Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

APR 2017

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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38 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • APRIL 2017 takes a visit to Microsoft's three- square-mile campus in Redmond, Wash., to fully appreciate the enormous effect Mark Freeman has had on the quality of life there and, by extension, the broader on- site foodservice industry. Through- out his 37-year career, but especially during his 11-year tenure as senior manager of global dining services at Microsoft — where he's been empowered to lead a virtual dining revolution — Freeman has quietly risen to icon status. The FE&S 2017 Hall of Fame Award winner may not look the part of a revolutionary. Tall, mild-mannered, ponytailed and graying, the 64-year-old seems more psychology professor in demeanor than game-changing industry juggernaut. You might say he's a dreamer, and he is. But by listening, collaborating and pushing bound- aries, and with a constant itch to challenge the status quo, he's also adept at bringing dreams to life. In the process, he has radically changed the game. His latest passion, hydroponic farming, is a case in point: Like many of the innovations that he's led, it started as a random spark of an idea. This one hit after attending a flower show and seeing hydroponic towers on display, which led to a "Wouldn't it be great if we could ... " thought that wouldn't let go. That led to research into revolutionary new vertical farming techniques, pitching the idea for support, collaborating with vendors and Microsoft's tech wizards, customizing, testing, refining and ultimate- ly launching the industry's first on-site, high-tech hydroponic farming operation. INSTAGRAMMABLE FARMING Microsoft's urban farming specialists now grow lettuces, herbs and microgreens in towers, urban cultivators and cus- tomized pyramids under sunlight-mimicking plasma lights that ensure fast, beautiful and flavorful results. The produce is 100 percent naturally grown, pesticide free, produced us- ing minimal water and incomparably fresh when consumed. The growing units automatically measure and monitor nutrients, temperature, water and growth levels, with all data continuously uploaded to the cloud so that the farm special- ists have anywhere-anytime information, control and visual FE&S 2017 HALL OF FAME // MARK FREEMAN

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