James Turner

(Left to Right): Rich Neumann, Director of Residential Dining; James Turner, Student Employee of the Year; Nancy Wallace, Production Manager at Shively Court; James Yute, General Manager at Shively Court.

Photo courtesy of: Dining Services

Featured Stories

Culinary Services names James Turner Student Employee of the Year

James Turner began working at Shively Court dining hall his first year to meet new people, but he never imagined that it would play a huge role in his time at Ohio University. 

Five years later, Turner is about to graduate with a degree in video production and has been named Student Employee of the Year by Ohio University Culinary Services.

"James Turner has done an outstanding job as a student employee at Culinary Services," said Richard Neumann, director of residential dining. "Out of over 1,500 student employees his hard work, leadership and reliability have earned him the designation of Student Employee of the Year."

True to his description as a modest person, Tuner is surprised and appreciative of his recognition. 

"It’s weird, I didn’t even know about (the honor) until I was asked to apply, " said Turner. 

He has also won the National Association of College and University Food Services Student Employee of the Year for the Midwest Region. Turner will receive a $1,000 scholarship award from the Midwest Region and move on to the national competition to compete against five other regional award winners. The final winner will be announced May 9.

Turner has held a number of positions at Shively, including a promotion to student manager just three months after he was hired. According to his supervisors, he has shown leadership skills, as well as creative ideas and teaching techniques. 

Turner was a major contributor in the transition from "old Shively Court" to "new Shively Court" and even assisted in the hiring of 200 new student employees and organized a two-day training session before Shively Court’s opening.

"His perspective as a student worker as well as a student consumer helped us create a great facility for our customers," said Nancy Wallace, production manager at Shively Court. 

He has also held positions as student coordinator, ambassador for Bobcat Student Orientation, production manager intern and interim manager of Shively Court. 

According to his supervisors, Turner is someone who earns respect by giving it in return. 

"Jimmy is even tempered and very consistent," said Wallace. "The other students, cooks and managers respect him because he has demonstrated the work ethic needed to be successful in a fast-paced work environment."

He said that Shively Court has played a large role in helping him with his leadership abilities and ability to approach others in a firm but kind manner. 

"It’s important that student managers make work fun but are not too stern," said Turner. "I want student employees to be able to have a good time and still get the job done."

In his current position, production manager intern, Turner says he enjoys learning new things, including how to create menus, forecast customer counts, order food, take inventory and control costs.

"I like learning new things every week, " said Turner. "There are a lot of small things that go into purchasing."

Because he is spending more time on the computer than out in the dining hall, he said he does miss interacting with the student employees. 

Turner is currently interviewing for internships and jobs in entry-level media fields. Ultimately, he hopes to move to California and work in media, possibly writing television scripts or commercials.   

But, though his ambitions may take him far from Athens, he "couldn’t imagine going to college anywhere else," said Turner.