Tom Mitchell, MAFSI Chairman
By Tom Mitchell, MAFSI Chairman on September 01, 2021

MAFSI is looking forward to a busy and productive 4th and 1st Quarter


MAFSI members have much to look forward to in the coming two quarters, and I left the recent board of directors meeting in Washington state with a sense of pride on behalf of the association for all of the things we’ve accomplished, and can look forward to as members this Fall and into 2022.

Enormous changes are taking place in our industry affecting our companies and our association that require us to critically analyze how we will approach our markets and businesses. Managing change and leading change are and will continue to be operative phrases for MAFSI. As we continue positioning for the future, all of us will have to make important decisions that will have far reaching and very positive implications for you, the representative profession and for MAFSI.

At the end of July, we were fortunate enough to hold the annual MAFSI Summer board meeting. On behalf of all the people that attended I believe it is safe to say it was a breath of fresh air from the situation for the last seventeen months. Being face to face, shaking hands, hugging, sharing meals, and of course doing the work of the organization were all orders of the day.

The Skamania Resort in Washington state made the perfect setting for the board of directors. The views and vistas were spectacular, side trips to a winery and the highest waterfall in the US made it even more enjoyable. For me it was terrific to meet new members of the board and their families and all the others I hadn’t seen for far too long. The energy was good, the work was done, then there was the campfire. This was the defining feature of this board meeting. It was safe in the current forest fire situation by being concrete and natural gas and with several chairs set out it became the social, philosophical and just plain interesting conversations venue. A must for future board meetings. Thank you to all who attended and to the few that because of the pandemic could not attend in person but soldiered on via Zoom. A lot was accomplished in the meetings and here is a review of our plans and programs:


New Board Members: We welcomed three new directors to the national board:


  • Bill Peters, Food Equipment Representatives, Inc. – Region 13 – Florida
  • Mike Colligon, High Sabatino Associates – Region 5 – Mid-Atlantic
  • Phil Irwin, Celco, Inc – Region 26 - Canada

MAFSI Committees: MAFSI has over 80 members (board members and rising stars (members under 40)) volunteering to work on our 8 committees. These 8 committees are working on over 30 different initiatives for MAFSI.

  1. Conference Planning
  2. M Chef Committee
  3. Membership & Marketing
  4. Digital Training & Education (DT&E)
  5. Rep Firm of the Future (RFOF)
  6. SpecPath and Industry Data Sharing
  7. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I)
  8. Research, Data, & Trends (RD&T)


Committee Blogs: Starting this Fall, all MAFSI committees will be publishing monthly updates on their happenings on the MAFSI Committee Blog webpage.



The Conference Planning Committee develops the highest quality educational programming for both our representative and manufacturer members via the biennial conference.

MAFSI ’22 – January 23-27 in Naples, FL

  • Registration Open: MAFSI ‘22 will be our biggest and best conference yet and our 50th Conference to boot. Be a part of history and help us reach 750 attendees at 50! MAFSI ’22 may be the most important event you attend this year.
  • Schedule of Events: With 700+ of your industry peers, 50+ keynotes & breakouts, 40+ world-class speakers, 17 networking meals and events, 5 parties, and 1 golf tournament, there’s no possible way for you to experience everything at this year’s MAFSI conference. But, take heart. We guarantee the things you do will be worth every penny. Or your money back.
  • Special Pricing: Join the close to 120 attendees to date and take advantage of the special pricing though September 30th—save $200 per person by registering by this date. Special discounts also offered for Rising Stars (members under 40).
  • MAFSI Music Jam: Be sure to be at our most popular event—the MAFSI Music Jam on Wednesday, January 26 led by our own MAFSI Past Chairman, Chris Jeens, W.D. Colledge Co. Ltd. and his bandmates.
  • Be a sponsor. Support the industry. As a conference sponsor, you’re doing more than supporting the conference. You’re helping the hard-working professionals of our industry get more out of their careers. And when they do, you’re not just making their futures better. You're making the industry better for everyone.



The M Chef Committee was created for rep firm chefs and set to launch in January 2022. The M(AFSI) Chef committee will increase member and industry awareness of the value of culinary training and selling and identify and develop educational programs addressing specified and broad-based culinary training. They will also develop a certification program for rep chefs that will become a new industry standard.

