Pros to Know 2017

Dec. 11, 2017

To view the complete article, please download the PDF version. This is a corrected version. In the printed December 2017/January 2018 issue of Automatic Merchandiser, Chuck Treister is incorrectly pictured as Tom Nesser of Sirness Vending. Chuck Treister is the president of U.S. Vending Management. His profile appears on page 24. Also, BBI should have been listed as a Team Pro To Know and has been included on page 26 of this revised PDF. 

The fourth annual Pros to Know contains the best of the best in this industry. They have proven to not only be successful, but also to inspire greatness in others. All of the Pros to Know for 2017 have demonstrated that they have the gumption to overcome challenges and succeed. In 2017, just 27 individuals and 9 teams were selected for this coveted title out of 115 nominations.  


Chad Young, Director of Project Management, 365 Retail Markets

Young manages 365’s initiative to develop a lower cost, yet still highly functional, self-checkout station for micro market locations under 150 employees. The result of this project is 365’s highly successful nanomarketTM product. Young is also a key contributor to 365’s Connected CampusSM ecosystem, which provides operators a single technology partner for all their micro market, vending and foodservice offerings. Through the introduction of 365’s nanomarket, it has provided a solution for operators to open micro markets in locations where it was previously cost-prohibitive, thus giving operators an increased opportunity to reach customers and grow their business.

Geoff Pepp, Key Account Manager, A-Best Vending Incorporated

Pepp works diligently to grow the customer base of vending, coffee, janitorial supplies and promotions for A-Best Vending Incorporated, earning him a place as a 2017 Pro To Know. He believes the challenges the industry will face in the coming year include the expense of new vending technology, staying ahead of the single cup coffee product diversity and the growth of micro markets.

Josh Rosenberg, President / CEO, Accent Food Service

Rosenberg is a dynamic leader with proven success in transforming organizations to achieve maximum revenue and profit growth. He has consistently been tagged as a transformation agent with defined achievements as a member of the integration team in charge of design, implementation, and eventual P&L ownership while in the Coca-Cola System. After leaving Coca-Cola, he put his experience to work in leading an under-performing sales organization while defining processes and over delivering results. As appointed CEO of Accent Food Services, Rosenberg is focused on defining core competencies, talent management, clear processes and culture.

Terry Maggiore, Service Manager, American Vending Sales

Maggiore has been in the business since 1980. He owned his own operation and has worked in the industry as everything from a route man to a mechanic on the streets of Chicagoland. With American Vending Sales, Maggiore spent more than 24 years growing and helping people do better in the industry. He understands machines, people and trouble shooting. He solves problems for many over the phone every day as service manager for the vending department at AVS and lives by the policy, “knowledge is nothing, if it is not shared.”

Ken Kohles, President / CEO, The Amerivend Group, Retired

Kohles has been in the vending machine business for 43 years. He started his company after working 15 years in the business learning the ropes, and climbing to vice president of operations at the Countywide Vending company (subsidiary of the Wainrite Group) at the age of 24. Kohles built the Amerivend Co. from one piece of equipment into a brand in the New York metro area. Newly retired, now his daughter runs the company under her own name brand (Ocean Vending Services llc).

Shayden Demirel, Route Manager, Associated Services Coffee

Demirel has only worked at Associated Services a few short years, but identified its biggest concern: losing its core value of service. She worked to create a way to resolve that issue using both training and mentoring fellow employees. She is quoted as saying, “Without our team we are nothing, but with our team we are invincible.” In three years she worked her way up to route supervisor thanks to her dedication to excellent service and growth. Demirel focuses on saying, “we can” instead of “we can’t.” It is why her team is shaping up to be the best of the best and what has earned her a place as a 2017 Pro To Know. 

Rich Lau, Eastern Reg. Micro Market Expert, Avanti

Lau has over 30 years of successful experience in vending operations, equipment and, most recently, in micro markets. He has personally sold and managed more than 1,000 markets for Avanti. His reputation for integrity and service is impeccable. He is always available to help his customers make money, avoid mistakes and provide their customers with the highest level of service. His work has resulted in an enhanced image for the entire industry.

