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Tom Johnson does specialty consulting and lots of public speaking.  This is Tom’s resume’ for public speaking and consulting and includes a list of references and fee’s.

We hope the title of this section grabbed you.  We are working to keep this area one of the key features of our site.  Ours is a specialty business and much of our specialty knowledge can only be acquired on the job.  For those of you that are new to the industry, or are industry outsiders, manufacturers of food equipment contract with independent sales and marketing agencies to promote their equipment to the trade in certain geographical area’s and/or special accounts or market segments.   The manufacturers pay these agencies commissions based upon every sale made in the agents contracted area. Aside from the obvious (increase sales) there are no text books or course curriculums offered that provide a road map to success for multi-line independent factory reps.   Ours is often touted as the single most regulated industry in the U.S., with more codes, regulations and authorities having jurisdiction per square foot of kitchen space than any other area of any building.  Its little wonder given the hazards in the kitchen, and the demand for safe, affordable food.  In this section we will continue to post some of our specialty information (knowledge) in the hopes of furthering our industry and ourselves.  Please do not take our “knowledge” as fact.  These are collections of our perceptions from our perspective and our personal experience in the many situations our diverse blend of representations has delivered.    In the age of mass merchandizing and information everywhere all the time, our plan is to avoid commoditization which is the domain of large corporations.  Specialty knowledge and capability is the value added antithesis to commodity.   It is for this reason that our pursuit of adding value time and again leads us to cutting edge technologies, processes and modalities, just as it continues to lead us into standards development and code modification and adoption activities. 








Code and Compliance

Our years of representing leading manufacturers of food service equipment and food related mechanical systems led us to develop code and compliance specialties in part due to hard knocks.   The State of Minnesota is known coast to coast for their advanced regulatory agencies supported in part by our rich and diverse medical and agricultural economic base.  Each of our code specialties arose from various problems or more appropriately, “prerequisite opportunities” we encountered whilst plying our craft promoting and selling foodservice equipment to a diverse cast of stakeholders; from architects, engineers and foodservice consultants to dealers, distributors and of course, end users.  Our diverse blend of manufacturers led us into every imaginable market segment, from chain restaurants to ma’s and pa’s, to retail grocery and convenience stores, military bases, care facilities, schools, universities, business and industry, and hotels, casinos and catering operations.  For example, we have been selling and promoting commercial kitchen ventilation since the early 80’s, beginning with Gaylord Industries, and then Avtec Industries beginning in the large 80’s.  We represented Cleveland Range beginning in 1970, and then Groen beginning in the late 80’s too.  Where Cleveland was first in steamers and second in Cook-chill and kettles, Groen was second in steamers and first in cook chill, kettles and braising pans. It occurred to us in the early 80’s that many of our sections of various codes were based largely on opinion, and some of them had since been shown to be inaccurate, and in need of change.  Every missed opportunity to better target a code section meant additional waste or a constraint to the financial health of our industry sector, and  many times to public health as well.   In 1987 we took on a new line, Randell Mfg, a leader in refrigerated prep tables, chefs tables, reach-in refrigerators and custom refrigerated counters.  It was coincidental with this new contract that we took a big step and actively pursued membership in various local industry/regulatory development committee’s.  Each of these committee’s was focused on one particular public safety specialty.  Some safety committee’s focused on food, others on fire and building codes (such as mechanical, plumbing and electrical).   

So it is that in 2004 Tom has over fifteen years active involvement with the Minnesota Environmental Health Association (MEHA) and (10)plus years of active participation with various other State regulatory groups in addition to his decade of involvement with an international ASHRAE technical committee.   Through his work on the State of Minnesota’s’ Interagency Review Council, he was also involved in our States adoption of new food rules, and subsequently with the Conference of Food Protection (CFP), the very group responsible for developing the FDA Food Code.  It was this active participation in the CFP and his successful presentations of submittals to both the 1998 Milwaukee CFP and then the 2001 Nashville CFP that he came to be retained by NAFEM as their consultant in the field of standards development and regulatory relations.  This in turn led to assignments on the UL advisory committee and in October of 2003, his appointed to the NSF joint Committee for Food Equipment.   We remain committed to sharpening our skills and knowledge in this crucial area individually and collectively as we see the correlation the value added sales and marketing of food and beverage equipment and public health and safety.

