Featured SEFAPros Archive – 2018

Eric Hsieh, Action Sales, Monterey Park, California

Eric has been in the foodservice industry for six years. “Action Sales was my first job in foodservice. I was referred to the company by a friend who worked here. I was exposed to the foodservice industry at a young age. My family dined out very often and opened a restaurant in Seattle when I was young,” says Hsieh.

It’s no surprise that Eric was named FE&S DSR of the month in October of 2017. His role at Action is mainly training, project management and business development. “I love learning about new products and concepts so being able transmit that knowledge to new trainees is very enjoyable,” says Hsieh. On the projects side, he manages the equipment and tableware portion of a wide variety of projects by consolidating deliveries, meeting deadlines, and sourcing whatever the client requires. “I share thoughts on new products, food concepts and ideas to our team. We pool our knowledge and expertise to bring in new products to meet changing demands,” says Hsieh.

Knowledge, experience, and passion.  If you have that, you have it all. 

The main thing Eric enjoys about his position is the challenge of solving issues and learning more about the industry. “The foodservice industry is constantly changing and evolving so it is never boring. Accumulated knowledge and experience is very important so a passion for learning helps. I love being able to impart some of that knowledge to our new trainees,” says Hsieh.

Here’s what Jack Chang, Vice President of Action Sales, had to say, “Eric is a super star in project management and training. He always shares his knowledge and utilizes his experience to train fellow teammates. We are very proud of his achievements.”

Eric is very successful in the SEFAPro training program. “SEFA training has definitely helped me broaden my knowledge of the foodservice industry. The greatest part of SEFA training is the people you meet. The manufacturer trainers have extensive foodservice experience that extends beyond the manufacturer they currently work for and a few are directly involved in new product design. An open discourse with these people is invaluable to learning and a connection with them helps resolve future problems in the field.  Meeting other professionals in the same field at the National Sales Conferences has also helped me professionally. I have built rewarding relationships with other dealers local to me and across the country. Understanding how my peers work and deal with issues in our field gives me direction and a broader perspective of my own work,” says Hsieh.

“My grandfather has always been a great inspiration to me. He had the courage to move his family to America and without even understanding much English was able to raise my mother and her sister. His work ethic, detail, and integrity is something I aspire to,” says Hsieh.

Eric currently resides in Arcadia, California. His main hobby is reading. “I enjoy reading a wide variety of genres but my favorite is historical nonfiction. History is philosophy taught by example and I love learning. I also love eating and drinking which, luckily, helps in my field,” says Hsieh.

SEFA is proud to recognize Eric as Featured SEFAPro. The 110% he puts into everything he does makes it impossible for him to achieve anything short of success.  He is dedicated to the industry, Action Sales, his customers, and his colleagues. His passion for knowledge and his desire to share it with his team and his customers makes him a very valuable player in our industry.  Congratulations, Eric!

Shawna Snyder, Avanti Restaurant Solutions, Folsom, California

Shawna joined the Avanti Restaurant Solutions team with a background of over 25 years of foodservice experience. She is a kitchen equipment and restaurant solutions provider specializing in chain development and fast casual dining. “My experience has ranged from field operations to project management, and being an operational expert allows me to highlight key business factors that help our customers make informed decisions, while building solid partnerships,” says Snyder.

As a project manager for Avanti Restaurant Solutions, Shawna is extremely results-oriented, with a sense of urgency to complete projects quickly and accurately. “At the end of the day, it is about taking care of the customer and doing the right thing,” says Snyder.

Her role includes overseeing the planning and implementation of kitchen equipment rollouts successfully. “I’ve got a checklist for getting the job done right—paying attention to details, setting priorities, time management—but I’ve found that being sincere and able to understand where other people are coming from is invaluable,” says Snyder.

Starting each day dedicated to strong Core Values attracts success.

Avanti Restaurant Solutions is known for operating with a strong set of Core Values that everyone on the Avanti team embodies. “The Avanti Core Value that I most identify with is Insist on Integrity. Integrity is the stem of where trust is built and true partnerships grow from customers to colleagues. Doing the right thing even when we are not in the same room, is the true meaning of integrity,” says Snyder.