Dennis Horn, President, Blindster Vending

Horn is a blind entrepreneur who entered into the Florida Bureau of Business Enterprise training program. He managed a courthouse facility with a snack bar and vending machines in Orange County, FL, for 16 years. He has grown his business at a rate of approximately 25 percent per year. He is exemplary in encouraging other blind entrepreneurs to expand outside of their provided state opportunities. He has also encouraged his Florida Blind Committee to explore new avenues of hospitality services such as micro markets, office coffee services and inmate commissaries. He has partnered with larger business entities to explore new vending technologies that help with efficiencies of his company.

Mandeep Arora, Co-Founder and CEO, Cantaloupe Systems

While keeping his hand in vending through his family’s business, Arora began his entrepreneurial career with a website development business started while in high school. Arora has had a variety of relevant work experience, including Work Life and Cisco Systems. While working with these companies, Arora had the opportunity to research, analyze and improve data-driven service offerings, while also gaining knowledge in testing and quality assurance in software and hardware. His experience at Cisco in particular gave Arora an appreciation for network connectivity that helped shape his vision for Cantaloupe Systems. What he learned through his online service experience with these companies contributed to Arora’s creation of Cantaloupe Systems’ innovative, web-connected vending solutions designed to lift vending from a plodding, best-guess industry to a more precise, technology-driven undertaking.

CJ Recher, Director of Marketing, Five Star Food Service

Recher is one of the industry’s leading young marketing professionals. He is involved heavily with NAMA and the Emerging Leaders Network, serving as this year’s Chair. Since joining the team in 2014, Recher has been instrumental in the build out of Five Star’s corporate marketing team and strategy, improving and automating customer service and client retention programs, managing execution of retail promotions and strategic product pricing initiatives, among others. His efforts in driving operational execution of these programs has helped Five Star retain more customers, while driving same store sales growth, and increase new business sales.

David Barrientos, Sales, G & J Marketing and Sales

Barrientos has been successful in implementing several marketing ideas based around the end user combining current and future vend/micro market/OCS trends in order to help his customer base and the manufacturers he represents work in sync to experience continued growth and maximize additional revenues. Barrientos identifies new products that will drive value to the industry and allow the operator to launch innovative and new concept promotions to their end user. He is a NAMA/Michigan State University Executive Program graduate and a board member of the Ohio Automatic Merchandising Association, who began his career in the food industry in 1990. Since 2010, he has been with G & J, helping his customers thrive despite increasing cost and market challenges.

Donald Haynes, Broker, G & J Marketing and Sales

Haynes’ customers tell him he is the go-to guy for vending or micro markets. Haynes represents his manufacturers to the best of his ability. He’s always looking out for the operators’ best interest in every endeavor that he takes. He keeps abreast of the ever-changing industry and passes that info along to all customers so they have the latest facts and figures to make an intelligent decision. The reason for his success is he knows the industry: vending, micro markets and the coffee industry. That knowledge is why people say he is “the pro to know.”

Evan Jarecki, Co-Founder and CTO, Gimme Vending

Jarecki has a passion for the industry and a personal relevancy that is helping connect the industry with Millennials. He’s literally evangelizing a new class of technology and tools that are helping operators be more successful. Jarecki isn’t just sales. He’s the super-rare breed of person that is one-part people-person and the other part techie. Gimme is incorporating what Jarecki learns from people into improvements within the technology. He is that hallmark example of what any technology sales rep should be doing within the industry to not just push products, but tailor each deal based on the needs of the particular customer.

