Gren Rodricks | Faces of Midland Employee Edition
Food for the Soul
Food is far more than just sustenance to Gren Rodricks.
As Director of Dining Services at Midland University, Gren sees food as a way to make students feel at home, show them you care about them, and build relationships along the way.
For the past seven years, Gren and his staff at Fresh Ideas have been doing their part to make sure nutrition and nourishment are staples in the lives of Midland students. But he’s also making sure to help feed their minds and their souls. “Nothing beats the extraordinary sense of satisfaction that comes from a cafeteria full of vibrant students, enjoying good food, being served by a caring staff and chefs in a warm setting, and inspired by people who genuinely care. The Caf and (Warrior) Grille are not just places they dine, they are places we call home. It is an experience and it is food that bonds us.”
Gren feels passionate about every aspect of what he does. It’s a big reason why Midland has been such a special place for him the past seven years. “Cooking is my passion, and in conjunction with the relationships I have built with the people at Midland, it recharges me. The camaraderie and sense of family that you develop with students, faculty, and staff is what I enjoy most. There is something beautiful about coming to work every morning and making a difference in lives because food connects the mind and the soul.”
His love of food and cooking can be traced back to his mother, who was “an excellent cook” according to Gren, and has been further fostered by his wife (Gina) of the past 23 years. “She has always been by my side.”
Midland takes great pride in the diversity that exists on campus, and Gren emphasizes that diversity in his meal planning, often setting aside a number of days throughout the year to honor different cultures and their food. “We work with students who have specific diets, as well as offering cultural taste and international flavors. There is passion ingrained into our food, and the culture is what keeps me coming back. I love to see other creative minds build success off this culture as well.”
When not busy keeping campus nourished and full, Gren likes to spend time with his wife and two daughters, as well as trying out a new restaurant or two.
He is grateful for his wonderful staff, which makes all the meal-planning possible. Gren also cherishes the role he plays in helping students in their Midland journey. “Behind all the great food and service, there is a team of amazing people, who have passion, commitment and discipline, and encourage and challenge me to bring out the best in my attributes. We are continuously learning as a team, and I like to guide our team to be relevant to the current trends and reinvent ourselves constantly to meet the students requirements.
“Students are the driving force that makes me, and my team, want to be better every day. There are so many life lessons I have learned each year from our students, faculty, and staff. These are memories I cherish, and it keeps me coming back for more.”
Getting to know Gren Rodricks:
Something people might not know about you: I love to sing, dance, and act goofy. I also love to make a difference in people’s lives.
If I wasn’t involved in dining services, I’d be a . . . Food critic, or Chief Happiness Officer!
Snack you can’t resist: No time for snacks when you taste so much good food!
When flipping channels, I’ll always stop to watch this: Anything related to food or sports!
What is your ideal vacation? I used to work on a cruise liner, so Venice for the romance and Dubai for its grandeur. On a sunny beach with my wife and a margarita.
What artist dominates your playlist? My wife’s singing! (Totally false ha ha).
What is your most used emoji? Smiley face 😀