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Press Release

Innovation Icons Announced as Headliners for The NAMA Show 2022

Customer Experience and Brand Loyalty Legend George Blankenship and
Corporate America’s Favorite Trend Hunter Jeremy Gutsche
To Set Tone for The NAMA Show 2022

ARLINGTON, VA — February 21, 2021 — The National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) today announced two dynamic, forward-looking speakers to headline The NAMA Show 2022, setting the tone for the conference and trade show focused on the theme, “Convenience Service Reimagined.”

George Blankenship, who redefined customer engagement and created breakthrough customer experiences and brand loyalty on behalf of Tesla Motors, Apple Computer and GAP Inc. will deliver the keynote address as part of the General Session on Wednesday, April 6, at 1 p.m. CST. The keynote is sponsored by PepsiCo.

Award-winning author and innovation expert Jeremy Gutsche, MBA, CFA, who has consulted for Google, Sony, Disney, IBM, Adidas, NASA and other world-class organizations, will deliver a plenary session presentation Thursday, April 7, at 9 a.m. CST.

“With a theme of ‘Convenience Service Reimagined,’ The NAMA Show 2022 meets the moment of rising opportunity for self-service,” says NAMA Director of Meetings and Events Kristen Keenan Griffith. “Attendees will discover powerful technology, explore new products, uncover emerging trends and build a strong network — assets that will help set any convenience services business on a path to success.”

Blankenship revolutionized the car-buying experience in his executive roles at Tesla Motors. Earlier, as vice president of real estate at Apple, Blankenship executed one of the most triumphant retail growth strategies in history and is widely recognized as the architect of the company’s brand-building retail method, which generated a sustained increase in sales, profit and consumer loyalty. His innovative processes inform and transform secure, status-quo organizations into forward-thinking and dynamic players of the future.

Blankenship will demonstrate how businesses can remain competitively positioned in the modern market and deliver first-class customer care. In addition to his presentation, Blankenship will be interviewed on stage by Mark Jeffries, a leading host, emcee and moderator for major events around the world.

Gutsche, the founder and CEO of Trend Hunter, the world's number-one trend website and innovation consultancy with over 3.5 billion views and 10,000 projects completed, regularly shares his insight with more than 300,000 business leaders who subscribe to his weekly newsletter. His recent book, “Create the Future + the Innovation Handbook: Tactics for Disruptive Thinking,” is a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Gold Medal in the 2021 Axiom Book Award competition.

In a fast-paced plenary session, Gutsche will draw parallels from social changes happening now to those that occurred due to the Bubonic plague and the Spanish Flu. Gutsche says these pandemics, respectively, were responsible for ushering in the Renaissance and the Roaring ’20s. He says that times of crisis lead to urgency, action and ultimately to innovation. In post-pandemic periods, for example, Gutsche says people are drawn to leisure activities that help them live life to the fullest.

And back by popular demand, Jeffries will act as emcee of the NAMA Show General Session and will interview session speakers as part of the 90-minute program. Many NAMA members already know Jeffries as the main stage host and facilitator of NAMA Executive Forum events. He brings sharp business knowledge, years of insight into many industries and a warm wit to the role. A former stockbroker, Jeffries regularly appears as an expert guest on NBC’s Today Show, Fox Business, BBC News and writes for The Huffington Post. He is the go-to facilitator, moderator and emcee for multinational events of large and small organizations around the world.

The NAMA Show is the largest event for the convenience services industry. The three-day event, happening April 6-8, 2022, at Chicago’s McCormick Place, delivers opportunity and education for operators and professionals in vending, micro market, pantry and coffee, tea and water service industry.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Photos of Blankenship, Gutsche and Jeffries are available on request. Please contact Gina Veazey at 703.254.6276 or by email at [email protected].

NAMA represents the $34.9 billion U.S. Convenience Services Industry. By providing advocacy, education, and research, NAMA works to promote and protect the industry’s over 160,000 hardworking employees. Through traditional vending and micro markets, office coffee and pantry services, product manufacturing, and small-drop distribution, convenience services meets the needs of over 40 million American consumers daily at work, home, school, and play.

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