Paul Woody, Director of Operations, Gimme Vending

As the director of operations for Gimme, Woody heads multiple departments including engineering, deployment and support. He leads Gimme’s engineering team to create solutions for the real problems operators experience. For him, it isn’t just about selling customers new software, it’s about making sure their whole operation quickly masters and puts technology to work for them. In turn, this allows operators to better serve the end consumer and create new channels for profitability. Woody has served in various roles since 2015 at Gimme including, software quality assurance lead and systems integrator. He was introduced to Gimme through a networking event at Atlanta startup hub Atlanta Tech Village.

Anita Rose Marcoline, President, Mill Creek Coffee Company

Marcoline started her first coffee company in 1978 with 100 percent Colombian coffee frac packs. There were few people at that time who knew what good coffee tasted like. She was very interested in roasting as well but it took her nearly 40 years to buy a roaster and start to make the specialized drinks she knew people would love. In 1988 she sold her coffee company to McCormick Coffee and developed their restaurant division. By 1997, they had successfully opened cafes at the two major hospitals in Erie, PA. In 2005, she was able to purchase McCormick Coffee and the business became 100 percent woman owned.

Greg Hasslinger, Director of Sales, Nayax

Hasslinger is customer-focused, ensuring that Nayax’s cashless payment solution serves to truly solve the problems of its customers and also validates its reputation of an approachable, honest, trustworthy partner. This differentiation is felt throughout the vending industry, as customers continually give Hasslinger high praise in accompanying them on their journey to implement cashless payments in their operations, going the extra mile to deliver as promised. His many years in the industry have resulted in extensive knowledge of all facets of vending and payment methods, and his generosity in sharing this knowledge with colleagues and customers alike contributes to Nayax’s position of authority.

Alan Munson, CCO, Parlevel Systems Inc.

Munson helped guide numerous product launches for Parlevel Systems in 2017 including Parlevel Link, a customer-engagement tool for vending operators; Smart Routing, a more efficient routing tool inside Parlevel’s Vending Management System (VMS); Koin, a payment and account management platform for micro market and other food and beverage operators, and more. Munson also conducted an educational webinar informing vending operators of the usefulness of the Smart Routing tool and offered general advice on how to efficiently manage one’s business.

Catherine Aldrich, Territory Sales Rep, Patterson Co., Inc.

Aldrich is celebrating her 20th year with Patterson Company. She has been employed there since 1997. Aldrich is known for her follow through and thoroughness as well as a keen sense of humor. She is a valued member of the team and been a large part of micro market introductions. Her territory is Chicago metro and Central / downstate, IL and Western, IA. She was raised in Evergreen Park, IL, and earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in 1981 at St. Mary’s University Winona, MN, in Print and Broadcast Journalism. In 2001 she earned a second BA from Colombia University in Sign Language Interpreting.

David Lothian, Sr. Director Vending, PepsiCo Foodservice

Lothian has been the leader of PepsiCo Vending since April of 2015. Prior to this role he served for 25 years in various functions at PepsiCo. He is a visionary and inspirational leader who has created a winning and transformative culture at PepsiCo Vending. Lothian created the current vending strategy that has positioned PepsiCo as the industry powerhouse in traditional and healthier vending. He also delivered the Hello Goodness platform.

Terry Herr, Sales Manager, PrairieFire Coffee Roasters

Herr is a proven sales leader. He joined PrairieFire Coffee based in Wichita, KS in 2016 and was charged with establishing a new territory in Nebraska and Iowa. Once that was completed, Herr was elevated to the company’s general sales manager role and now manages all sales functions throughout the seven states that PrairieFire services today. Herr has taken the sales team to another level. He has a way of leading people that really resonates with them. He is an outstanding teacher and a true leader. His experience in many levels of the office coffee service business allows him to see the “big picture” of a company operation; cost of goods, operating expenses, wages, etc., all the while protecting margins.

Moti Almakias, President, Push Beverages, LLC

Almakias developed a program that combats the ever-increasing CSD costs to allow the profits back into business without raising prices to the customer. In 1993, Almakias incorporated and went full time into vending, building it to a three-state, 40 route operation. Under his leadership, they instituted 100 percent prekitting and had their own proprietary micro market concept. In 2008, he developed a soft-drink line, Push Beverages, to combat crazy price increases on CSDs and business exodus out of the northeast. In 2013, Almakias sold the vending end of his business to give his full attention to the beverage business as sales took off in 38 states. Almakias has over 25 years of experience as a vendor.

