National Automatic Merchandising Association Leadership Change Underscores Our Challenges

Sept. 22, 2010
The NAMA board consists of serious minded individuals who recognize that the challenges the association faces moving forward requires a different style of management.
The news today that the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) is seeking a new CEO after 2011 took many of us by surprise. Those of us who have witnessed the changes NAMA has introduced under the current president and CEO, Rich Geerdes, wonder what more the board could have wanted, given the value the association now provides its members.On further reflection, we also know that today's vending and coffee service business environment demands change. Every organization in our industry, Automatic Merchandiser/VendingMarketWatch included, has enacted structural changes, usually following an in-depth reassessment of goals and strategies. No one should expect anything less from the industry's trade association.I don't speak for the NAMA board. But as an observer, I see that the board consists of serious minded individuals who recognize that the challenges the association faces moving forward require a different style of management. I would be surprised if any board member had anything but the greatest respect for Rich Geerdes for the value he has brought to the association.The association, like its members, has to be able to "move on a dime" going forward. In the past, the board has set and given direction to its administrative staff. As the challenges have become more difficult, due to a recession, new technologies, a more competitive business environment and a better educated and more demanding customer, NAMA needs a leader that will give rather than execute direction. It's a matter of changing management structure to operate more efficiently.This is not the time or place to review the accomplishments of the current NAMA leadership, of which there are many. The message for today is that NAMA is well aware of the role it plays in providing value to its members.Change is hard, but that's what effective leadership is about.

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