Features & Perspectives

Mark Wagner, Lakeland’s exceptional director of dining services, recently threw a lunch party for members of the LU community.

On a gloriously sunny day, LU’s new smoker and grill unit, designed by Mark and Joe Johnson (LU’s executive chef) was unveiled on the lawn outside the Younger Family Center, while we all ate the uncommonly good BBQ, brats and burgers the cooker had produced.

Like Mark, the cooker bears heavy loads and has uncommon talents. One of Mark’s uncommon talents is getting high school students to the innovation table. After designing the smoker/grill unit, Mark and Joe enlisted students from Sheboygan’s Central High School to build it as part of an LTC welding class project. These students not only constructed the grill, they also discovered ways to improve the design.

In typical Mark fashion, he was as excited about these students’ experiential learning as he was about the remarkable machine they collectively invented. Mark explained that his intent was to use the cooker project to deepen their understanding of themselves and others through creativity and teamwork.

Getting involved in the community and sharing his passion with others is nothing new for Mark, as evidenced by his relationship with RCS Empowers in Sheboygan.

Thank you, Mark, for casting that long and formative shadow on those high school students, the young men and women at RCS Empowers and your colleagues here at Lakeland.