The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee seeks a creative and entrepreneurial leader to serve as its next director of dining and retail services. This is an on-site and in-person role, and the anticipated start date is October 2022.

Founded over 60 years ago based on the belief that Milwaukee would need a great public university to become a great city, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) has a dual research and access mission aimed at serving the diverse needs of Wisconsin’s largest metropolitan area by furthering opportunities at all levels for students who may be financially or educationally disadvantaged.

Designated as an R1 research institution, UWM educates more than 26,000 students and is an engine for innovation in southeastern Wisconsin. More than one-third of its students are the first in their families to attend college, and 30 percent are students of color. It is the largest educator of veterans in Wisconsin, with more than 1,000 enrolled each year under the federal G.I. bill. The Princeton Review named UWM a 2021 Best Midwestern university based on overall academic excellence and student reviews. UWM is committed to the full inclusion of LGBTQ+ campus constituents—in 2021, Campus Pride Index named UWM as one of the Best of the Best Top 30 LGBTQ-friendly postsecondary institutions in the United States.

The Position

Reporting to Nolan Davis, executive director of student life and services, the director of dining and retail services provides leadership for UWM’s food service operations and retail services by overseeing long-term strategic planning, financial and personnel management, and policy development to ensure customer satisfaction and achievement of departmental goals. The director will provide innovative, collaborative, and effective management that continuously assesses and plans for high-quality and financially sound dining and retail services. They will be expected to develop and nurture a vision and culture that supports innovative and sustainable revenue-generating opportunities. This campus leader serves on the divisional Integrated Leadership Team to assist the vice chancellor with formulating division-wide policies and practices.

The director develops operating policies and procedures to ensure adherence to production, food safety and quality, handling, and sanitation standards and also directs the creation of food menus, pricing structure, service quality goals, and product development. The position serves as Dining and Retail Services’ liaison to internal and external stakeholder groups providing organizational information and representing the department’s interests. Specifically, the director will work with the UWM Real Estate Foundation and University Housing colleagues to ensure financial and operational needs for both departments are met.

Dining and Retail Services at UWM includes three residential dining locations; retail dining comprising a food court, five coffee shops, three convenience stores, and a campus bar/grill; campus catering; PantherShop campus store; PantherCard Office; and leadership of externally provided digital textbook services. The department employs over 80 permanent and temporary staff and approximately 1,000 student employees; departmental budgets total $23 million.


Required qualifications include ten years of progressive senior operational and administrative experience in food service and a strong record of exceptional business acumen, including, but not limited to, strategic planning, human resource management, and budget development and management.

Preferred qualifications include experience working in a university food service environment or other institutional food service settings; a degree in food service, hospitality management, public administration, business management, or similar field; five years of direct food service operational management experience with inventory and purchasing knowledge and control; extensive knowledge of food and catering trends with a focus on quality, production, sanitation, food cost controls, and presentation; and a proven record of accomplishment in such areas as menu management and innovative residential and cash operations dining service programs.

The search and screen committee is particularly interested in candidates who have a record of addressing complex situations and negotiating successful outcomes with a diverse group of stakeholders; operational experience with a variety of food service applications and computerized menu management systems; and demonstrated success in integrating principles of diversity and inclusion into all aspects of management.

Application and Nomination

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has retained the services of Spelman Johnson, a leading national executive search firm, to assist with this search. Review of applications will begin on Monday, August 22, 2022, and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Michel R. Frendian at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email

 Visit the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee website at and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Dining and Retail Services website at

UWM is a state agency and subject to Wisconsin’s Open Records Law. UWM will not, however, reveal the identities of applicants who request confidentiality in writing except as may be required by Wisconsin’s Open Records law. In certain circumstances, the identities of final candidates and/or the identity of the appointed applicant must be revealed upon request.

UWM is an AA/EO employer: All applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, or protected veteran status.