Foodservice Equipment Reports


One of the most fun things I get to do every couple years is go to The NAFEM Show. By the time you read this, I’ll be down in Orlando, hanging out with my friends. That includes you. Hope you make it.

This past Sunday, Feb. 6, marked 33 years since I went to work for Jane Wallace as a feature editor at what was then known as Institutions magazine. I met Deirdre Flynn, now NAFEM’s executive v.p., in 1981 when I was executive editor at R&I and she was (very young) and the doing PR for NAFEM at Smith Bucklin. Except when I was doing other magazines for Cahners in 1989 and ’95, I’ve been to every NAFEM Show since then. NAFEM used to call it “The Industry Meeting Place.” It still is. And that’s why it is so important and so much fun. It’s the one time so many of us, in this very diverse, very complicated industry, get together in one place.

This will be a very good NAFEM. Dee will tell you that the “problem shows” always end in “9”. Certainly 2009 was a challenge. That includes for me:  Two years ago I could barely walk because of a herniated disk in my back; world-class back surgery fixed it. And NAFEM did OK in ’09, too. Everyone had already signed up before things went south.

Now, after two of the toughest years we’ve ever seen in the business, things are looking up. We’ll see that optimism on the floor. I’m excited and I’m looking forward to it.

I hope I get to say hello to you. I’ve long said this is a very small town. NAFEM normally attracts about 20,000 people. That’s the size of the small Illinois town in which I grew up. In my more than three decades in the business, I’ve met at least half of you. I look forward to seeing you again this week and meeting the half of you I haven’t yet encountered.



Robin Ashton


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