James Baldwin, Thompson & Little, Fayetteville, NC

James has been in the foodservice industry for 24 years, he is a proud Marine Corps Veteran, and he is celebrating his anniversary with Thompson & Little this week.  It’s a fitting time to celebrate his service and his accomplishments as we gear up for the 4th of July weekend!

His first experience in a commercial kitchen setting was during Marine Corps boot camp in San Diego. “Each training platoon had to do a week of kitchen duty. After boot camp, I was assigned to infantry training up the coast at Camp Pendleton. While waiting for the next training cycle, I received more kitchen duty (this was before it was outsourced),” says Baldwin.

James spent 9-1/2 months in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during the first Gulf War and was sent to Somalia in December that same year because of the desert training and combat experience his unit had. He finished his final year of his Marine Corps tour in Okinawa, Japan. “I had a first sergeant that always said, ‘In life, you can always learn from your mistakes, but in combat, they can kill you’.”

After his tour, James continued in the foodservice industry as an installer before moving into project management. As he progressed, he took on bidding, managing, and installing projects. As a result of his increased interest in design, he went back to school to get a CAD degree.

James joined the Thompson & Little team four years ago on July 1st.  He is responsible for territory sales based out of Raleigh. His role includes sales and design for Northeastern North Carolina and Southeastern Virginia, with clientele from Charlotte, North Carolina to Manassas, Virginia.

Drew O’Quinn, Vice President of Thompson & Little, had this to say, “James has all the qualities of a great DSR. He is very thorough and detailed. He is a solution provider and can connect with the customer, and James is always thirsting for more knowledge. He’s been very active in the SEFA training program, which has translated into sales growth. He is a great representative of Thompson & Little and the SEFA family.”

When your meaning of success is to make others successful, you can’t lose.

James couldn’t be happier to be on the Thompson & Little team.  “I have some growing clients that look to me for new ideas and innovations. I love bringing them ideas and helping them create new experiences for their customers. It’s a great feeling when I can help our customers be more efficient and more profitable,” says Baldwin. He also enjoys meeting new people and conquering new challenges. Building relationships with different types of people and working with them to figure out solutions to new challenges is a very rewarding aspect of his position at Thompson & Little.

Thompson & Little has always been a strong supporter of training.  They strive to provide and maximize opportunities for their team to be successful. James has taken the SEFAPro training program to new levels (pun intended).  He recently moved up to a Level 3 and will be attending the SEFAPro Celebration trip in September. “SEFA training allows you to spend more time focusing on products from specific manufacturers. In addition to product training, it provides the opportunity to meet and build stronger relationships with our supplier partners. The ability to network with peers and share experiences and knowledge is also a huge and very valuable bonus to the training program,” says Baldwin.

The best motivation comes from a grateful heart.

James said he gets his inspiration and motivation for success from his wife and son.  “We have moved around a bit as I continued on my career path in this industry. I have a fantastic and supportive wife Kim, whom I enjoy having adult beverages with after a long day. I enjoy spending time with my son, Jesse, either fishing or just pushing each other’s buttons. As a family, we enjoy going to the mountains and the beach, which we are lucky to have close to us in Raleigh.

SEFA is proud to recognize James as Featured SEFAPro. He works hard to stay on top of changing industry trends, new equipment and supplies, and innovative solutions and opportunities for his customers. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and building partnerships based on a common goal for success.  Don’t forget to wish him a happy anniversary and thank him for his service in the United States Marine Corp.  Congratulations, James!