Industry awards matter. We take them very seriously here at FE&S and see them as an important extension of our responsibility in covering the foodservice industry. We spend a lot of time talking among ourselves, as well as with our contributing editors, readers, industry insiders and advertising partners, as part of the decision-making process with any FE&S recognition. Hopefully you will agree that our roster of winners over the years is reflective of that care and consideration.

After the selections are made, we hire the best writers and photographers to help us faithfully tell these stories in approachable human terms that resonate with you, the reader. If we do our job well, there is much to be learned from these individual stories of success.

Upon fulfilling these tasks, we celebrate the winners at an annual party that is FE&SDealer of the Year and Industry Awards Gala, which takes place the Saturday of the National Restaurant Association’s annual trade show in Chicago each spring.

When the pieces all come together it feels really, really good to celebrate these industry award winners.

In this issue, you will meet an exceptional group of FE&STop Achiever award winners and one very special Hall of Fame recipient. The success and resilience of these six extraordinary people offer a lesson to us all.

In the year of #MeToo and #TimesUp, it feels especially right to recognize three women among the six selected for their impressive career accomplishments. As a female business owner, it is empowering to know that gender was never a part of the criteria for any of these awards. And yet, to echo the eloquent comments of our Hall of Fame award winner, Kathleen Seelye, the fact that they are women undoubtedly contributed significantly to their successful careers.

Congratulations to each and every one of this year’s winners, both men and women. It is truly an honor to share your stories with the industry.