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Press Release

Lance Whorton of Imperial Inc., Begins Term as Chair of the 2023-2024 NAMA Board

Whorton Steps into Role as NAMA Advocacy Goes ‘Next Level’

ARLINGTON, VA — July 31, 2023 — 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 association's work in promoting and protecting the industry to the ‘next level,’” says NAMA President & CEO Carla Balakgie, FASAE, CAE.

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,” says Whorton. “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

View the full NAMA Board of Directors roster.

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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