Jeff Martin’s background and affinity for all things technical made his career as a foodservice equipment service technician almost predestined. He began following his passion in high school, where he took both technology and electrical programs.

“I worked for a mechanical contractor out of high school, doing electrical work, and then starting to do plumbing,” says Martin.

Fortunately, Martin learned from a master plumber and was soon on his way to getting his plumber’s license. When he saw an ad for a foodservice equipment technician position, Martin thought it was the perfect opportunity to put his electrical, plumbing and mechanical skills to use. “I was skilled in gas, electrical and plumbing, which is perfect for foodservice,” he says. “I love taking things apart and putting them back together.”

He has been working at Clark Service Group for more than 24 years.

Here, the industry veteran shares a few tips to help operators keep their foodservice equipment running as smoothly and long as possible.

jeffmartinFE&S: What’s your specialty?

JM: I prefer the hot side of equipment because I find it the most challenging. This is especially true with newer equipment as there’s a lot more electronics involved than 15 years ago. Fortunately, I feel like I’m constantly learning. If you don’t want to stay educated, you won’t stick with it. We have a great team here, which helps.

FE&S: What are the biggest mistakes to avoid with equipment?

JM: When you spray equipment down with a hose, it causes a lot of damage. When cleaning, equipment should never get internally wet. Also, when uncertified technicians do Band-Aid fixes, this can mess equipment up quickly. It’s important to fix it right the first time; otherwise, it can cost people a lot more money in the long run.

FE&S: What’s the secret to keeping today’s higher-tech equipment running?

JM: With newer high-tech equipment, preventative maintenance goes a long way. If it’s not operating at 100 percent, it should be fixed; otherwise, you’ll haveadditional problems quickly.

FE&S: What are some tips to making sure an operator keeps their warranty intact?

JM: Equipment should be installed by a qualified installer. Read the manual and understand if you’re doing something wrong when operating the unit. It’s also important to have a proactive maintenance program in place as dirty coils or equipment can lead to voiding manufacturer warranties.

FE&S: What should operators expect from their service tech?

JM: It’s important to find a tech or service company that’s a good fit, and communication is key. You need to build the relationship to make it work. In the end, it’s not just about dollars and cents. You must look at the value and quality of the service provided, along with costs. And don’t be afraid to switch to a different tech or service company if one is not working out.