NAMA Emerging Leaders

Michael Kelley
Territory Account Manager
Quality Brokerage, Inc.

Completed NAMA’S Executive Development Program
Tri-State Vending Association Board of Director
Emerging Leaders Network

1. What are the skills you use most in your career?
The skill I use most would be communication. Effective communication is one of the most important and utilized skills in business. As a Brokerage Firm we have multiple points of contact, from the manufacturer, to the distributor, to the customer. A key role is to establish direct communication between all channels. Additional skills I routinely use would be flexibility, adaptability, and managing multiple priorities. Having the ability to manage multiple assignments and tasks and set priorities has proven to be a key skill set important in an industry that is always adapting and changing.

2. How did you get into the vending and refreshment services business?
In my teenage years, Lou Pace, who is the owner of Quality Brokerage, was then the manager of my baseball team. There I was introduced to his son, Lou Pace Jr., who is now more of a brother than a friend. As Louie and I grew up we began working in his father’s business, packing sample bags, ordering samples, assisting with order placement and helping prepare for trade shows. As Louie and I developed a great working relationship, an Account Manager position opened at Quality Brokerage. Lou Jr. suggested to his father to give me the opportunity to fill it. I have gratefully been a part of the Quality Brokerage team for seven years.

3. Give us an idea of your role and key responsibilities
My role at Quality Brokerage is to manage sales and business development. As a Territory Account Manager in the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, I have the responsibility to meet with the vending and OCS operators and connect them with the products and services of the manufacturers we represent. As a manufacturers’ partner, we are responsible for having consistent and efficient call coverage in our territory while providing the operators with category management information, Plan-o-Gram assistance, as well as rebate and promotional programs to maximize sales. Also new item introductions and follow up are key responsibilities.

4. What does an average day for you include?
Every day brings new opportunities and challenges, so again I must be ready to adapt and change to make sure I am providing my customers with the services they require. Similar to an operator, my day also revolves around my clients. Saturday is my day to pack all of my sample bags, run my customer reports, and to make sure I have all of my rebates, promotions, and pre-book order sheets in order to review with the operators during the week. Once my week begins I travel by car to introduce my products in face-to-face meetings with the key decision makers.

5. What are the biggest challenges you face in your business?
Legislation and regulations are the biggest challenges we face as an industry. It impacts all of our businesses. That is why it is so important to support your local State Council and NAMA, who both continue to battle these issues on a daily basis.

6. Moving forward, what are your personal/professional goals?
Moving forward, my personal and professional goals coincide. I aim to provide the excellent service and attention my customers have become accustomed to, while exceeding our company’s goals and high standards. I would also like to continue to be an asset to my local State Council to ensure the growth and success of our industry.

7. In your own words, what is the value of participating in the ELN?
The value of participating in the Emerging Leaders Network is that it provides an opportunity and launching pad for the industry’s up and coming and to make their mark and help shape our industry for the future! The ELN is a hub for young leaders with similar goals seeking best practices, professional development, and peer networking opportunities, while having the knowledge and experience of trusted mentors. Being part of a tech-savvy generation driven by passion, commitment, and innovation, I am excited for where our industry is headed, and I am looking forward to being part of an organization that is making the necessary steps to utilize the commonalities between the multiple generations.

8. What is your advice for young people starting their careers in the industry?
Get involved with NAMA and your local State Organizations. Network, build relationships, be confident, and show your passion. Continue your education through NAMA’s various seminars and programs, such as the Executive Development Program.

As previously published in NAMA’s InTouch Magazine.

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