NAMA announces its 2024 Industry Awards honorees

April 18, 2024
The National Automatic Merchandising Association announced its 2024 NAMA Industry Awards honorees, including Jim Brinton with Evergreen Refreshments; American Food & Vending; and Vistar, to be celebrated at The NAMA Show 2024.

The National Automatic Merchandising Association announced its 2024 NAMA Industry Awards honorees:

  • Jim Brinton, president, Evergreen Refreshments – 2024 NAMA Industry Person of the Year
  • American Food & Vending – 2024 NAMA Operator of the Year
  • Vistar – 2024 NAMA Allied Member of the Year

“It is clear that these honorees lead with passion, vision, and business acumen, embodying the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of the convenience services industry,” NAMA President and CEO Carla Balakgie, CAE, said in the announcement. “Their contributions elevate the industry’s brand, image and reputation with clients, consumers and policymakers.”

The 2024 NAMA Industry Awards will be presented at The NAMA Show 2024 as part of the General Session on Tuesday, May 7, at 12:30 pm. The NAMA Show 2024 will be held May 7-9 in Dallas.

Industry Person of the Year Award

The Industry Person of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has consistently exemplified the highest standards of professional excellence and achieved business success throughout their career in the convenience services industry. Recipients have been inspirations and thought leaders to others throughout their career.

A fixture in the convenience services industry for nearly 50 years, Jim Brinton is known by colleagues as a pioneer in the adoption of micro markets and as a fearless innovator and leader. He has a reputation for being a lifelong learner, sharing knowledge, remaining curious and embracing a growth mindset. Brinton has always been an engaged member of NAMA, serving in numerous leadership roles including board chair from 2008-2009 and remains active in chair emeritus status. He also continues to be an active participant in state council activities.

Operator of the Year Award

The Operator of the Year Award is presented to a company that best exemplifies consistent advancement of the convenience services industry. Recipients are innovative and possess a willingness to expand conventional business practices.

American Food & Vending is known as an industry leader in technology innovation. The company has invested heavily in technology, even developing some of its own systems that are deployed throughout its locations in multiple states.

American Food & Vending’s co-owners, Joshua and Martin Wells, are known to exhibit perseverance and determination to overcome obstacles and navigate uncertainties, often considered a touchstone for industry professionals when approaching a challenge.

American Food & Vending has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to NAMA and the New York State Automatic Vending Association (NYSAVA). Joshua Wells has long been an active participant in NAMA’s annual Fly-In and Advocacy Summits and has taken on a leadership role as part of the New York state delegation during these events. He also served on NAMA’s board of directors from 2014-2020.

Joshua and Martin Wells will accept the award on behalf of American Food & Vending.

Allied Member of the Year Award

The Allied Member of the Year Award, presented to a non-operator member, recognizes a company that has exhibited the highest level of integrity, dedication and support to the convenience services channel. Recipients provide innovative leadership, demonstrate responsiveness to the needs of the industry through education and best practices, and offer products and services that help operators grow their businesses.

Vistar holds a unique position in the convenience services industry, playing a critical role in keeping the supply chain moving. Additionally, Vistar is committed to industry education, hosting a number of events throughout the year that offer networking and knowledge sharing.

On a daily basis, and over the course of many years, Vistar employees take steps to support the broader convenience services industry. Two individuals at Vistar have led these efforts both consistently and for many years. They can also be credited with bringing new business practices to the company. John Ochi, senior vice president of operations, has supported operators through the evolution of the industry including the development of modern warehousing practices driving operational best practices while creating and developing outstanding customer relationships. Another leader at Vistar, Sherri Hager, former senior vice president of sales and marketing and currently senior vice president of strategy and transformation, is well-known and widely appreciated for her innovative approach to joint business planning and customer engagement. Hager is dedicated to fostering true partnerships and mutual growth, and she currently serves on NAMA’s board of directors. 

Sherri Hager will accept the award on behalf of Vistar.