Shawna loves this industry and the endless opportunities to learn something new. She is very successful in the SEFAPro program and is currently a Level 1 and climbing. “Fortunately for me, SEFA offers so many different avenues to gain knowledge from the great resources online, webinars and sales conferences. I have never experienced an organization that is as passionate about their educational resources as SEFA,  This gave me the opportunity to quickly become a level 1 within a year at Avanti. A special recognition to Lee Davis for organizing study sessions to help me prepare for the CFSP exam.” says Snyder.

We asked Shawna who has inspired her along the way. She said, “My father was a hard worker and very passionate about doing the right thing in his career. I owe my passion and integrity to him. I respect and appreciate his long lectures he preached when I was growing up! Maybe not so much as a teen, but definitely now as an adult!”

“I live near Sacramento, California which means I am a short drive to the beach, mountains, the city and of course my personal favorite- wine country! I love to travel whether it is close to home for a quick weekend getaway or a big adventure to another part of the world. My husband and I have recently become empty nesters from our amazing (4) children and may be enjoying it a little too much,” says Snyder.

SEFA is proud to recognize Shawna Snyder as Featured SEFAPro. She is dedicated, reliable, professional, and friendly. She has a visible passion for achieving goals and doing the right thing. Her zest for life is contagious. Congratulations, Shawna!

Stephen Vice, Lafayette Restaurant Supply, Inc.
Lafayette, LA

Stephen entered the foodservice industry when he joined Lafayette Restaurant Supply four years ago. He had been out of college for about a year working at a job that didn’t really excite him when a great opportunity appeared. “Through mutual friends, I ran in to Ashley Thibeaux, wife of Lafayette owner Poonie Thibeaux. I mentioned to her that I was in the process of looking for a new job, to which she told me about a new sales position at Lafayette Restaurant Supply.  I applied the next day, and the rest is history!” says Vice.

“My job description is inside sales, but I try to handle a little bit of everything, if I can,” says Vice.  His role includes answering the phone, taking care of showroom customers, and generating quotes for existing and new customers. He does his own purchasing for supplies and equipment, handles smallware bids for school boards, packs and ships orders, unloads freight trucks, and makes deliveries when needed. He is all in.

The ability to build relationships with sincere interest and respect is not something that can be taught.

“I really enjoy the people in this industry.  I sincerely enjoy building relationships with our customers and learning about their businesses. Helping new business owners achieve their visions and goals is very gratifying. Finding out about great new places to eat is also a very nice bonus,” says Vice.

Stephen has been quickly climbing the SEFAPro ladder and is very successful in the program. “Coming in to this job I had no foodservice experience.  Going to SEFA conferences and using the training tools on the SEFA website were integral to my learning process.  I spent most of my first few weeks watching past webinars and going through the training resources that were on the SEFA website.  When I went to my first conference in San Antonio, I was blown away by the detail and new knowledge I was acquiring from these manufacturers. It’s always a great benefit to me to attend the SEFA conferences and continue to grow in the foodservice industry,” says Vice.

It’s hard to compete with a company that has a strong and talented team.

“If I had to pick someone who has inspired me to get to where I am today, it would have to be my co-worker Heather Isham.  She only started with the company a little over a year ago, but in that year, we’ve worked side by side and have really developed a great professional and personal relationship.  She is always pushing me to be a better salesperson, and especially a better SEFAPro!  In turn, it’s also benefited me to help train her and share with her the knowledge that I have gained from SEFA,” says Vice.

Stephen is from Loreauville, Louisiana. He says it’s a very small town with one traffic light, where everyone knows your name. He moved to Lafayette for college and has been there for 10 years.  “My extra-curricular activities usually include some social aspect.  Whether it be attending the numerous Louisiana festivals, cycling events, or even some online gaming. I’m always surrounded by close friends,” says Vice.

SEFA is proud to recognize Stephen as Featured SEFAPro. He is dedicated, reliable, professional, and friendly. He puts 100% into everything he does and is no stranger to success. Stephen enjoys being a team player and it shows.

Diane Cole, Reinhart Foodservice, Lee’s Summit, MO

Diane joined the foodservice industry thirty-five years ago. While attending college, she took a position  as a fill in foodservice manager at Target in Iowa. She was promoted and transferred to Nebraska for a new store opening. Her successful foodservice career path was launched into high gear when she became a district foodservice manager for over twenty-two stores in California.

