Staff Spotlight: Scott Haas

Every work day starts the same way for Scott Haas. He arrives at 6:45 AM and before anything else, he makes his rounds to his staff at Martin Dining Hall and Scoreboard Market.

“The first thing I do in the morning, is meet and greet all of the employees. I go around and say good morning to everybody, even before I take my coat off,” said Haas with a smile. “I don’t drink coffee, but I make a point to greet everybody before doing anything else.”

While Haas’ morning routine may seem like a small part of his day, it goes a long way. Haas wants his staff to feel comfortable coming to him for assistance and that starts by building a solid working relationship with each employee.

“If something goes wrong or someone needs help getting things ready, I want them to feel comfortable asking for help,” said Haas. “I tell them that all the time. If you need help, let me know, and I’ll help.”

Haas grew up in the small town of Bath, Indiana. Born and raised on a farm, Haas always thought he would be a farmer.

“I always wanted a farm, but they don’t make extra farm ground. What’s there is there,” said Haas with a chuckle. “It was too expensive to buy and too expensive to rent, so I started looking into food service.”

As a teenager, Haas took a job at a fast food place where he would use his free time there to mix different dishes, prompting his initial interest in food service. He attended culinary school, becoming a certified chef, and then took an assistant manager job at a family-owned cafeteria in Richmond, Indiana where he worked for 10 years, prior to his time at Miami.

Haas started at Miami in 1990 as an assistant manager at Erickson Dining Hall where he worked for two years. Over the last 26 years, Haas has worked in concessions, vending and served as the manager of the warehouse and dock operations, among other titles. It wasn’t until last summer that Haas took his current role at Martin.

“I was in dining food service for two years, and then I wasn’t back in the dining hall until I came back this year,” said Haas. “I was a general manager in the food court at Shriver Center when it opened and started accepting meal plans. I was involved in opening the first convenience store on campus and helped open and build concessions, more or less, from the ground up. I’ve done a lot of things during my time here.”

Now, Haas oversees Martin Dining Hall and Scoreboard Market where he handles food ordering, makes schedules, ensures staff are where they need to be and keeps the operation running smoothly. Much in the same way he values communication with his staff, Haas checks in with guests multiple times throughout the day to ensure everything is going well, further fostering open communication.

“Every morning, if I see them, I’ll greet them and ask how they’re doing. Whether I’m working at the cash register or not, I’ll go out in the dining room several times throughout the meal just to see how things are going,” said Haas. “It’s important to touch base. If students have an issue, I hope they would tell me or one of my assistants. I hope they feel they can come to us with feedback.”

Haas is easy-going but works hard to provide the very best service for his guests. He makes an effort to build working relationships with his staff and with students to ensure that Martin Dining Hall and Scoreboard Market operate smoothly. Haas loves getting to know people through these means, but he is still happiest when guests are happy with their meals.

“I’m happiest when I know the food is out and the food tastes great, looks great and, most importantly, when students like it. That’s probably when I’m the happiest at work. When the students are eating the food and when they are enjoying it.”


The Hard Questions

Favorite dish to prepare? To eat?

Prepare – I haven’t done it for a while, but I like making lasagna at home.

Eat – A good steak.

What’s something that’s on your bucket list?

I want to visit every state eventually. I’ve been to quite a few and some of them you go to over and over, but eventually, I want to be able to visit every state, whether we drive or fly, and visit some different countries.

What is the most important thing you have learned in the last five years?

You have to be able to adapt to changes. In the last five years, our department has changed. My family has changed. I have had two kids get married, and in the last six months, they’ve each had a child. One grandchild will be six months next week and one was a week old yesterday, so I think you’ve got to adapt to change, whether it’s at work or whether it’s with family life. There are always things that are going to change and if you can’t adapt and make changes, you’re not going to make it.

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I would say a steak of some kind. A baked sweet potato. Creamed spinach with bacon. Tossed salad. A roll and then some kind of fruit pie.

When are you happiest?

I’m the happiest when I’m just relaxing. Overall, I’m happiest with how well my kids have done. I was the first child in my family to go to college and now all my kids have gone to college. They’re all doing very well.

What kitchen appliance are you and why?

I’d say a gas grill because I’ve done so much on a gas grill whether it be baking, or frying, or grilling, or roasting. I’ve fixed just about anything. A pineapple upside down cake on the grill, I’ve baked cookies, I’ve made pancakes, I’ve just done everything you can do.

What’s one thing people may not know about you?

I actually played a pickup basketball game with Larry Bird. I went to school in the town he was born and raised in, French Lick, Indiana. It was the spring before he got famous in the NCAA tournament and me and some of my friends from college went to one of the town parks to play some basketball. There were three people at one basket, and then five of us at our end, and they came over and said, “Hey, do you guys want to play a game?” We said, “Sure.” We asked how they wanted to divide it up, and they said, “Why don’t you five play us three.” We knew this guy was big. We started playing and, of course, it was more or less like one against five. He was amazing. Then, the following March, we’re sitting in our rooms watching the NCAA tournament and we thought he looked familiar. Apparently he was on spring break at the time we were playing. It was weird knowing you played against somebody like that.

Cat or dog? Definitely dog, if I had one.

Cake or pie? Pie.


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