Bill Smith, Executive Vice President, Sarnow Food Group

Smith is an industry veteran with over three decades of experience in redistribution to vending, OCS, micro-market, theater and concession accounts. He has a customer-centric mindset, and looks to create maximum value for his clients, constantly challenging the firm’s status quo in search of ways to better serve the industry. In the face of a quickly-changing marketplace, Smith has been instrumental in the growth of Sarnow’s better-for-you (BFY) snacking portfolio. Sarnow has also been able to better capture the business of the increasingly health-conscious consumer because of his BFY initiatives. He has been actively involved in the redevelopment of Sarnow’s website, as well as the implementation of modern warehouse technologies.

Tom Nesser, Owner/President, Sirness Vending Services

Nesser is always giving back to his community and is very generous. He is extremely well liked and respected by everyone. His motto is take care of the customer first or someone else will. He feels the same way about his employees. Nesser has a very unique way of keeping his business humming amongst every day challenges. He takes the time to understand the problems that are an everyday part of business and he faces each problem with determination and a proper solution. He has a remarkable staff behind him and his team stays energized and focused. Nesser has been in business since 1989.

Chuck Treister, NCE5, President, U.S. Vending Management

Treister is currently a consultant focused on sales and marketing with a broad base of success. Treister has a reputation built over his many years in all facets of the industry for honesty and integrity in helping manufacturers and operators improve their business. For the last three years he has focused on helping operators see the benefits of embracing cashless acceptance and telemetry into their businesses in order to put the consumer first by offering the consumer as many options for payment as they currently find in other retail venues. The benefits to the operator are many: better margins, greater participation, increased per cap spend, and operating efficiencies, all coupled with increased customer satisfaction.

John Healy, Co-Founder, The Vending Marketer / CEO, Healy Consulting & Communications Inc.

Healy helps his clients balance their resources between traditional marketing and PR strategies and tactics with digital and social media marketing — including Website development/SEO, LinkedIn, Facebook for Business, Twitter, outbound email marketing and other tools. He has been a NAMA Knowledge Source partner since 2015. He has led digital and social media educational workshops at the NAMA OneShow and Coffee Tea & Water Show, as well as state association meetings. In the past 25 years, he has created and managed myriad successful trade and consumer programs for a broad range of B2B and B2C clients. He has received multiple awards and actively volunteers in his community.

Michael Lovett, Vagabond

Lovett is the founding CEO of Vagabond, a technology solutions provider to the food service industry. He is responsible for the corporate, capital and strategic direction of the company. His experience spans entrepreneurial startups in the IT services, software and telecommunications space. Prior to Vagabond, Lovett founded CirrusWorks, a networking products company that optimizes Internet performance in big buildings. Lovett started his career by founding Critical Network Productions, a telecom solutions consultancy that was acquired by Swisscom in 2006. He co-authored multiple patents while at CirrusWorks and, more recently, with Vagabond’s revolutionary Commerce platform.

Jim Carbone, Co-Founder, Workwell Food and Beverage

Carbone is a respected professional with over 20 years experience in sales, marketing, management, training, business development and strategic planning. He is a results-focused sales leader with versatility and passion, and is recognized for taking initiative and being a strategic thinker. He is customer centric with excellent communication and collaboration skills. As chief operating officer of Workwell he is responsible for leading and managing a comprehensive array of services and programs including a team of managers across several states. He’s responsible for all activities pertaining to equipment service, route management/distribution, fulfillment, operational contracts and the managers who lead those teams.


All State Manufacturing Company, Inc.