When a great opportunity to become a buyer for a local food distributor came her way, she jumped on it. She was able to join Reinhart Foodservice when they purchased the food distributor in 2012.  She said the acquisition of this company by Reinhart opened a whole new set of doors to a variety of new opportunities.  Diane has been with the company for fifteen years and couldn’t be happier. Her responsibilities include the purchase of disposables, smallwares, and larger foodservice equipment. She also purchased all dry grocery for twelve years. “Reinhart and SEFA training gives me the opportunity to learn more about non-food items, smallwares and equipment, which has been a goal of mine. I am very excited to expand sales in this area of business for Reinhart,” says Cole.

“I enjoy the constant change in this industry. Never a dull moment! There’s always something new and exciting on a daily basis,” says Cole.

Diane is very successful in the SEFAPro program.  “I look forward to SEFA conferences and SEFA Academy. The motivational speakers expand not only professional, but personal areas of growth,” says Cole.  Diane is excited to announce that she is now a ServSafe trainer.  “Lee Davis inspired me to become a ServSafe trainer. He is a wonderful teacher and I enjoy gaining knowledge from him. My previous foodservice background made it easier to become a trainer, but he was very encouraging and has helped me many times along the way. SEFA has so many opportunities to learn about equipment whether it is at the conferences training with top manufacturers directly, or through online webinars,” says Cole.

Diane always expresses gratitude for the people in her life that have been instrumental to her success, when we asked if there was someone in particular that has inspired her she said, “My high school and college choral directors both inspired me to know that I had the ability to lead and go as far as I wanted to in life.”

Diane was born and raised on an Iowa farm. She loves her farm girl roots. Diane was a voice major in college and still enjoys singing. She lives in Lee’s Summit, MO, part of the Kansas City Metro area. Life is good for Diane. “I am happily married to my husband Dan for 33 years. We have two beautiful daughters and our first grandchild was born in March. We love to spend weekends at the lake on our pontoon and sip Margaritas! We also love to travel to any tropical area with white sand and sunny beaches, and of course we enjoy following the Nebraska Cornhuskers!” says Cole.

SEFA is proud to recognize Diane as Featured SEFAPro. She works hard and is very focused. She operates with a strong sense of daily gratitude and loyalty to everyone in her life. Basically, she is loving life and it’s contagious.  She is a joy to be around. Congratulations, Diane!

Edmond Kwok, Budget Restaurant Supply
Houston, Texas

Edmond had an early taste of the restaurant business. At the age of 13, he began working and learning at his family restaurant.

Edmond was a test engineer at Foxconn Assembly, running test and diagnosis on Cisco Routers for six years, before joining Budget Restaurant Supply. As fate would have it, Edmond found himself having great conversations with David Chan at a wedding party, which led to an offer for a position at Budget Restaurant Supply. Edmond happily accepted the offer and found himself back to his roots, in the foodservice industry.

A new and amazing direction can happen overnight if you’re paying attention.

Edmond has been with Budget for seven years. He is on the purchasing team and the sales team. He also manages special projects and key customer accounts.  “I was very green when I first started, but the Chan brothers helped me a lot and I now feel more comfortable with my sales skills and contribution to Budget,” says Kwok.

David Chan, president of Budget said, “Edmond has been with us for seven years. He started as a Sales Associate, and through his SEFA training, along with his daily operations experience, he has grown into an exceptional SEFAPro.”

Edmond enjoys going to job sites and helping customers resolve issues.  He loves the feeling of accomplishment when a project is complete from start to finish.

“The opportunities through Budget and SEFA training have played a big role in helping me become a better salesman. The product training at SEFA National Sales Conferences have given me product knowledge, which many times has sealed the deal on a sales call. SEFA training has built my confidence and taught me how to approach new customers. I was never good at meeting new people before coming to Budget,” says Kwok.

Having truly good people in your life is a gift that can never be replaced.

We asked Edmond if there was anyone that inspires him or has helped him to get to where he is today. He said, “David Chan inspires me. He offered me a job knowing I had no experience in foodservice equipment sales. Chan’s family took a chance on me, gave me opportunities, and taught me everything I needed to know to become more successful. They also helped me during a very tough time after my stroke.  They are so much more than a boss, they are family.

Edmond was born in Hong Kong and moved to the United States when he was eleven years old. He still has family in Hong Kong, but his mother and sister are in Houston, Texas with him.  Edmond loves cooking and baking. He also enjoys snowboarding, playing poker, and singing Karaoke.

