Team Spotlight

During the school year, you’ll find Joe Swinney hard at work prepping and cooking daily meals in CKC Good Food’s central commissary. This summer though, he has headed to camp.

Last fall, Joe was named CKC Good Food’s Summer Camp Operations Manager, with responsibility for food service at three camps operated by Girl Scouts River Valleys.

joe swinney red.jpgWorking at camps is not an entirely new experience for him. He joined the camp crew late in the 2022 season to pick up consistent summertime hours. He naturally fell into the role of site supervisor at Camp Lakamaga, the Girl Scout camp in Marine on the St. Croix. The CKC Good Food team and camp staff were impressed with his leadership and ideas.

As CEO Nancy Close was considering who could be lead camps for 2023, Joe’s name rose to the top.

“Nancy heard from our staff and the camp staff about the great things I was doing at Lakamaga and approached me about being the Operations Manager for camps,” Joe said. “We talked about my ideas for how camp food service could go, and she offered me the job.”

Joe has previous management experience but managing multiple locations is new for him. Also new is learning how Ambika Senthilvel, Technology & Menu Planning Senior Manager, writes menus and creates food orders. He’s also poked around in NUTRIKIDS nutritional software for the first time.

Joe has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 20 years. Prior to joining CKC Good Food, he was a line cook at PINZ entertainment center in Oakdale, where Brandon Porter, our Recipe Development & Menu Coordinator, was his supervisor for a brief time. Shortly after Brandon joined CKC Good Food, he invited Joe to apply, promising him a consistent daytime schedule and weekends off.  

Before PINZ, Joe worked for Subway, managing a location for 5 of his 10 years with the company. He also was an assistant manager at a Perkins restaurant, working overnights (5 AM to 5 PM) Thursday through Sunday.

“My worst day at CKC is still better than my best day at Perkins,” he said.  

With no night or weekend work, no direct customer contact, and the opportunity to use his kitchen experience, Joe couldn’t help but tell others about CKC Good Food. He invited former co-workers Matt Haase and Brett Wasieleski to apply. The three are working together again during the school year. Joe enlisted Matt to be the site supervisor at Camp Singing Hills in Waterville and has teamed with him to get camps off the ground in May and early June before the rest of the CKC Good Food team members finished working at their school sites.


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“Even though we are a small school, we are always treated as if we are the most important customer. To CKC, we matter and we appreciate the professionalism and quality of service from the entire CKC staff. ”
Barbara Dotty : Stonebridge Community School