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.

Under 30

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
torch flame

There’s more than one way to open a wine bottle. When a corkscrew is nowhere to be found, David Brue—chef de cuisine and production manager for The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s central production kitchen in Columbus, Ohio—reaches for his butane torch.

“I can never find a corkscrew anywhere, but for some reason, I always have a torch,” Brue says. “Heat the neck of the bottle carefully, and the cork pops right out.”

Managing Your Business
uconn gluten free bakery

When Amarillo Independent School District opened a central bakery , the foodservice team faced years of challenges: getting a handle on equipment, refining recipes and planning for shrinkage, says Michael Brungo, residential district manager of dining services for Chartwells at the Amarillo, Texas, district. Through trial and error, the right solutions at the bakery—which provides sliced bread and sandwich buns for the district’s 55 schools—rose to the top.

Though kitchens in general can be a minefield of issues, bakeries present some unique challenges thanks in part to the finicky...

Managing Your Business
food safety manager paperwork

Food safety can be a lot to handle, requiring plenty of paperwork and diligence to ensure a kitchen complies with health regulations. It’s important to assess the structure of a food safety program —and to know what’s required, and what’s just good to have on hand.

In recent years, as Virginia Tech’s foodservice operations have expanded, so has its Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points strategy. The Blacksburg, Va., university doubled its food safety staff to two employees, in addition to a training project coordinator and a manager to teach basic food safety classes to...

Ideas and Innovation
ticket stubs

Every week, our cooks pick an experimental kitchen project to expand their skills, culminating in a Friday contest where they cook a new dish that puts them out of their comfort zone. The winner of the weekly contest is awarded points and prizes. The cook with the most points at the end of the year receives a free ticket to an annual team gathering in Maine, where staffers bond and gain inspiration from coastal menus.

FSD Resources