After forty-eight years in the foodservice industry, South’s Senior Vice President (VP) of Sales for Rentals, Bob Gilbert, is retiring from TriMark at the end of September.
His career began on Long Island, New York, as an electrician’s apprentice during the gas crisis in 1973. Upon losing his job, Bob’s uncle and co-owner of Industry Sales Inc. (ISI), Eric Hohn, visited his family during this fuel shortage and brought Bob back to Dallas, Texas, with him to help installers, load/unload trucks, dispatch, and other operations at ISI. In 1975, Eric offered Bob a full-time job. Throughout the years, Bob worked in the warehouse, as a Service Technician and then a Salesman. He became Sales Manager, VP of Sales, and General Manager until two years ago when he became Senior VP of Sales for Rentals.
“Long story short, I feel like I’ve had a hand in many areas of the company that helped build my experience. I think I’ve had a lot of impact on the company’s growth since 1975.”
When asked what qualities he thinks every leader should have, Bob iterated that caring about your employees and creating an environment of connection, acceptance, and mindfulness is vital to success. He also states that relationship-building is a key skill in any career. He has several customer friends he’s still acquainted with that go to him for advice, though he is no longer in sales.
“I think I’ve been a good mentor to many employees here. Most people I’ve associated with have been here for over thirty years and some have moved on now own successful businesses. They’re still family to me.”
He names his Uncle Eric as a significant and influential father figure in his life, as well as mentors Marty Monnat and Karen McCain, who taught him much.
Outside work, he golfs, enjoys the good company of friends, and spends time with Lucy, his rescue cat, found near some old equipment in the back of a warehouse twelve years ago. He stays positive and is excited about a fresh start as his retirement approaches. He also plans to visit his TriMark family from time to time.