Winterhalter’s David Smithson has been honoured with an award for his ‘Outstanding Service to the Catering Equipment Industry’.
Smithson, who is CEO of the Winterhalter group of companies, picked up the accolade at last week’s annual CESA conference in Oxfordshire.
Incoming CESA chair, Simon Frost, presented the award and thanked Smithson for his “contribution and efforts to help shape our industry as it is today”.
Smithson’s first job in the catering equipment industry came with Hobart where, in the days before combi ovens, he was tasked with selling high-speed dry steam cookers and forced air convection ovens in the South West and Wales.
After being relocated to head office as a national account executive, Smithson was promoted to national account manager and eventually went onto become group sales and marketing director.
His love of the hospitality business gave him the idea of starting his own restaurant and, while looking for a property during a recession in the early nineties, he worked with Chis Nutt and Derek Horn in Berkeley Projects.
It was during this period that he was approached to join Winterhalter as the company’s UK managing director. During his time at the Milton-Keynes-based firm he instigated the purchase of Classeq, which has gone onto become an important brand for the business.
Frost also paid tribute to Smithson’s involvement with the industry’s leading trade bodies over the years.
“Having been a CESA Council member for many years, he became chairman in 2001 and has helped to grow the association and has always been keen to embrace other organisations such as the FCSI, CEDA, HCA and so forth.
“He is as passionate about CESA as is about the other parts of his life and, with the full support of his Council, was a major driver in to making CESA what it is today.”
Smithson is credited with initiating the first joint conference with the FCSI in 2003. He was also the chairman of the Marketing Committee and the Exhibition Liaison Committee.