NAMA announces Marc Whitener of Refreshment Solutions to chair 2022-2023 board of directors

June 15, 2022
Leadership term comes as NAMA board focuses heavily on advocacy.

Marc Whitener, CEO of Refreshment Solutions LLC, a large vending and micro market company in Louisiana, will lead the 2022-2023 NAMA board of directors as its chair beginning July 1. A veteran of NAMA leadership, Whitener will serve as chair at a time when the NAMA board is intensifying its focus on advocacy. 

“I am honored to serve as chair of NAMA and appreciate our new and returning board members who will help us lead this excellent organization,” Whitener said in the announcement. “My goal is to help NAMA members grow their businesses and continue to advocate for our industry.”

“Few operators are better qualified to lead the NAMA board as its focus on advocacy becomes more expansive,” NAMA President and CEO Carla Balakgie, FASAE, CAE, said in the announcement. “Marc Whitener uniquely has a strong and passionate vision of the road to growth for industry operators and the role that advocacy must have in this journey.”

In recent months, NAMA has developed a transformative advocacy agenda that reimagines what new opportunities look like for the industry, its customers, and their consumers. The agenda focuses on high impact advocacy that delivers value directly to operators, including driving competitive advantage in congregative spaces, addressing labor and employment challenges, and positioning the industry as a leader and partner in solving sustainability and public health issues. 

Whitener’s entrepreneurial journey started when he opened a single convenience store in 1983. Under the moniker of Marc’s Quick Mart Convenience Stores, that venture grew to encompass 14 stores with 110 employees by 1992. During this time, he launched Whitener Snacks by purchasing a local Tom’s Foods Distributorship. Under his ownership, annual revenue of the snack business grew by more than 1,500% before suffering heavy equipment losses in the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster. 

Refreshment Solutions was formed in 2006 through the merger of Imperial Trading vending operations with Whitener Snacks. Today, it is the dominant convenience services operator in Louisiana’s major metropolitan areas of New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

Whitener earned the NAMA Industry Person of the Year award in 2014. And in 2008, he earned the NAMA Vending Operator of the Year award. In 2007, Automatic Merchandiser named him Vending Operator of the Year.

2022-2023 NAMA board of directors

As chair of the 2022-2023 NAMA board of directors, Whitener will lead a group of industry leaders elected by NAMA members. Many are returning to continue their service to NAMA, while others are newcomers elected to a first term on the NAMA board. The election was part of Monday’s annual general membership meeting.

In addition to Whitener, the 2022-2023 board officers are:

  • Chair-Elect Lance Whorton, President, Imperial
  • Vice Chair Patrick Hatcher, President and COO, Vistar
  • Secretary/Treasurer Rick Brindle, Vice President Industry Development, Mondelēz International, Inc.
  • Past Chair Joe Hessling, CEO, 365 Retail Markets

NAMA members elected six directors to a first term on the board:

  • Sean Feeney, CEO, Cantaloupe, Inc. 
  • John Hickey, Co-Founder, Tech 2 Success LLC 
  • Richard Kennedy, CEO, Five Star Food Service 
  • Husein Kitabwalla, CEO of Food Transformation, Sodexo 
  • Patrick Liebler, President of Refreshment Services, Aramark 
  • Linda Saldana, CEO, Seventh Wave Refreshments 

Directors continuing service on the board include:

  • Ben Boyd, Vice President Sales – Convenience, Tyson Foods
  • Byron Brooks, Vice President of Foodservice, Pepsi Bottling Ventures, LLC
  • Mike Brown, President, PGI Services
  • Michael Coffey, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, Canteen
  • Scott Halloran, CEO, Trolley House Refreshments
  • Doug Herrington, Senior Vice President of Sales, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Karalynn McDermott, Executive Growth Consultant, Eversys 
  • Patrick Moran, Owner, Moran Refreshments
  • Sylvia Rowe, Owner, SR Strategy
  • Michael Schwartz, Director of Field Sales, Nestlé Coffee Partners, Nestlé USA
  • Devin Smith, President, Diamond Vending, Inc.
  • Amber Starr, Vice President of Implementation, G & J Marketing and Sales
  • Tom Steuber, President/Owner, Associated Services
  • Dennis Thornton, Owner, Advanced Vending Systems Inc
  • Bradlee Whitson, President, K&R Vending Services


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