Penn State hosts 'NACAS East on the Road'

On Feb. 18-19, Penn State Auxiliary & Business Services hosted members of the National Association of College Auxiliary Services (NACAS) for “NACAS East on the Road.”

Held at University Park campus, sessions and activities focused on Best Practices at Penn State. Almost 70 attendees, representing colleges, universities, and business partners from 11 eastern states as well as Canada, attended the event.

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The event began with a welcome from Jonathan Kukta, director of Housing and Food Services at Penn State Berks and Penn State Schuylkill who also serves on the NACAS East Board of Directors. A reception followed, featuring remarks by David Gray, senior vice president of finance and business for Penn State. Gray spoke about the important role auxiliary operations play in recruitment and retention. He also spoke about his own involvement in professional organizations such as NACUBO and EDUCAUSE and emphasized the importance of a network of peers.

Attendees heard from several speakers throughout the two days:

  • Nicholas Jones, executive vice president and provost of Penn State - Penn State’s Strategic Plan.
  • John Papazoglou, associate vice president for auxiliary and business services - Penn State's Strategic Plan, including Auxiliary and Business Services’ mission statement, “We make Penn State home to our University and extended communities through exemplary people, service, quality and financial stewardship.”
  • Rob DeMayo, director of transportation services at Penn State - bike share and mobility, highlighting the four components of Penn State Transportation Services -- parking, fleet, transit, and sustainable transportation.
  • Cheryl Fabrizi, assistant vice president for Penn State Housing and Food Services - The Art and Science of Food Services, including case studies highlighting the Penn State Bakery; retail national brands, convenience stores, and food procurement. 

Sessions also included a behind-the-scenes tour of the Bryce Jordan Center, men’s basketball vs. University of Illinois, and tours of the Penn State Warehouse at University Park, led by Director of Warehouse and Distribution Clay Barclay, and the Penn State Bakery, led by Executive Pastry Chef Heather Luse.

David Gingher, director of retail dining and catering, provided tours of Panera Bread in the Kern Graduate Building and Starbucks in the Paterno Library, as well as various operations in the Hetzel Union Building, including the recently renovated Sbarro. Geno Corradetti, assistant director of Residential Dining, led tours of Edge Coffee Shop and Pollock Market convenience store and kitchen.

The group also toured the newly renovated Tener Hall, led by Conal Carr, director of housing operations. Carr highlighted building program features and spoke about the importance of student engagement in the renovation process.

Penn State Housing and Food Services is self-operated and provides on-campus living and dining at University Park, as well as 19 commonwealth campuses. The residence and dining program at Penn State is the largest of its kind in Pennsylvania and one of the largest in the country, including 97 undergraduate and graduate facilities that accommodate more than 18,000 residential students.

David Rose, assistant vice president for auxiliary and business services, wrapped up the event by leading a discussion on what best practices were learned and takeaways from the two days.

“It was an absolute delight to host our fellow auxiliary professionals at Penn State,” said Rob DeMayo, director of Penn State Transportation Services and Penn State NACAS event co-coordinator, “The time spent together was a great opportunity to not only show some of our successes but also to learn what other universities are doing and make connections.”

“The NACAS East on the Road program reminds me of a quote by JFK: ‘Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other,’” said Jonathan Kukta, director of housing and food services at Penn State Berks and Penn State Schuylkill and Penn State NACAS event co-coordinator   “As leaders in higher education, we must continue to learn, and this program is a great opportunity to provide leaders in all areas of auxiliary services the opportunity to share best practices and ideas and tour other institutions’ facilities and operations.”

NACAS is a professional trade association that supports the nonacademic segment of higher education responsible for generating business through campus services that students need and value – such as food services, bookstores, housing and transportation.