NEWPORT, RI -- The Massachusetts Vending Association hosted this year's New England vending industry outing at the Newport Harbor Hotel and Marina here from May 29 to June 1. Organizers are hailing it as one of the best-attended gatherings in years. Burdette Beckmann Inc.'s Jeff Terban was honored as this year's Harry Wishart Award winner, and retiring broker John Derrick was given a grand sendoff with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
The annual event unites operators and other members of the Pine Tree Vending Association (Maine), Connecticut Vending Association, Massachusetts Vending Association, New Hampshire Vending Association, Rhode Island Vending Association and Vermont Vending Association. The event also draws industry members from other parts of the country.
A highly anticipated part of the weekend-long festivities was the presentation of the annual Harry Wishart Award, which is given to a person who has demonstrated the ideals of the late Harry Wishart, working for the group as a whole towards building a better and stronger vending industry in New England.
Conferring the honor to Terban during the awards ceremony was last year's Wishart Award winner, Dennis Surprenant, the New England regional sales representative for Gekay Sales and Service (Ludlow, MA).
MEN OF THE HOUR: At left, Burdette Beckmann's Jeff Terban (l.) is presented Harry Wishart Award for his role in bettering New England’s vending industry by last year’s honoree, Dennis Surprenant. At right, Terban recognizes longtime colleague John Derrick with Lifetime Achievement Award at a surprise retirement party he organized during Rhode Island gathering.
Terban began his career 25 years ago as a regional salesman for Aramark. He spent the next 10 years with product distributor Vistar and then joined vend broker Burdette Beckman, where he's served as Northeast sales manager for the past decade. He has been a board member for the associations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, and is involved in the Connecticut and New York trade groups.
"I do not know of anyone who supports his customers as well as Jeff does," said Surprenant, who chose this year's Wishart winner. "He believes in a strong mix of business and social activities as proven by being committee chair for this year's spring getaway here in Newport. He emulates Harry Wishart to the letter in the year of 2014."
Todd Hedrich of Hedrich Vending (Presque Isle, ME) conceived the Harry Wishart award to honor the late vending pioneer from Maine who is widely regarded as one of the first independent product brokers. He is credited with being the driving force that brought the New England associations together.
Past recipients are: Rob Tappen (2000); Mike Campbell (2001); Ed Jones (2002); Ed Dooley (2003); Todd Hedrich (2004);Allan Gilbert (2005); Larry Cohen (2006); Howard Michaels (2007); Lloyd "Bud" Willey Jr. (2008); in the memory of Loren Athearn (2009); Eric Mueller (2010); Melissa Johnson (2011); Steve Foley (2012); and Dennis Surprenant (2013).
Not only did Terban receive the high Wishart honor from his peers, he also organized a surprise retirement party for Burdette Beckmann colleague John Derrick on the opening night of the weekend gala where he awarded his fellow sales pro a Lifetime Achievement Award for his 35 years of service to the industry.
Derrick started in vending in 1975. Back then he was a warehouse manager and later a route salesman for Superior Coffee Co.'s Hartford, CT, office. In 1982, he joined the sales team of Atlanta-based vending distributor Automatic Vendors of America, working out of Woburn, MA. VSA (now Vistar) acquired AVA and Derrick joined his general manager who left to start Automatic Products of America, another product distributor.
In 1997, Derrick transitioned from product distribution to product brokering with a move to Harold W. Young Inc. (Natick, MA). A decade later, he joined Burdette Beckman, where he finished out his career in May. He was actively involved throughout his career in both the Connecticut and Vermont vending associations.
"John gave 35 years to the industry and worked hard for his customers, suppliers and distributors," Terban told VT. "He went to bat 24/7 for everyone. There isn't a nicer or harder working guy or one more dedicated to the industry. He will be sorely missed."
Derrick reflected fondly on his years in the industry and the ties he has made. "My territory was always the same: Connecticut, Rhode Island, western Massachusetts and Vermont, so I've made many friends by having the same customers into the second and third generations," Derrick told VT. "I haven't met a vendor who's not all heart and hardworking and I've been very lucky to work with them."
Derrick said that Terban is already bringing him out of retirement to man the Vistar of New England booth at the distributor's fall open house.
As chair of the New England vending meeting, Terban was pleased to report that attendance was up 30% over last year's event at Connecticut's Mohegan Sun Casino and Resort.
New England vending operators, suppliers, brokers and distributors and their families enjoyed each other's company while exploring seaside Newport by land and sea. A wine tasting and vineyard tour, trolley ride and mansion tour, bird's eye helicopter tour and boat cruise were among the many group activities.
"It was the best turnout I can remember in many years. Newport drew people and the hotel's waterfront venue was spectacular," Terban said. "We were also relentless about getting suppliers and manufacturers and customers to come out and support it and be part of the fun and networking."
The weekend culminated with a mini trade show and business meeting, during which the presidents of each state association discussed the legislation impacting their members, ranging from bottle bills to tax exemptions.
National Automatic Merchandising Association chairman Pete Tullio of Gourmet Coffee Service/World Wide Vending (Van Nuys, CA) provided an overview of the pressing issues at the national level, including calorie labeling and changes to coin composition.