The Ali Group’s Rob Geile and a line up of some of Metro’s New York top foodservice industry leaders recently took center stage at the Society for Hospitality & Foodservice Management’s 39th annual National Conference at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel in Texas. Nine executives in the corporate foodservice and workplace hospitality industries were honored and nearly 400 more came together to learn and hone their skills.
Rob Geile was installed as SHFM’s new president. In his role as Vice President of Consultant Services for Ali Group North America, Geile is responsible for developing and cultivating relationships within the consultant community on behalf of Ali Group North America. With extensive experience in the commercial foodservice equipment industry, Rob Geile previously spent 12 years at Hobart working with the legendary Dick Hynes.
“Dick taught me lessons that have become so important to who I try to be,” Geile continued. “Everybody was equal in his mind and he went out of his way to make sure that I was always introduced to the right people. It was always about the customer or the other guy first.”
He had earlier career stops at Traulsen & Company, TRUE Manufacturing, and Southern Equipment Company. The veteran executive holds a B.S. Degree in Individualized Studies from the University of Central Missouri. For the energetic Geile, the ascendency to the SHFM presidency is the next chapter for a Midwest native in which hard work has paid big dividends.
“I began in my Dad’s shop and worked my way through all the different positions in the factory itself including becoming a journeyman polisher,” he said.
Rob Geile’s agenda can be described as ‘back to basics’: “Our goal is for all of us to have a deeper conversation. There’s a tendency to hear a job title and then make an assumption. I would like to see our group listen so that we can really help each other.”
His vision was a cornerstone of the conference, themed “Food: The New Frontier,” included educational sessions on foodservice disrupters, the future of food, and sustainability, as well as the Innovation Showcase and many networking events. “In addition, we want to focus on attracting and growing young people in our industry, so we’re taking steps by now including young professionals that as a nation that we have on both our industry advisory board and we have a spot for them now and our board of directors,” Geile said. “We and our young professionals put together one of the major sessions. So for us it’s our first opportunity to give them an assignment that they’ve taken hold of and manage all by themselves.
In the spirit of giving back, attendees participated throughout the conference in such activities as a hunger awareness initiative benefiting Dallas’ Equal Heart, and a silent auction, which raised funds to promote and educate college students on the merits of on-site foodservice and hospitality. In a scholarship showdown during the opening party, attendees voted on their favorite dish from several students; each student earned a scholarship from the SHFM Foundation.
SHFM closed out its conference at the President’s Banquet, where four top award recipients were announced. Incoming president Rob Geile of the Ali Group was presented with the Robert Pacifico Award, in recognition of extended, exemplary, and dedicated service to the Society and the corporate foodservice and workplace hospitality industry.
A trio of New Yorkers were presented with SHFM’s top awards:
- President’s Awards were earned by the Manhattan based duo of Bill Adams, Executive Director-Corporate Dining & Conferencing at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Jay Silverstein, V.P. Hospitality Services at Credit Suisse Securities.
- A first-ever honor recognizing an emerging, standout new SHFM member, the Rising Young Professional Award, was given to Raquel Weiss Fusco, Director-Client Relations of Long Island based elite | studio e.
The banquet also saw the presentation of five previously announced Directors’ Awards for going “above and beyond” to serve SHFM and better the industry: Included in that list of winners was Purchase, NY based Sumi DeBenedittis of PepsiCo Foodservice who was presented with a leadership award.
To learn more about what Rob Geile and other Officers and Directors are doing for SHFM, visit their website.