By GALEN HAWES
ADA – Thanks to his selfless actions, many more people now know what the East Central University campus already knew – that Chartwells Director Rick Haight is one of the best in the business.
Haight was named the “Be A Star” Director of the Year for the Chartwells Central Division and recently traveled to Dallas to accept the honor. In typical fashion, he deflected all praise onto his dedicated employees.
“All of the Chartwells employees at the Ada location have been here for eight to 10 years and they’re an outstanding crew,” Haight said.
Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services provides food service management at 280 colleges and universities across the country. Haight has worked in food service for 44 years, with 26 of those years at ECU. His wife, Brenda, has worked by his side at ECU during that time.
Haight’s recent honor stemmed from a challenging situation involving employment laws in Oklahoma. In the summer of 2018, the state passed a law that discontinued holiday and summer lay-off benefits for some contract employees. He immediately began lobbying state lawmakers as well as the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission on behalf of his impacted crew.
Haight also rallied other Chartwells directors in the state to do the same. Together, under his leadership, the 2018 law was repealed and a new bill was drafted in its place.
“I had never done anything like that before, so when the bill passed it was so rewarding,” Haight said. “We’re like one big happy family here, and you have to take care of your family.”
Haight was nominated for the award by Chartwells District Manager Tina Lankas.
“Rick is awesome,” Lankas said. “He did an amazing job for our Chartwells employees in the state of Oklahoma.”