Salvador Ortega of the dining services staff at Hope College has received the 2002 "Creative Dining Services Award of Excellence."

Creative Dining Services (CDS), which manages the dining services operation at Hope, established the award to honor outstanding hourly employees. Criteria include championing CDS's corporate philosophy and core values; showing initiative, enthusiasm and a positive attitude; demonstrating excellence in service and performance; and willingness to help others.

Ortega, who is a supervisor of the morning dining service staff in the Phelps Hall dining hall at Hope, was chosen from among several nominations submitted from 44 CDS accounts located in nine states. It is the second consecutive year that a CDS employee at Hope has received the award, first presented last year.

"Salvador has contributed greatly to the success of our program," said Bob Van Heukelom, director of dining services at Hope. "Students benefit daily from Salvador's commitment to excellence."

Ortega has been a member of the dining service staff at Hope since 1991. He held positions including dish washer and beverage runner before becoming a supervisor. He is responsible for approximately 40 employees.

In their nominations, his co-workers praised qualities ranging from his fairness and good attitude, to his work ethic and efficiency, to his willingness to help others--including by translating for staff members still learning English.

Zeeland-based CDS manages the college's dining and hospitality services, including resident dining in the Phelps and Cook dining halls; catering; the Kletz snack bar; the Haworth Inn and Conference Center; and summer conference programming. The company's clients include more than a dozen colleges, as well as businesses, conference centers, church food courts, youth camps and retirement communities in several states.

The inaugural, 2001, recipient of the company's "Award of Excellence" was Justin Jackson, who was a front desk supervisor at the college's Haworth Inn and Conference Center. Jackson has since been promoted, and is now the guest services manager at the Prince Conference Center at Calvin College in Grand Rapids.