M Chef Launch: At MAFSI ‘22 the committee will sponsor chef-specific education tracks and on Wednesday, January 26th will hold our first-ever M Chef Showcase to celebrate this new MAFSI committee and their exciting initiatives.


The Membership & Marketing Committee continues to focus on implementing strategies dealing with member growth and development; membership growth and retention; marketing and promotion of members services to increase participation, and social media. Their initiatives include:

  • New Web Site: The committee announced the revamp of the new MAFSI website ( and is receiving great feedback from both reps and manufacturers. Special website features include:
  • New Company Member Locator: The new Member Company Locator allows for easier searching of reps and manufacturers and now includes all brands in the industry, and the MAFSI reps that rep them, driving further member value through our directory.
  • New Networking Directory – MAFSI’s new Networking Directory allows members to connect, person to person, which was not available on the old MAFSI site.
  • New “Looking for New Partners” Directory – Our new and improved “Looking for New Partners” directory helps you find new rep and manufacturer partners that are a perfect fit!
  • New Member Compass: The Member Compass acts as your membership dashboard. You can now easily access invoices, manage your staff, and update your company membership information.

Fall Membership Drive

  • MAFSI is conducting a Fall membership drive to recruit 20 new rep and/or manufacturer members before MAFSI’s 2022 in January. Help us reach goal! If you know a rep or manufacturer that would benefit from MAFSI membership, please email their contact information to Ramsey Phillips at

New Member Service Partners & Member Benefits

We have a plethora of new service providers for MAFSI members. To recommend a new member service provider or member benefit, please contact Ramsey Phillips at

New Member Service Partners

  • Business and Succession Planning: Do you know what your business is worth? Do you have a plan to maximize the value of your ownership in your business when you transition out of your business and set up the new owners for success? With MAFSI’s member service from IMG Financial Group, Inc., the answers to these questions are easy.
  • IT Services/Computer Solutions: CraftTech Computer Solutions offers Managed IT Services and Office Solutions for small to medium-sized businesses. Their services include professional IT consulting, managed IT monthly support solutions, remote/helpdesk and on-site support, cybersecurity, anti-virus/malware protection and monitoring, cloud-based services/network solutions, unified WiFi installation, VoIP phone system setup and configuration, computer repairs, hardware upgrades/replacement and so much more.
  • Marketing Services: MAFSI has added Craeve & Co., a full-service Sales & Marketing services company, providing website and social media services for rep and manufacturer members, to our member partner program.
  • New Attorney Privileges for Rep Members (starting September 1st): Steven Mitchell Sack, a nationally recognized attorney whose practice is devoted to sales rep litigation, contract negotiations, and general labor law, is available for all MAFSI members to receive free services or services at a reduced rate on such matters as pre-hiring considerations, contracts, hiring and firing of suppliers and employees, protecting commissions, and resignation and termination.
  • Video Services: D. Hudson Productions can help you create videos or train your staff to create their own marketing videos. Contact David Hudson, D. Hudson Productions at 847-845-6333 or
  • Promotional Products: Brand Demand is a woman-owned business and we take a different approach to logo promotional products and apparel. They employ a “personal shopper” method, where you have your own designated promotional product expert to help you brainstorm the perfect item/s for any event or project. They will shop out all of the ideas for you to save you time and energy.
  • Complete Service Partner List: Click on the link for a complete list of Member Service Partners.

New Member Benefits

  • MAFSI Matters Newsletter: The committee is working on a relaunch of our electronic newsletter, MAFSI Matters, by January 2022.
  • Complete Member Benefit List: Please visit MAFSI’s member benefits

Social Platform Outreach and Logos/Branding



The DT&E Committee develops programs, services and training to assist our rep and manufacturer members in all areas that have and will have technological impact on them and their partners. Their initiatives include:

Foodservice Academy is home to our online training programs including Foodservice 101 and Smartphone Video Workshop.

  • Foodservice 101: Our hugely successful six-course Foodservice 101 curriculum has educated over 300 reps and manufacturers, receiving 5-star reviews. If you have staff members with under 5 years’ experience, you need to sign them up for Foodservice 101—the industry’s only training on the channel and channel partners. Cost is $299 for all 6 one-hour courses.

