Kick off 2018 by meeting 18 professionals poised to take the foodservice industry to the next level.

FE&S proudly introduces you to a collection of foodservice professionals not merely committed to the industry, but able and ready guide this community through the many challenges it will face as it evolves. Some were born into this through the family business, and many found their way into this industry by happenstance. However they arrived here, all agree this is undeniably the place for them.

Here's a few key traits FE&S' Future Foodservice Leaders share:

  • Demonstrate a passion for the foodservice industry.
  • Approach business dealings in a fair and ethical manner, from customers to supply chain partners to employees.
  • Embrace communication and change.
  • Participate and seek educational opportunities; show a commitment to learning.
  • Use their past experiences to guide their current business dealings.

This driven group brings ambition, experience, and talent to an ever-changing industry. We hope you find their views and background stories both interesting and thought-provoking.

Jamie Arguello

JamiePresident, Grady's Foodservice Equipment & Supplies, Pueblo, Colo.

  • Dealer
  • Years in Foodservice: 6
  • Industry Involvement: SEFA, FEDA
  • Spends her free time with her children, Hope, Elle and Charlotte, and her husband Brian.

FE&S: What attracted you to the industry?

JA: Debt. I owed my father money, so I went to work for him at the family-owned dealership. I started in sales. Through that struggle, I realized the abundance of opportunity in the industry. I paid him back and now he cannot get rid of me.

FE&S: What makes you want to stay in the industry?

JA: SEFA, specifically Tedde Reid and Chris Perrotte. Their entrepreneurial spirit and leadership are infectious. I was hooked after my first SEFA national sales conference; the members were so passionate and willing to help others, I knew I was in the right spot.

FE&S: What's your proudest professional accomplishment?

JA: Earning my first $25,000 in sales. It was so hard; I made so many mistakes. I am so proud of myself that I did not give up. I forced myself to get over my fear of failure and found the courage to embrace my weakness and use it to help others realize how to not allow fear to control their lives.

FE&S: What is the best career advice you've been given?

JA: My father, Paul Gradishar, gave me some advice long before my career began. He taught me that I can do anything, as long as I believe I can. He taught me how to manifest my dreams through action, commitment and intention. And never give up. Thanks, dad.

Leisa Bryant, MA, RDN, LD

Director, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston

  • Healthcare Foodservice Operator
  • Years in Foodservice: 20+
  • Industry Involvement: AHF
  • Spends her free time pursuing an MBA at the Marilyn Davis College of Business — University of Houston

FE&S: What attracted you to the industry?

LB: I grew up in a farming community in Jamaica and when a neighbor or family member got sick everyone visited and brought with them the best meal they could afford. This taught me that food was medicine, so I was intent on becoming a dietitian.

While working as a registered dietitian, I realized I could do more, and I branched out to the operational side and fell in love. Now, my daily joy is to make a difference serving fresh and healthy meals to our patients, guests and customers.

FE&S: What inspires you?

LB: People who genuinely care inspire me, whether that is the CEO, the pot washer or the homeless man on the corner. I believe in caring, doing the right thing, and stopping at nothing to make a positive impact.

FE&S: What's your proudest professional accomplishment?

LB: My proudest accomplishment was when I led a team of hardworking professionals, partners and stakeholders in building a food and nutrition program from scratch. I was promoted into the position and put the program together after 10 years of contract management.

I led with a positive mindset, showing the team that our mistakes will be opportunities for learning. I focused on a collaborative approach where everyone felt valued and I had no shame in saying 'I do not know.'

My success came with leveraging the skills, knowledge and experience of the team, internal and external stakeholders, and especially members of my organization, the Association for Healthcare Foodservice.

Kristi Byler

National Accounts Manager, Equipment Preference Inc., Southlake, Texas

  • Rep
  • Years in Foodservice: 11
  • Spends her free time with her family at their ranch, hunting, fishing and raising cattle.

FE&S: What changes have you been involved with in the past year?

KB: Our lines are constantly changing and expanding as the industry evolves and changes. We have a lot of equipment that can do everything, but at the same time, especially on the chain side, everyone wants something custom and unique. Chains want to be first to market and claim ownership.

FE&S: What current problem are you trying to solve?

KB: Holding food is a really big one right now. I am working with several chains that want the ability to hold fresh product without the customer knowing it's been held — that would improve speed of service. For example, an operation might want to hold chicken that has already been grilled, then slice it in front of customers to give that impression of fresh.

