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.
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.
While waiting tables in college, April Snow discovered she had an affinity for the hospitality industry. "I was just drawn to that environment," she says.
As a third generation dealer sales rep, Robert E. Alban has foodservice equipment in his blood.
Before becoming an account manager at Avanti Restaurant Solutions in Sacramento, Calif., five years ago, Jenn Pollack's only experience in the foodservice industry was as a dishwasher while in college. That position lasted just one month.
When Robert Machacek entered the foodservice industry as a teen working as a dishwasher, it was unlikely that he could see himself designing the type of kitchens he worked in at the time.
Making a career in foodservice equipment and supplies sales wasn't an intentional decision for Lauren Lanza, who earned a B.A. in psychology and began pursuing a graduate degree in the field. During high school, she worked at Harris Restaurant Supply, her family's dealership, moving from a position in customer service to one in sales.
Travis Lusky is a foodservice industry lifer. He started washing dishes in restaurants at only 14 years of age, then tackled just about every kitchen job while a student in high school and college.