The director of Dining Services for the past 24 and a half years, Debra Lee Ross, is retiring this coming January.
During her time at Concordia, Lee Ross’ main goal as the director of Dining Services has been to create a positive work environment for everyone involved. She explained the importance of using the golden rule throughout the team.
“Everything else just falls into place if everyone feels valued and respected,” Lee Ross said.
Her aim in the past 24 and a half years has been to ensure that the Dining Services team, a large and diverse group, is a strong and dedicated unit. Lee Ross works with the team managers from both residential dining such as the Korn Krib and the Coffee Stop and on- and off-campus catering, all to make sure operations run smoothly and consistently.
Dining services employs approximately 400 student workers every year, and Lee Ross sees each of these workers as important to achieving the mission of Concordia.
Kathryn Olson, a junior working in the dining services offices, explains how Lee Ross’ friendly attitude impacts her.
“She makes us feel useful … you can tell she values us,” Olson said.
When asked about her view on having so many Concordia students working on the staff, Lee Ross responded, “They are as much as a part of the team as I am.”
Bill Fradet, the catering manager at Concordia, has been working with Lee Ross for around 24 years.
“She’s a great co-worker, mentor (and) friend,” Fradet said.
Lee Ross and Fradet have been working together through many different changes and events at Concordia. They have worked under four different presidents and collaborated with other departments on planning the college centennial celebration: an event for which they created a cake that was taller than the basketball hoops in Memorial Auditorium.
Lee Ross is leaving Concordia and moving to Fisher, Minn. in order to spend more time with her family and simplify her life. A retirement reception is in the works to take place Friday, Dec. 13.
It is currently unknown who will replace Lee Ross as director of Dining Services.
“The number one priority is to keep culture of the current team alive and well,” Lee Ross said.
The open position for the director of Dining Services will be posted within the week. Concordia is expecting both national and internal applicants for the job.
This article was written by Kelly Thurmes, Contributing Writer.