I'm also working a lot on flow matrix issues right now, how to use the same person in the kitchen for multiple resources. There is a need to create something modular to save costs on labor and equipment.

FE&S: Share a lesson you've learned from your career.

KB: I learned early on to observe everything. It's one of my secrets. I visit the operation and learn all that I can so I can then talk to the end user at their level. You'll find a lot of neat things that way and can brainstorm and understand when talking about an item. For example, if I tried a quesadilla and the cheese wasn't cooked all the way through. Those conversations open the door to other applications.

Christina Collins

Vice President of Operations, Burkett Restaurant Equipment & Supplies, Perrysburg, Ohio

  • Dealer
  • Years in Foodservice: 5
  • Industry Involvement: FEDA, CPG and and XYZ Buying Groups
  • Spends her free time attending her two sons' baseball games and catching major league baseball games during the kid's travel tournament weekends.

FE&S: What's the best career advice you've been given?

CC: Coming from a Lean Six Sigma culture taught me to never stop asking why. Asking why gets you to the root of any issue, helps you understand the perspective of your team, keeps the team focused on the same objective, and creates a culture that values understanding the big picture.

FE&S: What's your proudest professional accomplishment?

CC: Working in operations as a career means that a lot of my focus is on efficiency. During my time at a Fortune 500 company, I earned my Six Sigma Green Belt by working on a tough project. We had declining revenues, but were tasked with finding a million dollars in profit improvement.

We worked diligently for 10 months to analyze workflows, identify process gaps, find the processes that don't add value, add new process steps, and to implement sustainable process improvements. My team's improvements led to profit improvement of $1.1 million. This project won the Supplier of the Year award from a top client and global corporate recognition.

FE&S: What changes have you been involved with in the past year?

CC: Over the last few years we have been transforming our organization. This past year we spent our first full year in our new facility. We have strengthened cross-team collaboration and our management of internal commitments. With those improvements as our foundation, we launched our ERP [enterprise resource planning] implementation team in April and had a stressful, yet successful, cutover to our new ERP system on October 1. It's been a year of massive change, great improvements and I've been blessed to help lead these changes alongside a great team.

Nick Cribb

Nick CribPresident/Chief Operating Officer, SAM Service Inc., Albany, Ga.

  • Service Agent
  • Years in Foodservice: 5
  • Industry Involvement: CFESA, RFMA
  • Spends his free time golfing, attending church and cheering on the Atlanta Falcons and the University of Georgia football teams.

FE&S: What do you view as an industry issue in need of attention?

NC: The biggest issue is finding quality service technicians. We don't have the limelight on us as an industry as we would like. There are people out there that are passionate about fixing things. We want to recruit quality, blue collar workers that can do the work.

The challenge is getting those people to look at our industry instead of honing in on factory jobs. We need to recruit better. This can be an extremely satisfying job where you get to go in with the cape on and be a hero for another company.

FE&S: What current problem are you trying to solve?

NC: We are working to find the best processes to remain scalable as we continue to grow. We have a BHAG, a big hairy audacious goal, to grow fivefold by 2025. To get there, we attack set goals every quarter and hold each other accountable for reaching them.

FE&S: What inspires you?

NC: The people here. We are passionate about fostering a culture to drive an industry standard. We hire and fire by our core values; it's a good indicator if someone fits our company.

FE&S: How do you view the future of the industry?

NC: I think opportunities are going to expand, especially with the way the foodie culture is going. The industry is going to look a lot different in five years because of technology.

Brett Daniel

Brett DanielsBIM/Project Manager, Camacho Associates, Atlanta

  • Consultant
  • Industry Involvement: FCSI-The Americas
  • Years in Foodservice: 11
  • Spends his free time reading about things he's unfamiliar with, and tinkering with electronics and technology.

FE&S: What's the best career advice you have been given?

BD: Don't be afraid to think outside the box and question everything.

FE&S: What attracted you to the industry?

BD: I love to cook and eat. I followed my father's footsteps right through the door and here I am.

I never thought about what my dad, Reggie Daniel, did much, until I was between jobs in my early 20s and asked if he needed help. That's how I ended up at Camacho; I lived in Atlanta at the time and my dad happened to know James Camacho, who was looking for an employee.

Before my dad died, his firm merged with Camacho, so we got to work together at the same company for a while.

FE&S: What makes you want to stay in the industry?

BD: I'm one of the rare people on the planet that seems to actually love their job and what they do.

FE&S: Describe a current challenge.

