Foodservice Equipment Reports

What We All Owe FEDA’s Ray Herrick

We just returned from San Antonio, Texas, and FEDA’s 2013 Annual Convention. From the sight of FEDA and Wasserstrom Co. Pres. Brad Wasserstrom riding into the opening reception on a long-horn steer, to the savory taste of chicken waffles and braised short ribs served at the closing banquet, FEDA members , suppliers and hangers-on such as ourselves had fun and did good work, as the association celebrated its 80th (yes, 80th) anniversary. The program and speakers were terrific. The interaction of attendees was lively and productive. We provide an overview in an article in this issue of FER Dealer Report.

But another important anniversary was noted prominently before the closing speaker Saturday morning. Wasserstrom and the entire FEDA community celebrated the 30th year Ray Herrick has led the organization as executive director. Though he’ll get mad at us because he likes to remain in the background, we want to take this opportunity to recognize the profound contribution Ray has made to FEDA and to the foodservice equipment and supplies business as a whole.

When Ray took over FEDA in 1983, the organization was, to be frank, a mess. Traditional dealers felt besieged by chain purchasing and distribution arms and broadline distributors. Membership had fallen, many prominent dealers were no longer members and the group’s finances were shaky.

Ray stabilized the organization quickly, working closely with a series of very talented and aggressive presidents—including our partner Ken Gill—throughout the 1980s, into the ’90s right up to the present day. He helped build membership by being personally involved with every member, large or small. He worked hard to make the annual convention a must-attend event. He helped make FEDA News & Views a prominent voice of dealer views and a profitable support of the association’s activities. He hired and led a talented, highly efficient staff. He opened up communications with other industry groups and associations. But most of all, he created a climate of calm, professional management.  He is very, very good at what he does.

Ray has also been a great friend and help to us professionally and personally, many times, in many ways. For example, when we started our Multiunit Foodservice Equipment Symposium meetings back in 2002, he advised us on how to negotiate meeting contracts. We still use the tips he taught us. That kind of selfless, behind-the-scenes assistance is one of the things that defines Ray.

If we prattle on much longer, Ray will get really mad at us. So let us just say we all owe Ray Herrick a huge thanks for helping make the E&S industry a much better place. It’s been an honor to know him and work with him all these years and we wish him, his wife Julie, and his family all the very best.



Robin Ashton


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