SEFA is proud to recognize Edmond as Featured SEFAPro.  He is friendly to everyone and liked by all. His knowledge, professionalism, and passion is unmatched.  He is always striving to learn as much as he can and better his best for Budget, his colleagues, and his customers.  A great addition to the Featured SEFAPro hall of fame.  Congratulations, Edmond!

Lee Chappell, Culinary Depot, Monsey, NY

Lee joined the foodservice industry as a cook at a Sonic drive-in back in April of 1993. From there, he worked at a number of restaurants in various positions including bussing, serving, bartending, and management.

All of his industry experience paid off when he joined Culinary Depot in March of 2013. Lee currently works in the government contracting department of Culinary Depot.  He travels to different branches of the armed services, prisons, and hospitals. “In my spare time, I help local restaurants reach their full potential.  I really enjoy designing more effective kitchen layouts, and learning about the latest technology in the foodservice industry,” says Chappell.

Consistent training equals consistent growth. Being passionate about training magnifies the results.

Lee takes training very seriously and is currently a Level 2 SEFAPro. “SEFA Training has helped me tremendously.  Without Culinary Depot and SEFA, I would not have had the opportunities to meet with the manufacturers for hands-on training.  I feel the training we receive at the conferences, and online, is invaluable,” says Chappell.

We asked Lee if there was someone that helped him to get to where he is today. “I was bartending when I met Charles Jones, owner of CMARK.  I told Charles I was tired of working late nights and wanted more time to spend with my family.  He asked me to stop by his office for an interview, after an hour he offered me a job selling equipment to the federal government.  During the 5 years I worked for him, I learned how to navigate contracting, the FAR, GSA, and its personnel,” says Chappell.

Lee lives in Columbia, South Carolina.  “I have three boys, two dogs, and one beautiful wife! Usually on the weekends, you will find me on the soccer fields watching my sons play or watching a football game on TV,” says Chappell.

SEFA is proud to recognize Lee as Featured SEFAPro. He is dedicated and passionate about his work, his customers, his colleagues, and most of all his family.  Congratulations, Lee!

Keith Schumacher, CWD, Aberdeen, South Dakota

Keith has been in this industry for 45 years.  He worked in a local restaurant / pub during his college years. After graduating, he worked for a printing firm, but found that he could put his degree to better use by designing kitchens and dining areas. Keith went full force into the foodservice industry and has never looked back.

“Being involved in this industry has been very rewarding.  The greatest rewards come from the relationships and friendships I have developed over the years. Helping our customers become more successful has really made me happy,” says Schumacher.

Keith joined CWD 38 years ago and couldn’t be happier to be on the team. His role includes equipment and supply sales and design.  He works on bid projects and a few chain accounts.  “I sell and spec foodservice items and, with the help of the main office, put my thoughts and the customer’s thoughts into drawings to help them move their project forward,” says Schumacher.

It takes passion, knowledge, and determination to conquer the challenges for your customers so that they can realize the rewards.

It’s not an easy job.  “I have found the industry to be very challenging at times as you are always working with critical time factors. But, it’s always gratifying when everything comes together for your very happy customer. It’s never boring. No Day is Ever the Same,” says Schumacher.

When Keith sets out to do something, success is the result.  CWD has always been a strong proponent of SEFA training. Keith has always been successful with SEFA training, earning recognition in the early days of SEFA training (before SEFAPro).  He kept the momentum going with the SEFAPro program and is currently a Level 6!

Keith has been a part of SEFA through CWD, from the very beginning. “SEFA has played a very important role in expanding my knowledge about foodservice equipment and supply products and the industry. The factory reps and key factory connections have helped me assist customers with sales and offer solutions to their challenges and issues.  The best thing gained from the SEFA conferences are the relationships with the great people in this industry and the knowledge that we are all in this together.  I always know that there is another support center out there to help me. Everybody has the bad day and the great day, and we all understand what that means in this industry,” says Schumacher.

When you find that your inspiration comes from within your close circle, you know you’re in the right place.

Keith definitely inspires his customers and colleagues.  We asked Keith who inspires him. He said, “The very first owner of CWD when I started this adventure, Chuck Hogg, was very supportive from the start. My current manager, Chris Abraham is always very encouraging and supportive.  Chris and I have been together for many years, yet miles apart, with his office in Kearney, Nebraska and my office in Aberdeen, South Dakota.  Chris always comes up with ideas that help me to use my years of experience and years of SEFA training to make things possible.

