We are a dedicated team of engineers, technicians, culinary arts experts, educators, and energy specialists. We use our expertise to encourage the commercial foodservice industry to become more sustainable in their purchasing decisions and operations.
As Frontier Energy's Foodservice Division, we believe in a diverse energy future invested in conservation, efficiency, and new technology. Our rigorous, unbiased lab and field research is the foundation of everything we do, from our educational events to our program work. As the most highly regarded commercial foodservice testing lab in the United States, we are the leading source of energy efficiency information for the foodservice industry.
What began as a small energy monitoring project in the back of a cafeteria kitchen has evolved into a fully-equipped Center for commercial foodservice energy research and education. The FSTC is owned and operated by Frontier Energy, Inc., a professional energy consulting firm providing exceptional services, programs, and tools that encourage the intelligent use of energy.
Betty Ferlin spearheads a small project at the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) Company cafeteria kitchen to measure the energy consumption of commercial cooking appliances. The goal of the project is to provide PG&E's foodservice customers with information that will help them evaluate technically innovative cooking appliances and make informed equipment purchases.
Don Fisher & Judy Nickel, as Fisher-Nickel, Inc., sign on as the project's principals. The Production Test Kitchen becomes a reality as a new concept in commercial cooking appliance testing. It's a showplace for state-of-the-art commercial cooking appliances, a center for communicating information about new technologies, and stimulates continued research and development of innovative new appliances.
The success of the Production Test Kitchen project leads to the build-out of a facility committed to foodservice equipment energy research, The Food Service Technology Center (FSTC) in San Ramon, California. Helmed by the Fisher-Nickel team, the FSTC starts developing ASTM standard test methods for commercial foodservice equipment starting with fryers and griddles.
The FSTC launches the online resource fishnick.com, continues to benchmark the energy performance of commercial appliances, and provides technical support for fledgling utility rebate programs. The FSTC begins testing and promoting emerging, energy-saving technologies in foodservice, such as combination convection/steamer ovens.
The Food Service Technology Center celebrates 25 years of energy efficiency in commercial foodservice with a 3-day symposium attended by over 150 of the country's top foodservice industry professionals. The event focuses on the advancements in energy efficiency since the inception of the FSTC, and where foodservice energy and water efficiency is headed in the future.
Frontier Energy acquires Fisher-Nickel, inc.
The FSTC transitions to a Frontier Energy facility as the relationship with PG&E evolves. As the foodservice division of Frontier Energy, the FSTC continues its mission of promoting the efficient use of energy and water in the foodservice industry.
Vice President, Frontier Energy
David oversees the day-to-day operations at the FSTC. Over his twenty-plus year tenure, David has been instrumental in overseeing the development and maintenance of over 40 test methods for American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) ratification. He also manages the Center's appliance testing and evaluation program. David is the past Chairman of the ASTM F26 Committee on Food Service Equipment and the acting chairman for the F26.06 Subcommittee on Productivity and Energy Protocols.
Director of Education
Richard is Director of Education at the FSTC. Richard is a contributor to the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, working with the USGBC to incorporate food service into the LEED criteria. He currently focuses most of his efforts on technical outreach - translating the FSTC's 30 years of research into practical information. Richard has over 25 years of experience creating and presenting seminars on energy efficiency and authoring numerous research reports and articles in magazines, newsletters, and web publications. Richard is the author and creator of the online Foodservice Energy Efficiency Expert (FE3) training and certification program.
Denis Livchak is a Senior Engineer and leads most field monitoring and demonstration projects at the FSTC. He started his career testing performance and energy consumption of commercial cooking appliances in the lab and in the field. Now he is focusing on commercial foodservice refrigeration equipment ranging from ice cream makers and refrigerated prep tables to walk in refrigeration and ice machines.
Mark Finck is the Lead Engineer at the FSTC. He is responsible for developing and applying standard test methods for evaluating the energy efficiency and performance of commercial foodservice equipment. Mark has more than twenty years of experience in commercial cooking equipment product development including performance, application and efficiency. With another decade of background in Quick-Service Restaurants kitchen operations, food science chemistry, equipment manufacturing, and agency codes, Finck has helped many companies expand their menus and change their operational methods of food processing with the development of new appliances. Finck is a member of the ASTM Standards Committee and co-author of standard test methods for foodservice equipment. He is a member of NFPA-96 Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking operations, a contributing author to fire safety code language, and a past member of ASHRAE, Technical Committee – TC-510 Cooking Ventilation.
Mark oversees the "Try Before You Buy" program at the FSTC. With 20 years in the food service industry and 15 years in the kitchen, he is eager to share his knowledge and expertise with the industry. Duesler has experience in a wide variety of full-service restaurants including small family-owned operations, volume and multi-course fine dining, and chef-driven farm-to-table concepts. Given his exposure to multiple dining concepts, Mark has a deep understanding of the unique needs specific to individual operatiopns. Sharing this knowledge with operators allows them to make more informed decisions on proper equipment selection and usage.
As an extension of our mission, the FSTC and Frontier Energy are committed to minimizing the environmental footprint of our operations with regard to solid waste, energy and water consumption, and pollution. We do this by harnessing the collective enthusaism, intelligence, and mindfulness of our team members. We do it because we value human and environmental health, and we recognize that such values are not mutually exclusive with good business practices.
As a certified California Green Business, we are leading by example when it comes to energy, water, and waste reduction.