Byron Drake, associate director for operational support and professional development, and Christina Voyles, assistant to the director at the University of Montana, say: The Food Zoo averages 2,600 meals per day, or roughly 583,000 meals total. As production manager, Mae is directly responsible for the proper ordering, receiving, storage, safety and inventory of approximately $1.2 million in food purchases every year. Because of the volume and intensity of her position, she cannot be caught up in the moment and has to maintain a big-picture view. Long term this has taught her patience and makes her a better supervisor and manager.
Get to know
Getting the production manager position. I started as a student employee and then worked as a prep cook and a receiver. Being a receiver and a prep cook, I saw the recipes and I saw the product so I really came through the back door to get this position.
My ability to adapt to change. I am the youngest in my kitchen. In food change is inevitable and staff get in a routine, but if something is bigger and better and is going to offer a better experience for the guests, that is what I want to do.
Ultimately, just don’t sweat the small stuff. I used to get really worked up and hotheaded about some things, but there is always something bigger that needs to be taken care of.
Right now I would have to say balancing work and home. I’m a new mom. Now I have a new love in my life, but I’m also torn in my love of food and numbers.
We take a lot of pride in our farm-to-college program. Last fall we did what was called the Fall Feastival where more than 90% of the product that we got for the event was from the state of Montana. We served 1,200 to 1,300 people. That locally minded mentality continues every day. It’s not to say I pulled off the whole event by myself; there was obviously a lot of help from my executive chef and Farm To College coordinator. But because I do the major purchasing and it came out of the major kitchen, which is ours, that event was really cool.
I want to go back and finish my bachelor’s in business management.
Once when I was a receiver I got here and had no pallets to unload from our delivery trucks. Someone had stolen them. It was a bit of a meltdown.