Regulation or Restraint - Presentation focusing on "National Uniformity for Food Act", new energy standards, and updates on ANSI and the standards development organizations.

This section has various public domain documents generated by the Inter agency Review Council (IARC), which was established by the 1997 MN State legislature as the interpretation and overview committee responsible for coordinating enforcement between two different State agencies, the MN Dept of Health and the MN Dept. of Agriculture.  Tom was a founding member of this council which complies with Minnesota’s open meeting laws.  The materials we post are reprints and/or scans of materials generated or otherwise distributed at these public meetings.  We also post general information from the Ventilation Committee (Tom is a founding member and was co-chair), which is a standing committee responsible to t

The first document is a flow chart of the decision process associated with determining what type of exhaust hood is required for a particular cooking application

The second document is a description of how to use the flow chart.

Codes and Standards Development

IMC Revision objections


Examples of Restrictive Interpretation due to sloppy rule writing

Model code groups

MUFES Presentation

IAPMO interpretation request



Vent guide - Minnesota commercial kitchen ventilation guidelines; modeled with UMC in mind, this guide is scheduled to be updated next year as the State has now adopted rules modeled from ICC and from NFPA 96. 

     Part 1 of 3 – Originally published in 1997, this section of the multipart article describes the various organizations that play a part in developing codes and standards that relate to commercial kitchen ventilation.

     Part 2 of 3 - This section of the multipart article discusses the physics of ventilation. In order to promote public safety, codes and regulations need to be based on science, and historical data.  Since its writing, Tom was awarded a patent for a device which he conceptualized around the time of it publishing.  The device is an automatic torque converter between a fan and motor, whereby the motor always encounters the same amount of work, as the mechanical “transmission” causes the fan to accelerate when resistance drops and to slow when resistance increases.

    Part 3 of 3 - This section of the multipart article discusses air velocities in commercial kitchen ventilation. Specifically, how codes designate required air velocities, and how certain "listed hoods" can benefit the foodservice operator.   This section begs an update now that new research data shows that lower velocities reduce grease depositions.

NFPA 96 2001 Edition Presentation for MN state Fire Marshals annual Institute for Building Officials meeting

CKV Quantified - Short paper quantifying when to use Type I or Type II ventilation solutions

NFPA 96 TIA - presentation associated with a Tentative Interim Ammendment (TIA) request to NFPA to define thresholds on grease laden vapor production

NFPA 96 amendment request - actual submittal for TIA

NFPA 96 reccomendations

ASHRAE article on kitchen exhaust    

CKV design guide


Food Code

    Food Code part 1 - This 1997 article reviews how the FDA Model Food Code is being used by states to develop food safety laws, and regulations. It also discusses how the food code states that the permit holder is legally responsible for the safety of the food they serve.

   Food Code part 2 - This article discusses some of the most relevant sections of the food code, such as the role of the code authority, cooling requirements, and how HACCP plays a role in food safety in all food service establishments.



Water to Steam - Now its time for a chemistry lesson. Water is often times a great tool in the foodservice space, but since it is also a universal solvent, one must understand how water works to protect ones foodservice investments.   First published in 1997.

New Ventilation Products - A discussion on application specific ventless hoods, to "no-chase" ducts, to grease containment systems.

Characteristics of Steam - This article discusses the physics of steam, and why it is so useful for cooking food. Another great resource to understand Steam equipment can be found at the NAFEM website. The document is titled "The Handbook of Steam Equipment".

Blast Chilling - Blast chillers were developed in Europe as a method to enhance food quality, but because of food safety concerns, this functionality is just now taking hold in the US.

Optimization through Technology - This article reviews some automated controls for ventilation, automated monitoring of temperatures, and energy efficient ventilation techniques.

EW Newsletter  - Learn about the following topics

Scroll Compressors | Semi-hermetic vs. full hermetic compressors | Long Refrigeration Line Runs | ANSI NSF 7 and Refrigeration | Integrating Cold Storage Needs | Comparing Walk-Ins by Specs |

Clean Sweep - Article for FEDA magazine offering many optimized procedures for cleaning and sanitizing food prep and food processing facilities.

Natural Gas Distribution in Foodservice - This is a great overview of how natural gas is brought into the foodservice space, and some issues that can affect the performance of foodservice equipment.  Written in 1995, many of the problems and fixes he highlights continue to this day.



Here is a printable version of the Johnson Commercial Agents company resume