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50 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • APRIL 2017 E ntrepreneurial- ism runs in David Ellingson's veins. At age 37, he now leads the company founded in 1960 by his grandfather Byron Ellingson and Howard Bargreen. Representing the third Ellingson generation to manage Bargreen Ellingson, based in Tacoma, Wash., (the Bargreens were bought out in the late 1990s), David joined the family firm in 2006. He was named president in Janu- ary 2012, transitioning lead- ership from his father, Paul, and uncle, Rick, who grew the company into a premier regional E&S dealership. The year David came into the fold, after gain- ing more than 4 years of experience in sales at Hobart Corp., Bargreen Ellingson had 350 employees and revenues of more than $125 mil- lion. By 2016, sales exceeded $255 million and the company had grown to more than 600 employees in a territory that encompasses 22 locations in 10 states, including Hawaii and Alaska, as well as portions of western Canada. During his tenure as president, the company has expanded into Wyo- ming and Colorado through acquisitions of Knapp Supply and Equipment and The Restaurant Source, respectively. It also significantly expanded its presence in Hawaii with a new 12,000-square-foot facility in Maui. David is proud of and excited about the company's met- rics and milestones — and foresees continued steady growth as an independent, family-owned dealership, but since taking the reins, he has put most of his passion and focus into the people and culture that support the growth. His top priority is ensuring that Bargreen Ellingson remains an organization in which employees are genuinely happy to work for and that customers genuinely enjoy doing business with. "When I came into the company, two of my first major projects were to implement a new ERP system — which some loved me for and some hated me for, but which had to be done — and to focus on our culture. There are nine core values that the company has been built on and that over the years had gotten more or less attention," David says. "As it happens, when I was coming up in the organiza- tion we'd lost some focus on those values. It's something that I've been very pas- sionate about to make sure that those values and the program we built around them are kept fresh and are leveraged throughout the entire organization." A Focus on Values That program, called On Board, doesn't focus on sales strategy, metrics or product knowledge. Rather, it instills in employees those critical nine founding values, which can help drive decision making from the boardroom to the warehouse. They are: Hire Smart; Respect; Teamwork; Use Good Judge- ment; Learn, Learn Learn; Communication; Pursue Change; Ownership; and Hoopla (i.e., have fun!). David's culture-focused mission fits with his personality: He's known as a fun, slightly irreverent, engaging people per- son whose management style is defined in part by seemingly simple things. He makes it a point to know everyone's name, prefers face-to-face communication, and tries to learn and understand the unique experiences and world views that em- ployees bring to the job so that he's better able to coach and develop them. And he takes a lot of cues from the industry that Bargeen Ellingson serves, maintaining a deep apprecia- tion for genuine hospitality. DEALER 2017 TOP ACHIEVER DEALER DAVID ELLINGSON PRESIDENT, BARGREEN ELLINGSON By Dana Tanyeri