Director of Residential Dining Operations, UMass Dining; Age 35; Education: Western New England University (BS)
A key part of the region’s university dining scene for the past decade, Mankus spent six years at UMass Amherst before successfully managing Westfield State University’s transition from Sodexo to self-operated. Three years later, he returned to UMass, where he oversees employee management and budgeting and conceptualizes creative and sustainable ideas for a dining program that generates 20,000 meals a day — and regularly ranks first in the nation in the Princeton Review. He’s also active in the community, running 5Ks to benefit various nonprofits as well as volunteering for groups like the Zoo in Forest Park and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.
What goal do you set for yourself at the start of each day? I actually set myself up for a successful day the evening before. I go through all e-mails, read them, and either close that task out for the day, or add to my to-do list for the following day. This gives me a fresh start in the morning and helps me stay productive throughout the day. Within my position at UMass, I set a goal for myself to interact with at least 50 team members and 50 students each day. I enjoy the opportunity to interact with such a diverse group of people on a daily basis.
What do you do for fun? I love to go on walks and hikes with my wife and dogs. In the warmer months, I love to go on a bike ride to the local brewery scene here in Western Mass. I am a foodie at heart and love to experience the great local food scene we have in our area as well.
How do you relieve stress? Any workout is a great way for me to relieve stress. I also enjoy getting outside when the weather is nice to play a round of golf or recreational softball. During the colder months, a competitive game night with friends can really take my mind off stressful situations, even though I am known to be highly competitive.
What fictional character do you relate to most, and why? Bruce Banner/the Hulk. Friends, family, and collegues would agree. I didn’t have any gamma radiation exposure or anything. I don’t think any further explanation is needed.
What actor would play you in a movie about your life? For no other reason than my wife would insist on it … Robert Downey Jr., but as Tony Stark. I’ll go with it.