Denardo’s commitment to data-based decision-making and dedication to the department’s success have influenced his team to make informed choices and provide dynamic solutions, resulting in a retention rate of 100% for customers. Together, they have successfully resolved approximately 4,000 tickets this past year. By establishing strategic partnerships with national service providers like Tech24 and Ken’s Beverage, his team has improved their reach and service, enabling them to become more customer-focused and efficient. Denardo’s dedication to fostering a high-performing team and allowing continuous improvement opportunities has influenced excellence in Everest’s service department, contributing to its overall success.

Jared Detwiler

Jared Detwiler has been with One Source Office Refreshment Services in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, for over 20 years including both part-time and full-time work. Graduating college in 2007 from Shippensburg University with a BSBA, Detwiler accepted a role as a route supervisor. Later, he led One Source as its operations manager through the adoption of telemetry and cashless payments on all of its vending machines and the deployment of Cantaloupe in its organization. Detwiler is a member of the NAMA education committee and participates in many industry events. As vice president of operations, Detwiler now leads the operations and service/maintenance department at One Source, focusing on utilizing new technology in the unattended retail space to gain efficiency for the organization and deliver the best customer experience.

Andrew Didier

Andrew Didier co-founded Agora Refreshments in 2009, embarking on a transformative journey alongside his father. By 2018, he assumed full ownership, propelling Agora to become the Pacific Northwest (PNW)’s largest independent operator, marked by a significant expansion into Portland. In 2020, Didier’s innovation adapted into “Remote Breakroom,” a venture delivering custom snack boxes to remote employees. Through Didier’s quick wit and ability to work through adversity, Agora navigated the pandemic, maintaining profitability and swiftly regaining pre-COVID revenues. In 2021, Didier harnessed the direct-to-consumer concept, creating Langskip Koffee Roasters – a testament to his Seattle roots, Norwegian heritage and passion for coffee. Now, Langskip Koffee graces Agora’s clients and is independently available on Didier humbly credits his remarkable achievements to his exceptional team. In an evolving business landscape, Didier’s trajectory serves as a reminder that amid challenges lie unprecedented opportunities for growth.

Kaitlin Dobson

Kaitlin Dobson is the director of operations at Sheehan Brothers Vending (SBV). She joined SBV in 2015 and played a key role in launching the micro market program for the local Ohio company. Dobson leads four operations managers who are responsible for 26 routes, and her marketing expertise and problem-solving skills make her a great leader both internally and externally. She is talented at leveraging technology and manipulating reports with Excel to drive efficiencies that increase profit and create great customer service experiences. Dobson has developed employee incentive programs around important KPIs, created various custom promotional campaigns and has built out a micro market program from the ground up two times in the last eight years with two different kiosks providers and backend systems.

Scott Edwards

Scott Edwards, the visionary CEO of Drop Water, spearheads a sustainability revolution in the realm of bottled beverages. A Cal Poly alumnus in industrial technology and packaging, Edwards’ trajectory has been illuminated by his unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship and innovation. Recognized as a recipient of the Cal Poly Alumni Spotlight, his leadership steered Drop Water to triumph in startup competitions and the acquisition of the FedEx Small Business Grant. Notably, the company’s pivotal series A financing round, led by Culligan Water in late 2022, marked a defining moment. Expanding into diverse venues such as hotels, airports, gyms and campuses, Drop Water pioneers eco-friendly alternatives to conventional plastic, aluminum and aseptic packaging. Guided by Edwards’ vision, the company merges business acumen, environmental responsibility and technical expertise, laying a path toward a greener future within the beverage industry. Drop Water is not only turning biodegradable bottled drinks into reality but also cultivating a profitable venture for forward-thinking operators and venues worldwide.

Brandon Emmons

Brandon Emmons, vice president with DeMitri Chesapeake Sales, has taken on a key leadership roll within the company and has excelled in developing new business with suppliers. He has shown true commitment to not only customers and suppliers but also to the convenience services industry overall.

Detlev Goedbloed

Detlev Goedbloed became the product manager at Structural Concepts in 2023, focusing on new product development and managing the current product portfolio. The company’s latest innovation is the Automated Retail Merchandiser, a refrigerated smart solution for autonomous shopping, and Goedbloed is dedicated to driving the company’s growth and improving its financial results. Goedbloed received a Master of Science in business studying in Belgium and France before moving to Morocco to gain experience in the field. His success led to a job in China where he was responsible for sales in Asia-Pacific. During this time, he received an MBA from UBC Sauder School of Business and began a position as management consultant in Australia. He moved to the U.S. in 2019 and partnered with a French smart machine manufacturer, as chief development officer, to build its presence in North America.

