Branching Out Interviews

Branching Out: An Interview with TRS President, Michelle Friedman


Last week we introduced you to Arnie Schatz, owner of The Restaurant Source in Denver, CO. This week we are excited to introduce you to TRS President, Michelle Friedman. This is the second post of our four-part Branching Out blog series featuring TRS. Join along as we introduce you to our new Denver family! 

Read below for Michelle’s interview.

Describe your journey leading up to this point. How did you get to where you are today?

I worked as an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) in both a private practice and at the Health Sciences Center in the Department of Psychiatry when Arnie decided to cut back his hours, and Michael needed to spend more time on operations, and running the company.

In 2001, I joined TRS and agreed to join the family business as the “all things” employee or Vice President of Human Resources. My role from 2001 to 2014 was to take care of all policies and procedures, hiring and firing, creating teams, creating jobs, training of both supervisors and employees, developing employee assistance programs, etc. Really, whatever was needed. 

In 2014 after Michael passed away, I became more involved in the day-to-day running of the company and took over as the President of TRS in September 2015. 

What is a typical day like for you?

Since I am wearing two hats currently – HR and President – my typical day is spent with employees on a variety of matters, as well as the executive team and our Directors regarding larger company issues. I might start a day meeting with our director of purchasing and head of the warehouse to discuss inventory, then meet with a team to discuss conflicts, perhaps run an ad for a new position for hire, perform interviews, etc. After lunch, I’ll meet with the head of sales and finance, and take care of any remaining employee matters. 

What are some examples of the challenges and rewards that you experience daily as President of TRS?

Being President has been very bittersweet, rewarding, and challenging. Spending 13 years in an HR role and not immersed in the foodservice side of things has taken a lot of work to get up to speed on. The reward of working is with our great employees. People are happy, stable, and do great work. They continue to grow our family legacy.

What is it about going to work every day that keeps you inspired?

I really like the job, the people I work with, and the challenge.

Looking forward to the next few years, what are some goals that you are most excited about?

I have no idea what I am going to do next. I am looking forward to seeing what Bargreen Ellingson does to grow The Restaurant Source.

What is the best advice you have ever received throughout your career? How do you apply this advice to your job every day?

Take it one day, one person, and one task at a time. Spend more time listening and less time talking. 

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