Foodservice Equipment Reports
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Management Excellence Award: Consultant

No. of Employees: 14
Offices: Tustin, Calif., Colorado Springs, Colo.
Design Segments: Schools, Colleges, Healthcare, B&I, Hotels, Resorts, Restaurants and Large-Format/Culinary-Support Kitchens
Company Motto: “Through passion, integrity, collaboration and authenticity—we bring our clients exceptional results.”

Webb Design, a foodservice design consulting firm, has earned the first-ever FER Management Excellence Award—Consultant. The award recognizes companies that, among other qualities, provide exemplary management of design projects, excel at communicating with clients, manufacturers and dealers, and consistently represent the best interest of their clients.

Webb Design handles projects across many industry segments, including schools, colleges, healthcare, B&I, hotels, resorts, restaurants and large format/culinary support kitchens. It employs 14 individuals and is headquartered in Tustin, Calif., with an additional office in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Managing Principal Gina Brinegar leads the firm. Other key staff members include Costel Coca, design principal, Jim Ferguson, v.p. of sales, and Linda Midden, director of interior design.

The company recently bid farewell to founder Jim Webb, who passed away Oct. 24 from cancer. Webb started the company in 1989 and became known as a top designer across the foodservice spectrum. Before semi-retiring, Webb developed a succession plan that named Brinegar and Coca as the company’s leaders.

Brinegar worked with Webb for more than 20 years. She says collaboration with industry partners, clients and between staff has led to the company’s success.

Webb Design has teamed up on projects with Sodexho, Inc., ARAMARK and Bon Appetit Management Company over the years. The firm also has worked with Dewco Food Facility Consultants, Whittier, Calif., on large-format/culinary-support kitchens. Most recently, the company formed a partnership with San Diego-based DM&A, Inc., the largest healthcare foodservice consulting firm in North America. Under the name DM&A/Webb, the two companies will work together on design projects for the healthcare and education markets. Brinegar says the partnership will come to fruition as more hospital foodservice directors look to turn outdated cafeterias into cafés or restaurants.

“We’ve been going out and meeting with the hospitals and they have a whole new view on what foodservice should be,” she says. “They want to make a profit.”

When it comes to working with clients, she adds, Webb Design insists on collaboration versus just handing in a kitchen design.

“We focus on the whole facility versus just the kitchen,” Brinegar says. For example, the firm offers an in-house interior design department led by Midden, who has a degree in interior architecture.

Within the company, Webb Design centers on teamwork among staff. About two years ago, after learning of the severity of Webb’s illness, Brinegar remembers rallying everyone together to begin working less in a principal-centered approach and more as a team.

“We bounce everything off each other,” she says. “We peer-review all our projects at least twice a month.”

Another example of how the company works together includes the 15-min. motivational huddle held every morning. All staff members participate in the huddle and if someone’s traveling, they use Skype to take part. During the meeting, employees take turns presenting an idea or design that strikes them as motivational or inspirational.

Webb Design empowers staff to manage their own projects. In fact, last year the principals deemed the CAD employees as job captains, ultimately giving them the power to run projects.

“Our goal is to not have them be CAD people their whole lives,” she says. “We want them to move up through the company.” 

Webb Design focuses on five core values, which the principals instill in the employees at every opportunity, including the morning huddles. The core values are:

· Integrity—Webb Design instills integrity with ethics, honesty, consistency, quality, dedication, discipline, accountability and trust.
· Authenticity—Webb Design strives for authenticity by promoting individuality, originality, uniqueness, creativity and genuineness.
· Influence—Webb Design supports influence through education, inspiration, vision, community and industry involvement, leadership, passion and mentorship.
· Success—Webb Design supports success for our clients, staff, industry, environment, personal and professional goals, corporate diversity and continuous education.
· Balance—Webb Design encourages a search for balance in our personal and professional lives with family, relationships and health consciousness.

Also of note, the company serves as a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, and many employees have achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accreditation. The company also is affiliated with the National Association of College & University Food Services and, through DM&A, the Association for Healthcare Foodservice.

In the weeks following Webb’s passing, Brinegar says her biggest challenge was reassuring partners and clients that the company would survive.

“It’s going to be about overcoming people’s reservations because a lot of the times, they only knew Jim,” she says. But the firm boasts plenty of longevity with employees who’ve been around for a decade or more.

“We’ve worked for the past two years to create more of a Webb brand and to collaborate within our team,” she says. “We’re really more of a family than people just coming to work.”

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