Phil Hettlinger

With extensive sales experience and a sales career spanning 15 years, Phil Hettlinger has spent the last eight of those years focusing on the food and beverage industry as a regional sales manager. While his career and accolades tell part of the story, Hettlinger credits his time at Bowling Green State University playing Division I baseball as the real impetus for sculpting his work ethic and developing his hard-working mindset. Even though he has only been with AVB Sales and Marketing for a year, he has built fundamental relationships with his customers. Hettlinger continues to set a standard of quality work and customer relations within the vending and OCS channels. His passion for the industry and pride in his work have both helped him as a territory sales manager, supporting his Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia-based customers in expanding their businesses through new product innovations and insights.

Mark Houseknecht

Mark Houseknecht, VP of operations at Crickler Vending Company, has overseen all aspects of the business for the past nine years. Throughout his tenure, he has led Crickler through significant growth and change to become a leader in technology utilization and provider of quality service. Following his family’s history of community service, Houseknecht is involved in multiple local community organizations and nurtured a partnership with the Arc of Monroe to provide employment opportunities to its clients. He also helps in ensuring the industry's success through his active membership in NAMA and the NYSAVA and assistance in lobbying efforts to create a successful business environment. He has worked in family businesses since graduating from Providence College in 2012 and enjoys working with family to build a strong organization that provides the highest quality service in western New York.

Ashley Hubler

As chief marketing officer for The Wittern Group/U-Select-It since 2015, Ashley Hubler oversees all aspects of the marketing and brand communication efforts for the company and Wittern’s portfolio companies. Hubler currently serves as the government affairs liaison on NAMA’s Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) steering committee. She has represented The Wittern Group/U-Select-It, as well as the State of Iowa and convenience services industry as a whole, at six previous NAMA Fly-In & Advocacy summits. Over the past 18 months, she has worked closely with NAMA’s government affairs team on several key initiatives to advocate for expanding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) retail acceptance to include the convenience services industry. In 2018, Hubler was selected by the NAMA Foundation as a NAMA scholar to attend NAMA’s Executive Development Program (EDP) at Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business.

Nicole Hughes

Nicole Hughes is the training manager for Aramark Refreshments. She joined Aramark’s Workplace Hospitality division in 2011 after graduating from Drexel University in 2008. Working in the food and beverage industry prepared Hughes for her move into the Refreshments division in 2017. She joined Aramark Refreshments as an account executive where she focused on new business sales. With a passion for people and Aramark’s ability to reimagine the breakroom, she was inspired to further her career. In 2021, she was promoted to field sales training manager, where she uses her experience and passion to create onboarding programs for new hires. She believes that learning can be fun and information should be accessible to all. Her goal for the future is to expand business by identifying and closing the gaps in the sales process through hands-on education.

Jayce Kalmbach

Jayce Kalmbach is the director of sales at 365 Retail Markets, a global provider of unattended retail technology. Kalmbach has had a successful career in sales for the last 16 years, and he has spent the last 12 years in a sales management role. In these leadership positions, he has set new sales records for overall and single deal value while achieving rapid company growth, focusing on both internal and external relationships for motivation and loyalty. Kalmbach is skilled in coaching and implementing sales, strategic planning, business development, customer service, negotiation and sales operations. He has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural development from Texas A&M University.

Susanna Kauto

Susanna Kauto, an accomplished product manager at Selfly Store, stands out for her business and customer-driven focus. She has achieved remarkable milestones; notably, Kauto spearheaded the successful launch of the first intelligent vending freezer on the market, the Selfly Freezer, a testament to her visionary product management skills. Her unwavering customer-centric approach has propelled Selfly Store’s product development to new heights, amplifying customer experiences and successfully positioning Selfly Store as an innovative growth leader in the vending, micro market and office coffee service industry. With a proven track record of transforming customer needs into winning offerings, Kauto continues to reshape the intelligent vending landscape and solidify her position as an industry player.

