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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44 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • APRIL 2018 Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry. Beyond that, Kuelpman has served as a mentor and confidant to many colleagues and young people starting a career in the foodservice E&S channel. His efforts range from simple phone conversations to welcoming a group of young reps into KLH headquarters, where they spend two days asking questions about processes, systems, marketing and anything else that comes to mind. For Kuelpman, this sort of effort does more than strengthen the E&S channel for the long term. It serves as a recognition of all the support he's received in his career. "We had a lot of people help us over time, a lot of people who gave us great guidance. Because we were given such good advice, I've tried to pass on some of that knowledge to other rep firms," Kuelpman says. "I have one requirement: I tell them someday in the future you'll have an opportunity to do this for someone else. Just pay it for- ward. Make sure you help train, educate and give direction to others." Not only does Kuelpman help young people with their careers, he remains committed to bringing them into the channel through his own company. While six of the KLH's employ- ees have been with the firm for more than 20 years, including Nick Butler, a current partner, about a dozen are mil- lennials. That's no accident. Kuelpman and his partners have been working to regenerate KLH by recruiting younger employees and developing the next gen- eration of management and leadership. While these younger employees have a different way of thinking and doing business than what he's used to, Kuelpman sees this as an asset. "You need to have youth in your company. It's interesting when you're sitting in a meeting and they just look at some- thing completely differently. It chal- lenges you to get out of that box you get into sometimes." The Long Haul Not only do Kuelpman and his partners recruit young talent, they structure the future of the company around the notoriously difficult goal of keeping employees with the company for the long haul. At age 60, Kuelpman says he's plan- ning 7 to 10 more years as the compa- ny's full-time leader. Instead of merging with another rep group or a selling to a single employee or two, in Febru- ary KLH announced it will become employee-owned through an Employee Stock Ownership Program. This plan, he says, will allow individual employees to vest into the company's ownership at six years of employment, without putting any money into the purchase themselves. The promise of ownership, he believes, will encourage younger employees to stay with the firm long-term. In addition, this clear succession plan will help KLH's factory relation- ships, Kuelpman says. "They don't want you to hit 70 with no plan for the future and the company dies. They're seeing the business grow. It gives them a long-term relationship, which is what both the factory and the representative want." Quick Facts: Dave Kuelpman Education: B.S., Marketing, University of Illinois Industry involvement: Local and national MAFSI, CFSP and CPMR accredited Family: Married for 32 years to Laurie. Two children: Michael, an enterprise sales rep at an insurance technology company in San Francisco, and Matthew, a high school and college volleyball coach in the Los Angeles area. Enjoys golfing and kayaking, and is a diehard St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan. Weekday wakeup time: 5:40 a.m., although generally up before the alarm. Go-to food when dining out: Bacon-wrapped stuffed dates, a salad (caprese, Caesar, house special or wedge), then grilled salmon. What do you think about when you are in your car: I make essential business calls first; then reach out to someone I have not talked to in a while, which could be a family member, friend or business associate. What one word would your co-workers use to describe you? Driven or competitive. What one word would your family use to describe you? Devoted. What's your superpower? That question makes an assumption that I have one. Possibly instilling confidence in others. What was the last picture you took on your phone? This past Sunday I was doing some stretching at home. I went to move and one of my dogs got in the way. I stepped awkwardly and ended up catching the end of the couch with my little toe. I took a pic- ture of my foot with broken toe, which some of my employees wanted to see. ACHIEVER T o MANUFACTURERS' REPRESENTATIVE Not only does Kuelpman help young people with their careers, he remains committed to bringing them into the channel through his own company.

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