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.
Larry Simonel has been in the foodservice industry most of his life. Growing up, his mother worked as a restaurant manager and he began working in and around foodservice operations at 12 years old.
Working with national accounts for Atlanta Fixture, Jon Jacobs says his favorite part of the job is helping customers save money. This is no surprise because, as a former restaurant owner, Jacobs realizes the importance of the bottom line.
A self-proclaimed foodservice industry lifer, Jason Sem admits that his career has taken many twists and turns along the way.
Josh Smith owes his career to being at the right place at the right time. After years of working odd jobs in restaurants, including dishwashing and bussing tables, Smith's buddy invited him to help move Bargreen Ellingson's warehouse.
Amador "AJ" Reyna, Jr. recalls being at a foodservice equipment show in the beginning of his career when a DSR of the Month sign caught his attention. "Since then, I've aspired to accomplish this," he says. "It was always very important to me."
Ariel Potash has been around commercial kitchens his entire life, with family members who work as chefs and caterers, including his wife.
The pharmaceutical and foodservice equipment industries could not be more different, yet it was training in drug sales that helped Christine Poldiak land her current job as outside sales rep for TriMark United East.
After working as a preventative maintenance technician for Strategic Equipment & Supply Corp.'s ISI Commercial Refrigeration division while attending University of North Texas, Danny Monnat took a year off to become a certified paralegal. "I was considering going to law school, but decided that wasn't the route I wanted to take," Monnat says. "Instead, I focused on finishing my undergraduate degree in business."
Ollie Wilkes is one of the few salespeople in the industry that has called on most of Mississippi at one time or another.
When asked to help deliver foodservice items as a high school student in the late '60s, Herb Paige had no idea this part-time job would be the start of a successful career in the industry much less help form his work ethic. "The man who trained me was old school," Paige says. "If I didn't wrap the glassware the way he wanted, he would make me wrap it again."
As a former restaurant manager, then a key accounts manager for a national soft drink company and now a successful DSR, David Maxwell has had a very well-rounded foodservice career.