NEW ORLEANS — Yesterday, attendees talked about "energy" and "buzz," saying that this spring's ATM Industry Association conference seemed to reflect a sense of rejuvenation in the industry.
The vibe was appropriate, since this year's conference came tagged with the theme "Rising Again — Continuity, Growth and Change in the ATM Industry."
The event was set in New Orleans, a city still recovering from the devastating effects of Katrina, and organizers wanted a tagline that connected the host city's rebirth to change in the ATM industry.
The timing, and the metaphor, was perfect.
Last year was riddled with change for ATM deployers. The impact of industry pressures has been felt throughout the off-premises ATM market. One merely has to recall the tumult experienced by Triton, Tranax and the former Tidel Engineering, now EasyPoint ATM LLC, to realize the entire industry underwent upheaval.
While change is hard, it's not necessarily bad, a point discussed over and over again at the conference.
Take Triton. The company's new leader, Bill Johnson, says he's looking to 2008 as a year of growth and positive returns. After the company's restructuring in late 2007, Johnson says a new air of corporate confidence circulates throughout the halls of Triton's headquarters in Long Beach, Miss.
"We see 2008 as being a year when we can really get back to our customers' needs," he said. "We want to put out the most reliable cash dispenser on the market (in the retail and financial-institution space), and our entire team is committed to that. We've introduced the RL 2000, and we think it really is a rebirth of what made Triton great with the 9600. The RL 2000 will be the staple of our retail line going forward."
Industry rumors have circulated about a possible sale of the company since the restructuring.
But Johnson says returning Triton to profitability is something Dover Corp., Triton's parent, is pushing, not for a sale, but for employees and stockholders.
"We want our company to be profitable," he said. "And we are working toward that. Change is always difficult, and the industry talks and speculates; but when you get out on the other side of those changes, you begin to see improvement — and that's where we are now. Our employees feel good about our company and are confident in what we can do."
Even some of Triton's former employees — including former president Brian Kett and former chief technical officer Bill Jackson, both adversely affected by the restructuring — are looking to 2008 as a year of positive change.
From the GRG Banking Equipment Co. Ltd. booth, Kett and Jackson shared with excitement details about their new company, Global Cash Services LLC. Based in Pass Christian, Miss., the business-consulting firm aims to work with a number of diverse companies from a wide range of industries, including ATM manufacturing, processing and payments.
"Our associates have worked at many levels in both existing and developing markets in more than 20 countries around the world," said Jeff Barrow, another former Tritonite and a member of the new GCS team.
Barrow is based in Melbourne, Australia, giving GCS a global presence. The company also has offices in Hong Kong and China.
GCS is working with GRG to improve GRG's U.S. ATM sales, and GRG's Jacky Yang says he is excited about the relationship.
"We finally have the right team in place to have an impact in the United States," he said. "We expect this year to be a year of growth for GRG."