Lance Whorton of Imperial Inc. begins term as chair of the 2023-2024 NAMA board

Aug. 1, 2023
The National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) announces new members elected to the board.

Lance Whorton, president of Imperial Inc., began a one-year term as board chair of the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) effective July 1. Whorton takes the helm as NAMA presses forward with its “advanced advocacy agenda,” announced at The NAMA Show 2023.

“We’re looking for projects with bigger scope, bigger scale than what we've probably historically tackled … to produce better value for members,” Whorton said during a general session panel at the event.

“As one of the architects of NAMA’s advanced advocacy posture, Lance Whorton is uniquely suited to chair the NAMA Board, helping to drive the associations work in promoting and protecting the industry to the ‘next level,’” NAMA president and CEO Carla Balakgie, FASAE, CAE, said in the announcement.

Whorton, an enduring figure in NAMA’s volunteer leadership, entered the convenience services industry more than two decades ago. He has been president of Imperial for nearly 12 years. Imperial, which began in 1979 as a one-man coffee company, now operates traditional vending, micro markets, catering, corporate dining, and coffee services across several states, with operation centers in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, Iowa and Illinois. The company received the prestigious NAMA Operator of the Year award in 2017.

“It’s such an honor to become NAMA’s board chair, particularly at this crucial moment in the industry’s upward trajectory,” Whorton said in the announcement. “I look forward to a highly productive year, working in collaboration with an exceptionally talented and passionate group of Board members and staff.”

2023-2024 NAMA Board of Directors

As chair of the 2023-2024 NAMA board of directors, Whorton leads a group of industry executives elected by NAMA members. Many are returning to continue their service to NAMA, while others are newcomers elected to a first term on the board.

In addition to Whorton, the 2023-2024 board officers are:

  • Chair Elect: Tom Steuber, President/Owner, Associated Services
  • Vice Chair: Patrick Moran, Owner, Moran Refreshments
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Michael Schwartz, Global Sales Director, VP of Sales, Nestlé Coffee Partners - Nestlé USA
  • Past Chair: Joe Hessling, CEO, 365 Retail Markets

New members elected to the board include:

  • April Cathcart, Director, Unattended Retail, Mars Wrigley
  • Nicky Gacos, Owner, Colorado Café Associates
  • Matt Hubbard, CEO, Continental Services
  • Tom McCarthy, VP of Sales & Operations, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Mike Meinecke, CFO, U-Select-It
  • Bill Moxey, Director - Unattended Strategy, PepsiCo Foodservice & Vending
  • David Pemberton, COO/Owner, The Pepi Companies
  • Ravi Venkatesan, CEO, Cantaloupe Inc.


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