When I complete my term in office, I will feel I have been successful If I hand off the NACUFS presidency to Mark LoParco without a loss of momentum. It is a year of transition, and as in Formula One racing, we will make a quick pit stop to change the tires, check the engine and then get back into the race.
My strongest personality trait is tenacity.
Our members would like NACUFS to continue providing the resources and tools college dining professionals need to oversee excellent dining programs at their institutions. They want us to help them leverage these resources so they can take an active role in educating senior administrators about the key role dining programs play in the overall student experience, satisfaction and recruitment.
When I ran for president, I promised to focus on the transition of our incoming executive director. This is only the second transition in NACUFS’ 58 year history and it’s quite a responsibility to ensure the continuity of services and that our momentum is maintained. I also promised to complete several projects initiated by Past President Nona Golledge that emphasized NACUF’s leadership in promoting sustainability and using technology to improve member services.
My strongest professional role model was Coach John Wooden. He set the bar by which all other coaches are compared. He cared deeply for his players and stuck to incredibly high standards and disciplineproducing unprecedented results no one has come close to repeating.
If I weren’t in foodservice, I’d probably be an organic farmer.
The most important career decision I made was to pursue food management instead of a CPA—joining the great team at Villanova made all the difference. Perhaps the most important realization in my career was understanding that I needed a strong team around me to complement my talents and skills.
The most challenging aspect of my job is making time for my staff.
The best way to improve the image of college foodservice is to showcase our culinarians, nutritionists and registered dietitians and lead the way to more healthful dining habits. They will be the healthcare providers in our future communities. As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food.”
If I could pass one piece of legislation, it would be banking and monetary reform.
The professional accomplishments I am proudest of is: Being recognized with the IFMA Gold Plate award in 2010 and developping Villanova’s branded concepts, particularly Holy Grounds, a chain of six campus coffee shops.
The best professional advice anyone ever gave me was: hire for attitude, train for skill.
People are often surprised to find out I’m a vegan. I was influenced by past presidents Janet Paul and Nona Golledge and was challenged by a student to turn vegan for 30 days. I never returned to my former diet habits.
If I could write my own epitaph, it would be: “He Lived to Serve.”
At a Glance
ASSOCIATION: National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS)
No. of Members: 1116 (550 institutional; 566 industry); six regional chapters
HQ Address: NACUFS, 2525 Jolly Rd., Suite 280, Okemos, MI 48864
Executive Director: Gretchen Couraud, CAE, CFRE
Mission: To promote the highest quality of foodservice on school, college, and university campuses by providing members with educational and training opportunities, technical assistance, scholarships, industry information, and research.
Job: Director of Dining, Villanova University
Earlier Career: Associate Director; General Manager; Manager; Villanova University Dining Services
Education: B.S. in Accountancy, Villanova University
PERSONAL: Married to Rosemarie; Two daughters, Christina and Lauren