Originally from New Jersey and having graduated from Rutgers University in 1993 with a BA in Communications, Suzanne Paltz currently oversees the three main dining halls, concessions and retail outlets for PantherDining. With an appetite for open communication and customer service, Suzanne has seasoned her staff to serve up quality meals with a 4-week menu cycle while also leading the campus dining halls in using “eco-friendly” alternatives when it comes to the reduction and composting of food waste and recycling.
Never one to forget where she came from, Suzanne incorporates the experience she gained from Rutgers to aid in her current management. Starting as a student worker and eventually making her way to becoming the Rutgers' Dining Hall Manager for a further 13 years, she has carried over and introduced special meal themes to the Georgia State community, such as Oktoberfest, King Neptune Night and the formidable “Fat Darrell” Sandwich.
Suzanne currently lives in Cumming with her husband, two children, three cats and three dogs.
Betsy Rivera-Ocasio joined PantherDining during the summer of 2008. During the previous eight years, she earned her event stripes working in Florida for Walt Disney World, The Ritz-Carlton and Doral Park Country Club in Miami as director of catering. In this capacity, she planned hundreds of weddings and corporate events and managed the day-to-day food and beverage operations for the organizations.
Betsy holds a master’s degree from the University of Miami and a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from St. John’s University in her hometown of New York City.
Betsy is passionate about hospitality and exceptional customer service. Her attention to detail and passion to exceed customer expectations has contributed to her department’s success and loyal clientele.
When she's not working, Betsy enjoys spending time with her husband and two young daughters.
Ken has over 40 years of experience in the hospitality industry, serving in various roles as a culinarian, manager and entrepreneur. He has spent the last 20 years involved in multiple aspects of university food service management.
Hailing from the North Georgia mountains, Nikki has over 10 years of experience in business administration and food service. She graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, and will graduate in 2020 with an MBA, both from Georgia State. Nikki started working at Georgia State in 2008 as a student assistant, and worked her way up through the ranks of administration.
As a leader in both human resources and finance, she currently directs the day-to-day office functions of PantherDining, including recruitment and retention, group dining, budgets, meal plan administration, financial analysis and payroll. With a commitment to quality customer service and positive employee interactions, she places her focus on ensuring the continued satisfaction of customers and employees alike. Nikki trains her team of administrative professionals to provide excellence in every endeavor, and together they keep the “behind the scenes” operations of PantherDining running like a well-oiled machine.
In her spare time, Nikki enjoys spending time with her husband and four dogs.
With over 35 years of food service experience, Victor began his career on an aircraft carrier after attending culinary school through the U.S. Navy. He worked in a variety of settings such as Top of the Hub, Atlanta Catering Co. and Simmons College before joining the PantherDining family in 2013.
Helen joined the PantherDining family as a cook in 2011. After a few years, she was promoted to sous chef, and now serves as executive chef. She trained in London under several executive chefs after graduating with a degree in Culinary Arts from Southgate College.
George joined the PantherDining family in 2014 as a cook and slowly worked his way through the ranks to sous chef. Prior to Georgia State, he owned and operated Heaven’s Bread Bakery. Biking, swimming, basketball and reading are just some of George’s hobbies outside of work.
An Iowa native, Kara has worked in collegiate dining for almost ten years and joined the PantherDining family in 2018. In her free time, you can find Kara watching the Packers in the fall or attending Major League Baseball games in the summer.
Passionate and driven, Houston has over a decade of restaurant and hospitality experience. He joined the PantherDining family as a supervisor in 2011, before being named as a dining hall manager in 2016. Houston enjoys interacting with students and strives to ensure every customer has a positive dining experience at Piedmont Central. When he’s not working, Houston enjoys woodworking, spending time with his family, attending church services and fishing.
With over 16 years of experience as a professional chef, Thomas graduated from Johnson & Wales University in 2006 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Service Management. Hailing from Westfield, Mass., he’s worked in New Orleans, Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Boston and Atlanta.
Before joining the PantherDining family in 2015, Anthony owned his own catering company. Along with cooking, he is a skilled pastry chef.
Geno’s food service experience spans over 20 years in the hospitality industry. He joined the PantherDining family as a sous chef in 2017.
Rory’s love for cooking started at an early age when he would spend time cooking with his grandmother. After high school, he attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. where he received a Culinary and Pastry Degree. After culinary school, he worked in the hospitality industry in the northeast and Las Vegas. Rory moved to Georgia nine years ago and joined the PantherDining family in 2014.
