Tom Cullen

Founder and President of Facility Solutions Inc. in Clinton Township. Facility Solutions provides project, facility, and construction management and food service consulting to Fortune 500 companies in the restaurant industry. Cullen has more than 20 years of experience, including serving as executive vice president of operations for a national food service provider. Cullen and his wife, Sandy, started Facility Solutions in their home, and moved to an office five years later. Since then, the company has recorded yearly double-digit revenue increases and now has more than 70 employees. Facility Solutions also has a partnership with Central Michigan University's supply chain management department to employ interns and graduates. Recently, Facility Solutions was named one of the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch by the Edward Lowe Foundation. The new office to which Facility Solutions moved in 2011 has been awarded LEED Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council and uses wind power for all its energy needs. The company also has an office in Holland, Mich. Cullen is a professional member of the Foodservice Consultants Society International and previously was named New Member of the Year by the Restaurant Facility Management Association. He is a member of the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers, where he attained the status of Certified Food Service Professional Level 1.

WHERE BORN: “Detroit.”

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: “My father. He was a consultant in the auto industry and was very successful with Tier 2 and 3 companies. I didn't get into the auto industry, but I became a consultant as well. Also, a number of people who were executives in the restaurant industry – I've worked with directors of Fortune 500 restaurant chains and learned a lot from equipment manufacturers who influenced me to become successful.”

LAST BOOK READ: “Several right now. One recently was The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox. It's based on an executive that took his son's Boy Scout troop camping. They had to go from one spot to another before dark and had to have the boys in the right sequence to reach the goal. Like business, you have to have people in the right positions to reach your goal. Another book, Customer Mania, by Jim Ballard, Fred Finch, and Ken Blanchard, focuses on customers in order to be successful.”

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: “Honest, customer-focused, coach, analytical.”

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: “Every year it changes. Clients tend to work with vendors that are the go-to companies. You can no longer complete a task and move on - it's much more than that now. The industry is going to where, in order to be successful, you have to develop relationships with customers and become partners. Also, portion sizes are smaller now, and chains are going smaller to save money. They're spending more time on developing appetizers because people go out to eat appetizers and drinks instead of main dishes. It continues to change.”

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: “My iPhone; it's like a computer. I can travel for eight hours and not even turn my computer on.”

FAVORITE PLACE: “Holland, Mich. I look forward to going there every weekend.”

FAVORITE HOBBIES: “Golf – without question. I also like to work with wood and do some remodeling, and play with my grandkids.”

FAVORITE FOOD: “Beef stroganoff.”

MY HIDDEN TALENT: “Because I have a profound hearing loss, I can read lips. I recently had a state-of-the-art surgery with a cochlear implant. Someone could drive by in a car and I'd know what they are saying. And watching sports, I know what the players are saying on the field.”

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: “When it comes to family, I want to be a good grandpa and for my kids to remember me as a good father, and my wife as a good husband. As far as business, I'd like to be known as a coach, leader, and someone that develops employees and clients to be successful.”