Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

APR 2018

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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20 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • APRIL 2018 blocks away from her childhood home. She didn't know then that her career would bring her back full circle to work once again on the property, this time as a designer and consultant on several of their signature restaurants. That con- nection to The Broadmoor is some- thing Seelye will cherish forever. Working at The Broadmoor meant hotels and operations quickly got into Seelye's blood. After that experience, she went on to work for Westin Hotels & Resorts before landing her first job as a restaurant designer for Gardner Restaurant Equipment and Planning in Houston. She also spent time as a manu- facturer's rep with companies specializing in highly engineered restaurant systems. When Seelye sold a contract to design the restaurants for the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine in La Jolla, Calif., she asked her friend Tom Ricca to partner with her. After the successful venture, Ricca hired her in 1983 to join Ricca Design Studio's 11-person team and to run a new Houston office. The two built a strong bond right out of the gate. Seelye's operational, dealer and manufacturers' rep background helped round out her experience and continue to offer value in her role as a consultant. Fast-forward to today. Ricca Design Studios now includes 9 partners, totaling 47 staff members across 7 U.S. offices. Another office in Shanghai adds 21 staff- ers to the mix. Ricca Design Studios has completed projects in all 50 states and around the world. For the last 12 years, Seelye has been at the helm of the business, handling ev- erything from contractual issues to cash flow management, marketing, human resources, strategic growth and more. This comes in addition to her role as lead designer on multiple key projects, 11 of which have earned national awards. As if this were not enough, Seelye has also been also very active in various foodservice industry organizations. She served as president of the Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) in 1995, served on FCSI's Edu- cation Foundation Board and was in- ducted into FCSI's Council of Fellows, the group's highest honor, in 2001. Seelye's industry involvement also includes having been a judge for the National Restaurant Association's (NRA) Kitchen Innovations Awards as well as speaking at many NRA conventions. She especially enjoys teaching at the National Association of College and University Food Services' (NACUFS) Facilities Management Institute (FacMI). She was also the first LEED-accredited foodser- vice consultant in the industry. "Kathleen has taken more on her shoulders than I ever imagined anyone could manage," says Ricca, the firm's founding executive partner. "This, of course, is on top of the role she cherishes most of being an active grandmother and mother to her family. I am amazed that, with all else going on, she manages to always be there for her family. And maybe most astounding to me — she lives on a ranch in the Colorado countryside, where she tends to her horses, helps to harvest her own hay, handles a snowplow to get out to work in the winter, and, with her sisters, climbs 20,000-foot-high mountains for fun." Seelye has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro — and continues to climb many others — after recovering from a devastat- ing head-on car accident that left her in casts and unable to walk for many Timeline 1969 Takes summer job as a server at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo. 1972-75 Attends both Colorado State University and Syracuse University, majoring in food management 1983 Joins Thomas Ricca Associates and leads the Houston office 1984 Joins FCSI 1995 Is appointed Worldwide FCSI president, the society's first woman president 2001 Named president of Thomas Ricca Associates 2001 Thomas Ricca Associates merges with Newmark Diercks 2001 Inducted into the FCSI Council of Fellows 2004 Joins the NRA Kitchen Innovations team of judges for an 11-year period 2006 Promoted to managing partner, Ricca 2007 Earns USGBC LEED accreditation, the first consultant and the first foodservice industry professional to achieve that status 2008 Joins the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's leadership team, representing the restaurant industry 2008 Launches Ricca e2, a WBE specializing in sustainability planning and development 2009 Promoted to Ricca Design Studios' CEO, USA and Asia operations 2009-10 Publishes healthcare sustainability books 2010 Joins the NACUFS Facilities Management Institute education program, teaching design for foodservice facilities "Kathleen possesses an ability to have a vision of the future that allows her to guide us through rough waters like the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009 so that we came out of it healthier than we were before." —Tom Ricca, Ricca Design Studios K AT H L E E N S E E LY E A Good Life

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