As we sat on the plane Tuesday, July 21, my dad and I took some time to capture the moment via a selfie. This wouldn’t be uncommon for most, except for the fact that my father and I were on our way to Washington, D.C. to advocate together, to represent the same industry, for one common cause at the first NAMA Fly-In.
My dad is Chris Allahyar, Director of Vending at AdvancePierre Foods, and has been in the vending industry for 39 years. Amidst the laughter and bonding at the airport, we also took some time to recap what this next 24 hours in D.C. was going to be like.
Over the years my father taught me a lot about work ethics/values, the industry and professionalism, but as we made our way to D.C., I realized it was my turn to show him the ropes of what advocacy was all about as this was my second time traveling to D.C. to support NAMA’s efforts of advocacy in meeting with congressional representatives and their staff.
During the meetings, I represented micro markets and could speak to our industry’s efforts in promoting health and nutrition through both NAMA’s FitPick program and micro markets. My father was able to represent the product manufacturing side and their impacts from the recent calorie disclosure ruling and NAMA’s efforts in standardizing the front of pack labeling requirements on font sizing. Although we were advocating from different segments, we were working together as part of a greater whole.
Throughout this time, my father and I were in the same group, representing the state of Washington. As a team we met with representatives who were aware at some level about the calorie disclosure ruling, but who were not aware of the font sizing requirements that were currently described today as half the size of the largest font letter on the package. Our team was able to inform the offices we met with of this concern. We were confident in their willingness to support our efforts in wanting to standardize the font sizing requirements.
As we walked the halls of the House building and back to the Senate our group realized that this truly was an amazing experience to be a part of. Not only were we advocating for our industry with a group of 200 taking the hill that day, but also we were able to educate, inform, and discuss key issues that impact each of us in different ways. Relationships are key to any industry and the importance of continuing those relationships through new generations is crucial to our continuous growth of the refreshment and food services industry.
Before we left the Senate building my father and I took one more photo to capture the experience and successful day we had together and as a group on The Hill. I know that his first NAMA Fly-In experience was one he will never forget and I am so happy we were able to share that together.
So I encourage those of you who have not attended one of these before to support events like the #NAMAFlyIn because business can change and we want to be at the forefront of issues that impact us both positively and negatively as a whole. We were 200 people strong on July 22nd and let me tell you those congressional offices were not only impressed, but also engaged in what we had to say and how we could work together for the greater good of our industry.
This blog first appeared on the Avanti Markets Website. To read this in its original form and for more Avanti blogs, click here.