Jeff Whitaker makes a career-changing decision when he leaves his job as a successful sales director to set up WhitCo Bakery & Catering Equipment and starts working for himself.
The company quickly grows as it builds a reputation for excellence in customer service and reliability. WhitCo fulfils contracts in the public and private sectors throughout the UK.
WhitCo throws its weight behind the cause of excellence in local food and drink and begins a long and continuing association with the Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards, as a major sponsor.
Jeff's life is tragically cut short by Motor Neurone Disease at the start of the year. Hundreds of friends, family and industry leaders gather at Oundle School Chapel in a service of remembrance. Jeff's Way, a community interest company, is set up to further his aims and interests for the benefit of others.
Jeff is posthumously honoured by ceda, the catering equipment distributors' association. He is awarded ceda's first-ever Legacy Honour, the association's highest possible accolade, for his services to the industry.
WhitCo wins ceda's national award for outstanding customer service. The team stepped in at short notice when the Carillion, the giant facilities management company, went bust owing £1.8 billion. Oxfordshire County Council was left with unfinished construction projects at school catering facilities in the county.
As Covid cuts a swathe through the industry, the WhitCo team works through the pandemic as key workers supporting businesses and organisations throughout the country.
By now, Jeff's Way has donated more than £30,000 to good causes. The most recent recipients include talented young chefs from the county who are supported as they train at the UK's finest hotels and restaurants.