February/March 2023 - 11

James Brinton
James Brinton founded Evergreen
Food Services (now, Evergreen
Refreshments) in 1976 while still in
high school. He currently serves as
president of the full-line vending
company. In 2009, he was one of
the key founders of Avanti Markets Inc. and in late 2010,
served as CEO. He also established Avanti Markets
Northwest that operated over 1,000 micro markets
in Washington and Oregon. In 2019, he was asked to
purchase Slabb Kiosks Inc., Avanti's kiosk manufacturer
in Mesa, Arizona, and now runs that entity producing
kiosks for Avanti Markets and other industries. He also
added catering services to his portfolio with the purchase
of ACT3 Catering in Tukwila, Washington. Brinton is a
past president of the Northwest Automatic Vending
Association. In 2005, he received the NAMA Industry
Person of the Year award. In 2008, he served a two-year
term as NAMA's chairman of the board. In 2009, he was
asked to serve as first president and chairman of the
board of the newly formed Unified Strategies Group (USG)
for a three-year term. And in 2011, he was involved with
bringing the Vend Marketing Group (VMI) to USG.
Richard Cassel
Richard Cassel started his career in
the vending industry after graduating
from high school. He took a part-time
position as a vending route driver at MAB
Services, which provided an opportunity
for him to attend college while learning
from the ground up about the vending industry. Cassel
received a B.A. in economics and later an MBA in marketing.
At MAB Services, he held various positions from sales
representative, sales manager, vice president of marketing,
and then executive vice president. In 2008, First Class
Vending purchased the company, and he joined Matthew
and Ryan Marsh's First Class Vending as executive vice
president. Over the years, Cassel has worked with the
California Automatic Vending Council and NAMA to support
various legislative issues that face the industry. Also, he
has had the opportunity to work with various county health
departments to simplify the requirements for licensing of
micro markets.
Stu Case
(posthumous award)
365 Retail Markets would like
to honor its former West Coast
account manager, Stu Case, to be
posthumously recognized. Case
joined Avanti Markets (now 365 Retail
Markets) in 2014 and remained a
dedicated member of the organization and the industry
through his passing. He managed the bulk of 365/Avanti's
customer relationships, creating an exceptional level of
customer loyalty; he was also an advocate for foodservice
operator needs. Because of his passion for the industry
and his respect for and relationships with clients, Case
was adamant about involving himself in the onboarding
process for new account managers. He wanted to be sure
that the insight, positivity and commitment with which
he managed his territory permeated the entire company
culture. His involvement in the industry also included
roles as president of the Northwest Automatic Vending
Association (NAVA), president of the California Automatic
Vending Council (CAVC) and a board member of Coffee,
Tea & Water for NAMA. He was also a spirited advocate
for the NAMA D.C. Fly-in, and he earned his place within
the CTW Hall of Fame. Each of his operators credit a large
part of their success to his support.
Heidi Wittern Chico
Heidi Chico, chief executive officer of
the Wittern Group, has spent more than
three decades dedicated to the family
business. At Wittern, she has led major
initiatives including the development
of the company's open connectivity
solutions, hardware regulation and
compliance projects such as the American Disability Act, and
the introduction of new ways to deliver controlled solutions
for the self-service industry. Chico earned a Bachelor
of Science from Iowa State University. She has served
as a board member for the Greater Des Moines Junior
Achievement Board, The Wittern Group, Drake University,
Des Moines Cold Storage, and the Iowa YPO chapter. Chico is
an active member of the National Automatic Merchandising
Association (NAMA). She served as board co-chair in
2018 and has held various leadership positions within the
organization including the Government Affairs Committee,
Women in the Industry (WIN), Executive Forum, Executive
Committee, and The NAMA Foundation.
" Stu Case remained a dedicated member
of the organization and the industry
through his passing. "
Juan Cholico
Juan Cholico is the warehouse manager
at Cheesewich Factory, starting with
the company 25 years ago when it was
known as Registry Steaks & Seafood. He
started with no experience and worked
extremely hard until he learned it all -
from working in the production line to knowing how to run
an entire warehouse and production room. Cholico says
he has been fortunate to have had many opportunities
to help grow the business from the very beginning, and
everything he has learned has been through dedication and
commitment. Cholico shows his dedication to his work every
day. Leading a team of 50 employees, he is the glue that
holds the staff together and a problem-solver before the
problem occurs.
February/March 2023 * VendingMarketWatch.com 11

February/March 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of February/March 2023

February/March 2023 - PCOV1
February/March 2023 - PCOV2
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