Keeping the foodservice equipment marketplace up to date with the latest menu and concept trends.


Future Foodservice Leaders: Michael Via

Future Foodservice Leader: Michael Via, Refrigeratred Specialists Inc.

Michael ViaName: Michael Via

Company Name: Refrigerated Specialists Inc.

Title: Sales and Account Manager

Age: 40

Industry Involvement: CFESA (membership marketing committee)

Years in Foodservice: 18 years

Educational Background: High School

What's the best career advice you have been given? We have always heard that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence but I have been here for a while and my career has really grown thanks to my willingness to stick with it and grow with the company. You just don't hear about people doing that too often these days.

Describe the biggest challenge you have overcome. I started as a laborer working on machines and had to transition from the mechanical side of the company to the business side. During my first year in the office that was a challenge. And learning all of the dealers, buying groups and rep groups and keeping them straight has been a challenge, too.

What's the most important lesson you have learned? Be honest and do what you say you will do. Even when someone's personality or actions have made me want to step away from a project, I have always stuck it out. And that spreads through the industry because people know you will see your work through and address any problems.

What excites you most about the foodservice industry? The opportunity for growth. With all the new products and the way products have become more efficient, our industry is capable of more than it was before and we're not slowing down. And the beverage segment is growing and we are able to do a lot more and be more creative than we have been previously.

What has been your proudest accomplishment? Getting the job to install all the refrigeration in the new Dallas Cowboys stadium. I also designed and installed Urban Crust's ice bar that distributes 5 degree F shots and 32 degree F beer.

If you could improve one thing about the industry, what would it be? I wish everyone would play by the industry standards. And the technicians just entering the industry need to understand their education is just beginning because the more educated and specialized technicians we have the better it is for the industry.

What attracted you to the industry? I actually wanted to be a pilot when I was growing up but did not feel like going to college. I was working in air conditioning when I met one of RSI's service techs, Mike New, and he was telling me about his job and all the equipment he worked on. That struck me as interesting and I applied to the company.

What makes you want to stay in the industry? I have never stopped learning. Every time I tackle one piece of equipment, something new comes down the line. I have never felt like I mastered this industry.