WASHINGTON — Eric Dell, executive vice president of the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA), has been named president and chief executive officer of the American Bakers Association, effective Jan. 1.
“Following an exhaustive review of 67 qualified candidates, ABA’s search committee was unanimous in our selection of Eric,” said Cordia Harrington, ABA’s board chair, and founder and CEO of Crown Bakeries. “He is an energetic, dynamic, and politically savvy leader who exudes passion for his work and his family. He is the ideal successor to carry on the strong reputation and foundation built by Robb MacKie and the ABA team.”
Since January 2021, Mr. Dell has served as executive vice president of NAMA, which represents the $31 billion convenience services/vending industry. The group provides advocacy, education and research for its members. He joined NAMA in January 2013 as senior vice president, government affairs and was named senior vice president, external affairs in April 2017.
According to the ABA, Mr. Dell at NAMA “built a best-in-class advocacy program, forged new industry partnerships, revitalized the industry trade show, and invigorated high-performing teams.”
“After a thorough vetting process, I am pleased that our panel secured a new CEO that brings such strong association experience, as well as great connections in our nation’s capital,” said Bill Quigg, ABA’s first vice chair and president and CEO of Richmond Baking. “I am confident this new leadership will prove to be an exceptional strategic executive taking ABA successfully into the future.”
Robb MacKie, who is leaving the ABA as president and CEO at the end of 2022, called Mr. Dell “an outstanding leader.”
“Both Eric and NAMA have been incredibly strong and well-respected collaborators with ABA and the Washington food community,” Mr. MacKie said. “In addition to his keen policy acumen in both federal and state governments, Eric’s strategic business ingenuity expanded his industry’s opportunities and grew their trade show’s impact. ABA’s professional team and its leadership will blaze a bright path for the baking industry’s future with him at the helm. I know the ABA Members will enjoy welcoming Eric and his family into the baking community just as they did me. I anticipate a smooth and seamless transition over the next couple of months.”
Mr. Dell holds bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, and a master of business administration from Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School in Baltimore.
After beginning his career as a law clerk to Circuit Judge Marc Westbrook in Lexington County, SC, Mr. Dell alternated between working on the congressional campaigns of Floyd Spence of South Carolina (as deputy campaign manager in 1998 and campaign manager in 2000) and working as an attorney in private practice at the firm of Taylor, Moore and Thomas in South Carolina from 1998 until 2000. His legal work centered on commercial and residential real estate.
He was chief of staff of the South Carolina state senate transportation committee in 2001 before joining the congressional campaign of Joe Wilson of South Carolina as campaign manager and consultant. He served as chief of staff and counsel in the office of Mr. Wilson for five years.
Mr. Dell in 2007 joined The Keen Group, LLC in Washington where he lobbied congress on behalf of health care, insurance, labor and other clients.
In 2008, he was named chief of staff and counsel to Mr. Wilson, a position held until joining NAMA in 2013.
Mr. Dell said he was “delighted” to be joining the baking industry.
“Together, we will work to show America and the world what many already know: baking is cool,” he said. “I am excited to lead ABA into the future with a pointed focus on crafting a culture-driven organization that I know will excel at all levels of programming for the membership. Working with the board of directors and the broader membership, we will elevate ABA’s value proposition.”