Legends of the Year Award: Buddy Duke

Mar 13, 2024

Automatic Merchandiser recognizes leaders in the vending, micro market and office coffee service industry in their second annual Legends of the Year awards program. Criteria for the awards included: at least 25 years in the industry, job commitment, leadership, industry involvement, achievements and contributions. All the individuals nominated have shown a dedication to their companies, their customers and the industry, and Automatic Merchandiser is pleased to honor them with this prestigious recognition.

Congratulations to Five Star’s 2024 Legend of the Year award winner Buddy Duke. Duke began his career in the vending and foodservice industry in January 1976. Just out of high school, he started as a delivery driver for Servomation (Service America) in Nashville, Tennessee. Then, he became a route driver, utility driver and route manager. In 1983, Duke was promoted to branch manager and moved to Jackson, Tennessee. A few years later, he was promoted to general manager and was responsible for all operations in west Tennessee and Mississippi. In 1993, he left Service America to become the general manager with ABI Food Service (Coca-Cola) in Chattanooga. ABI sold to Five Star Food Service in 1998. At that time, Duke became general manager until 2008. He was then promoted to a regional vice president position covering east Tennessee, north Georgia and north Alabama. Today, he is the senior vice president of operations for Five Star in the West region. His area now covers middle Tennessee, northwest Alabama and north Mississippi. Duke says he has been blessed to have spent so many years in the industry. He contributes his success to surrounding himself with hard-working, dedicated employees, good mentors and a supportive family.

Micro market with beverage coolers and snacks

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