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Press Release

Marc Whitener of Refreshment Solutions to Chair 2022-2023 NAMA Board of Directors

Leadership Term Comes as NAMA Board Focuses Heavily on Advocacy

ARLINGTON, Va. – June 14, 2022 – Marc Whitener, CEO of Refreshment Solutions LLC, the largest vending and micro market company in Louisiana, will lead the 2022-2023 NAMA Board of Directors as its Chair beginning July 1. A veteran of NAMA leadership, Whitener will serve as Chair at a time when the NAMA Board is intensifying its focus on advocacy.

“I am honored to serve as chair of NAMA and appreciate our new and returning Board members who will help us lead this excellent organization,” said Whitener. “My goal is to help NAMA members grow their businesses and continue to advocate for our industry.”

“Few operators are better qualified to lead the NAMA Board as its focus on advocacy becomes more expansive,” said NAMA President & CEO Carla Balakgie, FASAE, CAE. “Marc Whitener uniquely has a strong and passionate vision of the road to growth for industry operators and the role that advocacy must have in this journey.”

In recent months, NAMA has developed a transformative advocacy agenda that reimagines what new opportunities look like for the industry, its customers, and their consumers. The agenda focuses on high impact advocacy that delivers value directly to operators, including driving competitive advantage in congregative spaces, addressing labor and employment challenges, and positioning the industry as a leader and partner in solving sustainability and public health issues.

Interestingly, Whitener’s own entrepreneurial journey started when he opened a single convenience store in 1983. Under the moniker of Marc’s Quick Mart Convenience Stores, that venture grew to encompass 14 stores with 110 employees by 1992. During this time, he launched Whitener Snacks by purchasing a local Tom’s Foods Distributorship. Under his ownership, annual revenue of the snack business grew by more than 1,500% before suffering heavy equipment losses in the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster.

Refreshment Solutions was formed in 2006, through the merger of Imperial Trading vending operations with Whitener Snacks. Today it is the dominant convenience services operator in Louisiana’s major metropolitan areas of New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

Whitener has been singled out for his achievements and industry contributions on numerous occasions. He earned the NAMA Industry Person of the Year award in 2014. In 2008, he earned the NAMA Vending Operator of the Year award and in 2007, Automatic Merchandiser named him Vending Operator of the Year.


2022-2023 NAMA Board of Directors

As Chair of the 2022-2023 NAMA Board of Directors, Whitener will lead a group of industry leaders elected by NAMA members. Many are returning to continue their service to NAMA, while others are newcomers elected to a first term on the NAMA Board. The election was part of Monday’s Annual General Membership Meeting.

In addition to Whitener, the 2022-2023 Board officers are:

  • Chair-Elect Lance Whorton, President, Imperial
  • Vice Chair Patrick Hatcher, President & COO, Vistar
  • Secretary/Treasurer Rick Brindle, Vice President Industry Development, Mondelēz International, Inc.
  • Past Chair Joe Hessling, CEO, 365 Retail Markets

NAMA members elected six Directors to a first term on the Board:

  • Sean Feeney, CEO, Cantaloupe, Inc.
  • John Hickey, Co-Founder, Tech 2 Success LLC
  • Richard Kennedy, CEO, Five Star Food Service
  • Husein Kitabwalla, CEO of Food Transformation, Sodexo
  • Patrick Liebler, President of Refreshment Services, Aramark
  • Linda Saldana, CEO, Seventh Wave Refreshments

Finally, Directors continuing service on the Board include:

  • Ben Boyd, Vice President Sales – Convenience, Tyson Foods
  • Byron Brooks, Vice President of Foodservice, Pepsi Bottling Ventures, LLC
  • Mike Brown, President, PGI Services
  • Michael Coffey, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, Canteen
  • Scott Halloran, CEO, Trolley House Refreshments
  • Doug Herrington, Senior Vice President of Sales, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Karalynn McDermott, Executive Growth Consultant, Eversys
  • Patrick Moran, Owner, Moran Refreshments
  • Sylvia Rowe, Owner, SR Strategy
  • Michael Schwartz, Director of Field Sales, Nestlé Coffee Partners, Nestlé USA
  • Devin Smith, President, Diamond Vending, Inc.
  • Amber Starr, Vice President of Implementation, G & J Marketing and Sales
  • Tom Steuber, President/Owner, Associated Services
  • Dennis Thornton, Owner, Advanced Vending Systems Inc
  • Bradlee Whitson, President, K&R Vending Services

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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