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

Sponsored Content
chili flakes and peppers spicy hot

From Catallia.

When planning your menus, take note: college and university students think spicy is hot.

Fifty-seven percent of consumers age 18-34 find spicy flavors, “extremely appealing,” according to Technomic. And almost 50% of college students surveyed said they would like their schools to offer more ethnic foods and beverages, states a recent Technomic College & University Consumer Trend Report. Translation: they like their food kicked up a notch!

More Options than Ever

“Students of today are all about flavor,” says Steve Mangan, director of dining for...

Industry News & Opinion

Sodexo is partnering with celebrity chef Robert Irvine in an attempt to provide military communities with healthier meals.

The 10-year partnership will allow Sodexo to access chef Irvine’s knowledge of nutrition and fitness in its aim to benefit the quality of life for military members, the vendor said in a news release.

Sodexo hopes that Irvine’s popularity as the host of Food Network’s "Restaurant: Impossible" will draw attention to its commitment to nutrition, health and well being. Irvine also has a military history himself—before embarking on his culinary career, he...

Industry News & Opinion

The cafeteria at the Smithsonian's new National Museum for African American History and Culture is intended to be an extension of the museum, showcasing stations that offer cuisines from different geographic locations such as the Creole coast and agricultural South, Time reports .

The eatery, Sweet Home Cafe, was set up to highlight the wide range of African-American cuisine, Executive Chef Jerome Grant told Time. When it officially opens later this month, it will serve dishes such as shrimp and grits, pan-roasted oysters and a fried catfish po’boy.

Celebrity chef Carla...

Sponsored Content
Pierce boneless wings

From Pierce Chicken.

Spicy chicken wings have taken off as an iconic American food since their debut at the Anchor Bar Restaurant in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1964. They reached a new milestone during Super Bowl 50 weekend in February, when more than 1.3 billion wings were consumed, according to the National Chicken Council.

The emergence of boneless wings—breaded, boneless chunks of chicken breast with zesty flavors—has made a good thing even better. In fact, research shows that boneless wings complement traditional bone-in wings on restaurant menus, boosting the entire wing...

FSD Resources