It is with great sadness that Cini-Little International, Inc. announces that Ronald P. Kooser, FFCSI, one of the principals of the firm, passed away peacefully on Friday, May 29, 2020. He is survived by his wife, two children and their families.
Ron started his career with Stouffer’s Foods in the design department planning Stouffer restaurants, hotels and commercial operations. Ron joined Cini•Little International, Inc., in 1970, opening the firm’s first branch office in Chagrin Falls, where he built the company’s name recognition in the mid-West through his foodservice design expertise as well as his high regard for maintaining a client-consultant relationship built on mutual respect and trust. A proponent of excellence through shared education, Ron trained and mentored Cini•Little staff to maintain integrity of design and ensure the very best for each client. “Ron hired me straight out of Purdue, and I had the privilege to work with him in the Cleveland office for more than 9 years. Ron has been a mentor throughout my career and progression to my current position. Ron taught me the importance of listening to our clients and offering strategic planning solutions at every phase of a project. Ron was always an encourager and ingrained in me giving back to a number of initiatives throughout my career,” Dick Eisenbarth, President and COO, remembered fondly.
Through the years, Ron pioneered effective healthcare foodservice design solutions that propelled institutional foodservice into a different realm of suitability and excellence for the patient and visitor alike, creating profitability in an otherwise underappreciated market. Recognized as a top consultant in his field, Ron’s unique insight and creative, leading edge designs have won numerous awards throughout his career. Ron retired from the day to day business in 2012, after leading the firm for 5 years as President and COO, and 2 years as CEO. He remained active on the Board of Directors and served as design advisor to Cini•Little’s associates.
Ron was a Fellow of FCSI (Foodservice Consultants Society International), serving as Worldwide President from 1982-1983, and in many capacities during his 50+ years of membership. He shared his passion and vast knowledge at numerous industry related conferences throughout the years and offered much insight into the foodservice industry through prolific authoring of trade magazine articles. Ron, a Cornell Hotel School Alumnus, was an active member of the Cornell Hotel Society, serving as Past Director of the Society as well as Past President and member of the Northeastern Ohio Chapter. Having served as ’61 Class Director for the Hotel School Alumni Association Magazine, he continued to be an active content contributor throughout his life.
“I have known Ron for almost seven decades and graduated from Cornell in the same class of 1961, reflected William Eaton, Chairman of the Board. We were in college together and shortly after college, joined the same company, “Hot Shoppes” now known as Marriott International, Inc. We have traveled together numerous times, vacationed together and visited each other’s homes many times. To make it simple, we were like brothers! We will miss Ron’s clear mind and positive influence on the company, the industry, and to everyone he knew! God bless Ron, Linda and the whole Kooser clan.”
Ron Kooser will be remembered for his contributions to the foodservice consultancy industry and his unwavering honesty, integrity and kindness to everyone surrounding him. His dedication to Cini•Little was a testament to his love of his profession and his desire to provide the very best design solutions to his clientele. “Ron possessed a creative spirit and was charismatic in his relationships with his clients. Those who had the pleasure of working with Ron will never forget the passion he brought to everything he did. His constant drive to help all succeed made him a natural mentor and leader. He was a sincere, generous man and will be missed, but his spirit left a powerful mark on me personally and this firm that will continue on,” shared Kathleen Held, CEO.
Ron will be dearly missed and fondly remembered by his colleagues at Cini-Little.
A celebration of Ron’s life will be held at a later date because of the current pandemic. Those wishing to make a donation in Ron’s memory may donate to: the Wounded Warriors Project at woundedwarriorproject.org/donate.