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DSR of the Month, November 2012: Danny Monnat, Multi-Unit Account Manager, Strategic Equipment & Supply Corp., Dallas

After working as a preventative maintenance technician for Strategic Equipment & Supply Corp.'s ISI Commercial Refrigeration division while attending University of North Texas, Danny Monnat took a year off to become a certified paralegal. "I was considering going to law school, but decided that wasn't the route I wanted to take," Monnat says. "Instead, I focused on finishing my undergraduate degree in business."

Danny-MonnatDanny MonnatMonnat rejoined Strategic Equipment & Supply Corp. in 2010 as a project coordinator, just six months before graduating from college, then worked as a project manager before becoming a multi-unit account manager.

FE&S: What made you pursue a career in foodservice?

DM: I pursued my career mainly because of the interaction with customers, getting out in the field and seeing operators' experiences and challenges first hand. I like being the person who helps people reach their goals.

FE&S: What do you like most about working with chains?

DM: It's very exciting from the standpoint that there are a lot of expectations and growth. Things happen very fast, and projects come to fruition over a short period of time. Expectations also are high.

FE&S: Why is it important to cultivate good working relationships with your supply chain partners?

DM: Our channel partners are very important because they help us deliver the best product to customers and aid in the support of individual customers.

FE&S: New store openings can be pretty detailed. How do you handle that?

DM: We have an integrated project management team that shares responsibilities across all functions, including job ordering, project management and installation. We are all very good at what we do separately, and we use our capabilities collectively to deliver the final product. Typically, I oversee the entire project and installation with our team. I'm also the lead person for customer interactions, so for any problems, issues or changes, I'm the go-to person. I coordinate with the team to get the project completed.

FE&S: When something does not go according to plan, how do you go about resolving the situation?

DM: I like to take a hands-on approach, get into the thick of the problem and address it immediately to resolve the issue as soon as possible. In this business, things happen quickly. Installations happen in a week or less, so we have to be proactive. Part of it is building a relationship with channel partners and knowing who to call in different situations.

FE&S: You have family working in the business. What advice would you give someone joining a company where their father and brother work?

DM: My advice would be to make your own legacy. I don't stand on anyone else's reputation. I try to be my own person. Sometimes, having family in the business makes things easier and sometimes more difficult. People know me separate from my family, but look at me hopefully as part of a bigger legacy.

FE&S: What's the most important lesson you've learned?

DM: In terms of sales, I've learned not to take myself too seriously. I like to have fun and enjoy interaction with customers. I have passion for my job and, hopefully, that will make my customers more successful.

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