By Gary Jaramillo
Longtime Socorro resident Susan Robinson is living proof that hard work and treating people with dignity and respect does pay off in the end.
Robinson was recently awarded the Chartwell’s Employee of the Month Trophy. Chartwell’s is the service company that provides food in the dining hall at New Mexico Tech, as well as catering on campus and in the Socorro area.
She received the honor, besting 7,000 other candidates in the west region of the company. She has worked for Chartwell’s for the past 10 years, including her current stint as the Kitchen Manager for the past two. She has been an employee for almost 30 years at New Mexico Tech in other capacities.
Chartwell’s manager Curtis Ortiz said he’s been very impressed with Susan’s work ethic and overall ability to multitask and make the other Chartwell’s employees feel at ease in the work environment.
“She’s my right hand gal,” said Ortiz.
Another really important part of her job, according to Ortiz, is helping the executive chef make everything click in the kitchen and out in the serving area. Robinson has also stepped in and carried the chef duties for six months in the past while Chartwell’s was interviewing for a new chef, said Ortiz. Robinson stepped into that position. “There is nothing she can’t do,” said Ortiz.
Ortiz said that Susan has now mastered the financial aspects of Chartwell’s bottom line, adding another dimension of her value to the company. Ortiz also said that communication between him and Robinson has been the key to keeping operations running smoothly and their dedication to making the students meals the very best they can be.
Robinson’s motto is “We don’t feed something to Tech Students that we wouldn’t feed to our own kids.” The Chartwell’s employees have a special relationship with the student body at Tech, and make every effort to make changes that are requested by students as soon as possible. That sort of quick turnaround might explain why New Mexico Tech’s Chartwell’s service is one of the top 10 companywide kitchens in the United States.
As outgoing and nice as Robinson is, she has made it very clear to her employees that she is the boss and is able to pull that off without a hitch. Her employees admire her strengths and enjoy having a supervisor that also really cares about them individually on a personal level.
Chef Karl McDermott, who has cooked for celebrities Jerry Seinfeld and Donald Trump, said that Susan is his right hand, as well. “She’s a go-getter – and in one word, she’s awesome,” he said. He said he really enjoys working with Susan, who, he added, makes the kitchen a pleasant environment to work in.
Photo by Gary Jaramillo