Students who frequent the caf probably recognize the chefs and cooks who prepare food for them on a daily basis, but there is a man behind the scenes who makes everything tick. He is Nedrick “Ned” Price, Northwestern’s General Manager of Campus Dining.
This position comes with many tasks and responsibilities, such as overseeing the caf and the Hub. Despite the rigor of the job, Price loves what he does.
“I’ve been in college food service since 1991,” Price said. “I’ve done a little bit of everything, from hotels to restaurants.”
Before joining Sodexo in the campus dining field, Price was the owner of his own restaurant. Price has an interesting story on how he came to work at colleges.
“We were in a military town, and when Desert Storm hit we lost 75 percent of our business,” Price said. “We closed up shop and I got a job at Manhattan Christian College.”
Price wasn’t totally sold on the idea of working at a college, but he came to love it.
“I remember telling my wife that I’ll just work here until I find something better, and I ended up being there for 10 years,” Price said.
As Price started working at MCC he fell in love with the campus dining scene, and he’s been utilizing his trade on college campuses ever since.
Price has worked at four colleges, three of which were private schools and one public institution. Price said that although he enjoyed his time spent at a public school in Oklahoma, he has really come to enjoy the smaller feel of a private school.
“You get to know the students and faculty and staff, which you don’t get all the time at a bigger school, or even a smaller public school,” Price said. “You are able to touch so many lives in this position.”
Price has only been at NW for a little over a year, but he and his wife have already fallen in love with Orange City. Price actually felt that NW was a good fit before he even set foot on campus.
“I was looking at Sodexo job openings and I found this post,” Price said. “I went to the website and saw some videos about things that happen in the dorms and some of the traditions, and it just hit me: This was where I wanted to be.”
Along with being a passion of his, working in the culinary field has opened a lot of doors for Price, both within the profession and beyond his work.
He began working as a busboy when he was 16 years old and hasn’t looked back since.
While he was a college student, he got a job at a Marriott Hotel. They told Price that if he got a hotel and restaurant degree, they would pay for his college education.
Later, while at MCC, he was able to further his education.
“While I was working there I got a bachelor’s degree in management and ethics,” Price said. “It was a fun two years learning how to blend those areas.”
His time there also inspired Price to branch out into more areas, this time working with children.
“You went to Manhattan Christian to be a minister or a pastor, and that got me hooked on youth ministry,” Price said.
“I was able to start a youth ministry program at my church, which didn’t currently have one, and I began working double duty as the campus dining manager and as a youth director at my church” Price said.
Now that Price is here at NW, he still has that adventurous edge and wants to overhaul the campus dining experience.
“I’m always willing to try new stuff; I love it when people bring me new recipes,” Price said. “Sometimes it’s a winner and sometimes it’s not.”
Price thinks he has a very talented team that has plenty of ability to keep improving. He has many visions for where he and his team can take campus dining, and he is always looking for feedback.
“I’m always accessible for people to come up to me and say ‘Hey, I like this’ or ‘Hey, this wasn’t my favorite,’ Price said. “Just understand that I try my best to make everyone happy, but we don’t always hit a home run. There’s no tougher critic on me or on my staff than myself.”
Price’s main goal is for students to come into the dining hall and feel at home.