Team Leader: Sandra Faulkenberry, Sales Manager

Team Members: Marian Wyrick, Coffee Stand Assembly; Duane Perry, Administrative Assistant; Jason Felling, Fabrication and Assembly; Les Nicison, Paint and Market Stand Assembly; Arthur “HOWDY” Autherson, Packaging; David Wyrick, Paint, Market and Condiment Stand Assembly; Chris Higginbotham, Plant Manager; Bob Higginbotham, Metal Fabrication; Eric Fazekas, Condiment Stand Assembly; Rudy Stakeman, CEO

The team at All State Manufacturing works exceptionally well with all customers on a large variety of concerns. From overnighting a needed key lock to helping a customer who wants to open a new market, All State Manufacturing is there. Recently, a customer asked All State Manufacturing to build micro market stands that would hold up to heavy and tough use. The idea was to create stands with a quality final design that would not fall apart and would provide a return on the investment. Faulkenberry and Higginbotham took the lead and worked hand in hand with the customer to develop the initial stands in a timely fashion. The customer was enthusiastic about the final result and was able to achieve his goals. Faulkenberry and Higginbotham are two agents of change who exemplify the All State Manufacturing motto of “By your side since 1975”.


Team Leader: Paul Van Vleck, General Manager

Team Members: John Seeberger, Vice President, Distribution and Eric King, National Sales Manager 

Burdette Beckmann Inc. (BBI) fields the largest convenience services team in the country. Led by Paul Van Vleck, general manager, the BBI team draws on expertise across seven sales channels to bring consumer, market and channel insight to solve the needs of their customers. The trusted experience and pride this team takes in representing industry-leading clients makes them Pros To Know.


Team Leader: Mike Cochran, VP Sales and Business Development

Team Members: Stephen Gonzalez Territory Manager, Jordan Mankin Territory Manager, Rafael Rosario Territory Manager, Pat Camino Territory Manager, Brett Snider Territory Manager, Gregg Sabbak Territory Manager, Bob Myers Territory Manager and Rod Henricks Territory Manager.

Cafection is a leader in bean-to-cup machines. Their customer service and support is one of the best in the industry. Led by Cochran, the team works together to meet the ongoing technology boom in coffee service and is driven to providing innovation of technology with machines.

Cantaloupe Systems: CSM Team 

Team Leader: Terry Hovis, Director of Customer Success 

Team Members: Jason Pardue, CSM; Jake Graham, CSM; Susan Butler, CSM, Terry Rinck, CSM; Maxwell Elliott, CSM; Greg Young, CSM 

The CSM team has really helped become an extension of an operator’s business. With a combined experience across this team of over 100 years, it is very true that these individuals are Pros to Know in the vending world. They have either grown up in vending, started as a route supervisor and moved up to operations in one way or another, all prior to coming to Cantaloupe. They truly understand the business and how the industry has evolved, but what they get even more is the ability to leverage technology into a business and what it can do as far as impact the bottom line. That is how they are able to time and time again make sure that they truly help an operator leverage technology to truly run a more profitable and productive business. They believe in the ability to teach, train and grow operators to be more successful than they were yesterday. 


Team Leader: Janette Carter, VP Sales & Marketing

Team Members: Steve Orlando Co-Founder, Troy Geis Co-Founder, Janette Carter National Sales Manager

Fixturelite led the industry in what a micro market CAN transform to be. The team members take a close look at how the workplace is changing, who the customer is and how to offer them the products they desire in an environment that will cause them to stay within and invest in the space operators invest in for them. As micro markets have evolved, Fixturelite has used AWI level processes and building techniques, materials that are time-tested and proven with a long history of reliability and longevity. Each team member stands by the commitment to quality and staying at the forefront of new innovations. Fixturelite puts consumer experience and culture captains in place to help the operator see the revenue and customer loyalty opportunity in creating better spaces. Carter and the entire Fixturelite team see the opportunity to pair the operator with a location and a turn-key workplace cafe continuing to be a strong growth area in 2018.

J&J Vending Inc.

