It is noteworthy that Mark Freeman, recipient of FE&S' 2017 Hall of Fame award, was the president of the Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management, (SHFM), when that organization took the bold step of changing its name and added the "H" for hospitality to its already well-recognized acronym of SFM.
That may seem like a small thing in a career marked by the many incredible accomplishments that you can read about Mark in this issue. To me, however, such a change is significant.
Words matter. And clearly, Mark sensed the need for bigger thinking in the on-site foodservice management segment. A willingness to explore new ideas and innovative new ways of combining hospitality and foodservice truly defines Mark's amazing career.
It is fitting that Mark works for a company like Microsoft. That's because Microsoft owes its start to the unique insight of Bill Gates, who recognized in the early days of personal computing that the world was going to transform from one accustomed to buying hardware with software installed as an add-on, to one that would pay for software and treat hardware as an ever-cheaper commodity.
Similarly, Mark recognized the days of treating employees like a captive audience were over and that dedicated employees being asked to work long hours needed to be wooed to stay on campus with thoughtful accommodations and creative food offerings.
The circle is truly complete when you read the part of Mark's story about tapping technology. The section describes the intersection between the innovative ideas that he is pursuing toward the goal of elevating the employee to guest and the wondrous technological advancement being developed by the very workforce that he serves at Microsoft.
We are also pleased to introduce four outstanding examples of rising foodservice industry talent in this issue with FE&S' 2017 Top Achiever awards. As it turns out this year, two of the honorees are lions and two are lionesses, which is why we stopped calling them young lions more than a decade ago. The moniker managed to feel both ageist and sexist and needed to be retired.
We look forward to honoring Mark, the four FE&S Top Achievers and the many other award winners during FE&S' 2017 Dealer of the Year and Industry Awards Gala, which takes place Sat., May 20 at the Four Seasons Hotel — Chicago.