POPLARVILLE – Two veterans of the industry have been named to oversee food service at Pearl River Community College.Todd Hickman of Petal is the new food service manager and Leah Woodard of Picayune is assistant manager. Valley, a Jackson-based company, operates Pearl River”s dining hall and the Bistro grill.The pair doesn”t plan any major changes.”We hope to improve overall customer satisfaction and the image food service has on campus,” Hickman said.He describes the job with Valley as a good fit for him and his family.”It was an extremely good opportunity to work with a large company but be in a situation where it”s in a small town in Mississippi,” he said. “I get good benefits and the support of a big company while still enjoying the small community.”He comes to PRCC from Columbia where he worked for a family-owned restaurant business for five years.”I”ve been working in the food business for 17 years,” he said. “I started out as a dishwasher.”He attended the University of Southern Mississippi after graduating from Hattiesburg High School and later worked for O”Charley”s for eight years. He and his wife, Beth, have three daughters – Sadie, 7; Ella, 5 and Chloe, 10 months.Woodard worked for the Picayune School District for 10 years before coming to PRCC. Her 20-year-career in the industry includes work with the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store in Slidell, La., at Cracker Barrel corporate headquarters in Lebanon, Tenn. and as general manager of the Hattiesburg Cracker Barrel.”I”d always been in food service, but the last five years, I wasn”t,” she said. “I missed the hospitality of it. I needed to get back to it.”Woodard has two children – Emily, 16, and Patrick, 13 – who plan to attend PRCC.
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