BD: On some of the larger projects (those with an equipment budget of more than $1 million), a current challenge is meeting some of the ridiculously fast approaching deadlines. The amount of time we are given to complete projects is getting shorter and shorter. That's definitely a trend I'm seeing lately. I have to work hard to complete my work on time or it affects everyone down the line and impacts the project schedule, which costs money.

FE&S: What inspires you?

BD: Making a name for myself and filling the large shoes my father left behind.

Jill Horst

Jill HorstDirector, Residential Dining Services, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Calif.

  • College Foodservice Operator
  • Years in Foodservice: 30, with 22 of that specifically in the college and university sector
  • Industry Involvement: NACUFS
  • Spends her free time trying new foods and cooking. Outside of food, she enjoys the outdoors, golfing, hiking — anything where she can be out in nature.

FE&S: What changes have you been involved with in the past year?

JH: We just opened a brand-new, state-of-the-art dining facility this fall — new construction. It involved four years of planning and construction. It was an opportunity for me to put my thumbprint on something from the ground up. I was very involved from the beginning and was able to get every piece of equipment I wanted.

It has six different platforms, with an in-house bakery that makes everything from scratch and even a tortilla machine that cranks out 900 tortillas in an hour. There's also a rotisserie oven and carving station, kind of an upscale version of comfort food, and an international station with a tandoori oven.

All the dining commons are like that on campus, each with specialized equipment. We are now in the process of obtaining LEED certification, possibly LEED Platinum.

The project replaced an older facility that will become a test kitchen.

FE&S: What current problem are you trying to solve?

JH: The thing we're trying to solve now is staffing. As the department has grown, it's more challenging to find qualified staff. The goal is to make sure we match the level of talent we already have when hiring.

With all the new hotels and high-end resorts in the area, we are all fighting for the same people. Most people come from what I call the outside world to the college segment; they don't have experience with equipment like tandoori ovens or a wood-fired pizza oven. We also have a slew of combi ovens and a blast chiller. It's about taking the time to train new staff.

Heather Kruciak

Heather KruciakAssistant Purchasing Director, Mission Restaurant Supply, San Antonio, Texas

  • Dealer
  • Years in Foodservice: 13
  • Industry Involvement: FEDA
  • Spends her free time reading, performing car karaoke, and watching Netflix marathons.

FE&S: What's the best career advice you've been given?

HK: Hold yourself accountable — do what you say you're going to do. And, if you can do it with good humor and a positive attitude, all the better.

FE&S: What keeps you in the industry?

HK: The people. I've quite literally grown up alongside the majority of the people I still work with, whether they're coworkers, customers or factory representatives. We come from different areas and communities, but are struggling and succeeding together. For as many years as we've been doing this, that makes us family.

FE&S: What changes have you been involved with in the past year?

HK: Implementing new business intelligence software that delivers meaningful data to meet the needs of our leadership team. It's significantly improved the way we surface and share data within our company.

FE&S: What current problem are you trying to solve?

HK: Leveraging software improvements to enhance processes and the overall efficiency in my department. I feel motivated to continually find solutions that help improve the decisions our team makes on behalf of Mission Restaurant Supply.

FE&S: What inspires you?

HK: Improvement. The continual need to learn and grow, for myself and for others. What can I do better? How can I make something else better? Is there something I can do that would make someone else's life better?

Mitch Marcotte

Mitch MarcottePrincipal, GMV Sales Associates, Westborough, Mass.

  • Rep
  • Years in Foodservice: 13
  • Industry Involvement: MAFSI, School Nutrition Association of MA
  • Spends his free time skiing in the winter, doing yard work in the spring, golfing in the summer, and watching football in the fall.

FE&S: What's the best career advice you've been given?

MM: Learn every day. Be more informed. Read more books.

FE&S: What current problem are you trying to solve?

MM: I would love to minimize the amount of emails we send to each other, but would not accept texting in its place. There are better ways to keep each other up to date, and our industry needs to start embracing them.

FE&S: Describe the biggest challenge you have overcome.

MM: Starting GMV by convincing factories that an unknown entity made up of three guys, two in their late 50s and one 29-year-old, were the right fit. Few people outside of New England know the story. Starting GMV was done in less than a week.

The three of us, Kevin, Tom and myself, worked for another rep group that went out of business on a Friday. We created our LLC, developed a business plan and contacted our factories within a couple of days. After the dust settled, we had landed all but one factory.

And we have continued to outpace industry growth ever since.

FE&S: What keeps you in the industry?

