Jeff Vega obituary
It was with great sadness that OPI learnt that BPGI Executive Director Jeff Vega passed away on 6 October following a serious motorcycle accident
In a career that spanned 20 years in the office products industry, Jeff accomplished a great deal both professionally and personally. His success was largely due to a deep knowledge of our industry, coupled with an ability to build relationships and negotiate fairly. He was well known for his hard work, determination and a desire to live life to the fullest.
Jeff’s career started in the furniture department at Allied Office Products in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. With a propensity to learn quickly and cultivate lasting relationships, Jeff was promoted with regularity. By 1994, he was the Operations Manager for the furniture department and also added some buying responsibilities by sourcing special order furniture.
In late 1995, Jeff and his family moved south to join Andrews Office Products, by then a founding company in US Office Products (USOP). He assumed the role of inventory control supervisor in the 150,000 sq ft Andrews/USOP facility. In that role, Jeff worked very closely with purchasing staff to strengthen inventory integrity and smooth out the stock replenishment process.
Jeff’s efforts were recognised in 1997 by USOP’s management, who moved him from the Landover, Maryland, distribution centre to the corporate headquarters in Washington, where Jeff assumed the role of Associate Buyer. Jeff rapidly became well-versed in the processes of negotiating, catalogue development and vendor problem resolution, and was promoted to Senior Buyer at the end of 1998.
USOP’s fortunes began to slide in 1999, yet Jeff continued to make great strides in securing solid programmes for the company, earning a reputation as a knowledgeable and determined negotiator, and gaining significant respect from the vendor community.
In mid-2000, BPGI’s leadership reached out to Jeff and asked him to join their team as Director of Program Development. He had an immediate and positive effect on the organisation, coordinating events, focusing negotiations and maintaining the global organisation’s massive database.
In March 2001, Jeff was promoted to Executive Director, and worked closely with the CEO to build the organisation from 10 to 21 members and was responsible for global negotiations. The BPGI merger with euro buro in 2003 gave Jeff the opportunity to focus his significant skills on improving the programmes and viability of the independent dealers in North America, Europe and Australia. He also led the BPGI global initiative to establish a direct import programme.
"Jeff was a charismatic and dynamic young man," said Jim Preston, BPGI’s CEO. "He lived life with gusto and brought joy to those who knew him. He contributed tremendously to our industry and to the health and prosperity of BPGI and the independent dealer community. We will miss him greatly."
After it was revealed that Jeff was in a critical condition, a trust fund – The Jeff Vega Fund – was established for BPGI members, friends, vendors and other industry colleagues to help his family. Within days of the fund starting the industry had donated many thousands of dollars.
"The family would like to thank you for the support you have offered during this terrible journey," said Preston in an email to friends and associates of BPGI.
"Jeff’s long experience and keen insight into the office products industry when coupled with his strong relationship building skills and negotiating expertise have built a solid industry career. Thousands of independent dealers from around the world have benefited from his contribution."
Jeff was a good friend to OPI and many of the team had the opportunity to get to know him at various events around the world. His enthusiasm and passion were undeniable and our thoughts and prayers are with his family as they come to terms with their loss. He is survived by wife Ginger and their son and daughter, Christian and Nicole.
Donations to the Jeff Vega Fund can be made on the BPGI website:www.bpgi-llc.com under the Jeff Vega tab.