AVA Board Nominations Are In! Get Voting…

Please Click to Download AVA Board Voting Form 2018

(ONLY Full Members can vote, this excludes Associate, Honorary, Personal & Affiliates Members from voting)

Please send completed form by Midday on Monday 18th June 2018 and return to:

Email: Nadine.Al-Ahmad@the-ava.com OR

Post: Automatic Vending Association, Concept House, Cromwell Office Park, York Road, Wetherby, Leeds, LS22 7SU


AVA Board – Machine & Components Representative


Dave Ward – Managing Director, EVOCA


It’s nearly ten years since Dave Ward returned to his native West Midlands taking up the role of MD at Evoca UK, formerly N&W UK. An engineer by profession, Dave began his 30 year (so far) career in vending as an employee of Mars, where he was a contemporary of AVA Chair Gillian White. While he has recently relinquished the top job at Evoca UK he will be continuing to work on projects for the company. Evoca is committed to supporting the AVA and Dave hopes to ensure that his experience and expertise remain part of the industry’s wealth of resource in the years to come.

Having accepted the role of Chair of the AVA for two years and ultimately, at the organisation’s request, serving for four; nobody knows the machinations of the vending industry better than Dave and few people are as well-placed as he is to ensure that the AVA reflects the requirements of its members and effectively represents their interests.

Not simply ‘a safe pair of hands’, Dave’s belief is that the pace of change in the vending and coffee industries is accelerating.

‘It’s my view that the need for a purposeful, meaningful representative body has never been so acute’, he said. ‘The AVA is in a period of change especially in terms of management, membership benefits and activities. We’re duty bound to ensure that members feel that they are getting a worthwhile return on their membership investment and if elected, that will be my primary focus.’



Richard Gilbert – Managing Director, Excalibur Refreshed Ltd. 


I have been a senior manager in, or owner of Manufacturing and Engineering businesses over a career spanning 44 years, many within the vending industry. My last 15 years has been spent running my own company Excalibur which has an excellent reputation providing reliable and quality refurbished equipment. Prior to this I spent time working in the Brown and White goods sector including 6 years at Four Square (Mars Drinks), 6 years at N&W (Evoka) including participation on strategy. I have a first class honours degree in Engineering Production and an MBA from Kingston University.

My passion is in making things and businesses work. I recognise that to make progress it needs persistence, resilience and be agile to change and I see the AVA challenge the same.

I believe that the AVA is key to the success of our industry and I would revel in helping the board develop, protect and promote the industry reputation and membership.

Excalibur has a partnership approach and wide relationships with Operators, Catering Establishments as well as Machine and Component suppliers that will help achieve objectives.

I am often referred to as a ‘plant’ in that I can think outside a box but be the entrepreneurial glue to bring concepts to fruition. As a leader at meetings I am good at bringing all people’s thoughts to the frame, am a good listener and able to analyse to adopt good solutions from those offered. Moreover, I am not afraid to be different.


AVA Board – Operator Representative



Diane Hunter – Director, Apple Vending


Diane Hunters, entrepreneur and philanthropist, has been part of the Vending & Catering industry for over 25 years, where she has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience on the dynamic trade. The highlight of her career has been starting her own business ‘Apple Vending’ 12 years ago, which has continually been going from strength to strength with new acquisitions and growth around the country.

Apple Vending provides a level of service that is unparalleled in the vending and catering industry as Diane puts a great emphasis on the importance on tailoring solutions to deliver top quality services and products, these same views she would like to bring to the AVA Board.

With 10+ years of involvement with the AVA, Diane understands how much the AVA can achieve and do for operators, and wants to push this even further with her new fresh & innovative ideas.

Diane is very keen to change the perception of vending specifically to do with operators, as she wants to them to be recognised as first class. As well as being involved in upcoming legislation changes and helping raise standards of vending with the AVA as they are the voice of the industry.


