Katie DeCamp

Michigan State University's Katie DeCamp has made a major impact with the opening of Brody Square.

Why Selected?

Bruce Haskell, associate director of residential dining, says: Katie was integral when we opened our first late-night operation. This was a huge challenge as it involved creating an exceptional late-night dining experience from the ground up. Katie’s efforts were rewarded with an opportunity to attend the NACUFS Leadership Institute in 2008. This past fall, Katie was part of a team that opened Brody Square, our largest dining hall. Katie not only stepped into the role but also worked diligently to make it a success.

Details

Assistant Dining Service Manager, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Age: 26
Education: B.A. in hospitality business from Michigan State University
Years at organization: 4

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

I would say helping open and manage our new renovation of Brody Square. Brody is the largest non-military cafeteria in the world, so to be asked to open that up and be in charge of human resources was phenomenal.

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

The connection with the student employees. At Brody there are times we can employ up to 700 students. I’m in charge of scheduling, training and talking with them. I always say my second title is counselor. You’ve got to deal with not only work issues but the workers also come to you when they have school issues.

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

You need to love what you do, especially in the foodservice industry. If you don’t enjoy working with people you are not going to succeed.

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

My age. I started out as a manager at 21. Some of my student supervisors were older than me at the time. That was very challenging, just trying to get the respect of everyone. To overcome it you just have to be in the kitchen working.

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

Seeing Brody Square open and seeing our entire management team come together. I think the challenges of opening up a new place and knowing how prestigious it was going to be made us have a strong bond. We were all on the same page, and that’s hard to do in this industry.

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

I was working as a late-night service manager. At about 8 p.m., I was the only manager there. One night all of our drains backed up and flooded the operation. I called in the plumber and he couldn’t get it fixed. The hours kept rolling by and it still wasn’t fixed. I stuck it out until the manager came in at 5:30 a.m. It was very scary at the time. It was something I couldn’t control, but as a brand new manager you feel responsible.

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