Editor’s Take: Inspiring Dreams


What did you want to be when you grew up? According to one recent survey, most adults say they dreamed of being a doctor or a veterinarian, a movie star, musician or professional athlete. There were the hopeful writers, artists and teachers, as well as police officers or business owners. (I always loved magazines as a kid, and cut out pictures or drew my own to fill homemade tabloids that I distributed to my unwitting “subscribers”—i.e., my family and friends.)  

Today’s kids want something a little different, but not totally surprising. A Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Lego last summer found that most children in the U.S. now dream of being a YouTuber/Vlogger when they grow up. That’s followed by teacher, pro athlete, musician and astronaut.

Notably, what’s missing from both of these dream job lists are plumbers, electricians, service technicians and other skilled labor professions. It’s not just notable, it’s measurable. Entrepreneur magazine cites a Deloitte study that found the skills gap in this country may leave some 2.4 million positions unfilled between 2018 and 2028, resulting in an economic impact of $2.5 trillion. 

It’s a point at least one speaker raised from the stage of Foodservice Equipment Report’s Multiunit Foodservice Equipment Symposium, which we held in Nashville in January. “We have to start talking about careers in restaurants,” said Cha Nye Farley, vice president of construction and facilities, Smashburger. “We need to change the conversation. We need to highlight what you can do. It’s not just serving guests.” We need to show kids a range of opportunities after high school, Farley added. “We have to change the culture.”

Recruiting and retaining young talent in the E&S industry is a real challenge. And it’s going to take a creative, sustained and proactive effort to overcome it. 

There’s reason to be hopeful, though. The six leaders, all ages 40 or younger, that make up our 2020 class of Young Lions Award winners not only are steering and shaping the future of the industry. Many of these rising stars—among them a dealer, consultant, service agent, manufacturers’ rep, chain and K-12 operator—also are mentoring the next generation. They’re leading by example and doing their part to change the conversation. And that’s pretty cool—almost as cool as being an astronaut.

Kelly Killian
Editor-in-Chief & Chief Content Officer



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