Joe Schmitt has been the co-owner of Rapids Wholesale Equipment for almost 20 years. Rapids has a strong reputation among foodservice equipment and supplies dealers, as well as in the industry at large, for its relationship-oriented business model and strong focus on customer service. In addition to his time spent in the foodservice industry, Joe also has a solid financial industry background. A certified public accountant, he served as the vice president of Heartland Financial USA and was also a senior manager at Arthur Andersen & Company. Joe is an active member of the Foodservice Equipment Distributors Association (FEDA), serving on the board of directors for the past four years and being elected an officer last March.
FE&S: What keeps you working in the foodservice industry?
Joe Schmitt: The industry overall is comprised of great people, and I am a relationship person.
FE&S: Would you encourage your children to work in this business?
Joe Schmitt: Yes, I have one who is already involved and believe that it could be a great career for my children.
FE&S: Who was the person that influenced your career most?
Joe Schmitt: My parents. Their message to me was always simple: just work hard and good things will happen.
FE&S: What type of charitable activities are you involved in?
Joe Schmitt: I am actively involved in Rotary International. I spend most of my volunteer time working with underprivileged youth in the community.
FE&S: If you were not working in foodservice, what would you be doing?
Joe Schmitt: I would be working somewhere in the finance world, most likely.
FE&S: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Joe Schmitt: Think straight and talk straight...it will serve you well in the long term.