New & Views From NAMA Chairman, Pete Tullio

As I write this, I’m six months into my term as the NAMA chair, and I’ve got to tell you, now more than ever before, I believe we’re in a Renaissance.  I believe the industry, and our association, has done so much work getting us prepared for this inflection point.

Growth + Innovation = a Renaissance.

Let’s be honest.  We’ve seen the dark days and it’s clear we’re beyond them.  While we can’t rest on our laurels, we are meeting and outperforming in many important metrics.  With a world-class One Show and a growing CTW, we’re enhancing great opportunities for continued growth, with the important addition of a new tool we’ve introduced this year: the NAMA Strategic Plan.

We know you’ve heard about our strategic plan, from Carla at the OneShow or through our website and other communications.  In fact, you may have even seen it – I hope that’s the case.

We have communicated the good news regarding our progress on our strategic plan in the form of a mid-year update, providing context and details on exactly how we’ve moved the needle in the key areas.

Here are some highlights:  Our Government Affairs division has completely stepped up its game with advocacy, an important cornerstone of NAMA’s efforts.  We increased our relationships with elected officials throughout Washington, DC and the country.  We are on top of the issues, and we are being recognized as a valuable resource by legislators from both sides of the aisle and federal agencies.

Have you seen NAMAvoice?  It’s our new advocacy website and it’s awesome.  In minutes, you can get all the information you’re looking for to get a comprehensive update on the issues we’re facing and helping to manage, both in Washington, D.C. and in your state.

We are always looking for new ways to showcase our leaders, and a newer effort that’s been launched this year is our Emerging Leaders Network.  We’re working to help encourage our younger leaders of the industry to network and to learn.  We believe they will establish a solid foundation for the industry’s growth in the future.

On the nutrition front, we continue to work to enlighten our detractors and engage our stakeholders by setting the record straight about our industry.  As you know more than anyone, we care about the millions of consumers that you, our members, serve every day.  To that end, we are providing nutritional information to help them make the right food and beverage choices for them. We have been doing this since 2005, one of the first organizations like ours, to provide leadership in this area.

Now, based on much feedback from you, we’ve creating a revamped website. The NAMA Nutrition Center, that will prove to be a “one-stop shop” for all things nutrition related, including data, news, and trends regarding the issue, tools for work, with special customer sites including schools, as well as an updated Fit Pick component, including all the latest standards, including the new USDA School regulations many of you are working on.

With that, I’d like to mention our ongoing quest to find and share success stories.  Since we know networking is a highly valued feature of NAMA, we want to encourage more sharing amongst operators.  One method we’re exploring with the staff at NAMA is engaging a more dynamic website. Maybe we will be sharing your story in one of my columns like this, that you will be seeing every couple of months.

Finally, our ability to grow as an industry will be accelerated by the innovation in office coffee, single cup brewers, and micro markets.  With that momentum, we’re really hoping to make a difference and to continue to provide the professional leadership and support, including tools that will help our membership grow and succeed.

Micro markets.  What an opportunity!  Many of you have participated in the Micro Market Seminars that provided much-needed strategic and operational information for this channel.  As a vending and office coffee guy, I don’t know that I would have believed it ten years ago, that I would expand our company’s horizons in this way…Office supplies, drug store items, salads and sandwiches…the sky’s the limit and it’s really exciting.

Our second annual Public Policy Conference, Advocacy in Action held in Washington DC in October was an enormous success, in spite of the historic government shutdown.  NAMA’s Board of Directors worked hard to deliver the important messages of our association and industry in an effort to tell our story, and also building relationships that will continue to help us fight potentially harmful legislation.

November brought us to CTW in Nashville, once again, the not-to-be-missed industry event of the year.  The education sessions were packed and the exhibit hall was completely sold out, signifying its dynamic growth.  Highlights included the award of Coffee Legend to Joe Webster, founder and chief executive of Newco Enterprises, along with global guest speakers including Juan Esteban Orduz, Stephen Twining, and Luz Marina Trujillo.  Special thanks to my CTW co-chair Howard Fischer for his efforts, helping to ensure the event’s success.

Lastly, I want to thank you.  I really love our industry and the opportunities we see in front of us.  Thanks for being part of the excitement, see you at the OneShow in Chicago.

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