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In an industry as vast and diverse as foodservice, one can measure success in countless ways. From sales growth to impact on their markets served to giving back to the foodservice industry at-large, FE&S' 2009 class of Top Achievers has achievers continues to accomplish all of this and much more.
Sean Girard and Paul Swanson, Jr.
Principals, Swanson-Girard and Associates, Charlotte, NC – Manufacturers' Rep
"It was just us girls," recalls Sean Girard of the spring day in 1999 he and Paul Swanson Jr. opened their foodservice manufacturers' rep group, Swanson-Girard and Associates, in Charlotte, N.C. "Representing just two product lines, we were sitting around praying for the fax machine to ring. Every order was a celebration."
Fast forward ten years and the partners continue to celebrate. Swanson-Girard's revenues now total $28 million annually, boosted by a 2005 acquisition that doubled the number of the firm's employees. Not content to rest on their success, the duo continues to invest in the company, updating their document storage system and signing an agreement with a popular chef to demonstrate the equipment lines they sell.
Wayne C. Stoutner
President, Appliance Installation & Service Corp., Buffalo, N.Y. – Service Agent
Those contemplating climbing the heights of service-agent success should heed the words of Wayne Stoutner. "People don't get out of this industry. If you are doing a real good job for a regional manager at one chain, say, and that person moves to another multi-unit operator, this individual might bring the business from this new company to you," he says.
A good job consists of many factors, Stoutner concedes, but he insists foodservice technicians understand one important point: When they finish, they wipe their fingerprints off equipment and clean up after themselves. "That's the kind of professionalism that differentiates us from those who may charge less," he explains. Translation: Don't behave like the guys in the beat-up vans.
John Cornyn, FCSI
Principal, The Cornyn Fasano Group, Portland, Ore. – Consultant
John Cornyn, FCSI, recalls putting his bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant management to the test almost immediately as a fresh-out-of-college, second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.
"At Fort Benning I wound up spending more time dealing with officers' wives because they organized the catering events," he recalls. "I remember one who was organizing a luncheon for the officers' wives in her husband's command. She said, "Lieutenant, if you screw this up, I will rip your heart out." The luncheon came off absolutely perfectly."
Tricia Powers Dambrauskas
Vice President/CFO, B&G Restaurant Supply, Pittsfield, Mass. – Dealer
Tricia Powers Dambrauskas loves going out to dinner with family and friends. Good thing, too. "My job gives me the opportunity to go to a different restaurant each night. That way I am supporting my customer base," she says.
As part owner, vice president and chief financial officer of B&G Restaurant Supply, in Pittsfield, Mass., Dambrauskas oversees a growing number of customers, particularly in upstate New York. The company's two-year-old outpost in Albany, N.Y., added 50 new accounts this year alone, most of which are restaurants.
In an industry as vast and diverse as foodservice, one can measure success in countless ways. From significant sales growth to a lasting impact on markets served, to giving back to the foodservice industry at-large, FE&S' 2009 class of Top Achievers continues to accomplish all of these feats and much more.
Each of our Top Achievers found their own way into the foodservice industry, but their individual success stories share many common traits. Chief among them is an unwavering passion for the industry and an unflinching focus on customer care. They excel when it comes to forming relationships with their peers and other industry partners, which also plays an integral role in the success of our Top Achievers.
Although at different stages of their careers, the collective legacy of our Top Achievers will be one of innovation, professionalism and dedication. Beyond their customers and business partners, the foodservice industry remains the primary beneficiary of their efforts.
For these reasons and many more, it is with great pleasure that FE&S presents its 2009 class of Top Achievers.