    And as the industry continues to see recovery from COVID, the committee is working on getting the word out on Foodservice 101 to non-MAFSI members including dealers, consultants, service companies and non-member manufacturers. Please encourage your channel partners to check it out at
  • Smartphone Video Workshop: Also hugely successful, is our Smartphone Video Workshop—the only program in the industry for how-to training making marketing and demo videos on your smartphone—an absolute must for all reps and manufacturers looking to expand their reach on social platforms. Cost is $349 per company.



The Rep Firm of the Future Committee focuses on the emerging trends on the changing roles and activities of the MAFSI representative and other industry trends affecting the representative/customer/factory relationship and the growth and development of MAFSI rep firms and manufacturer partners. Their initiatives include:

Compensation and Contracts

  • Commission and Contracts were reported as the number one concern for rep firm members in 2021. The committee is working on a compensation and contracts resource webpage for reps and manufacturers, slated for launch in September under the “Tools” section of

Rep Firm of the Future

  • The committee is working on a “spec sheet” addressing the functions of the rep firm of the future, slated for release at MAFSI ‘22 and supported through special breakouts for reps and manufacturers.

Best Practices/Business Models

Strategic Alliances/Industry Relations

  • Allied Partner Conferences: MAFSI President, Tom Mitchell and Executive Director, Alison Cody will be representing MAFSI at the following allied partner conferences:
  • FEDA Conference - September 21-24, 2021 in Nashville, TN
  • CFESA Conference – October 4-6, 2021 in Phoenix, AZ
  • NAFEM Annual Meeting – February 28-March 3, 2022 in Scottsdale, AZ
  • FCSI Conference – April 21-23, 2022 in Montreal, ON



The SpecPath & Industry Data Sharing Committee provides a competitive advantage to our SpecPath and SpecQuote subscribers by developing new features and benefits and working with industry partners on sharing data across the channel.

New SpecPath Features Released this Fall

  • My B. I. (Business Intelligence): SpecPath’s new module, My B.I. combines business analytics, data mining, data visualization, and best practices to help organizations make more data-driven decisions. The My BI page gives you the ability to create, edit and export custom reports in a variety of visual formats including graphs and comparison charts. You’ll have the ability see deep into your projects, by category, by specifier, by brand, you name it.
  • My Product Categories: For the first time ever SpecPath, My Product Categories will include item product categories. This new module enables SpecPath Subscribers to filter through projects in your region by item category. You can sort by items or projects and also by brand or consultant. It will show your totals per category, the industry totals per category (in your region) which will enable you to see your spec-share percentage.

SpecPath Training

  • Starting in late September 2021 we will hold monthly SpecPath training webinars that will cover 1-2 main topics per meeting so our subscribers can get the most out of SpecPath.
  • Also released this Fall will be a SpecPath in-program module that covers what’s new, what’s fixed, what’s coming and a special SpecPath section in the soon-to-be re-released MAFSI Matters newsletter subscriber including spotlight, stats, etc.



The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee was formed to help create a community experience that is open, welcoming, and demonstrates our values to our industry.

DE&I Resources and Training Debuting this Fall

  • Glossary of Terms: The committee is compiling a comprehensive list of definitions for terms pertaining to DEI, BIPOC, LGBTQ+ issues. This resource is being edited and made user friendly so we can share it as a resource for MAFSI members.
  • Resource List: They are also developing a list of resources for reference for DEI in the foodservice industry working on a “best practices” list.
  • DEI Training: For MAFSI ‘22, they are also developing two DEI sessions.



The RD&T Committee develops MAFSI’s membership survey and data projects. Their initiatives include:

Market Trends

  • At the Summer board meeting the committee changed its name to Research, Data & Trends from Research, Data & Technology.
  • This name change was predicated on responses from our 2021 Member Assessment Survey where increased trend spotting was one of the top member requests for both reps and manufacturers. More information on this exciting trends initiative will be announced during MAFSI ‘22 this January in Naples, FL.

Surveys and Research

MAFSI Technology Certification (MTC) Program

  • MTC Criteria and Promotion: The committee will continue to update the MTC Program for Rep Firms criteria for the four MTC levels: Core, Advanced, Expert and Master.
  • Education and Promotion: For MAFSI ‘22, they are also developing two technology breakouts--one for reps and one for manufacturers and are planning special promotions for MTC Rep Firms at the event.
Tom can be reached at, and welcomes your feedback.
Published by Tom Mitchell, MAFSI Chairman September 1, 2021
Tom Mitchell, MAFSI Chairman