As director of one of the top college dining service departments in the country, Virginia Tech employee Ted Faulkner exemplifies Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) daily through his dedication to providing quality food and service to students.
In recognition of his outstanding innovation, Faulkner is one of 21 Virginia Tech employees nominated to represent the university in the statewide Governor’s Award program. He was nominated in the customer service award category. The winners were announced in May.
Faulkner joined the Department of Dining Services in 1998, bringing with him his vision for the department and passion for serving others. In 2003, Faulkner was promoted to associate director of the program before assuming the director’s position in 2012.
“His performance and dedication to student service has propelled his career,” said Frank Shushok, senior associate vice president for student affairs. “In every position he has worked successfully with vendors, university departments, and employees in a wide variety of jobs.”
In his position, Faulkner holds a broad range of responsibilities. He oversees all 13 campus-dining centers as well as two new food trucks. He also supervises over 2,200 employees and manages an operating budget in excess of $64 million.
The university’s dining program has experienced extraordinary growth and won national recognition during Faulkner’s time as director. Dining plans and revenue have doubled and optional dining plans sales to off-campus students and university employees has increased. Faulkner has also worked with the budget office to provide the lowest possible meal plan cost.
“He realizes the important role that a quality dining program plays in recruitment and retention of students, and he has that point reinforced continuously by students and parents,” Shushok said.
Faulkner is also responsible for the planning and implementation of millions of dollars’ worth of renovations to several dining centers, including Dietrick Dining Center, West End Market, and the food outlets in Squires.
In 2012, Faulkner opened Turner Place. He was featured in Food Management Magazine in June 2013 after Turner Place won the College/University Innovator of the Year award.
The dining program has earned more than four dozen additional regional and national awards under Faulkner's tenure, including Best Campus Food awards every year from such sources as Niche, Daily Meal, and the Princeton Review. This year alone, Virginia Tech dining took home six regional and national awards.
While Shushok applauds Faulkner’s professional relationships with vendors and employees, his dedication to the dining program, and his desire for progress, he says that Faulkner’s attention has always been on students.
“His main focus has been and is now students — service to students, attention to their desires and ideas, and innovations designed to meet their changing lifestyles and nutritional needs,” Shushok said.
Faulkner supervises hundreds of students who work as wage employees in the department, mentoring them and even helping the career of many. Faulkner also organized a Student Advisor Committee to provide direct input about current and future projects of the department, which included the renovations to several dining centers and the opening of Turner Place.
Dining Services employee Vera Kidd agrees with Shushok.
“I think that Faulkner is one of the people most dedicated to students that I have ever met at Virginia Tech,” Kidd said. “He respects the importance and potential of our students.”
Kidd said that Faulkner is the best director she has seen in the past three decades.
“His demeanor and approach is unfailingly consistent,” Kidd said. “He has a great sense of humor and a deep sense of human kindness.