By Benjamin Engle
David Gaul, the former marketing manager of Rensselaer Dining Services, has been named Union’s new Director of Dining Services.
Gaul, who studied culinary arts at Johnson and Wales University and design at the Parsons School in New York City, comes to Union with over 20 years of dining services experience.
Entering his 24th year with Sodexo (formerly Marriott), Gaul spent the first 10 years of his career in corporate food service, catering to full-time adult employees, and the following 13 years in Sodexo’s Campus Service Division at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.
While at RPI for 13 years, Gaul utilized unique strategies to enhance the residential, retail, and catering dining experiences.
As a self-described “tech geek,” Gaul was instrumental in the development of an iPhone app at RPI that was connected to the dining halls.
Gaul hopes to continue to embrace technology while at Union, in addition to implementing a delivery program he designed while at RPI. Gaul established an on-campus pizza, wings, and sub delivery program, which was similarly priced to local and national pizza delivery restaurants.
Gaul decided to make the Route 7 trip to Schenectady from Troy because he was drawn to Union’s extremely engaged student body and its involvement in campus activities, which made the Union community appear as a large family.
“I am excited to be a positive influence in terms of helping our staff with growing programs, creating special events, and working with U-Sustain,” Gaul said.
Gaul plans on working with U-Sustain, the campus committee dedicated to promoting an environmentally-friendly campus, to create Earth Day promotions, an outdoor carnival, and promote general healthy eating and living habits.
While Gaul believes that the Union College Dining Services Program is very strong, he states that it can only improve provided that there is clear and constant communication with students, faculty, and staff.
“Communication is important; we can’t know what to improve without feedback,” said Gaul.
Through his background in marketing at Sodexo, Gaul will utilize student focus groups and new online surveys as well as learning from faculty and staff feedback to enhance the residential, retail, and catering programs on campus.
Despite focusing on the present state of Dining Services, Gaul is also being mindful of the program’s future.
He is excited to utilize his design skills in the future, specifically in regards to the proposed expansion and renovation of Upperclass Dining Hall.
Even though there is no planning schedule or money devoted to the project, Gaul believes that expansion will eventually happen.
“The goal is to make mealplan dollars more valuable to [the students],” Gaul added.
While he has only been the Director since the beginning of the spring term, Gaul understands that he is supported with a strong Dining Services staff who has helped him become accustomed to Union.
“The [Union] Dining Staff is hardworking and they get it…They are as hardworking as the day is long,” said Gaul.
“I am happy and excited to be here and to help make the dining program as good as it can ultimately be,” he said.