Get to Know Housing Staff: Joe Mehring

Joe Mehring portraitWhat is your name and how long have you been in your current position?

My name is Joe Mehring, and I have been in my current position for 2 years.

What is your current role in University Housing?

I am currently the Unit Manager of Rheta’s Market.

How long have you been with University Housing? Other positions on campus?

I have been with University Housing since August 1996. I started as student employee in the old Gordon Commons at Ed’s Express. I worked there 4.5 years, then continued in a few different positions in Dining – Assistant Catering Manager, late night manager at Ed’s Express, and then 15-ish years as the Catering Manager with UW Housing.

What do you do on a typical day in your job?

My day is spent checking in with my staff, and doing my best to make their jobs as easy as I can. I give them updates, feedback, and assistance to get them through today and on to the next one. I help staff to work through whatever problems arise over the course of the day. I like to see customers and anticipate their needs in our dining halls, and I do my best to help our staff make and serve quality food in a clean, safe dining hall.

What’s your favorite thing about working with students who are living on campus?

No matter how much it seems like we do the same thing year to year, each new year brings the challenge of training a new crew. You learn how to use your returning staff in different ways. You have new student leaders working with experienced ones.  Every August, we start that process again.

What is a past work accomplishment that you’re proud of?

Working through and managing the growth of our Catering department from where it was prior to the opening of the Gordon Dining & Event Center to where it was after.  That one-year jump in business was a challenge that we had to adapt to quickly.  It wasn’t without its bumps in the road, but we were able to be successful. I feel similarly about the change in business at Rheta’s from à la carte dining to All-You-Care-To-Eat dining last year. While we weren’t able to finish out the year, I feel like we were headed in the right direction.

What is a secret talent that your co-workers may not know about?

While I rarely get out to play, I think I would be a great addition to any trivia team.  I’m also a bit of an amateur wedding DJ. I did my own wedding, my sister-in-law’s wedding, and my wife’s grandparent’s 50th anniversary party.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Burlington, Wisconsin.

Where is your favorite place in the world?

On the right day, the Memorial Union Terrace.

What are you passionate about?

Listening to music. I have thousands of songs in my iTunes library that I try to listen to as much as possible. I continue to seek out new artists/bands while keeping up with those I have enjoyed my whole life.

What is your favorite TV show, movie, or book?

My favorite TV show is Seinfeld.

What is your favorite family/home tradition?

For the past few years, my family (my parents, brothers, their wives, nieces and nephews) have spent 3-4 days every summer at Christmas Mountain Village in Wisconsin Dells. Even though we all still live relatively close to one another, we don’t get many occasions to all get together. It’s a great time to catch up with family.

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