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One-On-One with General Manager Dan Maertz

Setting Good Examples

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Meet SAGE General Manager Dan Maertz! He’s been with SAGE for 15 years and currently serves as General Manager at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. He was recently recognized by Food Management as one of 15 college dining directors and general managers who made a difference over the past year. He was chosen from more than 400 nominations across the country for stepping up to ensure that students and staff continued to be fed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

We chatted with Dan to talk about his food service career and why he enjoys working at SAGE.

What do you love about your job and your community?

My favorite aspect of my job is the food. Having the opportunity to cook for our community has been very fulfilling. College is a high-stress environment for students, and being able to provide an oasis for them to unwind and relax with great food is a great comfort to me.

How did you get started in the food service industry?

I started learning in the food service industry at a very young age in my family’s restaurant. I decided to make it a full-time career in the early 2000s.

What’s your favorite thing about working for SAGE?

I really love the comradery between venues. I enjoy helping with other accounts, and I know a network is available to us if we’re in need of assistance.

How did it feel to be honored by Food Management as a college dining director who made a difference over the past year?

I feel very privileged to be recognized for this award. During the past year, I was so focused on our community’s well-being. To have that be noticed by others was amazing.

Do you enjoy cooking off the clock? What do you do in your spare time?

I love to cook at home. I use my kitchen at home like a test kitchen to learn new things and experiment with new techniques. I love to golf, ride my bike, and go camping in my spare time.

What’s your favorite kind of cuisine and/or dish to prepare?

My favorite kind of food stems from my Italian heritage. I love making pizza, and I’ve recently started making my own sausage.

What are your tips for helping your team run smoothly?

I feel that the most important tip for running a great team is making sure that everyone feels valued. It’s important to spend time making sure everyone is informed of all that’s going on for the dining service, including regularly scheduled meals and especially catering that’s happening on campus.

District Manager Colin Abernethy, who nominated Dan for the honor, also had this to say about him:

Dan has assembled and led an incredible team through the COVID-19 pandemic at Wilson College. He’s tackled the challenges we face in a post-pandemic service industry in unique and constructive ways that have allowed his team and SAGE to succeed at Wilson College; they continue to increase service and variety in the dining services program at the school.

Dan has integrated himself, his team, and SAGE as community partners with Wilson College by actively soliciting feedback from students and making immediate changes to the program based on what they want to see, from new and innovative made-to-order stations — like the inside-out eggroll station and made-to-order gnocchi bar — to beautiful, house-made desserts and special themed meals for the students. Dan goes above and beyond to make everyone at Wilson College feel like they have a voice in their dining experience and feel welcome at the table.

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