Managing the growth and development of the sales, marketing and R&D teams at Surlean Foods is quite the task, but somehow Michael finds time to help shape many of IFMA's programs. His motto, "Don't let 'perfect' get in the way of 'better'" helps him stay on task and continuously seek improvement.
What do your customers appreciate most about your company?
Surlean Foods is obsessed with giving foodservice customers exactly what they want.
If you had to describe IFMA in just three words, what would they be?
Knowledge, Connections and Member-centric.
What industry challenge keeps you up at night?
Government regulations on restaurants that will creep through the entire supply chain.
What is your advice to a person new to the industry?
1.) Attend Foodservice Fundamentals, 2.) Eat out often to understand the foodservice consumer dynamic, and 3.) Work in a restaurant long enough to get promoted.
What types of lessons did you learn early on in your career?
I worked for a regional restaurant company for many years and thought that my career goal was to become a general manager of the restaurant. I was promoted after about 18 months, but I was not prepared to be a leader. I found out quickly that in order to be successful, I would have to get all of our objectives accomplished through my team. It was no longer about me.
How do you keep up with industry news and events?
Online publications and sources, industry events like IFMA/IFDA Presidents Conference.
What is your industry passion?
My industry passion is focused on modeling the way for the diversity of leaders that will be needed to drive the long-term growth of the foodservice channel.
What do you value most about being on an IFMA committee?
Providing content insights and direction.
IFMA featured members are selected based on their accomplishments in the food industry. Recognized as leaders, they are the people moving the industry forward with big ideas and even bigger goals. Know someone who fits the bill? Tell us.