NAMA DC Fly-In is a Productive Event of Networking and Advocacy

U-Select-It believes it is important to build meaningful relationships in order to have the best impact in the convenient services industry and the broader community. USI recently had the chance to enhance important relationships at the NAMA DC Fly-In & Advocacy Summit, where we networked with clients and discussed vending related legislation with U.S. lawmakers at the Capitol. 

Roughly 260 people from the convenient services industry attended the summit this year. “What’s really unique and powerful about this event is that you have representation from all facets of the convenience services industry from product suppliers to vending operators to equipment manufacturers such as ourselves.  During the Fly-In customers, suppliers, partners and even competitors from every corner of the United States come together for the singular purpose of bettering the business environment for our industry as a whole,” said USI CMO Ashley Hubler.

Important topics discussed at this year’s fly-in included advocating for small business reform, opposing the commercialization of rest areas, and changing the commercial driving age from 21 to 18. Currently there is a significant truck driver shortage across the industry which is partially attributed to the fact interstate commerce is limited to drivers 21 years and older.  Current law prohibits commercial drivers under 21 from traveling to cities just miles apart because there is a state border between them. The industry believes that lowering the commercial driving age to 18 while adding important safety measures will help reduce the shortage of truck drivers in the industry and provide opportunities for younger workers to earn competitive wages. USI is also keeping a close eye on the trade discussions and the impact of tariffs on imported commodities and components, as well as the ramifications of the trade tensions on materials sourced within the United States. USI is proud to manufacture its vending equipment at its 375,000 square foot facility in Iowa and relies on a variety of quality domestic and imported-sourced components, such as coil motors, and commodities, such as steel, to manufacture its equipment.

Ashilyn Sunderman (VP and CFO at Smith Vending Canteen) and Ashley Hubler (CMO at
U-Select-It) with U.S. Senator Joni Ernst

USI was grateful for the opportunity to discuss these pertinent issues with legislators on Capitol Hill. This is USI’s fourth year meeting with Sen. Joni Ernst. “Four years ago we met with Senator Ernst as simply an introduction to our business and the industry,” said Hubler. “After coming back year after year and meeting with Senator Ernst, there’s a better understanding of our issues and a relationship that wasn’t there before.” U-Select-It also met with staffers from Rep. Julie Axne and Sen. Chuck Grassley’s respective offices.

The Fly-In also provided opportunities for face-to-face interaction with customers and distributors. “Understanding our customers’ pain points, what they enjoy about working with U-Select-It, and how we can improve their experience is important to us,” said Hubler. Customers voiced their excitement about the Evoke Snack 6’s styling, reliability and performance, while also expressing their excitement for the refrigerated combo Evoke model being released later this year.

This year’s NAMA DC Fly-In & Advocacy Summit was another success as USI was able to reconnect with clients and build relationships with representatives from Congress. Discussing solutions to the most pressing issues and ones on the horizon make the convenient services industry all the stronger moving forward.