MM: The relationships I have developed over the years; I can only hope that I can continue to strengthen them and make new ones. I also believe that I can help improve our industry, and I hope to leave it much better than I found it.

James Mincks

James MincksSales/Principal, Kelly-Mincks, Woodinville, Wash.

  • Rep
  • Years in Foodservice: 14
  • Industry Involvement: MAFSI
  • Spends his free time enjoying the great outdoors in the Pacific Northwest, snowboarding, cycling and hiking. He also enjoys cheering on his alma mater's football team, the Washington State University Cougars, as well as the Seattle Mariners.

FE&S: What attracted you to the industry?

JM: The foodservice industry is in my blood. I have worked in many different areas of the industry since I was a teenager. It is no surprise that I ended up doing what I am doing now as a third-generation manufacturers' representative.

FE&S: What keeps you in the industry?

JM: I am excited to be a part of a new generation of commercial foodservice professionals. As previous generations retire, I am excited to see a new generation rise to the occasion and lead the industry forward. I believe in our industry and the direction we are headed with MAFSI.

FE&S: What current problem are you trying to solve?

JM: How do we objectively identify and manage dealers and distributors who create, nurture and facilitate demand in the marketplace versus those who merely facilitate demand? This multifaceted predicament is ever-evolving in the complexity of today's varying layers of distribution and technology.

FE&S: Share a lesson you've learned from your career.

JM: The most valuable lessons I have learned were through keen observation of my mentors Dave Mincks, Bill Kelly and Jim Mincks. All three have their own methods, but the one common thread is their commitment to professionalism, hard work, and a dedication to always doing the right thing. They have built a lasting reputation on that foundation.

Rochelle Monahan

Rochelle MonahanOperations Project Manager, Rippe Associates, Minnetonka, Minn.

  • Consultant
  • Years in Foodservice: 7
  • Industry Involvement: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, FCSI – The Americas, AHF
  • Spends her free time exercising and spending time with her husband Pat, watching her stepdaughter Sierra ride horses and participate in barrel racing, and enjoying her dog Willow.

FE&S: What inspires you?

RM: I love scrolling through foodservice publications and reading about how facilities are bringing trends to life. Chefs and foodservice managers around the world, in a variety of market segments, are doing new and interesting things every day. I draw my inspiration from these stories and use them to inspire others as well. As a foodservice design consultant, I think it's important for me to pull my clients out of the comfort of what they have always done and open them up to new possibilities.

FE&S: What change have you been involved with over the past year?

RM: In the world of foodservice design, things are constantly twisting and changing. I don't think I've ever been involved with a project that went 100 percent according to plan. I think the key for me is to expect change and be prepared to manage it, and to know who to ask for help. I've recently come to accept that I will never have all the answers — I just have to know someone who does.

FE&S: Describe a challenge on the job.

RM: One of the most challenging things about my job is helping others to accept and embrace change. We work with a lot of foodservice managers and chefs that have been at their facilities for 15, 20, 25 years. They have systems and processes in place that they don't want to change. Change is difficult for most people. It's our job to focus on the benefits of the change — such as improved efficiency, faster speed of service, greater customer satisfaction and increased profitability. It's also important to have data to support these claims.

Angela S. Petitti

Angela PetittiVice President, Gary's East Coast Service, Shelton, Conn.

  • Service Agent
  • Years in Foodservice: 23
  • Industry Involvement: CFESA
  • Spends her free time cooking, gardening and running with the Run169 Towns Society. Her goal is to run a race in each of the 169 towns in Connecticut; she's accomplished 134 to date.

FE&S: What's the best career advice you've been given?

AP: Grandma always told me the best way to learn about something is to read about it. I read a lot, I'm willing to make changes, and I also frequently ask other people's opinions. I'm constantly learning in some way or another.

FE&S: What has been your proudest professional accomplishment?

AP: Our biggest accomplishment came in 2004 when we became CFESA certified. Hitting those benchmarks was huge for us, and every three years, going through the process, keeps us on track. That kind of certification gives us something to gauge against, it lets us know the expectation of the industry of us as a service company.

FE&S: What current problem are you trying to solve?

AP: One problem that always comes up is finding technicians and getting them trained in a short period of time so we can get them on the road. It's always hard to send that extra person along on the road as a mentor, or to send the new person for training.

We've put together a short training catalogue to help new technicians. They get one section when they start, to get them through the first three months, then we do some testing to see if they grasped the skills we want them to have, and then give them another section for the next three months. It is a large amount of information for them to know and can be really overwhelming in the beginning.

