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The NAFEM Show Was Great. Now Use It!

We had a fun and productive  NAFEM Show in Orlando a couple weeks ago. We hope you did, too. Since the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers began staging this biennial show in the early 1970s, it’s been an opportunity for the entire equipment and supplies industry—manufacturers, manufacturers’ reps, dealers and distributors, consultants, service agents, multiunit operators and the foodservice media—from North America and around the world, to come together. We party, we interact, we make deals and we look under the hoods of the latest equipment, keep an eye out for labor saving and food safety promoting kitchenware, and take a gander at the latest designs in tabletop and servingware. There’s a lot of fun in-between.

Our NAFEM began Tuesday night, Feb. 7, at a reception for the Foodservice Consultants Society Int’l. at Sea World, and ended at the Orange County Convention Center Saturday, Feb. 11 at the NAFEM closing party featuring the rock band The Killers. During the show, we were based in the spiffy new booth we share with our WAI colleagues, Specifi Global and Ignitor Labs. They had a very busy show demonstrating their software products.

But we FERsters spent most of our time, as we typically do, on the show floor, visiting customers and looking for the latest new products. Our friend and new V.P. of Business Development Chuck Quinn was out running around, introducing himself in his new role as a media person. A lot of our visits are joint editor-salesperson calls. We enjoy catching up with friends and seeing their latest and greatest. The editors check out the new products and discuss upcoming product features. We sales types mostly stay low-key, knowing our customers are at the show to see their customers.   

The NAFEM show is also where FER holds its every- other-year Industry Awards event. On Friday, Feb. 10, we hosted nearly 450 people and presented 17 Management Excellence, Industry Service and Young Lion Awards to chain and noncommercial operators, dealers, reps, consultants and service agents. It was once again an enjoyable and very satisfying evening. There are few things we do that are more important than honoring the best individuals and organizations in our business and making them feel good about what they do.

We were also pleased to see that NAFEM itself honored a number of our operator and manufacturer friends. Martin Cowley, retired from the Disney Co.; Mike Harlamert, retired from Yum! Brands; and Roy Hook, retired from Wendy’s Restaurants received NAFEM Awards of Merit. All three are past winners of FER Industry Service Awards. And two of the nicest and most dedicated manufacturer executives in the business, both NAFEM past-presidents, were presented with NAFEM’s two highest awards. Steve Follett, of Follett/Middleby received the President’s Award. And Paul Angrick, most recently at Middleby Corp., received the William W. Carpenter Award.     

In the end, the NAFEM Show is really about two things: the relationships and the products. Our editors will help remind you of scores of new products they saw in April’s issue of FER. We hope you will use them in your operations or use them to help enhance your customers’ operations. The relationships can last a lifetime. I met Paul Angrick in 1983 when he was marketing manager at the Intedge Co. in New Jersey. I think I met Steve Follett the same year. And look how far they’ve come.  


Robin Signature


Robin Ashton


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