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Alumni Spotlight: Brennan Kaufman and Natalie Rabold

Alumni Spotlight: Brennan Kaufman and Natalie Rabold
Restaurant, Hotel and Tourism Alumni Brennan Kaufman (L) and Natalie Rabold (R)

The Patton College of Education is honored to recognize Human and Consumer Sciences graduates Brennan Kaufman and Natalie Rabold, who were both awarded for their outstanding performance at The Wasserstrom Company last year.

The Wasserstrom Company is a restaurant supplier based in Columbus, Ohio, with distribution centers located across North America. At its 2019 awards banquet, Kaufman won the “Newcomer of the Year,” and “Million Dollar Sales Club,” awards, and Rabold won the “Sous Chef” award.

Kaufman graduated from Ohio University in Spring 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Human and Consumer Sciences in Restaurant, Hotel and Tourism, and a minor in Business Administration.

Kaufman completed an internship with Wasserstrom as a senior in college and landed a post-grad job with the company. After one year, the Regional Account Manager reached over $1 million dollars in total sales, earning himself a spot in Wasserstrom’s Million Dollar Sales Club.

“I went to Columbus for the awards night because I knew I was getting the Million Dollar Sales Club award. I got that first, and then later in the evening I was called up for the Newcomer’s award and was totally surprised. I had no idea I was even nominated for it,” Kaufman said.

The Newcomer of the Year award is given to Wasserstrom associates of less than two years who are “pioneers” in their endeavors to make a difference in the company.

“It was awesome going up to the stage twice and going home with two medals. I feel appreciated by my company. That means a lot and can be more than a paycheck,” said Kaufman.

The Cleveland, Ohio, native is a member of the American Culinary Federation Cleveland Chapter, as well as a board member for Food Strong – a nonprofit group that distributes nutritious food to Cleveland communities in need.

During his senior year at Ohio University, Kaufman was named treasurer of the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) after being involved with the organization during his sophomore and junior year. Kaufman was also a member of The Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity (AEPi) all four years of college, and he served as their recruitment chair for two years.

Alongside his involvement with student organizations, Kaufman worked for Ohio University Hillel and Stephen’s On Court, which he said allowed him to get closer to the Athens community.

While Kaufman’s Newcomer of the Year Award recognized his distinctive leadership, Rabold’s Sous Chef Award honored her determination and consistency.

Wasserstrom’s Sous Chef Award is given to two people who are known for their reliability, who have excelled at assisting and supporting salespeople, and who demonstrate vast familiarity with the company’s customers, products and services.

“Every day I'm making decisions, taking actions, seeing results and learning from experiences,” said Rabold. “Some of my everyday responsibilities include processing orders, returns and credits, problem-solving shipping issues, answering product questions and answering calls and emails from customers.”

Rabold, who is from Columbus, Ohio, graduated from Ohio University in December 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Human and Consumer Sciences, a minor in Business Administration, and Customer Service Certification.

The regional sales representative has worked with Wasserstrom for two and a half years. In that time, she received promotions that have enabled her to assist sales representatives with large profile accounts.

“And of course, receiving the Sous Chef award was another big accomplishment. I was very honored and thankful my efforts have not gone unnoticed,” said Rabold.

Since her time as a student at Ohio University, Rabold has been passionate about the food industry.

“When I got to college, I started as a server for Baker Catering and worked my way up to a student manager. After doing that for two years, I took a position at the Atrium Café as the student retail manager,” said Rabold.

During Ohio University breaks, she also worked as a food and beverage intern at Scioto Country Club in Upper Arlington, Ohio. In addition to her jobs, Rabold was a member of Delta Gamma Sorority as well as Ohio University’s CMAA Student Chapter.

Rabold wanted to continue her food industry pursuits at the corporate level after college, which is why she accepted a post-graduation job with Wasserstrom.

“I thought this would be a great opportunity for me and it has proven to be,” she added.

Both Rabold and Kaufman have fond memories of their time at Ohio University.

Rabold enjoyed her Restaurant, Hotel and Tourism classes as well as her extracurricular involvement.

“I reminisce about all the CMAA quesadilla stands we put up on Court Street to raise money to go the conferences,” said Rabold. “College was a great experience for me. I’m very thankful for the all support I had from my professors and the lifelong friendships I made.”

Kaufman remembers frequenting Strouds Run and other surrounding parks and trails, attending Tuesday jazz nights at Tony’s Tavern, and even getting to cook chicken parmesan for former Ohio University President Roderick McDavis.

“One time we had President McDavis at the AEPi house for a Shabbat dinner. I’m pretty sure the day fell on his 60th birthday,” said Kaufman. “I cooked chicken parmesan and pasta for about 50 people that night. As a freshman, that was pretty cool!”

Kaufman credits his four years at Ohio University to many of his successes.

“Not a day goes by,” Kaufman added, “that I don’t think about all the good times I had in Athens.”