This fall the foodservice industry lost one of its most talented design consultants when Reggie Daniel passed away. Like so many other foodservice professionals we lost more than a colleague. We had to say goodbye to a dear friend.
Reggie relished the challenge every foodservice design project presented and had a lot of fun coming up with new ideas. People often refer to a foodservice design as being a puzzle. Well, Reggie liked to design the puzzle as well as put the puzzle together. Regardless of the scope of work, Reggie took pride in every aspect of the project — the design, the equipment specification and the implementation.
We like to describe Reggie as a “What if?” guy because he always asked that in every aspect of his life. He would look at a specific aspect of the project, ask “What if?” and then begin sketching out a solution. When he came up with a good idea, Reggie would vehemently fight for it no matter how unconventional it was because he always wanted to create a special experience for the customer. And after completing a project, Reggie liked to take people to show them his projects because he was so proud of them.
But the pride in his work pales in comparison to the pride Reggie showed while watching his son Brett develop into a respected member of the foodservice industry. During one NAFEM Show, Reggie proudly took his son from booth to booth to introduce him to the many factory contacts he had made over the years. This speaks to Reggie’s intense sense of family. His daughter Leah and wife Cherylanne were central figures in his world. Reggie was grounded, caring and focused on making us all better humans.
Reggie enjoyed visiting with manufacturers and even talking with the product engineers. Oftentimes after these discussions, the factories would add certain features to some of their products. He was so engaging and could back up what he was saying. The engineers would go out of their way to talk with Reggie.
He was one of those people who really had fun working with the entire project team, including the operators, reps and anyone else that might be part of the process. But Reggie did more than work with you. He forged longtime friendships and that extended to those folks that he did not work with day to day.
Reggie never met someone he could not get along with. He was so amiable and unassuming. Reggie did not stand out until you met him and at that point you immediately began to understand how special a person he was. Reggie was incredibly warm and you could never walk away from him thinking he wouldn’t be there for you forever. It was easy to think he was your best friend but we now realize Reggie was everyone’s best friend. So many people loved him and enjoyed learning from him.
At the end of a visit, Reggie always said, “I am glad you got to see me.” We are grateful that we got to see you, Reggie, for all these years. And you undoubtedly left the foodservice industry a better place than you found it.