Skip to Main Content

Associate Director, Catering and Event Services

Below you will find the details for the position including any supplementary documentation and questions you should review before applying to the opening.  To apply to the position, please click the Apply to this Job link/button.

If you would like to bookmark this position for later review, click on the Bookmark link.  If you would like to print a copy of this position for your records, click on the Print Preview link.

Position Details

Position Information

Title Associate Director, Catering and Event Services
Department Arizona Student Unions (8001)
Location Main Campus
Position Summary

The University of Arizona’s Associate Director of Catering and Event Services will create success as a dynamic culinary food service manager, growing and leading a diverse catering, event services, and business development team. With anticipated annual sales volume exceeding $3 million and some 10,000 events, the Associate Director reports to the Director for the Student Unions, and leads all catering operations, working closely with customers and staff to manage catering events from start to finish. From small refreshment services to large, high-profile dinner events of up to 1,000 people, the Associated Director is a seasoned professional committed to excellent customer service and high culinary standards, champions innovation and fosters strong client relationships.

The best qualified candidate will have proven experience in casual and/or fine dining catering; client management, training and leading a catering or food service staff; working with catering menus, costing and pricing, labor control, food and beverage operations; and demonstrated skills in service standards, guest relations and dining etiquette.

The Arizona Student Unions consist of both the Student Union Memorial Center (SUMC) and the Park Student Union, as well as Highland Market and a number of convenience stores and food stops around campus. In addition to campus dining services and catering, the Arizona Student Unions also run mall scheduling, concessions at athletic events, Fast Copy & Design, the Union Galleries, Games Room, the Gallagher Theatre, and a Post Office Contract Unit.

The Student Union Memorial Center is one of the largest student unions in the United States. The SUMC contains everything students need – restaurants, retail spaces, a bank, lounges, study/meeting rooms, a computer lab, art gallery, and a movie theater. SUMC is often referred to as the “living room” of the University. With Student Engagement, dining services, retail services and more, we strive to provide a “home away from home” to balance the diverse educational, recreational, cultural and social needs of today’s student.

Outstanding UA benefits include health, dental, and vision insurance plans; life insurance and disability programs; paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays; UA/ASU/NAU tuition reduction for the employee and qualified family members; state and optional retirement plans; access to UA recreation and cultural activities; and more!

Accepting a new position is a big life step. We want potential candidates and their families to be able to make informed decisions. Candidates who are considering relocation to the Tucson or Phoenix area, and have been offered an on-site interview, are encouraged to use the free services offered by Above & Beyond Relocation Services (ABRS).Ask your department contact to be introduced to ABRS prior to your visit.

The University of Arizona has been listed by Forbes as one of America’s Best Employers in the United States and WorldatWork and the Arizona Department of Health Services have recognized us for our innovative work-life programs. For more information about working at the University of Arizona, please click here.

