SYRACUSE, NY -- Dave Lerner, a veteran amusement and vending machine sales executive, is retiring from Betson Enterprises at the end of June after a distinguished 28-year career with the distribution giant. Lerner was general manager of Betson's Syracuse, NY, office.
Lerner's lifelong coin-op career began two decades before he joined the Betson organization. His father, Morris, established Advance Vending Distributors, also in Syracuse, in the early 1960s. Dave began working for the family business at an early age, starting in parts and service and later as a salesman covering the vast Upstate New York territory. Morris died in 1972, Advance continued to operate for a few years and Betson would eventually open its Syracuse office. Dave also ran a small route, which he sold in 1977.
"I've known several generations of many of my customers," Lerner said. "Over the years, some have become very close friends."
During his time between Advance Vending Distributors and Betson Enterprises, Lerner was active in different sectors of the industry. He became a slot tech and slot manager for the Playboy Casino in Atlantic City, NJ. He returned to Syracuse to work in distribution for a local Rowe branch, which sold a full line of games, jukes and vending machines. Betson opened its Syracuse office in December 1986, and appointing Lerner as its manager was a natural fit.
Syracuse became one of the most effective offices for the distributor, whose sales network spans most of the United States. The branch is known for its marketing ingenuity. Its regional trade shows at the Turning Stone Resort Casino would feature more than 50 exhibits and timely workshops. About a dozen Turning Stone shows were held and they typically attracted more than 500 visitors. And if operators couldn’t get to the show, the Syracuse team would bring it to them. Lerner helped create the famous "showroom on wheels," a custom trailer designed to showcase games, jukeboxes, vending machines and OCS equipment. The trailer, which began operating in 2006, hosts roadshows and service schools in remote upstate markets.
"The Syracuse branch always had a great team and I predict that it will continue to excel," Lerner said. "I was blessed with the best staff a manager could hope for."
Dave Reiners, another second-generation coin machine man and a Syracuse team member, succeeds Lerner as branch manager. "Dave's very knowledgeable about industry products and financing," Lerner said. He also acknowledged Syracuse's Zane Greenwald, who continues to spearhead vending and OCS.
Lerner also volunteered 11 years with the Amusement and Music Operators Association, serving as a vice-president. Well respected among the association's operator members, the distribution pro played a key role in developing AMOA's educational and awards programs. "The time I spent with AMOA was one of the biggest highlights in my industry career," Lerner said, "and Betson always supported me in that capacity."
He may be retiring from Betson, but Lerner says he will remain active in industry affairs and will stay connected with his friends in the business. In his first assignment, he is an ATM consultant and will work with all Betson branches. As an independent contractor, he brings a wealth of experience to any project.
Dave Lerner can still be reached at his Betson email address, email@example.com, and at firstname.lastname@example.org or (315) 952-7407 [mobile].