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Homecoming: Cornell Dining's new director brings family ties and staff focus to the job

13 January 2017

Dustin Cutler wasn't interested in a new university dining director position -- until he heard the phone call was about a job at Cornell. The Central New York native has spent over a decade in food service management, and he'll join us as Cornell Dining's new director on January 30.

Dustin Cutler and his familyOur incoming director has been in various roles with the Aramark Corporation for several years, learning the ins and outs of higher ed residential dining, large food service and vending programs, catering services, national brand outlets, and convenience stores -- all experiences he'll be able to bring to bear at Cornell.

Unlike some candidates, though, Dustin's experiences aren't just from higher ed, or even just from the U.S. He began his career with Aramark by managing operations for the Olympic Village in Athens in 2004, and built on that role as senior operations manager for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2008. These remarkable opportunities allowed him to amass food and beverage service experience while appreciating the things he admires most: great food, sports, and serving others.

He has also managed various aspects of food and beverage operations at Major League Baseball's Turner Field, New Orleans Convention Center and Emerald Coast Convention Center, GlaxoSmithKline and Palm Beach County Convention Center, and has most recently been Aramark's resident district manager for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he oversees a dining operation that serves a student population of 29,000.

Along the way, Dustin realized that an exceptional guest experience "is propelled by rewarding and recognizing frontline employees and managers for their efforts." He believes that a strong emphasis on staff development and training, and such staff morale programs as recognition for accomplishments and accolades, are vital to a successful hospitality program.

Dustin earned his B.S. in Hotel & Restaurant Management at Niagara University, not far from the Finger Lakes region where he was born and raised, and he's returning to a familiar environment. His parents both retired from jobs at Cornell: his mother worked in the registrar's office and the hotel school, and his father at the vet school. He's returning with his wife Marissa and their four-year-old daughter Olivia to Central New York, where they're looking forward to cooking, boating, playing sports, and the occasional winery tour.

About Cornell Dining

Cornell Dining is consistently ranked in the Princeton Review's top ten for best campus food among all colleges and universities in the country. That high rating comes from customer surveys, and reflects Cornell Dining's commitment to serving high-quality foods that are healthy and creatively prepared with genuine care for a diverse community. Cornell Dining operates 29 on-campus eateries -- which include all-you-care-to-eat dining rooms, cafés, coffee houses, food courts, and convenience stores -- and serves more than 26,000 meals a day to members of the Cornell community. For more information, visit dining.cornell.edu.

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