Team Leader: Joel Skidmore, President/Owner

Team Members: Ashley Karpan - Operations Manager Jesus Hernandez - Brenda Skidmore - Vice President Jennifer Calderon - Director of Business Development

As a small, family run company in the midst of corporate giants, the team at J&J Vending goes out of their way to provide the best quality and care to all customers. This past year has been especially challenging, but with great success. The team has hired managers for separate sectors (vending, micro markets and coffee) to put in the time and effort to keep all accounts accurate and happy. They also implemented a new vending management system, Cantaloupe Seed, on all routes by the end of summer 2017 for vending and coffee deliveries to decrease windshield time, inventory issues, traffic and rising fuel costs leading to more overtime and employee burnout.

One Source Office Refreshment Services, Inc. 

Team Leader: Robert Betz - President / Owner 

Team Members: Steve Betz, Vice President; Tim Greble, Director of Markets; Jared Detwiler, VP of Operations 

The team at One Source Office Refreshment Services works very well together. Their biggest accomplishment of 2017 (by Dec. 31), will be the complete integration of all components of the business under one technology platform. This has completely streamlined processes and created accurate and transparent data from the point of the first sales call, to when the consumer purchases product from the company’s assets. One Source will be one of the few if not the only independent operator to have accomplished this. The team is excited by the value this will create for the company and the industry. Betz and his team believe a fully streamlined operation will cost less time and energy to operate. The new-found time will allow them to hire/train/develop best in class employees and focus on customer interactions, and what products and services ought to be provided to meet current and future customer needs. 

Three Square Market

Team Leader: Patrick McMullan, Chief Operating Operator

Team Members: Patrick McMullan, Kurk Johnson, Curt Giles, Dave Little, Dewey Wahlin

The Three Square Market sales team has really taken on the initiative that not all operators have to be extensive organizations with large amounts of capital. The sales staff and customer service do an excellent job of being there for their customers no matter the size of their organization — 1 market or 100, all operators are important. The company has developed and really stuck to the hashtag, #EverybodyCounts, and that is reflected in the sales teams’ non-stop effort and work for Three Square Market’s customers. The sales team is so much more than just sales. They work with their operators all the way through their journey, helping them to excel and find the right market and solutions for them — not just to get a sale.

Three Square Market

Team Leader: Chelsea Zimmerman, Customer Service Supervisor

Team Members: Jeremy Lewis, Account Executive David Casper, Account Executive Courtney Hawkins, Account Executive Nicholas Webb, Account Executive James Howe, Account Executive Courtney Heise, Account Executive Juliana Weina, Account Executive Jack Jensen, Account Executive

Often customer service can be a thankless and difficult job. This team is truly special. Through all the difficulties they may face, they remain positive and a guiding light to the customers of Three Square Market. The team is 100 percent dedicated to excellence in service. This means having all team members be knowledgeable in the multitude of support questions that the company receives. The team leans on one another’s strengths to learn from each other and to develop a better service opportunity for their clients. Because of this amazing dedication to excellence in service, the customer service team consistently hears positive feedback from clients and sees their success rates rise.


Team Leader: Michael Lovett, CEO

Team Members: John Powell - CTO (Chief Technology Officer) Bonnie Trush - COO (Chief Operating Officer) Juan Jorquera - CRO (Chief Revenue Officer) Hector Benavides - VP Business Development Stephen Shellenbean - VP Product Development Colleen Hogan - VP Strategic Relationships

Vagabond has put together the right team of passionate, knowledgeable and experienced individuals perfectly suited to help the conveniences industry take advantage of the unique position it has in retail by engaging young and tech-savvy consumers across the country through the millions of machines and micro markets already in place. Each individual member of the team from software and hardware developers to account managers to the CEO have put in a huge amount of work into what they do because they believe that Vagabond is one of the organizations that will play a key role in taking the conveniences industry to the next level. The work the team has accomplished the past couple years speaks for itself. Vagabond has always sought to solve problems facing the industry and has demonstrated an ability to tackle those problems.