20 Most Influential: Shawn LaPean, University of California, Berkeley

Shawn LaPean has thrived by acting as a change agent for his department and his peers in foodservice.

Shawn LaPean
Director of Cal Dining,
University of California, Berkeley

Shawn LaPean lives to serve, and that doesn’t mean just his customers. LaPean is well aware that Berkeley customers are a very different clientele than the “normal” campus culture. LaPean has been able to thrive by acting as a change agent for his department and his peers in foodservice. He was recognized for his efforts with a Silver Plate in 2008.

“When we worked together [at Vanderbilt] I saw that he is really driven to take what exists and make it better,” says Frank Gladu, associate vice president for administration at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn. “He’s not a status quo guy. I think people are just more creative with Shawn in the room.”

That creativity has led to accomplishments at Berkeley in areas such as sustainability, organics and local purchasing. Despite all his accomplishments it is LaPean’s willingness to share advice, ideas and experience—even with operators in different market segments—that truly makes him influential, says Dan Henroid, director of nutrition and foodservices at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center.

“When I first got here and said I’d love to come see your place it was an immediate yes,” Henroid says. “We’ve been great colleagues ever since. I end up sending members of our team out to his place about once a year. I think his willingness to take risks is key.” 


Foodservice Director has undertaken a bold initiative by identifying people who we believe are having the biggest impact on non-commercial foodservice. Our list may surprise you and should certainly intrigue you. Our honorees have backgrounds as varied as their personalities. They range from the father of the modern-day food truck to the wife of a sitting president. They include operators and suppliers, chefs and consultants, CEOs and civil servants. There are traditionalists and there are mavericks. Well-known names share space with hot newcomers. In all, 17 people, two groups of individuals and one institution compose the list. It’s time to meet FSD’s 20 Most Influential.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

This semester, the East Quad dining team at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is taking steps to offer more authentic global cuisine , Michigan Daily reports.

The team has partnered with the Office of Student Life to start a conversation with students on how best to create and serve Middle Eastern and North African cuisine. Additionally, the university invited chefs from Japan and India to campus to help its chefs create more authentic recipes.

The school’s push for more accurate global cuisine was partially inspired by an international food event that got cancelled...

Industry News & Opinion
Madison food truck

The Madison Metropolitan School District in Madison, Wis., has partnered with a local organization to debut a food truck that will serve healthy, locally sourced lunch options for Madison high school students, according to The Capital Times .

The truck, which was donated by the Emmi Roth Cheese Co., will visit four high schools Tuesday through Friday, spending a day at each campus. Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch can use the food truck as they would the school cafeteria for no-cost or discounted meals.

Members of MMSD and partner organization REAP Food...

Industry News & Opinion

Identifying prospective employees may be less challenging for foodservice operators than getting would-be recruits to complete the hiring process , according to a new study of why job applicants bail.

The report shows that nearly three out of fours applicants (74%) will drop their effort to be hired if they suspect management is racist, and two out of three (62%) will flee if they learn of sexual harassment allegations. Roughly the same proportion (65%) will halt their pursuit if they encounter indications of a gender gap in pay.

About half (45%) of candidates won’t show...

Menu Development
zoodles

Here’s how two operations are spotlighting produce this season.

Oodles of zoodles

Binghamton University underscored its growing focus on plant-based options with a recent zoodle pop-up on campus. The pop-up, which served vegetable noodle bowls in vegan and vegetarian varieties, sold out of the dishes in four hours. The Binghamton, N.Y., school aims to add zoodles to its regular menu in the fall.

A buffet boost

The dining team at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, recently re-evaluated its buffet offerings with an eye toward adding healthy options. It updated the fruit and...

FSD Resources