Dining Services selects from within for new director
In Joseph Charette's office in Records Hall on the College Avenue campus, a giant lamp adorned with a collection of event buttons sits as evidence of his 22-year presence as the associate director of Dining Services.
It is the same office where he will formally work later this month as the University's new executive director of Dining Services.
After a national pursuit that began in last October, Vice President of Student Affairs Gregory S. Blimling and his search committee chose Charette among four final candidates to replace Charles Sams, the current executive director of Dining Services.
Sams plans on retiring at the end of September, Blimling said.
"Joe's experience, his great depth of knowledge about dining service, his very successful record as the associate director of Dining Services, his knowledge of Rutgers University and how we work with him in the institution made my decision very easy to hire him," he said.
Blimling said the position of executive director of Dining Services could be more complex than people realize, as it takes an astute business mind to manage the $70 million dining operation with no financial support from the state or University.
"Every nickel that they spend in Dining Services is self-generated room. He is operating a very large business with multiple franchises, multiple campuses, 365 days out of the year," he said. "Just because students are gone doesn't mean Dining Services close I was brought into this position. That was one of my main responsibilities, to develop the cash span data-scayt_word="business."" data-scaytid="2">business."
Examples of the cash operations include the Dunkin Donuts and Sbarro in the Livingston Student Center, he said.
Blimling said what people may not know about Charette is his extensive experience in restaurant management and retail food service management.
Charette, a Cook College alumnus who double majored in environmental science and agricultural science, said he did not plan on working in the food service industry.
With the original intent to study environmental law in Colorado, he said he worked at two restaurants in Washington, D.C. and gathered experience working alongside quality chefs before moving out west.
Through a friend in Colorado, Charette landed a job opening up an Italian restaurant in Fort Collins, Colo.
After starting the restaurant, other individuals asked him to open up their restaurants, and later he managed Bennigan's franchises in the Southwest until he was transferred back to the East.
"In the last two and half years I was working for them, I was here in New Jersey," he said. "I started looking for something that had a better quality of life, something that seemed a little bit more stable. I winded up coming here to Rutgers because I went to school best."