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.
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.
Combining training and experience has been a recipe for success for Phil Blas.
Foodservice was always on Chris Monico's radar, yet after receiving a degree in hospitality management with a foodservice emphasis from Purdue University, it took a couple of false starts before he found his career path.
Joel Kaplan counts himself lucky despite the fact that he was laid off from his first job post-college after only two months due to a recession. This unfortunate start led him to his current career in project sales and management at E. Friedman Associates, Inc.
Michelle LaCrosse took all the necessary steps to prepare for what she thought would be a career as a lawyer. While attending the State University of New York at Albany, she worked in a law firm, took her LSATS and was accepted into the law school of her choice.