850 Thought Leaders Drawn To CTW 2017

Dec. 11, 2017

Top leaders in the vending, micro market and office coffee service segment came together to exhibit their latest and greatest at the Coffee, Tea & Water (CTW) show in Grapevine, TX. Having taken place Nov. 6 to 8, 2017, the 3-day event drew in 850 attendees, an increase from the year before and significant jump in participants from the initial event 9 years ago.
The focus of CTW has always been education and networking. The 2017 event delivered on both with over a dozen educational sessions and opportunities to talk to and learn from the segment innovators. In addition, the trade show floor boasted 114 exhibiting companies, 32 of which were at CTW for the first time.

Convenience Services

The CEO of NAMA, Carla Balakgie spoke to attendees about the industry, the role of NAMA and convenience services. It’s a topic she feels passionately about. In a conversation with Automatic Merchandiser Editor Emily Refermat, she and Heidi Chico, NAMA 2018 Chair, share the vision for NAMA and the changes currently happening in the industry.


Michael Kasavana MSU/NAMA Endowed Professor Emeritus moderated a session: “Protecting Your Business From A Cyber Threat,” a timely topic given the breach experienced by micro market supplier Avanti Markets. John Reilly, president of Avanti Markets shared his experience as well as what processes the company will be keeping and changing in the aftermath of the breach. Other presenters included John Hickey, Co-Founder, Tech2Success; Chris Bucolo, MBA, PCIP Director, Market Strategy, ControlScan, Inc.; and Jon Harris, VP, Cybersecurity, Compass Group North America. The main take away — have a plan.

Hot Topic

One of the most well-attended sessions centered on workplace cafes, what they need to include and what makes them appealing to companies. The panel included Greg McCall, senior vice president of sales and marketing, Five Star Food Service, as the moderator; John Healy, Co-founder, The Vending Marketer; Heather Bailey, attorney, SmithAmundsen and Steve Orlando, co-founder, Fixturelite. McCall shared a story of creating a workplace cafe for a customer, what he calls a micro market lounge. It’s a space with high top tables and chairs, ipads, comfortable furniture and gourmet coffee and specialty drink machines. The location wanted a program to make employees happy to come to work and reduce turnover. The updated break room was the answer.


Eric Dell, senior vice president, Government Affairs of NAMA released the NAMA Census data to eager CTW attendees on the final day of the event. It included the top-line outcome of research into the vending, micro market and coffee service segments as well as delving into pantry service for the first time. It is available at http://bit.ly/2ztCCEU.

Pantry Service

Tom Steuber, president and owner of Associated Services brought in his director of sales development, Kimberly Lenz, and a pantry service customer, Marnell Mullarkey, director of operations for Popsugar, to really dig deep into what pantry service is and means to a location. Mullarkey talked about how Popsugar decided to provide the well-stocked kitchen in order to compete with California tech companies that also provide refreshments. She works closely with Lenz to bring in new items and stay within the budget of $4 per day for each employee each month.

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