Foodservice Equipment Reports

Remembering Friends

I’m fond of saying the foodservice equipment and industry is a very big business and a very small town. When I asked my friend Ken Gill nearly 20 years ago if we could borrow a couple million dollars to start Foodservice Equipment Reports, he asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I told him I wanted to spend the rest of my career with my friends. I’ve been very blessed to be able to do that.

As we gather with family and friends for the holiday season and the end of 2014, I’d like us all to remember some those friends we lost during the past year. This is a business of relationships, many of them close. Some of the following I knew as friends and mentors, with some it was a passing acquaintance, a few I never had the pleasure of knowing.

Among manufacturers we lost the past 12 months were Robert Perlick, the long-time head of Perlick; Vinnie Guariello of Blodgett; Tim Gaskill from Star; Jay Jabas, who founded Nu-Vu; Bill Gilmore co-founder of Robot Coupe USA; Roger Skillman who finished his career with Burlodge; and Patrick Huppert, a long-time applications engineer at Vollrath and Nor-Lake. Late last year, we witnessed the passing of Paul Johnson from Scotsman and Gordon Oates Jr. of Vulcan and Enodis.

Among the dealers passing were Mark Ottenheimer of Ottenheimer Equipment in Baltimore, Michael Schatz from The Restaurant Source in Denver, and a trio of famous dealer ladies, Inez Ellingson of Bargreen Ellingson, Pearl Fishman from S.S. Kemp, and Fran Gustafson of Ace-Mart.

Manufacturers’ reps are among the most visible of industry figures. Almost everyone in their territories gets to know them well. The Mid-Atlantic region lost two very well-known reps, Ken High of High-Sabatino, and Jan’s and my good friend John Bridgins of Bridgins & Associates. Other reps we lost include Larry Jaeck of Pro-Pacific Agents in the Northwest and Tom Greenwald of Top ’o the Table/Zink Marketing in the Midwest. Keith Johnson, a service agent at Jackson Service Co. in Michigan and a former CFESA board member, also passed this year.

These folks contributed greatly to this wonderful industry. We’ll miss them all.  Rest in peace, friends.

On a happier note, Vollrath turned 140 years old this year and Beverage-Air marked its 70th year in business.

From all of us at Gill Ashton Publishing, please have a joyous holiday season and a healthy, fun and wildly successful 2015. Hope to see you all at The NAFEM Show in February.


Robin Ashton


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