As a former operator and distributor sales rep, I understand the critical overlap between these two vital roles in the successful implementation of a foodservice plan of action.

Most longtime readers of FE&S know that the magazine originated 65 years ago as a dealer-oriented trade publication. To this day, FE&S enjoys loyal readership among the dealer community. I can't begin to tell you how many times individual members of the dealer community tell us that FE&S played a vital role in their getting to know the industry. And, in fact, far more dealers read FE&S than any other magazine serving the foodservice community, according to a pair of recently completed circulation studies.

What many in the foodservice equipment and supplies community don't know is that FE&S' operator circulation has grown by 30 percent in the past 3 years, according to the same studies. Making such a significant investment in the magazine's operator circulation is important for a few reasons. Number one, operators have a genuine interest in the topics addressed on the pages of FE&S. That's because the issues operators continue to encounter are the ones that the dealers, consultants and service agents must understand and be able to address in order to add value and remain relevant in the eyes of their shared customers. As a result, the entire supply chain has a shared interest in learning more about foodservice industry trends, best practices and more.

Number two, including operators as an active part of the FE&S conversation enriches the magazine's editorial voice. From the gathering of critical industry data, such as the ongoing 2014 Forecast Study to the June 2013 cover story on Hall of Fame Award winner Martin Cowley of Disney, we are able to do a better job of bringing you a more complete industry view by including the operators' perspective. If my years of experience as an operator and a dealer taught me one thing it's that we can all learn a lot from one another.

With that in mind, I believe that our story on FE&S' 2013 DSR of the Year Bill Immke will resonate not only with other DSRs and dealers, but also with operators and other members of the supply chain. This story, written by Amelia Levin, our award-winning features writer, showcases some of the foodservice industry's most endearing qualities: through hard work and determination the sky is the limit for anyone willing to commit. And by working collaboratively not only with your customers but with your supply-chain partners, too, the industry will continue to flourish.