Keith lives in Aberdeen, South Dakota with his wife of 41 years, Marie. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Keith is a huge football fan. In fact, he enjoys working the side line chain gang for local NSU football games. He says there’s no better way to watch a game.  He also like to hunt pheasants. One of his greatest and most enjoyable hobbies is spoiling his grandchildren.

SEFA is proud to recognize Keith Schumacher as Featured SEFAPro.  The knowledge, experience, passion, and loyalty he brings to the industry and to CWD and their customers is unmatched. He is professional and friendly, that’s why everyone likes him.  Congratulations, Keith!

Bill Daily, PJP, Philadelphia, PA

Twenty-five years in the Foodservice Industry! “It hardly seems like it’s been that long,” says Daily.

Before joining PJP, Bill was in the financial services industry for 10 years before being down-sized. His close friend, Arturo Hervada, hooked him up with Libbey Glass, where he worked for two years. Following Libbey, he joined a manufacturers’ rep firm that represented Cardinal Glass, Snap Drape, and Dinex.  From there, he went on to represent Oneida Foodservice for 10 years, along with Traex, Taylor USA, Blendtec, Artex Linens, and Menu Solutions, among others.

Bill will proudly tell you that he has been with PJP for 12 glorious years, mostly as the “King of Tabletop”. In January, Bill took on a new role as a sales manager for one of PJP’s regions.  “In this role, I get to help shape company direction as well as coach and mentor some great sales talent,” says Daily.

Focus on the goals, but don’t forget to enjoy the journey.

If you know Bill Daily, you know that he enjoys, excels, and is very present in everything he does. Anyone in his professional network will tell you that it shows in his passion for his work, company, colleagues, and customers. “I enjoy getting to know such a wide swath of people, from all directions and all walks of life. Being able to create a solution derived from listening to and understanding a customer’s needs is the most rewarding aspect of my job. That, and watching a young/new salesperson turn into a valuable resource for his/her customers is priceless,” says Daily.

PJP and Bill Daily have always been strong proponents of SEFA training. “First, SEFA’s commitment to training every member of an organization is unique to our industry—the other groups just don’t do it this way. Second, being able to pick up the phone and call just about anyone in our industry is an empowering feeling. Networking with all of the SEFA Dealers is extremely valuable—understanding that we share in the same struggle,” says Daily. Bill just recently joined the elite group of Level 7 SEFAPros, which is not an easy task.

Inspiration given to one person can reach more people than you can imagine.

We asked Bill who has helped his professional career along the way. “Without slighting all of the wonderful friends and colleagues that I have come up the ranks with, the two gentlemen that showed me best how to compete in the marketplace were Ken Weir and Pete Service, from Weir-Service. At this manufacturers rep firm, we represented Oneida together for 5 ½ years. Though very different personalities, they each coached and nurtured me to deliver on detail, build trust, and charge hard. I will always be forever grateful to the Furia family for putting their trust in me for the last twelve years,” says Daily.

Bill lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania with his beautiful bride Marilyn. They have three stunning adult daughters and three adorable grandchildren. “Right now, I enjoy fronting a rock band called The Pathogens with my two fellow SEFAPros, Brian Kateusz and John Neri. You can’t put a price on Rock and Roll,” says Daily.

SEFA is proud to recognize Bill as Featured SEFAPro.  This is not Bill’s first SEFA recognition. With all of his experience, knowledge, and professionalism, he still wants to learn more. His outlook on life sets a great example for all of us. He is inspirational and very generously shares his knowledge. Bill is definitely one to talk to as you move up the levels in the SEFAPro program. Congratulations, Bill!

Dave Dietle, Kesco, Pensacola, Florida

41 years in the foodservice industry!

Dave started as a lunch cook at Seafood Broiler Restaurants in California, right after his tour in the Navy. He was with the Seafood Broiler Restaurants for ten years, moving up to manager and then District Manager of ten stores in California. He later worked for a national mall food court operation, One Potato Two, as a regional manager on the west coast. Dave went on to co-own a restaurant for a few years before changing direction. In search of a different environment than Los Angeles, he moved to Florida where he grew up with his wife and two kids.

