Matt White, Boelter
Like so many others in the foodservice industry, Matt White has a diverse background. It includes working with a distributor, manufacturer and even a rep group. What sets White apart, though, is his ability to transport all that knowledge he’s accumulated over the years and apply it to any given situation.
Six years ago, White took a job with Boelter in the dealer’s Chicago office, where he now serves as a project manager. His book of business includes working with schools, corporate feeders, colleges and more.
Q: Your background includes working for a distributor, a factory and even a rep firm. How does that background help support your current role as a project manager?
A: I know a little more about certain lines of equipment than most people do from my time in the rep industry. And I have a network of contacts I can reach out to from that time to help. I was at a job site and the speed-cook oven had a few issues. I remembered the error codes and was able to contact the company and get the unit reset right away. So, I am still able to leverage that knowledge from when I worked at a rep group.
Q: You’ve worked on some big projects that involve lots of different players from architects to foodservice designers to dealers. How do you coordinate all the details?
A: On one stadium job, I was in constant contact with the foodservice designer. I also got in contact with the general contractor, introducing myself to them and sharing my contact information so if they have any issues, they can reach out to me. I also asked for the contact information for the plumber, millworker, etc., so I knew who to contact as the job progressed. The silver lining of the past year is being able to be on these video calls. That way, when there was an issue, someone could pull up a screen and point out that issue and we could discuss the solution. That was the best way to handle some challenges. This is really the case with remote jobs where you can’t be there all the time.
Q: Lately you’ve been getting into design more. What’s attracting you to this aspect of the business?
A: I am not an old-school guy, but I do remember the old-school days watching designers sitting at the drawing board doing their work. I am not, by any means, a pro at it, but I am learning myself. Learning design allows you to bookend a project from front to back. It’s more fun to sit with an owner, learn their needs and be able to draw it out right then and there. It immediately demonstrates your value. They can see you know what you are doing and there’s some added trust there.
Q: Supply chain issues have been impacting dealers and projects across the country. How has this impacted your work?
A: It’s not even just the supply chain issue. It’s labor on the job. Weather can become a factor. I just got an email about a truck driver shortage. All these factors impact the delivery dates of a project. You really have to be able to adapt on the fly. I was working on a project in Texas where there was a freeze there back in February. They had to open all the walls to make sure the pipes did not freeze. And that pushed the job back two months. And I’ve been delayed three times since there. But the date by which this operation had to be open was not moving. So, I had to find some equipment that would pass a health inspection so we could open on time. Sometimes you have to do some things you would not normally do.