Retreat Designed to Groom New Talent for Larger Roles in their Organizations


Relationships are critical to developing the knowledge base needed to become a leader in the foodservice equipment industry. Although some are afforded the opportunity to create those connections at a young age due to their family history, others must wait until they move into principal roles, potentially stunting their growth.

Gene Clark, president of Clark Food Service Equipment and chair of FEDA’s Young Industry Leaders Steering Committee, wants to accelerate the opportunities for high potential individuals to network and discuss the topics they believe are critical to the ever-changing foodservice equipment industry.

The first such opportunity will come Nov. 1-2 at the Young Industry Leaders’ inaugural regional retreat, which will be hosted by Metro CEO John Nackley at the manufacturer’s headquarters in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. The retreat will include a tour of Metro’s facility and Nackley will lead a discussion on effective leadership qualities and how to apply those qualities to the challenges of the foodservice equipment industry.

“We want the hosts to cater the content to whatever they are passionate about, [and dispense] leadership knowledge that is able to be practically applied,” Clark said. Future events will follow a similar format with a leadership theme presented by well-known names within the industry.

The Metro event will be limited to about a dozen attendees to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to make personal connections and contribute to discussions. Some details are still being finalized but a social dinner the night of Nov. 1 is planned.

Those interested in attending can apply here.

The smaller and more personal scale of the retreats will set them apart from other industry gatherings that demand a longer time commitment and tend to be more geared toward dealer principals rather than the next generation of leaders, Clark says. With the Young Industry Leaders retreats, he hopes to create a space that will encourage young professionals and groom them for leadership roles and the industry’s associations. “FEDA and other leading organizations in our industry have long histories of stellar leadership,” he said. “Young Industry Leaders is excited to create forums to help foster the next generation of leaders in our industry.”