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From The Field - Brian Ward

Brian WardBrian Ward, co-founder and chief editor/associate publisher, has brought an enthusiasm for machinery to E&S publishing for nearly 20 years. That "gearhead" interest in how things work shows in FER's informal, candid style that "talks" to readers the way they talk with each other. He serves on the NAFEM Technical Liaison Committee as well as the advisory board of the Food Service Technology Center in San Ramon, Calif.

See all of Brian's blogs and comments

Going, But Not Gone

June 01, 2012

Greetings, all, and welcome to my last editorial written as chief editor. Not that Iíll be gone gone. Just semi-gone. Iíll still be stopping in from time to time, working on a variety of projects and writing some stories. But itís time for me to explore some other functions here in the foodservice universe as well.

Sixteen years is a great run, and a great base to continue building on. Itís hard to believe it was so long ago, 1996, when we launched FER. At the time, there was no place to go for a third-party source of equipment and supplies specs. Nobody was doing anything remotely technical. Nobody was addressing how competing products were differentiated from each other. And that was a glaring hole in the market, especially for the multiunit operator spec/buyers who liked to do their own homework.

So we charged forward. We focused on specs and differentiation, trying to help readers start sorting their options based on their own unique applications and priorities.

And then there was energy efficiency. Frankly, in the mid- to late í90s, energy was not on operatorsí radars. Food and labor, yes. Energy, no. So we spent a few years forcing readers to think about it. Fortunately, testing technology was developing rapidly, and PG&Eís Food Service Technology Center was pioneering truly scientific testing. So, on a handshake, we partnered up.

Then, in í98, I was at a Quality Assurance Study Group meeting in Santa Fe, N.M., when I picked up a voicemail from one Beth Lorenzini, whom Iíd known when we were both at Cahners Publishing Co. She had been a custom publishing specialist, which was quite a coincidence because weíd been thinking FER needed just such a person. So we partnered up.

And then, in 2000, Californiaís lights flickered. And overnight, all the big chains were scrambling over energy efficiency, and later, water too.

So itís been a great run, and as I move along, Iím very happy to hand the chief editor reins to Beth.

Best wishes to all. And Iíll still be in touch!

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