FE&S: What inspires you?

AP: I have a very strong faith in God. When I find myself being called down a road and have a problem, that is where I go. When I get frustrated, I go there to reflect.

Mary Ruzzi, RD, LDN

Mary RuzziFoodservice (Nutrition) Program Director, Geisinger, Wilkes-Barre, Penn.

  • Healthcare Foodservice Operator
  • Years in Foodservice: 6
  • Industry Involvement: AHF, Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Spends her free time with family and friends and Bean, her black Labrador retriever. She also enjoys hiking, cooking, exercising, and the occasional card or game night.

FE&S: What's your proudest professional accomplishment?

MR: I cannot say we've accomplished it yet, but in 2016, I championed the decision to start over with our menu management database.

Over the past year, our small team has created a new database of approved recipes, products and menus. We will be implementing new processes for menu management and purchasing in 2018 at all our acute care facilities. This change, although not easy, will allow us to capitalize on purchasing, as well as fully utilize the capabilities of the software.

FE&S: What current problem are you trying to solve?

MR: Labor shortages in healthcare foodservice are at an all-time high. As part of a larger network of hospitals, we are looking at how we can streamline production tasks to a centralized kitchen so that our site managers can focus their resources on our primary mission, which is caring for our patients.

FE&S: What changes have you been involved with over the past year?

MR: We launched a new health-focused food program in our retail foodservice locations called Healthy Selections+. Recipes that meet our HS+ criteria include fresh, nutrient-packed, minimally processed ingredients that are moderate in calories and sodium and provide a great source of protein and fiber.

It's been a large focus of our team over the past year and will continue to be in 2018 and beyond.

Eric Santagato

Eric SantagatoDirector of Distribution Sales, M Tucker, Singer NY LLC, New York

  • Dealer
  • Years in Foodservice: 1 1/2
  • Industry Involvement: SHFM Hospitality Group, Partridge, AJC
  • Spends his free time enjoying fatherhood for the first time with ten-month-old Johnny and his wife Christina.

FE&S: What's the best career advice you've been given?

ES: My boss at my first job said, 'Don't make a permanent decision for your temporary emotion.' One of the most difficult things to do is to not fly off the handle. You make the best decisions when you take the time to analyze and look at all the information, then make a decision with absolute confidence.

FE&S: What keeps you in the industry?

ES: The team at M. Tucker/Singer Equipment. People who are passionate about what they do make you feel alive every day. I have employees call me at 7:00 p.m. just to tell me how they overcame a challenge.

FE&S: Describe a challenge you have overcome.

ES: The biggest challenge that I have to overcome — and am still in the process of figuring out — is shortening the learning curve in an industry that is rapidly changing. The industry is full of different products, processes and solutions. Staying ahead and relevant in the eyes of our customers is so important.

Luckily the support system at M. Tucker is tremendous. There are so many different employees with multiple years of experience in different facets of the business, such as equipment, tabletop, and paper goods, that it makes it very easy to make a quick call or walk down the hall and get my answer.

FE&S: What challenges are you facing?

ES: As one of our company leaders says all the time, there are a ton of moving targets that propose challenges in this industry; you have to be able to adapt to the movement and overcome the challenges.

Joseph Schumaker, FCSI

Joseph SchumakerFounder and CEO, foodspace+co, San Jose, Calif.

  • Consultant
  • Years in Foodservice: 15
  • Industry Involvement: FCSI
  • Spends his free time with his family, often coaching little league for his two sons. The whole family enjoys traveling, experiencing new foods and cultures.

FE&S: What attracted you to the industry?

JS: I always enjoyed cooking, and eating for that matter. At some point after working in retail I realized there was no light at the end of the tunnel. Since my first day in culinary school I have not 'worked' a day in my life. I was looking for a career change and found my passion.

FE&S: What has changed for you in the past year?

JS: I have been working on a new endeavor that has brought me face to face with food tech and the investment world in a way I would have never imagined. I have learned so much about the food system and the challenges we face that it has driven me to focus on being part of the movement to work on solving these challenges. That is a big change for a corporate catering chef.

FE&S: What current problem are you trying to solve?

JS: We are working to help startup food tech, consumer packaged goods companies and traditional food businesses find ways to improve the food system, deliver innovative products and gain access to funding sources that would have been earmarked for the tech industry here in Silicon Valley.

Fundraising is hard. We have not overcome that challenge but I feel that our team is on the verge of doing so.

FE&S: Share a lesson learned.

