Q&A with Blair Stairs

By Laura Good

Blair Stairs is the new general manager for dining services. (Photo provided)

Blair Stairs is the new general manager for dining services. (Photo provided)

Hometown, background, family, education?

I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada). My family moved from Canada to Des Moines, Iowa when I was six years old. I have one brother. My parents and brother still reside in the Des Moines area.

I have three “grown” children that reside with their families in Iowa.

I attended Iowa State University.  I hold a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology and a Master’s of Science degree in Institution Management.

 Previous jobs before coming to HU?

I have worked at multiple colleges and universities prior to coming to HU.  I have over thirty years of experience in college and university dining.

My career started as an assistant manager in the dining services at Iowa State University. After receiving my Master’s degree, I worked at Simpson College for a couple years as the Food Service Director.  Following Simpson College, I worked a total of 17.5 years at Drake University in the capacities of Food Service Director of the Olmsted Center and as the Operations Director of dining services for Sodexo.  The past 9 years, I have worked at Simpson College (7 years) and Grand View University (2 years) as General Manager of dining services for Sodexo.

 Growing up, what was your dream job?

I always had an interest in science/higher education. When I began college, I started working in dining services as a student and I became very interested in pursuing a career in college/university dining.

 What attracted you to HU?

 As I did my research on Huntington University, I realized that the Christian values /culture that Huntington University embraces is where I want to be.

 What are some things you’d like to do with dining services this year?

 Feedback from our dining patrons (students, faculty, and staff) is very important to me to help determine improvements/future direction of our dining operations.  I encourage students, faculty, and staff to contact us if they have questions, concerns, suggestions regarding the dining program on campus.

I am looking forward to working closely with the food committee.

In a couple weeks, we will begin sending out each week to the campus via the Forester Feed, a “Did You Know” about dining services.

Some of the changes new this fall to enhance the dining experience on campus are:

1)   We added a gluten free station in the DC.  This station is in “process” with more options coming.

2)   We added a hummus bar in the DC.

3)   We added microwavable entrees and additional snack items in Norms.

4)   Limited time offers will be available in Norms.

5)   Beginning this Monday in the DC, hot breakfast will be available until

9:30 a.m. 

What are the best and worst aspects of your job?

The best aspects of my job include the opportunity to meet and interact with the students, faculty, and staff of Huntington University.  In my short time here at Huntington University, I have learned that I am blessed to have such an excellent dining services staff to work with.

I enjoy what I do, so I really have no negative aspects of my job.

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