Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JUN 2019

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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22 FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES JUNE 2019 CONSULTANT'S VIEWPOINT We can teach each other how to better run our companies, deal with contracts, succession planning and more. | By James Camacho, FCSI, CSI | President Camacho Associates Inc. Atlanta Consultant Building Blocks 2019 marks my 40th year as a foodser- vice design consultant. Naturally, when one reaches a milestone like this, there's a tendency to look back and re•ect on your career. I am no exception. As a young con- sultant, I was eager to meet, listen and learn from other consultants, especially those who worked in other rms or specialized in areas our rm did not. No matter which sector of the industry we are in, we all have experiences to share with our own col- leagues and each other. It's great to share the successes. Sometimes we can learn much from others and the issues they have faced and have solved. I have learned a few things during my time, too, and feel it is my job to pass this knowledge along to others. Ask anyone who has been in our industry for a while and you will generally nd they are eager to pass their knowledge on to others. As we continue to actively recruit new members for our growing team, my role as elder states- man is to teach them at least one new thing each day. If I can do this, in a few years our younger staff members will have the knowledge and experience to have a wonderful career in a great industry. With that in mind, I would like to share a few of my basic building blocks with you, and I continually need to remember to take my own advice. Focus on Relationships Even in a digital age, our industry is still a relationship business. Back in the day, I could talk to the factory owners directly because I knew them personally. Now, with all the consolidations and investor buyouts, we must reach out, go on factory trips, jobsites, conferences and work harder to connect and build relationships with the right people. Oftentimes, that relationship now lies with our local manufacturers' rep. Just the other day I got off the phone with a local rep I've known for years when we had an issue on a project and didn't specify something correctly (occasionally this happens), but he was going to help us work through it. That cost us money — as it should since we screwed up — but much less than it could have. We needed a special option for a client and their equipment lineup. I could not nd what we needed on any manufactur- ers' website. One call to a vice president of sales that I know, and it was not a problem — the manufacturer could make this idea a reality. Or I can call and ask a MAFSI sales rep for help on a project in another part of the country because we met at a confer- ence. It's all because of the relationships. Connect with Other Consultants We also encourage new team members to become involved with FCSI and go to meetings and conferences to meet other consultants. I want them to learn from others. When I was coming up in the business, dur- ing factory trips and industry conferences, I would listen carefully to the older consultants who had been in the business for years to see what I could learn. I believe it's so important to be around other consultants, to expand beyond those you work with day to day. In the past, consultants were very secretive about their work, but these days, all you have to do is go online and do some searching and it's easy to see photographs and drawings other consultants created. We don't have a copyright on all the ideas that are out there. But, more importantly, connecting with

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