- Published: June 1, 2018
- Written by Lisa White, Contributing Editor
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.
Like many college graduates, Lee Rose was not sure where he was headed with his degree in communications from Augusta State University. “I dated a girl who was making smallwares deliveries for an equipment dealership and helped her out,” he recalls.
Working in the restaurant industry from the ground up for more than two decades has served Scott Ellerhorst well in his sales, design and consulting career in C&T Design and Equipment Co.’s Cincinnati office. “I started in high school bussing tables at restaurants, moved up to washing dishes and eventually became a general manager,” he says.
When Jeff Fortier joined his family’s company, Fortier Inc., 18 years ago, the main concern was his unfamiliarity with the products he’d be selling. “I was doing well as sales manager for a sunglasses company out in Virginia, and didn’t know much about the foodservice equipment industry,” he says. “But my uncle Rick said he could teach me, and I knew that learning about a gazillion different products wouldn’t be an obstacle for me.”
In 1998, Melanie Gitlin joined Fayetteville, N.C.-based Thompson & Little as an administrative assistant not knowing what she would become just 12 years later.
Nick Pope had visions of becoming a chef while attending culinary school and working at an equipment dealership part time. He realized being a chef wasn't for him when he took a 12-hour class that ended at 2 a.m. "It put me over the edge," he recalls.
It wasn't until Jim Bologna took a cooking class while working toward a degree in hotel hospitality at Michigan State University that he realized his calling. He went on to earn his Associate's Degree in Culinary Arts, and worked as a chef for more than 20 years.
Maribeth Angelo did not expect her summer job at Hotel and Restaurant Supply would be the start of a successful career. She credits her father, Bill Wolfe, who serves as the company's executive vice president, for both the suggestion of the summer job and the post-college suggestion of accepting a counter sales position there.
Eric Hsieh has always enjoyed eating out. In fact, growing up, he rarely ate at home. "My family in Taiwan was in the foodservice industry, so that may have had something to do with it," he says.
At 15 years old, Chiasson worked every day after school at Associated Food Equipment and Supplies Inc., the Gulfport, Miss.-based company founded and owned by her aunt and uncle, Lonnie and Roberta Shelton. She graduated college from the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in accounting and was well on her way to a successful career as director of finance for an area hospital.