After over forty years in the foodservice business, Mark Kohlschmidt, TriMark’s Regional Vice President (RVP) of Sales, is retiring at the end of October, with decades of experience working with entrepreneurs to design and build new foodservice operations. Mark states foodservice has been a fulfilling and enjoyable career.
“My whole this is knowing the products and how they work for the customers. They know when they call me, their problems go away. As a bonus, you develop deep friendships that last a lifetime.”
His first industry-related job was as a busboy for Chuck’s Supper Club, which his dad designed as a Kitchen Designer for a local dealership. After a five-year hiatus as a Production Manager and Sales Representative at Container Graphics Corporation, Mark’s dad opened a Texas-based rep group, A. Kohl & Associates. They worked together for thirteen years, with his dad in Dallas and Mark in Houston. He credits his dad for teaching him to understand customers and equipment inside and out, helping him gain respect from industry peers.
Mark continued his career as a rep, working ten years at Ettinger-Rosini. Mark joined ISI as their General Manager, unifying their five departments under one mission: to work as a team and provide the highest level of customer service. He held the General Manager position through ISI’s merger with Strategic and then with TriMark until COVID, when he became RVP of Sales.
Throughout the years, he has been responsible for motivating his time to be successful professionally and personally. The investment in people resulted in his team delivering corporate objectives. His goal was to empower the team to make decisions and then support and train them. He believes successful leaders should possess respect, empathy, the ability to learn, and be a problem-solver.
“What we do here affects people’s lives. Each employee has a family, and they rely on the company for their livelihood. When we deliver excellence to our customers and outperform the competition our business will grow. And when that happens, we hire more people. More families rely on the team for their livelihood. That’s exciting for me. It’s what gets me out of bed each morning!”
Mark has developed many friends through the years, and regular contact with them will be missed. He is excited about retirement plans, including continuing his involvement at Church, visiting his ten children and nine grandchildren, traveling more, and staying active by walking and biking. He also hinted that he may consider consulting.
“So, it was a great story, my career. But I may not be done in the business…”