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Blog: Ken Winch FFCSI on why the Society is about “friends and family”

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In remembering those we've lost, we are reminded how the FCSI family gives us such lasting friendships, says Winch

I recently read with sadness about the passing of Arnold Fewell FCSI. This got me thinking about four other FCSI members we also lost in 2018 and realised that I had met and had enjoyed the privilege of knowing each of them, albeit in different ways, but all as a result of being a part of the FCSI family.

While I recall only the occasional conversation with Sherman Robinson FCSI, who passed away in April 2018, I remember his wisdom and passion. I knew Andrew Humble FCSI over many years as a great designer and competitive friend who I met at our gatherings, but too infrequently. Having attended his memorable funeral last year I wish that we had spent more time getting to know each other better, rather than just vying for the next contract.

And who in our profession didn’t know, or had heard about, John Cini FFCSI (PP)? His very presence commanded attention and I enjoyed his company several times, with the first being in the 1980s when he visited my old company and we discussed the possibilities of merging, or forming a collaborative joint venture. This failed to mature for reasons now lost in the passage of time, but it illustrated that even then there were opportunities to create and relationships and friendships to develop that would extend into the future to enhance our work and our lives.

Lasting friendships

This became more evident with my longstanding friendship with William (Bill) Watts FCSI, who called me in the mid 1980s suggesting we get together during one of his frequent trips to London, which we did. Our common ground was foodservice design and FCSI, with whom he had suffered a subjectively bad experience and had left the Society. He subsequently re-joined and explained that he did so out of loyalty when I became the Worldwide president. I am still humbled by this act of friendship. We got to meet and know each other’s children, while his was enhanced when he met and married his wife, Myoko.

Bill and I lost touch for a short period after many gatherings in London and via every form of communication, but we spoke again early last year when he proudly told me he and Myoko had got their flying licenses and were enjoying their “new freedom”. When I heard of their passing I had no idea that they had both died in a plane crash, in what I have assumed was them enjoying their new life together.

Collaborative thinking

More recently, I have had the great pleasure of seeing some of my old friends, through friendships made during my service on the FCSI EAME and Worldwide boards. Even more recently I have been collaborating with Nahum Goldberg FCSI on the new headquarters for LinkedIn in London, which he conceptualised in San Francisco. Nahum and I are hoping to also collaborate on a joint article on this project for FCSI’s Foodservice Consultant magazine later in the year.

I have no doubt that there are many others feeling the same sense of loss when friends and colleagues leave us. I am equally sure that there are many other collaborations occurring and that lasting friendships are formed as a result. It proves to me that our FCSI family still exists and that we should and must take the time to communicate and confirm such friendships more constantly and consistently.

We are not here forever and we do not get a second chance.

Ken Winch FFCSI (PP)