Cole joined the PantherDining family in 2016 as a supervisor after working at the University of Georgia for six years. While at UGA, he quickly worked his way up from a student assistant to supervisor. Cole is currently a student at Georgia State working on his Master’s Degree.
David joined the PantherDining family as a supervisor in 2017. Prior to working at Georgia State, he worked at the University of Michigan and Kansas State University. David loves cooking and is always looking for new ways to infuse different flavors.
Before joining the PantherDining family in 2017, Jarrett worked in the casual dining industry for many years as a restaurant manager. With his previous management experience, he strives to understand the needs of employees and guests alike and has adopted a “Guest Obsessed Attitude” to provide guests with a positive dining experience. Jarrett believes hard work can be its own reward and works hard to set an example.
Lashawn has over 10 years of food service experience, both nationally and internationally. Her experience ranges from restaurants to hotels to hospitals. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management as well as several other certifications.
Michelle has worked in university food service for over seven years as a supervisor, spending the last three years with PantherDining. A Georgia Southern graduate, she worked as a student assistant for Eagle Dining and moved up through the ranks to supervisor. She loves geting to know and interacting with students that dine at Piedmont Central, and works hard to ensure students have a positive dining experience.
After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales, Kelvin worked as an executive sous chef in Jacksonville, a food & beverage controller for Hyatt Hotels and food service director at the University of West Georgia, Georgia Gwinnett College and Spelman College. An Atlanta resident, he enjoys volunteering with his family, watching the Florida Gators, playing golf and softball, cooking and running the Atlanta Peachtree Road Race.
Leonard joined the PantherDining team in 2015 and is an integral part of our culinary team. With over 20 years of experience in the food service industry, his journey to deepen his knowledge of culinary culture has taken him from a prep cook all the way to executive chef at Canongate Country Club where he was responsible for an extensive culinary operation. He has held prominent positions throughout his career including corporate coordinator for Applebee's Corporations and chef/manager with the Sterling Spoon Culinary Management Company.
Lucy earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management from the New York City College of Technology before joining the PantherDining family in 2016. She enjoys interacting with employees and embracing the values and cultures from around the world, with an emphasis on the food. Volunteering, fitness and spending time with her family are some of her favorite hobbies outside of work.
Yvonne’s love for food began at a very young age – leading her to a career in culinary arts. She worked in corporate America, earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and a Master’s of Business Administration in Human Resources, and then completed culinary training at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio before relocating to Georgia in 2016 to become a banquet cook for Hilton Hotels. Yvonne enjoys spending time with her family, cooking and attending sporting events.
Constance Carrier joined PantherDining during the summer of 2017. She started working in collegiate dining in 2007 as the production manager at Georgia Southwestern State University. In 2010 she joined the dining department at Columbus State University as the production manager and was quickly promoted to catering manager in 2011. Before joining PantherDining, she worked at Georgia State University as the catering manager of Flavours by Sodexo for five years.
Constance holds an associate degree in culinary arts and a bachelor’s degree in food service management, both from Johnson & Wales University.
In her downtime, she enjoys cooking, gardening and spending time with her family.
Cameron Thompson joined PantherDining during the fall of 2014. Born in Raleigh, N.C., she hails from a family of chefs, butchers and farmers and has over 10 years of culinary experience. From 2011-14, she worked her way up through the ranks in the private sector, mastering her skills as a culinary creative and a leader in the kitchen. She honed her skills at Atlanta’s prestigious King + Duke restaurant, where she realized her passion to oversee a kitchen and create her own menus and team.
Cameron holds an associate degree in culinary arts from The Art Institute of Atlanta. In fall 2018, she will earn a bachelor’s degree in hospitality administration from Georgia State University.
In addition to her role as chef, Cameron is also one of the key operators of our Leafy Green Machine™, Georgia State’s hydroponic farm. She served as the vice president for the Georgia Restaurant Association student organization from 2016-18. In 2017, she was featured in FoodService Director Magazine’s “30 Under 30-Something.”
In her downtime, Cameron loves to visit versatile restaurants, create sauces with spirits and spend time with her family.
Robin-TeRece A Ward joined PantherDining during the fall of 2017. Before joining our team, she spent time perfecting her craft at Emory University and Walt Disney World, where she trained under Chef Cat Cora.
Robin holds a degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University. Her love for food shines in her food presentation and attention to detail.