Clinton Township, MI — In October 2011, Facility Solutions, Inc. will celebrate 10 years of success in the restaurant industry. CEO and Founder Tom Cullen — also an inspiring success story himself — leads a team of professionals who manage national rollouts for many of America’s largest restaurant chains. What some people in the industry might not know about Cullen, however, is that he is 85% deaf.
Despite his disability, Cullen has never let it “disable his ability” to grow a thriving organization. As a pre-teen, Cullen ran his own business employing friends to mow the lawns in his neighborhood. In his early 20s he managed a chain drugstore; and for the past 20 years, he has grown a successful consulting and project management firm for nationwide restaurant chains. Even with the emergence of email, advanced hearing devices, and optimized phone technology, Cullen relies on face-to-face meetings and lip-reading as his most valuable communication tool.
“Tom has been a great partner for many years. He has never allowed his disability to hold him back,” says Kurt Gnessin, director of facilities for Taco Bell Corp. “In fact, he has turned it into a competitive advantage as a consultant. His ability to read lips requires looking directly at me while I describe whatever problem I am working on. This has made him an extremely focused listener, asking great questions for clarity. He frequently develops solutions to problems using details his competitors may have glossed-over.”
Jack McNertney, senior director of facilities, building and campus services for Darden Restaurants, has had a similar experience. “When I first met Tom 7 years ago, I was unaware of his hearing loss and quite frankly never noticed it,” he says. “Capital projects, rollouts, conversions, surveys, etc…you name it and he would say, ‘We can do it.’ When I was made aware of his disability, it still never truly registered because it never impacted conversations we had. I soon learned that Tom was an excellent lip reader and I always tried to look directly at him in conversations in an effort to facilitate his understanding of my message. I’ve always marveled at his success and his willingness to help.”
For more information on Facility Solutions, Inc. visit www.facilitysolutionsinc.com.
Source: Facility Solutions, Inc.