Aaron Grobengieser, R.D.

Initiative and work ethic are the keys to Aaron Grobengieser's success.

Why Selected?

Patricia Brown, R.D., chief, nutrition and food services, says: Aaron has truly set himself apart from other dietitians under the age of 30. Through his initiative and work ethic he has attained a level of authority and responsibility in the VA that usually takes more than two decades of service to achieve. 

Details

Supervisory Dietitian, VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Nashville, TN
Age: 29
Education: B.S. and a master’s in family and consumer sciences from Eastern Illinois University
Years at organization: 5

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

We improved inpatient satisfaction scores by about 20% in my first six months on the job. We also have an employee survey every year. Upon getting here the employees had only responded at a little more than 10%. This year we had a rate of 93%. 

Q. What would you say you excel at over more seasoned colleagues?

I’m good with computers. I run the national SharePoint, an online communication network for all the VA nutrition and food services chiefs across the nation. Also, networking. Other chiefs across the country really respond when you ask them questions because they want to help those of us just learning. 

Q. What's the best career advice you've been given?

Do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it.

Q. What's been the biggest challenge you've had to overcome?

The VA is a unionized entity. Being in management at this age, it really took a long time to find an effective way to deal with some of the stress when you’re dealing with a department that goes through big transitions. In my first year as a manager (while at the VA Medical Centers in Fort Wayne and Marion, Ind.), I was asked to decrease the budget by about 10% with a 10% staffing decrease. Those two issues combined really made for a tough year. 

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

Watching the dietitians that I’ve either coached or supervised succeed and move up in the organization. 

Q. What would you like to accomplish in your career in the next two years?

I want to improve our inpatient satisfaction scores by another 20% and improve employee satisfaction by 10%. 

Q. What's been your funniest on-the-job disaster?

Sometimes we inspect residential care homes that are affiliated with the VA. I was inspecting one place and this director’s refrigerator had gone out. She had bacon grease in there and I told her she had to throw it out. I thought she was going to throw me through a window. Everyone who was with me on that team still gives me a hard time about it.

Under 30

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
desserts plate

We’re knocking down a wall in our bar area, which will create a more inviting atmosphere and allow us to host a coffee and dessert bar in the space on off nights when the bar is closed.

Industry News & Opinion
nacufs award

Ohio University Director of Culinary Services Rich Neumann was on Wednesday evening awarded NACUFS’ 49th annual Theodore W. Minah Distinguished Service Award, the association’s highest honor.

Neumann’s foodservice career began as an undergraduate at University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. After his first day as a student cook, he says, his production manager wanted to fire him because he was striving for perfection, not—as she put it—“now and fast.” But he kept with it, eventually moving up to student manager. “If I had quit, I would not be here today,” he says.

During...

Sponsored Content
iced coffee foodservice

From International Delight ® Iced Coffee and STOK ® Cold Brew.

As temperatures soar, consumers look for any way they can to cool down. Much of the time, that means sipping on a cold beverage. And for the many patrons looking for a pick-me-up, iced coffee is a go-to choice, as it wakes them up and cools them down.

It’s no surprise, then, that iced coffee is a growing opportunity for operators. In Technomic’s 2016 Beverage Consumer Trend Report, 59% of consumers say they ordered iced coffee at least once in the past month from foodservice locations. With demand continuing to...

Industry News & Opinion

Oxnard Union High School District in Oxnard, Calif., is ending its meatless Mondays initiative due to cost and a lack of participation, the Camarillo Acorn reports.

Meatless Monday , which was offered on Fridays during the most recent school year, was the least popular lunch day during the week, according to school officials. The district hopes that the menu change will encourage more students to purchase school meals and help eliminate the $2 million deficit in its nutrition budget.

While 61% of students in the district qualify for free meals, only around half eat at the...

FSD Resources