Ann Kolman

Ann Kolman, director of operational excellence, has been with Aramark for over seven years and is responsible for driving continuous improvement initiatives in all aspects of the business – sales, service, operations and client engagement through Salesforce. Kolman is also Aramark Refreshment’s project manager for larger initiatives. She was honored with Aramark’s 2023 40 under 40 Award too, and she is currently enrolled in the KPMG Executive Leadership Institute for Women program.

Allison Krupp

Allison Krupp joined 365 Retail Markets in 2017 when she was 25. Her first role was sales admin but quickly made her way to the international team. She immediately wanted to learn as much as possible about the vending, micro market and unattended retail industry. Not only has she engrossed herself with 365’s products and processes but also with networking and involvement within the industry, which helped pave her path forward to where she is now, the manager of international customer operations at 365 Retail Markets. She previously served as the membership chair of NAMA’s ELN from 2019 to 2023. She was also a part of the team that won Associated Vending Services Best Micro Market Service Provider in the U.K. for 2023, and she is currently serving as an executive committee member on behalf of 365 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Fundraiser.

Madison Muncie

Madison Muncie joined All State Manufacturing in January 2023 as the general manager. While this is her first position in the vending industry, she is no stranger to manufacturing and hard work. Muncie graduated in 2019 from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and immediately joined the automotive industry where she was part of a leadership development program. She has worked as a financial analyst, industrial engineer and program manager in the fast-paced automotive environment. In her short time with All State Manufacturing, she has overseen the implementation of new product designs and driven the reengineering of product assembly, and she is a key leader in the transition of new equipment in All State’s fabrication process. Muncie is excited to apply her knowledge and experience to the industry with high expectations for efficiency, quality and continuous improvement at All State Manufacturing.

Dillon Nichols

Dillon Nichols has been a standout account executive for Vistar during his four-year career with the company. He has grown his sales year-over-year and showed massive growth in new channels. Along with being a mentor in the region, Nichols was recently recognized with an Account Executive of the Year award for Vistar in 2022. He is from Denver, Colorado, and happily married to his wife, Jenna, with two young children together.

Malin Östman

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. Östman’s 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 as a whole.

Nick Pavey

Nick Pavey has worked with Azkoyen Group for over 20 years. He has held nearly all technical and commercial positions, both in the U.K. and the U.S., which gives him a key understanding of the highly technical beverage dispense products being introduced to the U.S. market. Through his work at Azkoyen, Pavey has helped educate operators on methods and best practices to improve their business. Since moving to the U.S. in 2018, he has been successful in his training strategy in the U.S. market, creating specific training materials to assist the transition of customers away from their existing equipment suppliers into the coffee equipment that Azkoyen has brought to the U.S. market. For the past couple of years, as technical and key account manager, North America, he has been instrumental in helping Azkoyen become one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. He is passionate in anything he does, and he goes the extra mile for his colleagues, peers and customers.

Anita Petrova

Anita Petrova joined Vendon in 2012 as a key account manager and became the bridge between the development team and the end user of the Vendon solution. It required learning the product inside-out, which was a challenge for someone without a technical background. At the start, she managed everything from customer support to logistics, accounting, sales and development projects. She even sorted cables and compiled the first manuals. Seven years ago, she was given the role of head of R&D. Since then, Petrova’s career has been on an upward trajectory, and it was her achievement in leading Vendon’s cashless payment project to market in just 18 months that sealed her reputation within the business and beyond. Today, Petrova and her R&D team are focused on making existing products even better with added value for the customer.

Kevin Posey

Kevin Posey’s career started when he was still in high school in 2000 and began working with Dan Holt at Lincoln County Vending. As the company expanded, Posey was named the operations manager in 2008. He completed the NAMA Executive Development Program in 2014, was elected to the Tennessee Automatic Merchandising Association (TAMA) board in 2015 and served as president for 2020-2021. In 2020, Posey was elected to the Southeastern Vending Association (SEVA) board and served as chairman in 2022. Lincoln County Vending was acquired by Five Star Food Service in February 2023, and Posey currently serves as the vice president of retail operation over the Fayetteville, Tennessee, branch. Posey says it has been exciting for him to see the many changes and technological advances in his over 20-year career and looks forward to continuing to grow the industry. Posey and his wife, Hannah, have four children.

Gilbert Ramirez Jr.

