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Bob Schuchardt Receives “Spirit of Sodexo” Award

Bob Schuchardt, general manager of Sodexo at Bethel University, coordinates a team of about 100 food service staff and 175 student employees.

For many on Bethel’s campus, Bob Schuchardt is known simply as “Sodexo Bob.” His name has become synonymous with the high quality that students, staff, and faculty have come to expect from Sodexo, Bethel’s dining services provider since 1982 (except for a brief break in the 1990s). Schuchardt was formally recognized for his above-and-beyond approach, recently receiving one of Sodexo’s top national awards from a pool of more than 1,100 nominees.

Barbara Madden, Sodexo district manager for university accounts, nominated Schuchardt for the award in the “Team Spirit” category. Madden writes, “Bob Schuchardt embodies true team spirit—he’s an extraordinary person. He is a constant, positive teacher with a knack for simply ‘getting it’ and knowing how to respond to each situation and person in an appropriate, professional, and kind manner.”

As part of his role, Schuchardt has initiated cooking classes among staff and faculty—most recently for the Mindful initiative—and facilitates the launching of new programs, menu options, and health and sustainability initiatives on campus. He was instrumental in the addition of both an on-campus vegetable garden that provides fresh produce for Sodexo meals and the “Royal Honey Hives” that give the community educational opportunities and fresh honey.  

But his merits go far beyond programming and tangible improvements to campus. “Bob leads by example with students, staff, faculty, administration, and external guests,” Madden says. “His attitude is contagious.” The integrated role he plays as a bridge between Sodexo and Bethel University is unique and allows the two organizations to further their mutually beneficial relationship.

“I have worked with many food service directors over my 40-plus years in higher education. No one comes close to matching Bob,” says Bethel University President Jay Barnes. “His commitment to our students, support of our mission, and passionate commitment to excellence are unmatched. We are blessed to have him at Bethel.”

“It’s appropriate that Bob is getting recognized. His type of management style and his relationship with the college are so unique,” says Bethel’s Chief Financial Officer Pat Brooke, who worked closely with Schuchardt to solidify the 10-year extension of Bethel’s contract with Sodexo. “He’s helpful. He’s considerate. He communicates incredibly well and goes out of his way—above and beyond—to give advance notice of things to make sure everyone’s kept in the loop. I handle the finances, and I can tell you that Bob bends over backwards to make sure we’re doing things in the most cost-effective way.”

Whether he’s coordinating the team behind the Festival of Christmas Smorgasbord, working with student groups to collect food for local causes, or proposing the perfect menu for an alumni reunion, Bob’s approach is attentive, personal, and fun. And his passion shows in the high-quality food and offerings that Sodexo provides the Bethel community on a regular basis.

“Bob fully understands that clients—in this case, our students—are at the center of everything he (and the team) does,” says Avis Soderstrom, director of conference and event services at Bethel. “Decisions are made based on student needs and student successes. Without the students attending Bethel University, we would not exist. Bob knows this, breathes this, lives this…He just gets it.”

Find out more about Dining Services at Bethel or submit a comment for the Sodexo team.

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