JS: One of the biggest lessons that I have learned is to persevere. The food industry is tough and as individuals
we owe it to ourselves to work hard and strive for success. I believe that success is earned, but perseverance can be learned and taught.

Peter Testory

Peter TestoryDirector of Dining and Culinary Services/Housing Division, University of Wisconsin – Madison, Madison, Wis.

  • College Foodservice Operator
  • Years in Foodservice: 25
  • Industry Involvement: NACUFS
  • Spends his free time happily transporting his kids to their next event, and enjoys watching football, baseball, basketball — basically any sporting event. Also likes to think about how to spin a current food trend and make it unique to the university.

FE&S: What current problem are you trying to solve?

PT: Staffing has been the biggest challenge, so far, this academic year. We opened this school year significantly understaffed in student employees, and have been trying to rebound since the first day of school.

Our organization is heavily dependent on student employees, and we have seen a downward trend for the last three to four years. It is really forcing us to relook at our operations and make adjustments that do not include as many student employees.

FE&S: What change have you been involved with over the past year?

PT: This is a very easy question for me since for the past year I have been learning my new job and new operations. I really want to take the time to understand the operations before considering any sweeping changes. It is extremely important that when you do move onto a new opportunity, you do not try and move too fast. This is something I've had to consistently remind myself for the past ten months, even though it is my number one piece of advice for new management staff.

FE&S: Describe a challenge you have overcome.

PT: I think for me the biggest challenge has been breaking out of the chef coat. I have a culinary background, but as I learned more about this business I knew I wanted to eventually jump to the other side. When your background is primarily in kitchen, you have to work hard to gain that experience on the other side.

Gary Thiakos

Gary ThiakosPresident, Zepole Supply Co., Bollingbrook, Ill.

  • Dealer
  • Years in Foodservice: 30
  • Industry Involvement: PRIDE Centric Resources
  • Spends his free time with his wife and son — and soon a new baby. Occasionally he finds time to pluck one of the guitars on his wall, and has archery and bouldering on his list when more time permits.

FE&S: What keeps you in the industry?

GT: Legacy and people. My motivation all starts from thinking about my father's legacy and wanting everyone to know who he was and what he built. Zepole is his legacy in my eye, always. "Building on our legacy, to help you create yours," stems from that. We want our employees to build their own legacy here, and we want to help our customers build their legacies as well.

FE&S: What current problem are you trying to solve?

GT: When I took over the business, one promise I made to myself was that I would never let anything compromise the values that my father instilled into the company. No growth, money, sales, nothing, is worth compromising what Zepole Supply stands for. As we grow, it becomes a greater challenge, but I will never let it happen, otherwise we are not Zepole.

FE&S: Describe the biggest challenge you have overcome.

GT: My father was diagnosed with brain cancer and passed away in October 2006. I was thrown into running the company at age 27.

In industry circles, the chatter was that the company would close or sell in six months. While I have never really felt that I had to prove myself to anyone, all that negative talk made me smile and ever more determined.

FE&S: What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

GT: Being awarded the Pride Centric Core Value Award for Accountablity was really cool and surprising. I believe we should always take responsibility for what we do, and do what we say.

Emily Wunder, MSCN, RD, LDN

Emily WunderRegional Wellness Director, Eurest, a business and industry dining services provider, Charlotte, N.C.

  • B&I Foodservice Operator
  • Years in Foodservice: 5
  • Industry Involvement: SHFM, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Spends her free time trying new recipes and restaurants, and staying active hiking and taking beach walks with her fiance.

FE&S: What attracted you to the industry?

EW: As a registered dietitian, I was attracted specifically to the Business and Industry segment because of the ability to provide nutrition and wellness from a preventative side. Working with people from this angle allows me to provide education and insight on healthy eating to avoid future health issues that are greatly on the rise in our country.

FE&S: What current problem are you trying to solve?

EW: How to adapt to the changing trends that are resulting from the expectations of the Millennial generation, which is definitely throwing some curveballs in the normal flow of things. Eurest, for example, increased the use of local, sustainable ingredients and authentic ethnic flavors in our culinary brands specifically to appeal to Millennials.

FE&S: What's your proudest professional accomplishment?

EW: Two years ago, I was asked by my division president to be a member of a Millennial group and provide opinions and solutions for our entire division. Being asked to be a part of this small group was a very proud moment that then stemmed to several more, such as presenting a successful social media pilot program with the Millennial team and speaking at the Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management's National Conference. These professional accomplishments have been so rewarding and it is exciting to see what is to come.