As Everest’s marketing manager and a two-time recipient of the Automatic Merchandiser’s 40 Under 40 awards, Gilbert Ramirez Jr. strives to implement new strategies and achieve exceptional results. His knowledge of the ever-changing digital landscape has enabled him to execute progressive marketing strategies that captivate the company’s target audience across multiple platforms. By fostering a collaborative and empowering work environment, Ramirez has enabled marketing team members to thrive, resulting in enhanced productivity and exceptional campaign outcomes. His commitment to customer engagement and cross-departmental collaboration has led to remarkable growth in website traffic and contacts for Everest. His vision and work influenced Everest to expand into the convenience sector, which will be the focus of the company in 2023. Ramirez is always seeking customer feedback and leveraging their insights to refine marketing strategies and ensure satisfaction. With his expertise, creativity and dedication, he is continuously driving Everest’s success and pushing the company to new heights.

Marshall Richter

Marshall Richter has over 17 years of industry knowledge. In 2013, he joined Aramark’s Refreshment division as a route sales representative and later transitioned into the business development manager role five years later, where he ensured that clients had the support, products and services they needed, which included not only breakroom amenities but also micro market retail solutions. At his time at Aramark, Richter provided knowledge to help others who were new to the role or needed direction. He believes that success is a team effort and measured as a whole.

Cade Ridenour

Cade Ridenour has been instrumental in moving Illinois-based Vander Vending forward. His depth and understanding of technology and its application of what’s possible has astounded his team members. Ridenour has been a beacon of inspiration as he has helped Vander Vending grow quickly from one level to the next, turning Vander Vending from a single soda machine to a multi-million-dollar company in a few short years.

Justavo Rios

Justavo Rios is a service representative at Capital Provisions, based in San Diego. Since joining the technology-focused company, he has set high standards on his position, making sure he does everything he can to be a great asset to the company. Rios strives daily to make sure to go above and beyond expectations to assure his job is being fulfilled in a safe and timely manner. He takes pride in making sure everything is set for customer satisfaction. He contributes all of this to the amazing teamwork and great communication of the team at Capital Provisions. He wishes to thank his fellow employees in the company for giving him the opportunity to continue to grow in his position.

Nikola Runjavec

Nikola Runjavec, Televend’s customer success director, is involved in all aspects of the business. His exceptional capabilities, determination, strong work ethic and growth mindset set him apart. Runjavec possesses unique skills, qualities and expertise that contribute to his effectiveness in driving customer satisfaction, retention and business growth. His unwavering commitment to understanding customers’ needs and concerns is key to his success. By actively listening to clients, he seamlessly guides them through the onboarding process and effectively communicates the benefits of the solutions, ultimately resulting in unmatched customer satisfaction. He is committed not only to Televend and its customers but also to developing trust in innovative products that the company creates. By setting bold goals, inspiring his team and consistently exceeding expectations, Runjavec has made an incredible mark on the company and the customer success field.

Danelle Russell

Danelle Russell began her career at Five Star Food Service in 2012 as a marketing intern. Then, she graduated from Brenau University with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication. Russell is currently the senior director of brand marketing, leading marketing initiatives across the company including creating new brands, sales materials, digital marketing and creative. She has also been recognized as one of Automatic Merchandiser’s Pros to Know award winners, and she enjoys coaching and mentoring the next generation of leaders.

Richard Russell

Richard Russell is a regional sales manager for the Southeast region at Holiday House Distributing, a leading parts supplier to office coffee, vending and point-of-use water equipment operators. He has been in the industry for eight years, with seven of those years working with Holiday House Distributing. Russell is a member of NAMA’s Emerging Leaders Network.

Cramer Schneider

Cramer Schneider, owner of WBF Food Service LLC, has been totally blind since he was 3 years old and has operated locations within state facilities in Kentucky as a licensed blind vendor since early 2019. The 1936 federal legislation Randolph Shepherd Act gave blind and visually impaired individuals the opportunity to become licensed vendors and have priority to operate foodservice businesses on state and federal properties. In the last four-plus years, Schneider has added a cafeteria and two micro markets to his original canteen location and weathered the pandemic, while learning and growing exponentially as a businessperson and individual. He enjoys being part of his operations on a daily basis, serving his customers and evolving through all the changes the industry has seen as he takes on new and different locations. 

