Featured SEFAPros Archive – 2019

Tom Hubbard, Dick’s Restaurant Supply, Seattle, WA

Tom would say he has been in the foodservice industry almost his entire life.  After several jobs as a dishwasher, prep cook and line cook, he earned a degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management from Oregon State University and moved into management.

After managing restaurants for twelve years, he purchased a restaurant in Washington. “My first hard knocks lesson came from purchasing a restaurant that was right in the middle of a highway construction project. It became an off ramp after two years,” says Hubbard. Following his restaurant he worked at Sysco Food Service for seven years and moved on to Food Services of America and Restaurant Depot.

Tom has been with Dick’s Restaurant Supply for almost five years and couldn’t be happier. “I would say my primary role is to work with one of the largest foodservice distributers in the NW as their equipment supplier.  I work with about one hundred sales reps between Southeast Alaska and Washington State. We provide full service sales opportunities from receiving the product to inspection, assembly, and delivery,” says Hubbard.

Chad Johnstun, Vice president of Dick’s Restaurant Supply said, “Tom is dedicated and always looks to add value with a how-can-we-do-it attitude.”

Understanding the needs of your customers and striving for their success puts you in a whole different league.

Tom has a passion for turning problems into opportunities.  “I believe in strengthening relationships with customers by building trust and providing solutions.  I enjoy selling the right tool for the right job, it may not be what they were originally looking for, but becomes the correct solution,” says Hubbard.

Tom enjoys taking the consultative approach with customers, making their purchases less overwhelming. “I look for ways to show foodservice professionals how much profit they can potentially earn with a change of equipment. On expensive items, I may create an excel spreadsheet where they can enter information and manipulate it based on their personal knowledge.  For example, a soft serve ice cream machine can be scary when you show the price, but when you also show the potential sales and profit to provide a return on their investment it makes sense and their decision becomes easier,” says Hubbard.

Tom is very successful in the SEFAPro program. He recently reached Level 3 status. “After attending my first SEFA conference, I knew that I was part of an elite training organization. I could never have achieved my success without Dick’s Restaurant Supply sending me to SEFAPro training. The training is well organized and direct to the point. I have learned different sales methods and solutions just by having discussions with fellow SEFAPros at meals and functions. The factory relationships I have made are valuable and instrumental when challenged with a production challenge. I take advantage of SEFA’s ongoing live web-based training and the ability to search their recorded training webinars at any time for new ideas or to learn just about anything in the industry,” says Hubbard.

Tom had this to say about people who have inspired him and helped in his career along the way, “When I decided to focus on equipment instead of food, I quickly learned how much I didn’t know. I relied on several people for help. One person in particular was Mike Hoye, a factory rep with Vollrath at the time. I can’t tell you how many stupid questions I asked him, even on items that were not in his product mix. He helped me a lot!!  There is a reason that almost 10 years later Mike is my Sales Manager at Dicks Restaurant Supply. I have a long term friend, George Trainer, who I could call at any time with questions, and finally my local broker rep groups, especially Tom Wilkens (RHI) who has been extremely helpful on a number of projects while providing additional factory training opportunities. I want to thank everyone who has had an impact on my career,” says Hubbard.

Tom lives in Lacey Washington, about 70 miles south of Seattle. “My family is my life. My wife is the most amazing woman and extremely supportive. I spend a lot of time with my children. My oldest son and I meet weekly for dinner. We rotate and try to explore every new place around. My other son has a two year old that I can never get enough time spoiling. I like to ride my motorcycle on back country highways and when I need to get out of the city I ride my ATV, sometimes in the Oregon dunes but mostly in the Olympic Mountains. To ride 50 miles into complete wilderness and then eat lunch on a scenic over view is peaceful. But of course, nothing releases stress more than an adrenalin rush from pushing the edge of your skill level on the side of a mountain.

SEFA is proud to recognize Tom Hubbard as January’s Featured SEFAPro. Tom is dedicated to staying on top of industry trends and learning about new equipment and supply solutions for his customers.  He builds relationships based on integrity, honesty, and trust. He is a true asset to the foodservice industry. Congratulations, Tom!

Samantha Thompson, Oswalt Restaurant Supply,
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Samantha has been in the foodservice industry for over nineteen years. She gained her early experience by working on the end-user side for fourteen years. For the last five and a half years, Samantha worked on the equipment and supply side after happily taking a position with Oswalt Restaurant Supply.

“I started in high school as a busser and hostess. I began training to be a server the week before I was 18 and started bartending a week after I turned 21. A few years later, I was managing a local sports bar chain. The shift from end-user to dealer came when I was looking to find something with more consistent, day-time hours. I ran across an ad for an inside sales rep with Oswalt, and thought, “Well, I’ve been selling the food for years, surely I can sell the equipment that makes it,” says Thompson.

Samantha has been with Oswalt for 5-1/2 years. She spent her first year as an inside sales representative before becoming a project manager. “Fun fact: I actually thought I was going to be the assistant to our Project Manager, until I accepted my new position and was informed that my role would be Project Manager,” says Thompson.

As a project manager, Samantha’s role includes taking a project through from start to finish. She also compiles and submits bids, submittal brochures, coordinates with general contractors and crews during installation periods, prepares close-out documents for the owner, and manages warranty issues.

Loving what you do with the ability to step outside your comfort zone to achieve your goals, is rewarding on so many levels.

“My position as a project manager has pushed me far outside of my comfort zone and has enabled me to grow professionally as well as personally. I have gained and strengthened skills that I will be able to carry forth no matter what I do in the future. I enjoy that this is a fast paced, ever-changing industry, and I learn something new every day,” says Thompson.

Oswalt is a strong believer in training and equipping their team with resources to help them be more successful. Samantha is very successful in the SEFAPro program, working hard and moving forward. 

“SEFA training has greatly increased my knowledge of equipment throughout the years. Even though I had spent many years in the restaurants, I was mostly front-of-house and my exposure to equipment was minimal. I was overwhelmed by the expansiveness of equipment when I began working for Oswalt. The SEFA webinars were a great way to begin learning about equipment and manufacturers within our buying group. The product knowledge and growing relationships I have gained from attending the sales conferences has greatly increased my confidence as a sales person,” says Thompson.

Here’s what Jeff Martin, Vice President of Oswalt, had to say about Samantha, “Samantha (Sam) is a team player with a capital T. She is always ready to help out with any technical or equipment issues that other employees run into. She started out on our showroom floor selling smallwares and has continued to learn and grow into now overseeing million dollar kitchen projects. Just this year we asked her to be our company SEFA Ambassador and she was more than happy to take on that task. It gives our entire staff great pleasure that she has been selected for this SEFA honor.”

Samantha lives in a small-town west of Oklahoma City where she grew up.  She finds it to be a great place to raise her teenage daughter. Samantha loves being outside and says she would rather mow the yard than do housework. She describes the things most important to her, “My relationship with God and my family are my top priorities. My mom and stepdad host family dinners almost every Sunday. The table is set for 23, which includes most of my siblings and nieces and nephews.  I love spending time with my friends, either grabbing coffee, dinner or attending a weekend retreat. My daughter and I both enjoy camping, hiking and kayaking. I have completed 3 Half Marathons and was recently nominated as Oswalt’s 2019 SEFAPro Ambassador.”

SEFA is proud to recognize Samantha Thompson as Featured SEFAPro. Samantha 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. We are very excited that Samantha was appointed the role of SEFAPro Ambassador for Oswalt Restaurant Supply. Congratulations, Samantha!