In an industry of impressive leaders, these five FE&S Top Achievers stand out due to their ability to challenge themselves, their teams and, ultimately, positively influence the foodservice industry at large. Many of this year’s crop of Top Achievers have surprised themselves along the way as their careers and life situations took them on unexpected journeys.
When KaTom Restaurant Supply’s co-founder, Tim Bible, passed away in 2001, his wife and business partner, Patricia Bible, had some tough decisions to make. Not the least of those was what to do with the company. Under the circumstances, selling would have been the easiest and, for many, the most obvious route to take. Doing so crossed her mind but only for a few minutes.
Menu innovation and marketing may be critical for differentiating brands and driving traffic, but it’s equipment and related technologies that represent the real secret weapons for creating thriving, profitable restaurant companies with measurable competitive advantages.
Given Robert Harris’ role as an executive with one of the nation’s largest service agency conglomerates, you might guess his background is in business. In truth, he climbed the ladder through field work, joining what was then Ecolab Equipment Care as a completely green technician in 1995.
Melissa Greenwald has met and done business in an energetic and enthusiastic manner with countless people since her career in the foodservice industry began in earnest back in 2005. But as the president of Greenwald Sales & Marketing, one person in particular stands above all in terms of responsibility for guiding and developing Greenwald into the successful business owner and manufacturers’ representative that she is today.
With his diverse background on the operator side, which included stints as director of catering for the U.S. House of Representatives, director of dining at Harvard University and director for Downtown Disney in Anaheim, Calif., Leonard D. “Lenny” Condenzio, was perfectly positioned to continue rising up the operator ranks. But sometimes life throws a curveball, and in his case, it sent him on a successful path to become CEO of Ricca Design Studios.
Always an impressive group of go-getters, this year’s crop of Top Achievers does not disappoint. They also do not miss a beat when it comes to motivating teams, contributing to the greater good of their segments of the industry and, of course, achieving success in all measures within their primary roles.
Never underestimate the power of networking — even when it’s done late at night over a few drinks. After all, that’s what led Christopher East and Duane Guidry to start Chrane Foodservice Solutions in 2008 and look at Chrane now. The regional rep group serving Texas and Oklahoma has become a model for how to be successful while treating clients and employees with respect. And to think it all began with an after-hours gripe session.
Refrigerated Specialists Inc. (RSI) has been a part of Katie Green’s life for almost as long as she can remember. Her father is a former service technician with the Dallas-area company. As a child in the 1990s, she would spend some weekends with her dad on service calls — “before there were a lot of strict OSHA rules,” Green says.