Success is hard work, perseverance, learning, and most of all, love of what you are doing.

Dave found his place with Kesco, Kitchen Equipment & Supply.  He has been with Kesco for 19 years and will tell you he couldn’t be happier.  Dave is the manager of their Ft. Walton Beach store where he oversees daily operations and handles purchasing, sales, customer relations, and employee training.  “I enjoy the opportunities that come with being on the Kesco team.  Most of us have been together over 12 years with some new staff as well. This is one reason we are successful as a company. My team deserves a lot of credit for what they do every day.” says Dietle.

Dave is very committed to the SEFAPro program and is finding the product knowledge and relationships built to be very beneficial. “SEFA has by far provided the most comprehensive training program. I have enjoyed every opportunity to participate in a SEFA conference, academy, and webinar. We appreciate the level of professionalism by the group, the reps, and all the other dealers,” says Dietle.

A team of professionals with talent and drive, who have mutual respect for each other and their customers, benefit everyone around them.

Dave quickly and easily answered the question of who has most inspired him professionally and helped him to get to where he is today.  “Over the years, I have had a few great people in my career that have helped me to succeed. The Kesco family, Don and Linda Theriot along with Donnie Theriot, have by far been the ones I could count on for guidance, motivation, and respect. They have always allowed me to utilize my skill set and contribute to achieving the goals of the company. Being a part of this team of professionals continues to be the most rewarding part of my professional life,” says Dietle.

Dave lives in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida with his wife of 26 years, Patty. They have four grandchildren ages 12, 9, and twins who are 7. “Being a lifelong restauranteur, I love to cook and enjoy good food and good wine,” says Dietle.  Dave follows the Dodgers and the Miami Dolphins.

SEFA is proud to recognize Dave as Featured SEFAPro.  He is very professional, focused, and dedicated. He works hard and does what it takes to contribute to the success of Kesco and their customers. Congratulations, Dave!

Tyler Dubbs, Buller Fixture-CashWa, Omaha, Nebraska

Tyler started out in the foodservice industry in 2005 when he joined the US Navy as a Culinary Specialist.  He cooked for five years in the Navy, serving on a submarine and then stationed on a surface ship traveling all over the world.

After the military, he went to culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Austin, Texas, where he received his degree in Culinary Arts.  From there, he went on to work in hotels, restaurants, catering operations, and was the catering manager at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska.

Tyler has worked in all areas of the kitchen, managed employees, and worked in inventory control.  He decided to go back to school for a BA in Business Administration, to explore opportunities other than being a chef. About to add a new addition to the family, he decided to pursue a position that would provide a schedule with better hours than he was working.  He found exactly what he was looking for when he found Buller Fixture, now Buller Fixture-CashWa. Tyler happily joined the team and has been there for three years. “Buller Fixture-CashWa has provided me with a lot of new opportunities and experiences,” says Dubbs.

Tyler’s role is primarily outside equipment sales. “Along with sales, I get to assist my customers on design and layout as I have recently taken CAD classes. I am currently taking REVIT classes to move more to the design side of the business,” says Dubbs.

Here’s what Mary Pat Veys, past president of Buller and current manager of Buller Fixture, a Division of CashWa, had to say about Tyler, “Tyler’s relatively short time in the equipment sales side of the foodservice industry has been phenomenal. His transition from chef to equipment sales has brought a fresh new perspective to our Buller Fixture-CashWa FSE family. From the start, Tyler has been exuberant in learning new equipment products and handling ever larger customer accounts. His culinary background was a perfect fit in dealing with kitchen managers, chefs, restaurant owners and dietary specialists. However, he didn’t stop there in embracing our side of the industry. Self-motivated, he has rapidly progressed within the SEFAPro program, obtained CFSP certification, Trainer status in ServeSafe, and even developed AutoCAD kitchen design skills by attending night school at a local college.”

“I might not be cooking in the industry anymore, but I still get to help my fellow chefs with all of their needs.”

“I enjoy the variety in my role, which includes the challenges customers bring to me, the different unique set ups and/or kitchens I visit and work with, the customers, and all the various equipment.  There is always something new and always something different I get to work with and experience.  I might not be cooking in the industry anymore, but I still get to help my fellow chefs with all of their needs,” says Dubbs.

