Why did you decide to become a CDM?
I have worked in Food Service for the last 36 years at the same company. I have done many of the positions within Food Service and I was at a point where I was at the top of my pay scale and would not be able to progress any further without some education. Our company was opening a new hospital and there were new positions opening up. There was a group of us that they felt could fill these positions if we had the credentials required. They encouraged us to go for these credentials.
What are your main responsibilities in your current position?
I provide analysis, design, configuration, testing, implementation, and support (technical and functional) of Nutrition Technical Applications including Computrition, iCentra, Catertrax and Webcollect.
How do you organize your time at work to make sure you accomplish all your responsibilities?
Our team has bi-weekly team huddles where any suggestions/changes are brought up and evaluated by the team and set up with an implementation date. The steps are mapped out and a team document is created. As tasks are completed they are marked on the document.
What is an example of an innovative way you have made change at your facility and how did you implement it?
Each hospital has their own individual Computrition schema and it was decided to centralize into a master schema. This would help to centralize recipes, products, and resources for all facilities. We are a chain of 24 hospitals. We created a document that maps out all of the needed steps. We created a file where we documented everything we were doing, so that at any time, our centralized management team could access and see where we were in the process. Then we have staggered the each hospital go lives to insure be can support the facilities as the move to the centralized system.
What was your first job in the foodservice industry?
I worked in a hospital kitchen as a salad cook.
Who has been your biggest mentor in foodservice and how have they helped shape your career?
Phyllis Tatum, CDM, CFPP. She recommended me for the job. She encouraged me to move up and try new things. She has been a sounding board all throughout my career. She also took the Dietary Manager course with me and joined the ANFP along with me. She currently serves as our Utah Chapter Treasurer. She has retired now but she taught me a wonderful work ethic and how to work hard and smart.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your position and how do you handle them?
Many of the caregivers I work with are very good with making things work but sometimes it is hard to get their knowledge and information into the software where it can help others. They just don’t have the time.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love looking at a problem, finding a solution, creating a workable structure, and then seeing it implemented.
How do you stay up to date with current innovations and trends?
I attend any seminars that I can. I also read industry articles. And I love to network with others to see what they are doing. What challenges they are facing and what their solutions are.
How do you envision the foodservice industry changing in the next few years?
We are going to see many changes in the way food is served and how we process foods with the current health crisis. I also think that there will be a great movement to using software to manage operations. People need to see and reference data for everything form vendor, products, recipes, and patient information. Allergies are more prevalent than ever and management of product information is crucial.
What is your advice to those just getting started in the foodservice industry?
Try everything. Work hard. You receive back what you put in. And Volunteer, you will learn so much when you do.