Jeff Vargo received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Northwood University in West Palm Beach, Florida. He was Vice President of Operations for Way-Dan Inc. for 10 years, and then spent a year as a Field Director for a non-profit organization, living in Dar es Salaam and Mwanza, Tanzania, East Africa, completing a feasibility study for an educational program. Back in the United States, he became the owner of Clearview Inn Steak & Chop House. After five years of ownership Jeff moved on to become the Operations Manager and Project Manager for the Restaurant Entertainment Group. In September of 2014, Jeff joined Campus Dining Services as an Assistant Director. This position keeps him busy as he is in charge of overseeing and managing all of Watterson Dining Commons’ operations. This includes the future planning and establishing of improvements based off of the needs of the students, department, and the University. He delights in being able to work with students on a diverse campus while utilizing his natural leadership abilities.
If you have questions about Watterson Dining Commons, Mark Hotlen is the man to talk too. Mark is currently the Procurement Manager at Watterson and has held multiple positions at Watterson since he joined Campus Dining in 1997, including time spent as a Chef. Mark has worked in the food industry all his life, starting as a bus boy when he was 15 and has worked at locations in Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin and Illinois. He has spent time as the Assistant Food Service Director for the Decatur, Illinois school district and the Director of both Argenta/Oreana, Illinois and Cedarburg, Wisconsin public schools. Mark also worked as the general manager of the Country Club of Fairfax in Fairfax, Virginia. Mark received his Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality Management from Florida International University and has two years of education in Economics and Finance at the University of Florida. Mark explained that his favorite part about working for Illinois State University is “working with the young people that are our customers as well as our employees!”
Rebecca Meier hopes our guests know how much time we put into making sure they receive the best of the best when coming to Illinois State University. Rebecca is the Customer Service Manager at Watterson Dining Commons and has been with Illinois State University since 2002. “We take multiple steps to ensure that our students and guest are satisfied. From the production manager who orders and checks the food in, to the Food Service Worker who preps the food, to the cook who makes the recipe, to the Lead Cook who ensures that the food preparations meet our expectations and standards, to the Unit Chef who oversees it all … we work hard to make our guests happy.” Before starting her career in management here at Illinois State, Rebecca worked at many restaurants and many different jobs in the food industry, including waiting tables and working as a prep cook. According to Rebecca, she loves working in the food industry “because of the limitless possibilities that are available to you.”
Shayla may understand Campus Dining Services more than the average employee. Her resume includes the locations of Watterson Dining Commons, the John Green Building, Catering and other Campus Dining retail venues on campus. In July of 2015, Shayla became the Lead Customer Service Administrator at Watterson Dining Commons. As a Lead Customer Service Administrator, Shayla wants the students to know “We are here to answer any questions regarding food. We want to help in any way we can.” Her favorite part about working for Campus Dining Services is having the ability to grow and advance her career and work with students. “I have been able to work in different parts of Campus Dining Services, [where I] have learned a great deal.”
Kelsey comes to Campus Dining services with years of restaurant management experience. She began with Campus Dining in 2014. Before coming to Campus Dining, she received her Associates in Arts from Heartland Community College and Food Service Sanitation License from the State of Illinois. As Lead Customer Service Administrator, Kelsey oversees front of house operations, supervises student and frontline staff, and provides excellent customer service. Kelsey enjoys working for Campus Dining because of the daily interactions with the frontline and student staff, and the university community. When Kelsey is not advising front of house operations, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends; especially, the mini adventures she has with her son.