FoodService News

Meet the Camily: Mary Ellen Drake

Cambro products wouldn’t be what they are today without the people who make them. In our Meet the Camily series, we introduce you to some of the people that make your favorite products possible. From manufacturing to distribution to corporate, every Cambro employee has a story to tell. In 2018, Mary Ellen Drake became Cambro’s Director of Strategic Accounts and Specialty Markets. Previously, Drake worked with our Southern California-based representative group, The Fischer Group, for eight years.

Describe your first memorable experience with Cambro?

“I started working right out of college for a foodservice distributor in Los Angeles. That was where I was first introduced to Cambro. At the time, I was selling a lot of the Cambro black pans. We had all the assorted sizes except for the long half size pans. One day, I was introduced to the Cambro representative. I asked him if he could make long half size pans in black because I have to substitute metal ones and it doesn’t look right on their line. About a week later, he came back in and he said, ‘Here’s your sample,’ and that was my introduction to Cambro.”

What’s different at Cambro?

“I think about how Bill and Arygle Campbell started this company and they started it based upon trust. And today, that’s the foundation of what we base our relationship with these customers, it’s all based upon trust. They’re going to trust us to do the right job, to make the right product, find the right solution. The customer is number one and we’re going to do everything we can for that customer.”

What are considered National Accounts?

“National Accounts are chains that have a presence nationally or internationally, but it can also include regional chains. It can be anything from quick serve, casual dining, fast casual and fine dining.”

Who are some of the Cambro customers you’ve worked with?

The Cheesecake Factory, PF Chang’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Raising Cane’s. Locally in California, Mendocino Farms and Wood Ranch.”

What do you like about working with National Accounts?

“You have to have a lot of patience and you have to be very persistent and tenacious because sometimes you may work on a project that starts really small, maybe a few locations are testing, and then all of the sudden 2,200 locations need that container. One nice thing about National Accounts is that we get to work with a lot of different people in a chain company. Just trying to find solutions for them, I think that’s a lot of fun.”

What does the term “Camily” mean to you?

“Even though I had worked for The Fischer Group for eight years and was very closely involved with Cambro, I never quite thought of it as a Camily until I actually came to work directly for Cambro. I could see it wasn’t just another little name that we add, but it actually meant something.”

Click here to read more stories from members of the Camily.


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