Students keep experience fresh for veteran food services worker




James Nickens takes pride in his job and his duty to serve others.

Nickens has worked for the University of Detroit Mercy for 29 years – now in culinary arts with Metz Culinary Services, the university’s new food-service partner.

“I love dealing with the public and interacting with the students here on campus,” said Nickens.

He said he has learned many things from being able to interact with the students on a daily basis – everything from new music and new dances to cool lingo and even social media.

He is always learning new things and it makes working in culinary services delightful, he said.

Choosing to work the same job for 29 years is not without challenges.

Nickens first began working in culinary services as a part-time job.

Later, a full-time position opened and he could not turn down the offer.

Nickens works in The Loft dining area, home to J. Clarkes Grille and Subway.

His daily duties are to ring orders and make sure everything is stocked correctly and properly.

“This is a very hectic job,” said Nickens.

Noon to 12:30 p.m. is the busiest time of day.

“It is so busy because students are about to head to their classes or just getting out of class,” said Nickens.

Customer service can become a difficult job because it can be difficult to please everyone.

But he enjoys it.

“I see the university growing upwards like it never has before,” said Nickens.