Looking into the future Burkett says he's continually monitoring what his customers want and need and evolving product offerings to meet those expectations. The company is also remodeling its longtime showroom, bringing in new inventory and the latest technology, including laptops, scanners, tablets and flat-screen TVs for demos and videos.
"Our intention is to invest heavily in the Internet market, which is not going to go away," he says. "We want to be a one-stop-shop for customers as well as continue to build and expand our contract division."
Building the Burkett team is another part of the equation. "You're only as good as your people, and if we keep developing our team, I think that will continue to drive us in the right direction," he says.
As a FEDA and NAFED board member, Burkett remains active in the industry and has earned a number of awards and accolades, including being named a finalist in Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year program and he recently earned a spot in Toledo's Entrepreneurial & Business Excellence (EBE) Hall of Fame. Burkett Restaurant Equipment was also listed in Inc. magazine's list of the top 5,000 fastest growing companies for the last 4 years.
A family man at heart, Burkett married his Brazilian-born wife, coincidentally named Jamile (pronounced jah-mee-lay), while traveling in his father's native Lebanon after high school and remaining friends for several years. They live in Toledo with son Mohammed and daughter Dalila.
"I work a lot, but my other favorite thing to do is spend time with my wife and play with my kids."
Not a bad life.
- Name: Jameel Burkett
- Title: President and CEO, Burkett Restaurant Equipment, Toledo, Ohio
- Age: 33
- Hometown: Toledo, Ohio
- Hobbies: Spending time with wife Jamile, son Mohammed and daughter Dalila
- Education: BBA in Information Systems from the University of Toledo
- Favorite food: Italian
- Favorite social media platform: LinkedIn
- Favorite accomplishment: Being listed among the top 100 largest dealers in FE&S' Distribution Giants ranking
- First job: Caddy at a country club
- First client as a dealer: H.P. Schmaltz Deli, Chicago
- Sales growth: $750k in 2002 to $19.2M in 2012
- Industry involvement: Serves on the Board of Directors for both FEDA and NAFED
- Awards: Inc. 5000 Ranking (2009-2012); Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Semi-Finalist (2012); NAFED Sales Achiever Award (2012); University of Toledo Entrepreneurial Business of Excellence Hall of Fame (2012)