Although Luke Gradishar has only worked 2 years as a full-time member of his family’s 67-year-old dealership business, Grady’s Foodservice Equipment and Supplies, he has been involved in the company for as long as he can remember.
college on breaks, I’d jump on a delivery crew.” “When I was a kid, I had a dolly and picked out glassware for customers,” he said. “Then, when I came home from
After college, Gradishar and his sister Jamie ran a T-shirt promotional business, but the strong pull from the family business brought them both back to the foodservice industry.
“I was able to grow with the business and understand it from a fundamental level, which has helped me tremendously,” he says.
FE&S spoke with Gradishar about his accomplishments and the influence of family on his values and work ethic.
FE&S: Do you feel any pressure as the third generation in the family business?
LG: We’ve always been a very competitive family, so I’ve strived to be the best at whatever I’m doing. Now we have the opportunity to revolutionize and do things that aren’t being done in the industry. I’m very confident in my and my coworkers’ abilities.
FE&S: What lessons did previous generations pass along that helped fuel your success?
LG: I have learned that setbacks in life are opportunities for growth. I have used my failures as a platform to grow and develop as a person, father and DSR. My greatest knowledge has come from the mistakes I have made.
FE&S: Describe your approach to troubleshooting.
LG: I look at the customer’s needs first and fulfill them without overfulfilling. For example, I recently had a school client who wanted a rack warewashing machine, and I told them a door machine would be best. They didn’t take it well at first, but then, in the end, agreed with me. It can sometimes be hard not to overstep boundaries when bringing solutions to customers who believe they know what they need. I rely on honesty and providing the best value, as it’s never about the hard sell. It takes more time to cultivate these relationships.
FE&S: What happens when something does not go as planned with a project?
LG: I do my best to resolve it and make sure I’m completely accessible. Over Labor Day weekend, we had a difficult time getting an ice machine operating, so I lent the customer a machine we had in stock until we could get it repaired. We lost money at the end of the day, but what’s right is right. For me, the best way to operate is hands-on.
FE&S: Describe your most rewarding day on the job and your biggest challenge since getting into this business.
LG: Our company was recently blessed with 45 projects and I had the opportunity to help manage many of them. What’s most rewarding is seeing the fruits of labor of the entire organization as well as watching the veterans and young people celebrate success, growth and development every day. I am fortunate to have the opportunity afforded to me from the hard work of my parents and grandparents, and I am forever grateful for a career in this industry and thankful for all it provides for my two little girls and wife.