FER EXCLUSIVE: Honoring Excellence At A New Level

We have helped create quite a few awards in the more than 30 years we’ve been involved with the foodservice equipment and supplies industry. The goals of any awards program are to recognize organizations and individuals who do things well, and to hold them up as example for others.

When we created our new Management Excellence Awards, we saw an opportunity to do something new and different, but we also had some challenges. We wanted the new award to be unique. Foodservice Equipment Reports serves a very diverse audience including chain and other commercial foodservice operators, noncommercial operators across all the onsite segments, E&S dealers and distributors and consulting firms. We wanted an award that applies to all of these different kinds of organizations.

It also was important that we create an award that doesn’t appear arbitrary or political. Finally, because we will present the awards during The NAFEM Show, we wanted to involve the manufacturing community in the process as much as possible.

So we borrowed an idea from large accounting firms that recognize excellence in management. With the help of knowledgeable manufacturers, operators, dealers and consultants, we determined sets of specific criteria of what constitutes management excellence in the four audience segments mentioned above. And we decided to give six of them because we know larger and smaller chain operations and dealerships are managed differently.

We started with the following criteria that apply to all four segments:

· Honesty, transparency and integrity in dealing with employees, suppliers and customers
· Deeply knowledgeable management and personnel
· Consistency and excellence in execution
· Consistent revenue and profit growth (where known and applicable)
· Creativity and innovation
· A significant contribution to the industry

The segment-specific criteria are frankly too detailed for this overview, but you can access them by contacting Robin Ashton at rashton@fermag.com.

Equally important, we asked 28 people, all but one working for manufacturers, to serve on Awards Selection Advisory Boards. These judges were chosen for their broad and deep experience and knowledge of the players in the segments they were considering. We had three boards, one for chains, one for noncommercial operators and consultants, and one for dealers (see sidebar below).

Once the criteria were set early last summer, we solicited nominations in the six categories from the wide manufacturing community and from the judges themselves. More than 35 organizations were nominated over the summer, with multiples in every single category.

Then the real fun began. In early September, we staged the actual judging. The judges called in from all over the world, since most of them have sales and marketing roles. The discussions were very lively. There was pressure on all of us; the first time you create any new award, you can’t make a mistake. In the end, we were able to achieve consensus on every single winner.

While all the winners do nearly everything in their category well, each has an aspect or two that particularly stands out.

The chain judges noted that the facilities and E&S personnel at Subway—Ed Degnan in particular—and its IPC co-op have maintained consistency and fairness throughout the system’s long decades of growth, first in the U.S. and then worldwide. The judges also noted the group’s creativity, most notably in the famous Coke-fast oven deal of a decade ago.

Rick Payne at Cheddar’s Casual Café, the chain winner with fewer than 250 units, is what one judge called a consummate professional in an organization small enough that Payne does most everything from food to E&S oversight himself.

The foodservice staff, at the Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University, led by Mary Angela Miller and Julie Jones, has managed a massive rebuilding and renovation of its foodservice facilities during the past few years that is still ongoing. One judge noted that the staff’s ability to communicate effectively with administration, consultants and suppliers has been remarkable.

Webb Design, the consulting firm winner led by Jim Webb, who sadly passed away last fall, and Gina Brinegar, has long been known for its creative and efficient design work and its ability to partner with suppliers and others—it has a unique working partnership with Don Miller & Associates (DM&A) on the healthcare side, for example—as it strives to give its clients facilities that work.

We received more nominations in the dealer categories than in any of the others, perhaps a sign that there are many distributors doing a good job. But when the judging occurred, it didn’t take long for the judges to settle on Bargreen Ellingson for the larger category award and Mobile Fixture for dealers with less than $40 million in sales.

What led the judges to settle on Bargreen was brothers Paul and Rick Ellingson’s long and fervent commitment and investment in training and education—of its own personnel and its customers—and their passion and service to the industry as a whole. Both have served as president of the Foodservice Equipment Distributors Association (FEDA). With Paul’s son David now serving as president, the company has smoothly managed the difficult transition to the third generation.

Commitment to training and the knowledge of its personnel was mentioned as a factor in naming Mobile Fixture, as well. But the judges also praised how well Walne Donald, president, and all those at Mobile Fixture communicate with customers and suppliers, even as the dealership has grown rapidly.

We know you’ll find it fascinating to read more about each of these organizations in the pages that follow. We at FER want to thank, once again, all those who helped with this process.

And we hope many of you can join us as we honor the Management Excellence Award winners at our Industry Awards event on Friday night, Feb. 8, 2013, at the Peabody Hotel, Orlando, Fla., during The NAFEM Show. To see details and purchase tickets, go to https://www.fermag.com/event-calendar/fer-industry-awards-2013.html

FER Management Excellence Awards Selection Advisory Boards

Chains and Commercial Operators: Dave Brewer, Middleby; Kevin Fink, Scotsman/Ice-O-Matic; Gerry Kenlon, Metro; Dean Landeche, Manitowoc Foodservice; Bryan London, Power Soak; Rick McCaffrey, GHA Architects (formerly Brinker Int’l.); Lyall Newby, Electrolux (formerly with Standex); Jason Prondzinski, ITW FEG; Chuck Quinn, Cambro; Mike Whiteley, Hatco.

Dealers: Mark Brenner, Eagle ; George Campise, Unified Brands; Jim Cullinane, Vulcan/ ITW FEG; Gary Dykstra, Manitowoc Foodservice; John Muldowney, Alto-Shaam; Rich Packer, American Metal Craft; Dennis Park, Vollrath; Mark Pumphret, Hatco.

Noncommercial Operators & Consultants: Terry Brewer, Thermo-Kool; Keith Carpenter, Wood Stone; David Ciampoli, Meiko; Rod Collins, Rod Collins Associates; Mitch Cohen, Unified Brands (formerly with Victory Refrigeraton); Rob Geile, ITW FEG; Terry Hoelle, Lakeside/Sandstone Group; Jack Scott, Alto-Shaam; Paul Swanson, Metro; Greg Wait, Salvajor.

For full profiles of the award winners, please select from below:

Cheddar’s Casual Cafe
Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University
Webb Design
Bargreen Ellingson
Mobile Fixture



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