FSDs of the Month—2015

By 
Dana Moran, Managing Editor

Across operations enormous and small, our FSDs of the Month had big effects on their hospitals, K-12 districts, colleges, businesses and senior-living establishments throughout 2015. (After all, no one learns, works or lives well when they’re hungry and cranky.) Reacquaint yourself with our 12 picks ahead of FSD’s MenuDirections conference (Feb. 28-March 1), where we’ll announce the FSD of the Year.


January

Jessica Marchand, R.D.
Director of Food and Nutrition
WakeMed Health & Hospitals, Raleigh, N.C.

One of Marchand’s biggest focuses at WakeMed has been getting her 119 full-time employees up to speed, kicking off a series of mandatory classes in subjects like portioning, waste, garnishing and proper cooking techniques. She also partnered with the foodservice director at Cary Hospital to eliminate system-wide inconsistencies. “We’ve been working in tandem to make sure that our items are as standardized as possible, so we get the best prices and have the best quality,” she says.

Read more about Jessica Marchand.


February

Robert Floccari
Director of Dining for Chartwells
York College of Pennsylvania, York, Pa.

Floccari led the first renovation of York College’s main dining hall in the school’s 46-year history, reopening with flatscreen menu TVs and multiple serving stations in the summer of 2014. The campus upgrades resulted in a 15 percent increase in sales year over year. “If you’re willing to invest the time to show people that it can be done and how to do it, you can make those changes happen,” he says.

Read more about Robert Floccari.


March

Mark Freeman
Senior Manager of Global Employee Services
Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, Wash.

About 60,000 Microsoft employees are served at 43 foodservice outlets on Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash., campus daily—and thanks to Freeman, the entire program is cashless and cashier-less. “[Customers] embraced it,” he says. “And it has opened the doors for all of the technology that goes along with it [like] mobile ordering, loyalty apps.” Technological advances like hydroponic farming are part of his next wave of ideas.

Read more about Mark Freeman.


April

Gay Anderson
Child Nutrition Director and District Wellness Coordinator
Brandon Valley School District, Brandon, S.D.

Anderson is making the strict guidelines of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act work in her district—since 2012, the average cost of wasted food has been reduced from 50 cents per student to as low as 13 cents per student at one school. She also saved Brandon Valley nearly $40,000 in her first year under the USDA’s Net Off Invoice program. “What I admire about Gay is that she takes things and puts them into action right away,” says Sandi Kramer, the child nutrition director at Yankton School District in Yankton, S.D.

Read more about Gay Anderson.


May

Roger Knysh
Director of Nutrition and Food Services
Berkshire Health System, Pittsfield, Mass.

As a hospital FSD, Knysh strives to make both patients and retail customers healthier, eliminating all fried foods and trans fats from menus and developing an on-site vegetable garden. “We have a very active wellness program with the Berkshire system, and I get solid support from senior leaders,” he says. “We’re not telling people they can’t have sweetened beverages [and other unhealthy foods]. We’re just saying that we choose not to sell them.”

Read more about Roger Knysh.


June

Drew Allen
Director of Culinary Services
Otterbein Lebanon Lifestyle Community, Lebanon, Ohio

Customer service is key to Allen, who oversaw about $90,000 in renovations and upgrades at Otterbein, including tableside iPad ordering and increased menu offerings. “Many residents said they were so happy to have this type of dining, because they were used to this kind of service from eating at restaurants,” he says. “Some residents stated, ‘Before we were just eating, but now we are dining and having an experience.’”

Read more about Drew Allen.


July

David Gorberg
General Manager
Unidine at Tufts Health Plan, Watertown, Mass.

Gorberg is focused on retaining both workers and diners at his Watertown, Mass., operation. “Half of my staff has been here 14 years,” he says. “I don’t want them to go anywhere, so I need to show them that I appreciate them being so good at what they do.” The annual catering volume also has increased to $250,000, up from $180,000, since he joined Tufts.

Read more about David Gorberg.


August

Katherine Paynter Putnam
General Manager (Levy Restaurants)
Austin Convention Center and Palmer Events Center, Austin, Texas

Though guests visit Austin from all over the world for events like South by Southwest, Paynter Putnam takes pride in her relationships with local brands like Chi’lantro BBQ (a Korean-barbecue-inspired concept with two locations and a food truck), Hat Creek Burger Co. (a truck turned brick-and-mortar spot with four locations in Texas) and Amy’s Ice Creams (a three-unit shop with 350 rotating flavors). “Our patrons, if they are foodies, they are researching where they are going to eat before they even step off the plane,” she says.

Read more about Katherine Paynter Putnam.


September

Jill Horst
Director of Residential Dining Services
University of California, Santa Barbara

Since the vast majority of her diners are members of Gen Z, Horst has learned to speak their language: social media. The University of California, Santa Barbara, FSD advertises her department’s special Tasting Tables events, which show off local produce and specialized menu items, via apps like Instagram. “The Tasting Tables aren’t meant only as a focus on the food, but also to tell the overall story about the nutritional value of that food, where it came from, when it’s in season, why we have a relationship with this farmer,” she says.

Read more about Jill Horst.


October

Joshua Fels
Director of Culinary & Nutrition Services
Banner–University Medical Center Phoenix, Phoenix, Ariz.

Though Fels oversees a huge facility—Banner’s Phoenix campus sees 238,000 annual outpatient visitors—he knows that focusing on big problems starts with looking at small details, such as broken or outdated equipment. “Attention to details in the general cleanliness and culture of service are also having ripple effects of improving the overall perception as we work towards our flagship status within the organization,” he says.

Read more about Joshua Fels.


November

Sara Gasiorowski
Director of Child Nutrition Services
Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township, Indianapolis

Though she works at a K-12 district, Gasiorowski’s commitment to her students is a year-round effort. She convinced her district to provide two school buses at no charge to expand the summer meal program, and her department paid $30,000 to convert the vehicles into mobile cafes, serving 53,000 meals in about 31 days this summer. “In our state, I guess I’m considered a large program, [but] I don’t think we’re close to reaching our potential,” she says.

Read more about Sara Gasiorowski.


December

Margaret “Meg” Clark
Food Service Administrator
Boeing, Seattle

With a 60,000-plus customer base, Clark’s Boeing diners aren’t just office workers—they’re also company’s factory crew. That made speedy cafeteria service key for those who need to get back on the job, a prime factor in Clark’s decision to implement metrics and study the popularity of menu items. “We’ve got to get those factory guys in and out in 30 minutes, because that’s all they’ve got,” she says. “We’re just constantly looking for way to improve the speed of services.”

Read more about Margaret “Meg” Clark.

View all of our FSDs of the Month

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