Come next semester, University of Wisconsin–Stout will be losing many familiar faces who have contributed a great deal during their time here.
One of these faces is Ann Thies, Director of Dining, who will be retiring. Thies has been the Director of Dining at Stout since 1988. Prior to this, she attended UW–Stout as an undergrad student in the Home Economics in Business major, with concentrations in food and equipment.
From 1976 to 1982, she worked in institutional food service and in fast food restaurants. After having a baby in 1982, she decided she did not want to be in restaurant management, so she took a cooking job at UW–Stout. During 1982, she was a cook in the commons. The next summer, she got a job as a supervisor. She then moved up to the Assistant Director position, which led to a director job when the previous director left.
As the Director of Dining, Thies has a pretty large job to do. She oversees all the dining operations on campus, including both the Commons, North Point, Memorial Student Center food operations, mini marts and catering.
During her career at UW–Stout, Thies has overseen and been a part of many projects. She considers the melding of the food service departments to be one of her greatest accomplishments. Prior to her being director, each food service center was run differently and by different people. Bringing everyone together to work as a team was something that took time and patience.
She is also proud of the major remodelings that have taken place during her career, including the Price Commons second floor remodeling in 2009 and the Memorial Student Center remodeling in 2012.
Thies has had many influential people in her career, including Harry Albert, who worked as Director of Dining before her. He was the one who started the outdoor picnic at the beginning of fall semester. Thies also spoke highly of James (Jim) Selz, her right-hand man. They joined forces in 1994, when they had to figure out how to move forward and make the food service team work.
People might be surprised to know that Thies grew up on a dairy farm and loves the outdoors more than any four walls. She rode her horse every single day until she left for college.
After her retirement, Thies plans to return to the outdoors, and wants to start working with bees.. She has been mentoring with someone who has helped her get hives set up down by her garden. She says that gardening is one of her favorite things to do, and it’s a big stress reliever after a long day at work.