Duties & Responsibilities
  • Create new catering business, sales and opportunities and manage the execution of internal and external catering events and functions to maintain high University standards and exceptional customer service.
  • Provide and champion innovation, excellence and strategic vision
  • Manage and monitor performance of 8 full-time catering staff, supervisors, and banquet captains, and 10+ student leads and 60+ student employees
  • Manage and monitor performance of 5 full-time event planning staff and several student employees
  • Ensure successful operations of catering functions and special events, including managing labor costs, food cost and control, transportation, setup, customer interaction, operations and event breakdown
  • Hire, train and oversee the scheduling of catering and event services staff and is actively involved in the development and training for sales, service techniques, menu presentation, food safety, sanitation, and general policies and procedures
  • Assist in menu development and costing, with clients and the Executive Chef and culinary team
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive training program, catering service standards, and standards of operation
  • Prepare and manage the annual budget, making logical, strategic and prudent business decisions that drive growth and enhance customer experiences
  • Responsible for the coaching, counseling and potential discipline of all supervised staff
  • Manage the budget financials of catering activities through effective food, labor, inventory and supply controls
  • Professionally engage outside organizations, high profile clients and University departments, staff, faculty and executives
  • Responsible for VIP events and acts as a liaison with clients for special events
  • Attend meetings, classes, conferences and workshops related to departmental activities. Convey pertinent information to supervisors and staff
  • Manage the alcohol permitting process
  • Develop and grow conference services
  • Maintain a flexible work schedule in order to coordinate and attend high profile evening and weekend events and functions
  • Perform related duties assigned or required to meet unit and University goals and objectives
Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities
Minimum Qualifications
  • Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality or Culinary or other related field, or ten years of experience in the hospitality industry, including culinary, catering sales and/or catering operations
  • Strong BOH and FOH operational experience and working with commercial kitchen equipment
  • Higher education experience leading a catering team and driving sales growth
  • Strong leadership skills and proven ability to cultivate and maintain effective relationships with multiple campus partners
  • Exceptional interpersonal and strategic and critical thinking skills, professional image and excellent customer service and communication skills
  • Excellent knowledge of food trends with a driven focus on quality, production, presentation, sanitation, and food cost
  • Willingness and availability to work a flexible schedule including weekends and evenings
  • Obtain or hold a current Pima County Health Department Food Sanitation Certificate or “ServSafe” Certification within 6-months of hire date
  • Familiar with Microsoft Office Suite and event management software
  • Must have a valid driver’s license at time of employment and ability to drive according to the University Fleet Safety Policy.
Preferred Qualifications
  • Working knowledge of Kronos, FoodPro, Caterease, and/or Sequoia
  • Experience working with AZ State liquor laws
FLSA Exempt
Full Time/Part Time Full Time
Number of Hours Worked per Week 40-50
Job Category Administrative and Professional
Benefits Eligible Yes - Full Benefits
Posted Rate of Pay DOE
Type of criminal background check required: Name-based criminal background check (non-security sensitive)

Posting Detail Information

Posting Number A22069
Number of Vacancies One
Desired Start Date
Position End Date (if temporary)
Limited to Current UA Employees No
Contact Information for Candidates

Judy Harrison

Open Date 09/14/2017
Close Date
Open Until Filled Yes
Review Begins On 09/25/2017
Special Instructions to Applicant
Diversity Statement

At the University of Arizona, we value our inclusive climate because we know that diversity in experiences and perspectives is vital to advancing innovation, critical thinking, solving complex problems, and creating an inclusive academic community. We translate these values into action by seeking individuals who have experience and expertise working with diverse students, colleagues and constituencies. Because we seek a workforce with a wide range of perspectives and experiences, we encourage diverse candidates to apply, including people of color, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities. As an Employer of National Service, we also welcome alumni of AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and other national service programs and others who will help us advance our Inclusive Excellence initiative aimed at creating a university that values student, staff and faculty engagement in addressing issues of diversity and inclusiveness.

Quick Link for Internal Postings

Supplemental Questions

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

  1. * Where did you first learn about this position?
    • Arizona Daily Star
    • Arizona Republic
    • Chronicle of Higher Education
    • Department of Economic Security (DES)
    • Diverse Issues in Higher Education
    • Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education
    • Jobing.Com
    • LinkedIn
    • Local Job Banks
    • Pima County One-Stop
    • Professional Conference
    • Professional journal/publication
    • Referred by UA Employee
    • Invited by Dept to Apply
    • UA Website
    • Other
  2. * Do you have a bachelor's degree in Hospitality or Culinary or other related field, or ten years of experience in the hospitality industry, including culinary catering sales and/or catering operations?
    • Yes
    • No
  3. * Do you have a current Pima County Health Dept. Food Sanitation Certificate or "ServSafe" Certification or will you be able to obtain one within 6 months of your hire date?
    • Yes
    • No
  4. * Will you have a valid driver’s license at time of employment and ability to drive according to the University Fleet Safety Policy?
    • Yes
    • No

Documents Needed to Apply

Required Documents
  1. Resume
  2. Cover Letter
Optional Documents