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FE&SEditorial Archives2005 — December — Editor's Perspective

We Are Family

In 1979 when the Pittsburgh Pirates won baseball’s World Series, they did so under the leadership of Willie “Pops” Stargell and with Sister Sledge’s lone hit “We are Family” as their unofficial theme song. En route to their victory over the Baltimore Orioles, the Pirates served as a breath of fresh air to many observers because the entire 24-man roster checked their egos at the door in pursuit of a single goal, which is as uncommon in business as it is in sports.

I remember that Pirate team well, not because of their success but of the way they went about earning it. What sticks out in my mind is the fact that they worked so well together and you could plainly see how much fun they had doing it. Finding that type of chemistry can be intoxicating, even for a casual observer, so it is not something that one soon forgets.

Images of the ‘79 Pirates came back to me this fall during my visit with FE&S’ 2005 DSR of the Year Dawn Ragsdale of Strategic Equipment and Supply Corp. Ragsdale has earned the leadership position of the national accounts team in Strategic’s Nashville, Tenn., office. And just as Stargell did for the Pirates some 26 years ago, Ragsdale has worked diligently to create a family-like atmosphere and has everyone on her team working together for the same goal.

“Everyone in our group knows the customer is No. 1 and without them we do not have a job,” Ragsdale says. “I am not sure how I became so lucky to work with the people I do. They all have such a strong work ethic.”

Despite her modesty, Ragsdale knows full well how she came to work with these individuals that would appear in her team picture. That’s because she is the architect that built the unit. But it is one thing to identify talented people that will fit well into a system and corporate culture and quite another to get them to excel in it. And Ragsdale has done both.

But it is one thing to identify talented people that will fit well into a system and corporate culture and quite another to get them to excel in it. And Ragsdale has done both.

“We just know each other so well that everything flows really well. Dawn knows how to pick the right people for our team,” says Kay Robertson, sales and warranty coordinator for Strategic. Robertson adds that Ragsdale excels in the areas of coaching and mentoring other teammates to ensure they reach their full potential. “She knows what’s good for us and won’t back down. Dawn makes good decisions for us and puts the company first.”

In the foodservice industry, lots of people do that on a regular basis, but what sets Ragsdale apart from the rest of them is her approach. While maintaining the utmost level of professionalism, it is extremely evident that Ragsdale truly enjoys her job and enjoys letting her teammates do theirs. “This is a fun industry,” Ragsdale admits.

Just as important, you need to know your family has got your back and that’s the case with Ragsdale’s team. They have an intimate knowledge of each client they serve and are able to step in seamlessly to back up one another.

When you are pitching in some big games, as Ragsdale regularly does by serving chain accounts, that type of support helps you be your best to meet the expectation of the most demanding and coveted of clients because their needs can change at a moment’s notice. “There is always a challenge and it is never boring,” she says.

And so long as we are on the subject of family, ours here at FE&S would like to wish you and yours a happy and safe holiday season and a productive and prosperous 2006.

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