Meet your 100 Greats: People, part 5

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Catering Insight is celebrating its 100th issue with a run-down of 100 UK catering equipment industry greats, comprising people, projects, equipment and business developments.

Today we take an in-depth look at the last section of people profiled: Keith Warren, John Whitehouse, Cathy Wilcox, Nick Williams and Ken Winch.


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Keith Warren

Keith Warren is truly tireless and the ultimate polymath of the foodservice equipment industry. As director and chief executive of FEA (formerly CESA) he is one of the best known faces in the market.

Under his stewardship the association has grown in importance and influence, too, and he and his colleagues are regular visitors to Downing Street and Brussels.

Keith joined CESA in 2002. He and other members of the association, have had meetings with, and been asked to advise, UK ministers and EU officials about a host of important issues, from WEEE and apprenticeships to F-Gases and Brexit.

John Whitehouse

John Whitehouse has come a long way since he established First Choice Group over 20 years ago. There was a gap in the market for spare parts supply and John transformed this area of the industry by fulfilling the demand.

His passion for the industry is huge and this was highlighted again, in 2014, when John introduced Combico, the training academy for First Choice Group. This was set up to help educate and train aspiring or active catering engineers.

He is renowned in the industry, and is especially known for his help with CESA, being the current chair, and was behind its name change to FEA.

Cathy Wilcox

Cathy Wilcox is well-known and respected throughout the catering equipment supply chain. As the extroverted half of the WilcoxBurchmore management team, her warm, approachable aura complements her extensive skills and knowledge.

Prior to starting up her own business in 2011, she had developed a major portfolio of work, spending nearly 10 years at Carford as project manager, followed by a stint at McFarlane Telfer as head of projects and design.

Never afraid to speak up to improve the industry as a whole, she has ensured she uses her platform in her additional roles as southern regional vice chair of CEDA and as a council member at the Association of Catering Excellence.

Nick Williams

Precision Refrigeration founder Nick Williams is part of a family dynasty that has shaped the UK refrigerator manufacturing sector. He grew up in the industry, having worked with his father Mike at the Williams family refrigeration business. Mike himself was also one of the driving forces at Foster Refrigerator UK from its inception in 1968.

Nick established Precision in 2008. The firm’s innovative design ideas always start with Nick, and are then worked on by the manufacturer’s skilled team of experts.

Building on the success he experienced in the UK, he established offices in Australia, Dubai and China, with the latter also operating a factory.

Ken Winch

Foodservice design consultant Ken Winch, one third of the founding team of SeftonHornWinch, is accorded ultimate respect by all who know him around the world for his unflinching honesty and focus on improvement and excellence in foodservice generally.

Uniquely, his advice and instruction has been sought by equipment manufacturers and stainless steel fabricators alike, and is unfailingly good natured, positive and unflinching in his opinions.

Ken joined FCSI (Foodservice Consultants Society International) in 1981, long before it was a recognised organisation in the UK. He went on to become chair of the EAME Chapter and then president – worldwide.

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Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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