In September, Andrews-Anagnostaras – longtime president of Landmark Design Inc. and managing principal of IDeA Worldwide, Inc. – accepted the position of executive vice president with Phoenix-based Emergency Mobile Kitchens, LLC, designers, engineers and manufacturers of custom mobile trucks and trailers and other types of modular units.
Why the change in career path after four decades? “Because it presented a big challenge,” says Andrews-Anagnostaras. “I always wanted to get involved with projects that I can start and finish in a very short period of time.”
Executives had been negotiating to bring Andrews-Anagnostaras on board as a consultant to help restructure the company. “I had given them a consulting proposal, and then at the very last minute they turned around and said, ‘Would you be interested in coming to work for us?’ They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”
His mission is simple: completely remake the company into the premier international player in the design, engineering, manufacturing and production of mobile kitchens on truck and trailers, and modular kitchens. “We believe that not just modular kitchens but modular restaurants are the trend; that this is the future,” says Andrews-Anagnostaras.
The move was consistent with Andrews-Anagnostaras’ philosophy: the secret to being a premier consultant, he believes, is to love what you’re doing, to be inquisitive and to learn from your mistakes. Beyond that, however, “you’ve got to constantly reinvent yourself because it’s an ever-changing evolutionary process. I started as a designer with a straight edge and a t-square working on cloth with ink. And now I’m working with the latest software available for design.”
Advances in technology are obviating one of the classic friction points in consultant-client relationships. “Time and again I would do a great design and show it to a chef and he would agree to it. But when the facility was constructed, the chef would walk in and say, ‘I did not agree to that. This is not what I visualized.’ That is why virtual design has proven – and will remain in the years ahead – such a boon for consultants.
“You can sit not only with a chef but with a food-and-beverage manager, people who cannot read 2-D drawings, and actually walk them through a virtual kitchen,” Andrews-Anagnostaras says. “We even have the tools to project it on the wall or a screen in full size. By doing that, we solve our serious ergonomic problems. We can do prototypes without having to build the whole prototype, and we can test them by building it in virtual reality.”
The year ahead should prove to be a “very good year,” in Andrews-Anagnostaras’ estimation, “because Obama was re-elected we have continuity, and people will listen. We know what’s going to happen for the next four years whether the House or Senate like it or don’t like it.”
In other words, change. Deal with it.