When Tyler sets out to do something, success is usually the result.  His achievements in the SEFAPro training program are no different. He is currently a Level 2 SEFAPro and climbing.  “The SEFAPro Program is fantastic, and all the training events, from conferences to Academies have helped me to be successful in this field.  I strive to achieve every possibility and opportunity that the program offers. I have been educated and certified in CFSP, ServSafe, and am currently working on my HACCP certification.  These certifications and training events have helped me answer my customer’s questions and concerns.  They give me the confidence in selling and assisting my customers and fellow co-workers,” says Dubbs.

We asked Tyler who has really inspired him and helped him to get to where he is today. Here’s what he had to say, “I have had lots of people who inspired me and pushed me along to where I am today.  My family has always been a big supporter of what I do.  My parents supported my decision to join the Navy, and that military experience paved the way to my love for food and the culinary career I pursued.  I had my leaders in the Navy, who although made life tough and difficult at times, taught me how to succeed and get to where I wanted to be professionally.  That goes the same for my current colleagues, they have such a wide range of experiences and expertise, that their knowledge and assistance have been irreplaceable. I am so thankful to have the experience of working with them.  Finally, my wife and daughter.  My wife has backed me on all the educational turns I have taken and jobs I have left to pursue others.  They inspire me to do better, to achieve and reach for higher goals, so I can support them and be an inspiration to them.”

Tyler currently lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with his wife (Amy) and his little girl (Annabelle).  “We have been here since 2012.  My free time gets taken up mostly by my 2 ½ year old, but if I have additional time I like to golf with my wife. I still enjoy cooking and expanding my culinary skills at home.  I love going to the park and on walks with my girls, and also enjoy working out,” says Dubbs.

SEFA is proud to recognize Tyler as Featured SEFAPro.  He is genuine and sincere. He brings talent and expertise to the table while maintaining an intelligent focus and passion for the industry. He is dedicated and loyal to Buller Fixture-CashWa and their customers. The love he has for his family, along with his desire to help others and build successful professional relationships, speaks volumes about his character. Congratulations, Tyler!

Priscilla Perry, Associated Food Equipment & Supplies,
Gulfport, MS

Priscilla has been in the foodservice industry for eleven years, which she will tell you seems like her entire life. After graduation, she started a job in healthcare, but remained working at a local steak house part time.  “My heart was truly with the staff and customers at the restaurant, and I eventually left my healthcare job to manage the restaurant full time,” says Perry.

After years of late nights and early mornings, she decided to pursue an opportunity with a better work schedule, new opportunities and new experiences.  She was offered a position with Associated and never looked back! “I have been with Associated for almost three years and I’m loving every minute of it!” says Perry.”

Priscilla is currently an account manager at Associated, handling both equipment and smallwares.  “I also work with our local school systems, which is one of my favorite parts of the position.  It is such a great feeling to watch students’ faces light up when they walk into a renovated cafeteria,” says Perry.

When you’re sincerely motivated by the value you bring to your customers, your rewards are both personal and professional.

“Another favorite part of my job is being able to help customers take their visions on a piece of paper to reality.  It is rewarding to be part of that process.  I am currently working on a project for the third coastal location of Taco Sombrero, which is where I had my very first job in high school.  It’s really humbling to come full circle and see the success of a local business,” says Perry.

Priscilla is currently a successful Level 2 SEFAPro and climbing. “SEFA training has been monumental to my success in the foodservice industry.  The information received at National Sales Conferences and SEFA Academies have been invaluable to me in this ever-changing industry. I look forward to continuing my professional development through all of the opportunities offered by SEFA,” says Perry.

We asked Priscilla who inspires her to be so successful in her career.  Here’s what she had to say, “I would not be where I am today without the constant support of our management team, especially my direct manager, Gretchen Chiasson, who has believed in me from the beginning.”

The opportunity to meet and network with the top suppliers in the industry and participate in hands-on product training with them is so beneficial. Their commitment and expertise does not go unnoticed.

Priscilla is a lifelong resident of Gulfport, Mississippi. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Coast Young Professionals, an organization committed to developing leaders on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. “When I am not volunteering, I enjoy spending time with my family especially watching my nephews play any sport. I am an avid Saints fan and love attending live sporting events,” says Perry.

SEFA is proud to recognize Priscilla Perry as Featured SEFAPro. Priscilla is dedicated to staying on top of industry trends and learning about new equipment and supply solutions for her customers.  She builds relationships based on integrity, honesty, and trust. Congratulations, Priscilla!

