This years highlight was the presentation of the annual Harry Wishart Award, given to a person who has exemplified the ideals of the late vend broker pioneer by working with the group as a whole towards building a better and stronger vending industry in New England. Last year's winner, Mark Lathrop of Lathrop Vending Co. (Uncasville, CT) selected his father, Larry Lathrop, as this year's recipient.
Larry began as a route driver more than 40 years ago. He took business classes at night while supporting his family, and worked his way up to ownership. He has held the position of president of the Connecticut Vending Association and served on its board. He has also testified on the industry's behalf at the state capital.
"Last year, I stood up here speechless. This year, I could go on and on about the man who afforded me the opportunity to have had this award. I never would've been considered for it, if I hadn't watched him my entire life," said Mark Lathrop in honoring his father. "He has a work ethic that is unmatched, a love for the business, that his own father created, a drive to always do better, and a heart of gold. I watched him walk up here last year and thought, 'Man, my dad absolutely deserves this award ... I'm so proud of him...' And then he handed it to me. I was honored, but I did not deserve to receive this award before he did."
Past recipients of the Harry Wishart Award 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); Loren Athearn (posthumously, 2009); Eric Mueller (2010); Melissa Johnson (2011); Steve Foley (2012); Dennis Surprenant (2013); Jeff Terban (2014); and Mark Lathrop (2015).
LIKE FATHER LIKE SON: Mark Lathrop (l.) is joined by master of ceremonies Todd Hedrich (r.) of Hedrich Vending Co. (Presque Isle, ME), in presenting Harry Wishart Award to his father, Larry Lathrop of Lathrop Vending (Uncasville, CT). Mark Lathrop was last year's winner.