The only monthly feature that profiles the careers of the industry’s most accomplished foodservice equipment and supplies dealer sales reps by presenting their achievements, views on customer service and secrets to their success.
Mark Claus always knew he would have a career in the foodservice industry in some capacity, after working as a kid in his family’s steak and seafood restaurant. “I worked in every position at the restaurant, and always thought I would run one someday,” he says.
As the former co-owner of Chicago's award-winning hot dog eatery Gold Coast Dogs, Fred Potekin, who handles commercial kitchen equipment sales and design for Beltram Foodservice Group, has first-hand experience as an operator. He began working in the foodservice industry making pizzas as a teen, and then served as a restaurant manager, general manager and corporate manager for a number of chains.
Amanda Janasik’s love for the foodservice industry started when she was 16 and worked as a waitress in high school. After graduating from Penn State with a degree in hotel, restaurant and institutional management, Janasik planned on working her way up in the restaurant industry.
Cody Allen has always wanted a balance between family and work, which can be challenging when working on the operations side of the foodservice industry. Allen has worked in the restaurant industry since the day before he turned 16, when he was hired on the spot at Shoney’s during his birthday lunch. He worked his way through college at the University of Southern Mississippi, waiting tables and tending bar. After earning a degree in biology and working in a different industry, Allen returned to the foodservice industry.
In the foodservice industry, there is something to be said for loyalty. Although Timothy Watson has been an industry sales rep for nearly three decades, he has spent his extensive career working at just two companies.
Foodservice has been a career for Emily McClelland since she waitressed for a catering company and baked for a pie supplier at the age of 16. While attending Purdue University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, McClelland served as an intern at C&T Design and Equipment Co. after a recommendation from friend Larry Simonel.
As a 14-year-old dishwasher, John “Johnny O” Ognibene never thought he’d be helping to create restaurants for some of the most well-known chefs in the industry, such as Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, Charlie Palmer, Thomas Keller and David Chang. His current role is the culmination of an extensive foodservice career that included stints as a cook, waiter, bartender, restaurant manager and culinary school student.
Troy Jacobsen's foodservice career may be considered one of the best-rounded in the industry.
While his brother-in-law decided to go into business selling bar supplies back in 1977, Dave Kort was looking to get out of his job as manager of a fast food restaurant.
In his role as a contract and design specialist for Rapids Wholesale Equipment Co., Troy Little really appreciates the fact that he can stay involved with his customers' projects from concept to completion. This was not the case in his previous position selling database software and accessories.