Adam Shepard, C&T Design and Equipment Co.
Like father, like son. In some cases, this cliche may not be a compliment, but in the case of Adam Shepard and his late father Marvin, it’s more than appropriate and only in the most positive of ways. Adam’s father worked for a couple of foodservice equipment and supplies dealers and even ran his own company, Jamaica Hotel Suppliers. His love for the industry was always on display, and even prompted Adam to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Adam’s career spans 30 years working for foodservice equipment and supplies dealers. He joined C&T Design and Equipment Co. 12 years ago and maintains a diverse base of hospitality-focused clients in a variety of markets, both domestic and abroad.
Q: You also work high-profile owner’s rep firms like Iron Bridge Consulting. What’s the key to meeting their standards while keeping these projects moving?
A: Understand your clients’ requirements. Listen to what they are actually telling you. Manage your projects. And do your best to exceed their expectations. We focus on fit, form and finish. It’s a mantra I learned from a living legend, former Middleby CEO Selim Bassoul. When you sit with one of the greats, take advantage and listen.
Q: Over the years you have worked on projects in at least 13 countries. How do you keep these projects on target without any details slipping through the cracks?
A: That current distinction falls on my right hand, Tammy Scerbo, as she is a master of organization. When there is a wrong on someone’s part, she steadies our ship with data and details to keep us moving forward. Her husband Bill is in our industry and suggested I ask her for help after closing a large Caribbean project early on in my tenure with C&T. They are a family of achievers and I’m grateful to them both.
Q: Your team has individuals working from locations in different cities. This was something you were doing even before the pandemic hit. How do you keep the team operating as a cohesive unit?
A: Early on I realized that with technology your reach can extend as far as required to garner talent. Our industry is mature and necessary on many levels. For that reason, having the right attitude, work ethic and skill set shouldn’t be hampered by geography. By the time a job is ready to install, our side of the equation is, for the most part, settled, and our goals are aligned within our professional team.
Q: What’s your approach to resolving some of the challenges with the foodservice industry supply chain?
A: Time and money — you need both to execute a job well in today’s environment. C&T being financially sound and flexible allowed me to keep my core team of installers and fabricators up to date with their payrolls. We weathered the storm by focusing on design-build, buying early and storing as required. If we want to deliver the best, we have to support the best, especially in hard times. If we can’t be in a situation where we can add value or a job feels too transactional, it may not be a great fit for our enterprise.
Foodservice Equipment & Supplies Presents DSR 3-2-1 is sponsored by Salvajor.