Ian Baker – Managing Director, West Ways Vending Ltd


I have been connected to the vending industry for the past 20 years, starting the business from my home address, which was a complete departure from the previous industry I had worked in for many years. We were fortunate enough to be joined by other family members, like many other vending companies. Our family values are at the heart of Westways Vending and have contributed to our achievement.

Our business has gone from strength to strength in some very challenging and changing times, with the support of buying groups and other industry bodies. I believe the AVA board needs strong, enthusiastic individuals to guide the membership through complex issues that face our industry.

I chaired a buying group for many years, which gave me experience in working collaboratively with other operators and suppliers. I enjoyed supporting all of the members during this time. Bringing together the views and opinions of others, and finding common ground is important to me. Clear and open communication is key to members feeling synergy with an organisation.

I have been a member of the AVA for many years, attending regional and national meetings and utilising many of the services the AVA offers. If were elected I would look to further diversify the offerings from AVA to the membership.

The AVA is a partnership between operators and trade suppliers and as such affords us the ability to speak as one voice, therefore enhancing the reputation of our industry.


Neil Thomas – Sales Director, Care Vending 


I believe I have played a very active role as a board member of the AVA over the last 5 years. During this period our industry has experienced enormous change, such as the growing influence of CSR, the introduction of the new £1 & £2 coin, allergen labelling, healthy eating  and Government lobbying to mention a few.


There are a number of key focus areas in the months ahead, recycling of cups and plastics, sugar tax, healthy products, employment legislation, cashless payment legislation, data protection and Brexit implications.   I am passionate about these and all the other initiatives and very keen to continue playing an active role in ensuring our industry’s interests are always at the front of the queue.

The recent appointment of David Llewellyn as CE has created an increase in media and membership interest & activity.   It is creating an environment that is quickly generating much more membership participation in the event calendar.

A strong and vibrant membership is crucial to ensure the future of the AVA. It is equally important that the industry has a presence and the opportunity to influence decisions at all the forums and discussions that affect everyone in our industry.

In order that we continue to be the voice of the industry it is crucial that we build on the increasing interest by converting it into a growing membership base. This will continue to underline our validity to be the industry’s mouth piece and it will be one of my main priorities should I be successful in my application.


AVA Board – Commodities


Robert Gormley – Head of Vending, Nestlé Professional


Worked in the Foodservice business since 1985, when I joined Nestle Foodservice as a Territory Manager. I have enjoyed roles in sales, marketing, sponsorship and in the last 11 years working in the Nestlé Professional Vending Team.  I have also worked with a start-up business for 3 years as head of sales and marketing, giving me an appreciation of the pressures and restrictions faced by Operators in their day to day business. This has made me acutely aware of the need to have a strong trade association and to be able to leverage the wider resources that are available.  I would hope to be able to bring some of that corporate insight to the commodities role, adding value to the AVA membership, and supporting the members through the most challenging and exciting times our industry has faced.

A free KitKat with every vote!


Craig Howard – National Account Manager, Ferrero UK Ltd


I have been part of the Vending Channel now for 4 and half years, working for Kelloggs, Mondelez and Ferrero. All 3 business have allowed me to understand the depths of vending and work with operators, suppliers, trade as well as being a member of the AVA.

What I have learnt is Vending has a perception from the community of being “a coin in a machine” when the reality is, it is so much more and can continue to evolve with the right implementations and support. Areas such as media, recycling, healthy eating can all be truly campaigned by such a thriving channel as Vending, and the AVA are instrumental to continue the momentum with this.

I am an enthusiastic individual who seeks to understand and learns quickly, adapts to situations that arise and although my knowledge may be restricted to 4 and half years, it is the freshness and vision for the future that has allowed me to build key relationships across the channel.

I have attended Regional Meetings, as well as key meetings with Jonathan Hart and have always been keen to involve myself more with the AVA. I feel this is the perfect stepping stone for me to do this as part of the Board.

I believe the AVA are making changes in order to move forward and I would love to be part of this and help shape the future of vending.