Paige Willauer
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Paige Willauer

General Manager, Long Island Ducks
Centerplate at Bethpage Ballpark
Central Islip, N.Y.
Age 27

Top accomplishment this year:
Becoming general manager for Centerplate at the Long Island Ducks’ home ballpark.

What’s been your most rewarding moment?
My current concessions manager was an intern just last season. It has been incredibly fulfilling to see his growth, going from someone who did not know anything about our industry to someone who has taken the reins over and is confident in being a leader. It is rewarding to pay it forward, and see how he has acclimated to this new role.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
Definitely the amount of moving that I have done. There was a time when I was at an account and in a city for six months at the most, basically for a season at a time. Moving that much has you living mainly out of a car, but it has also opened the doors to so many more opportunities that I would not have been afforded had I stayed in one place.

What attracted you to the noncommercial foodservice segment?
I was originally looking at going into restaurants after college, but then I took the one noncommercial market class my school offered. In that class, we broke down everything that happens for a noncommercial site. I soon saw that the noncommercial market offers the chance to do everything right from the onset—from the quick serve in a concession stand to the plated five-course meal. For example, here at the Ducks I have concession stands downstairs and a full-service restaurant and suites upstairs. For one event, my staff offers such an array of service, always with a unique set of challenges. You won’t get that kind of challenge anywhere else in the industry at such a young age.

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