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Simply the Best

Sodexo USA, the food service provider for George Mason University, has 12 regions, 100 districts, 480 university accounts, and more than 55,000 employees. Earlier this year, Mason senior Mason MacDonald won the National Customer Experience Award for his lively efforts behind the counter at the Northern Neck Starbucks on Mason’s Fairfax Campus.

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Mason MacDonald topped 55,000 other Sodexo employees in a national competition. Photo by Ron Aira

MacDonald has been working on and off at different Starbucks locations since he was 16 (he is 22 now). He is a “lead” at the Northern Neck Starbucks, which means on top of making drinks and interacting with customers, he is in charge of the location and the crew during his shift.

“My favorite part of work at the moment is about finding the art in what I do to keep it interesting to me,” says the environmental and sustainability studies major. “When I’m on bar, I tweak my milk steaming and pouring techniques—I know, what a blast—in order to create better quality drinks.”

“Of course, I also like cracking jokes with customers,” he adds. “That never gets old.”

“The fact that Mason is being recognized at the national level is extraordinary,” says John Teeple, resident district manager for Sodexo, referring to the coincidentally named student. “We’re extremely proud of his accomplishments.”

After he graduates in May and hangs up his apron, MacDonald would like to work as a park ranger or a marine bycatch analyst. But he hasn’t ruled out graduate school.

“Maybe when I’m 30 or so I’ll come back to get a master’s degree and work in the climatology labs,” he says. “We’ll see.”