Luke Schneider

Luke Schneider is the CEO and founder of Fire Department Coffee (FDC). After the company launched in 2016, it has grown into a global sensation, providing high-quality coffee and gear in both e-commerce and retail environments. As a veteran and retired firefighter, Schneider has made FDC’s core mission to give back to sick and injured firefighters and first responders through FDC’s Charitable Foundation. Notably, the company has created a proprietary spirit infusion process to craft coffee with the essence of premium spirits in its line of non-alcoholic Spirit Infused Coffees. Most recently, Schneider has initiated new growth by fostering relationships with like-minded companies that want to support FDC and its mission to give back by serving FDC in their storefront and office locations.

Yusuf Sharif

Yusuf Sharif is the co-founder of Bluff City Vending in Memphis, Tennessee, where he serves as CEO and director of operations. Sharif began his professional career in education. He also maintained several small business ventures before co-founding Bluff City Vending in 2016 alongside his wife and business partner, Kristyl Gipson-Sharif. They have two children, Yusuf II and Leila. In 2016, Sharif wrote a business plan for their new company, and in seven years, helped grow Bluff City Vending into a company that serves over 300 locations in the Memphis area via vending, OCS and water. He worked as a full-time licensed teacher and championship track coach while scaling the business to where it is today. With a focus on customer service, Sharif has developed great relationships with clients leading to high customer retention. The company has maintained yearly growth of over 40% under his leadership. Some of the solutions that Yusuf has developed include employee incentives, growth acquisitions and client relations programs. Bluff City is a member of NAMA and the Greater Memphis Chamber.

Shane Spikes

Shane Spikes, general manager with Deli-Matic, is committed to the growth of the industry. He has served as a VAMA board member for over 15 years and an ACE Committee member, and he has been honored with Vendor of the Year for Virginia. Spikes was an integral figure between VAMA and the State of Virginia to set standards for micro markets. He is continuously pushing to grow Deli-Matic’s business and the overall growth of the industry. He is always open to helping other operators with questions and gaining insight into how others run their respective companies. His number-one goal with Deli-Matic is providing great customer service to customers.

Shane Swanson

Shane Swanson, sales and customer service manager at Coley Canteen, has more than seven years of industry experience. After graduating from Ferris State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in business management, Swanson began working for his father, Mitch Swanson, and business partner, Randy Coley, at Coley Canteen Food Services. Swanson is a motivated, team-oriented individual who thinks outside the box to develop new, creative solutions. His interests include technological advancement, business acquisitions, account management and micro market analysis. Swanson values creating and maintaining long-lasting relationships with his accounts and industry peers. Working for a family business has allowed Swanson to wear many hats, focusing on serving his fellow employees and customers.

Zack Swindale

Zack Swindale has been part of the vending world since his dad’s vending machine days as a kid. At the time, he wasn’t interested in joining, as he had a strong focus on technology, service and fixing problems. But eventually, he became cloud operations specialist at VendCentral, assisting vending operators nationwide with website issues and backend troubleshooting. Moreover, his character, attention to detail and communication skills make him an integral part of ZippyAssist’s product development as well as customer onboarding and retention. Today, Swindale is the operations lead at ZippyAssist, supporting its customers in getting up and running and working with the development team to continually build out new features that best help its customers. Like the rest of his team, he believes ZippyAssist has the power to help vending operators and many other companies globally improve their customer service and support.

Geoff Wilcox

Geoff Wilcox is the director of retail execution at Five Star Food Service based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He is responsible for leading the execution of strategic company initiatives and supporting the daily operations for the company, which has led to the success of the company’s 40-plus branch distribution center operations across the Southeast. Wilcox is a servant leader with over 13 years of experience in marketing and operations management. He currently serves on the board for NAMA’s Emerging Leaders Network (ELN), serves as a board member for the nonprofit Feeding the Future, and was named one of Automatic Merchandiser’s Pros to Know in 2022.

About the Author

Molly Rogers | Editor-in-Chief

Molly Rogers was the editor-in-chief of Automatic Merchandiser and, bringing 20 years of experience in custom publishing, B2B and B2C magazines, as well as advertising and marketing. She is dedicated to serving readers by covering the latest news in the vending, office coffee service and micro market industry and helping companies connect to their audiences through strong editorial solutions. Molly is based in Birmingham, Alabama, and she can be reached at [email protected] or (205) 409-0843.


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