June 11, 2012
Many of you know the story of the founding of Foodservice Equipment Reports. Brian Ward, Jennifer Hicks and I created this magazine during a lunch in June 1995. We wanted to do a publication for big operators that compared products and named names. Brian, who still likes motorcycles and fast cars, came up with the idea we could be Car & Driver for those who spec and buy fryers and ovens at chains and big institutions. With the financial backing of the Gill family, prominent dealers in this business, and the sales help of our partner Rich Chrampanis, we now have 17 years of history.
Now that history is changing. Jennifer, who we hired 20 years ago at our old magazine, has taken a new job overseeing the websites of a medical society in Chicago. Smart, talented folks like Jen sometimes just need to do something new and challenging. We wish her the very best in her new endeavors.
Brian, who I hired as a senior editor in 1986, will step back from the day-to-day demands of running FER’s editorial operations, demands that kept him from some things he loves to do. Like write and research stories about the people and products of this industry. And that’s what he plans to do in his new role. Since he’s one of the very best and most knowledgeable writers this business has ever seen, I’m very excited about what he can continue to contribute to the magazine. Both Jen and Brian remain partners in the enterprise, by the way.
As our new chief editor Beth Lorenzini mentions in her inaugural editorial, succession in small organizations can be very difficult. At Gill Ashton, we’ve been very lucky to have her as a parallel chief editor for nearly 14 years. She has created and run Food Safety Illustrated for the NRA’s Educational Foundation, NAFEM in Print and NAFEM for Operators for NAFEM, our own supplement Focus on Healthcare Foodservice, now in its seventh year, and, since 2010, FCSI-The Americas Quarterly. She has amazing energy, creativity and curiosity, and we can’t wait to see what she does with FER. Oh, and she gets to keep overseeing her other magazines, too. It’s a big job but we know how well she can do it.
But these changes are not all that’s new at Gill Ashton. We are creating a new awards program including new “Management Excellence” and “Young Lion” awards for operators, dealers and other industry folks. We will host an event honoring the winners on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013 at The NAFEM Show in Orlando, Fla.
And we’ve just completed a big new “neutral list” readership study that clearly shows FER continues to be the best received, best read and most credible and useful source of information about E&S for the broad E&S market. More on the event and readership study later, but thank you all for reading and being part of this history these 17 years.