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issue: September 2003 APPLIANCE Magazine

People
David Mansbery of Tonight's Menu Intelligent Ovens, LLC


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Bill Gates and an elderly scrap dealer were two sources of inspiration for David Mansbery, founder, president, and CEO of Tonight's Menu, whose patented prototype ovens refrigerate and cook foods all while being controlled by remote access over the internet or via cellular phone.



David Mansbery

It was a line in a book by Bill Gates which stated his kitchen appliances used no more advanced technology than any other well-appointed home that triggered Mr. Mansbery to think about advanced technology in kitchen appliances. And it was a scrap dealer who taught him to worry about what's good for his own company when making business deals. Once your company's needs are met, the scrap dealer explained, "Don't look in my pocket."

Mr. Mansbery says these inspirations have served him well throughout a career that, though diverse, shares the common threads of using ingenuity and deal-making skills to manage a variety of business interests.

After graduating from the University of Kentucky with a B.S. in Accounting in 1976, Mr. Mansbery began his career as a buyer of raw materials for Republic Steel Corporation. In 1980, he was promoted to manager of the Oil and Gas Division of Republic Steel and received an MBA in Finance from Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH, U.S.).

His first patent came in 1988 for a process to treat wastes created in the oil field. Mr. Mansbery went on to found several companies, including, in 1983, Duck Creek Energy, an oil and gas exploration company, and Tonight's Menu Intelligent Ovens, LLC (TMIO, LLC). Mr. Mansbery holds an additional patent for the technology running Tonight's Menu products.

The biggest challenge facing Mr. Mansbery and Tonight's Menu(TM) is finding a white goods manufacturer to produce and distribute Tonight's Menu ovens. He finds that some manufacturers have a problem with producing a product that wasn't invented in house.

The best way to surmount this obstacle, as Mr. Mansbery sees it, is to have well-developed supporting arguments for his products and an effective team in place. It's all part of his management style. As Mr. Mansbery explains it, management is "simple and clear." He says, "Establish the vision or goal for [the] company, assemble a team of hard working individuals, provide them with the resources to accomplish the task, hold them accountable for performance, and then reward them for their accomplishments."

Once a manufacturer is found, Mr. Mansbery sees opportunities for this product well beyond the home appliance market, including potential in the healthcare, transportation, and food processing markets.

When not dreaming up new ideas or devoting himself to his other businesses, Mr. Mansbery visits his sons at the University of Kentucky for dinner and golf and spends family vacations at Hilton Head.

 

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