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.
As a 14-year-old dishwasher, John “Johnny O” Ognibene never thought he’d be helping to create restaurants for some of the most well-known chefs in the industry, such as Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, Charlie Palmer, Thomas Keller and David Chang. His current role is the culmination of an extensive foodservice career that included stints as a cook, waiter, bartender, restaurant manager and culinary school student.
Troy Jacobsen's foodservice career may be considered one of the best-rounded in the industry.
While his brother-in-law decided to go into business selling bar supplies back in 1977, Dave Kort was looking to get out of his job as manager of a fast food restaurant.
In his role as a contract and design specialist for Rapids Wholesale Equipment Co., Troy Little really appreciates the fact that he can stay involved with his customers' projects from concept to completion. This was not the case in his previous position selling database software and accessories.
Combining training and experience has been a recipe for success for Phil Blas.
Foodservice was always on Chris Monico's radar, yet after receiving a degree in hospitality management with a foodservice emphasis from Purdue University, it took a couple of false starts before he found his career path.
Joel Kaplan counts himself lucky despite the fact that he was laid off from his first job post-college after only two months due to a recession. This unfortunate start led him to his current career in project sales and management at E. Friedman Associates, Inc.
Michelle LaCrosse took all the necessary steps to prepare for what she thought would be a career as a lawyer. While attending the State University of New York at Albany, she worked in a law firm, took her LSATS and was accepted into the law school of her choice.
When it comes to well-rounded foodservice industry veterans, it would be difficult to find someone comparable to Cameell Hanna Jr.
After going to college for rabbinical studies, Eli Goldring met the woman he would marry and realized full-time work took priority. His first sales stint was as a project manager/salesperson for a fiberglass insulation company.
During his tenure as a franchisee owner of two different concepts, Derek Tippner had much experience opening and closing restaurants, reading leases and analyzing profit and loss statements. "I took a leap of faith to become a franchisee for a sub shop, which lasted six years," Tippner says. "I then eventually sold the two locations and opened a pizza franchise."