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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28 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • APRIL 2018 time concentrating on our company's culture and to assess a potential new staff member's impact, or even a merg- er, with the notion that anything can go sideways and break down years of what our team has built. We are much more protective of that today than ever." Now, with any potential merger and every new project acquisition, Seelye and her team thoroughly think through not just the business opportunities but also the mixing of cultures and personalities before making a decision to move forward. This, she says, has helped Ricca Design Studios remain strong from the inside out. Outside of the bustle of regular business, Seelye enjoys quieter mo- ments, riding her horses on her 100- acre Colorado ranch, where she's lived for the past 15 years, and spending time with her grown daughter and son and her grandchildren. "All of the kids love to be at the ranch and have their own cowboy boots, which they grab as the first thing they do. It's off with their shoes, into their boots as they run out to feed the horses and pony," she says. "They wear those boots day and night, even in their pajamas. I bought this property because it sits next to an 11,000-acre green space with plenty of room to ride as a family. It's a truly wonderful experience." Pioneer Woman "I'm not one to focus on being a woman,'" Seelye says. "However, it's important to recognize that this is a changing time, and I am truly honored to be the first woman Hall of Famer for FE&S." There were only two other female design consultants in the industry during the early years of Seelye's career, she recalls — one in Canada and one in the U.S. "Today, at least 25 percent to 30 percent of our community is comprised of young women, and that's so exciting to see," she says. Kristin Sedej, FCSI, president, S2O Consul- tants Inc., has looked up to Seelye for years. "As a young woman starting out in this crazy, male-dominated industry, Kathleen stood out as a role model and represented everything I hoped I could be," she says. Schroeder looked up to Seelye, even before joining the Ricca Design Studios team. "I can remember the first time that I met Kathy at a national NACUFS conference prior to starting at Ricca," she says. "She was walking the show- room floor with a small entourage, all vying for her attention, and I thought to myself, 'This is someone that I want to meet.' When she presented later that day, it was clear even then that she captivated her audience with a natural charisma and quiet confidence that has earned everyone's highest admiration over the years. " Seelye cites some of the men in the industry, including Tom Ricca, Bill Eaton, John Cini and the late Bob Pacifico, as helping to break down barriers. "What I have appreciated is that these men were not just gender blind; they went far beyond that attribute," she says. "They recognized the abilities and strengths of women on their teams and made distinct efforts to help push their female peers forward. They have always thought strategically about how women can make a difference in our industry. This has helped create the fabric of the consultant community today, and I want to thank the people who created those bridges. Without those men, and the wonderful mentorship and early leadership of women like Louise O'Sullivan, Carol Wallace and Deirdre Flynn, there would be far fewer opportunities for women in our industry today." FE&S K AT H L E E N S E E LY E A Good Life

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