Heather Isham, Lafayette Restaurant Supply, Lafayette, LA

Heather was introduced to the foodservice industry through a wonderful opportunity that came her way from Lafayette Restaurant Supply.  She has been with Lafayette for just over two years and couldn’t be happier.

“In what I can only describe as a series of life-changing events, my start with Lafayette Restaurant Supply is a journey and an experience I will be forever grateful for. After I graduated college, I jumped around from job to job for about three years desperately trying to find my place. Each job offered its own unique set of opportunities, skill sets, and friendships that have molded me, both personally and professionally. I learned the great lesson of networking, which would eventually pave the way for my first round of interviews with Lafayette Restaurant Supply. Poonie and Hunter jointly decided to take a chance on me, despite the fact that I had zero foodservice experience,” says Isham.

Heather’s primary role at Lafayette is categorized as sales/marketing. Her responsibilities include outside sales, project management, quoting, and coordinating installs; just to name a few. She also handles all of Lafayette’s marketing campaigns. “I manage and create content for our multiple social media accounts, our company website, and blog. Some of my other responsibilities include merchandising of our showroom, inventory management, and purchasing. I make it a habit to always try to think of new ideas to bring to the table and find ways to make our small company stand out,” says Isham.

Here’s what Hunter Thibeaux, owner of Lafayette Restaurant Supply, had to say, “Heather has been a great addition to our team!  I think of her as the swiss army knife of our company.  She is always willing to help and organize any aspect of the business and does it with great enthusiasm.  We are very thankful and lucky to have her as a part of our team!”

Gratitude, Happiness, and Success, a Winning Combination!

To say that Heather is enjoying the foodservice industry would be an understatement. “I love that no two days are the same, each day brings new challenges and opportunities. I have a hunger for learning and developing both personally and professionally. This industry has given me a way to fuel that theoretical thirst in a way no other industry can match. I love helping restaurant owners, operators, and chefs by sharing my knowledge with customers and providing solutions to challenges they may be facing. I strive to win over my customers by building relationships and becoming a trusted resource for them,” says Isham.

Heather is currently a Level 2 SEFAPro and climbing fast. “SEFA has played a huge part in helping me grow professionally in the foodservice industry.  With their vast amount of training materials, both online and in person, they have provided me with hours of structured training in a very short amount of time. The SEFA National Sales Conference (NSC) has allowed me to grow and develop great relationships with key factory personnel. Not only has the NSC given me a better understanding of the foodservice industry overall; it provides a setting for dealers to network with each other and share success stories and hurdles they have faced,” says Isham.

Here’s what Heather had to say about who has inspired her and helped her to get where she is today:

“So many people have inspired and helped me. I would first have to say my parents. Their continuous support and guidance have molded me to become the woman I am today!

Then there are Poonie and Hunter Thibeaux, of Lafayette Restaurant Supply, who saw something in me and have always been supportive in my development. They not only put up with me on a daily basis, but take time to listen to my thousands of ideas. They have invested in me, allowed me to make mistakes so that I could learn from them, and have pushed me to excel in all areas of this industry. I consider both of them mentors and friends.

Lastly, my husband Asa. His patience, dedication, and positive spirit are the glue that holds our growing family together and challenges me to be the best version of myself daily. He is the hardest working man I know. He is always going the extra mile for his customers and coworkers. As parents, we have been faced with many challenges that he always faces in a positive manner. When things are tough, he is always there to pick me up and remind me that “everything is going to be okay.” I am so thankful I get to experience this life with him!” says Isham.

Heather lives in Youngsville, Louisiana, a suburb of Lafayette with her husband, Asa, and their two adorable little girls, Audrey (5) and Harper (2). “While most of our days are filled with birthday parties, dancing lessons, and soccer games, I am loving this stage of life and trying to soak up every minute.  I also enjoy planning events, shopping, home improvement projects, spending time with family, traveling to new places, and getting lost in a good book,” says Isham.

SEFA is proud to recognize Heather as Featured SEFAPro. She is dedicated, reliable, professional, and friendly. She has a visible passion for learning, working hard, and achieving her goals. She enjoys helping others and is dedicated to the success of Lafayette and its customers. Heather is an all-around great person. Congratulations, Heather!