Reinvention is the key to longevity in business if Alfred State’s Auxiliary Campus Enterprises and Service Inc. (ACES) is any example. This fall, the company is celebrating its 70th year in business.
At ACES, reinvention means that every fall the company has to renew itself to appeal to its new crop of customers. ACES is a not-for-profit company that supports the education mission of Alfred State.
“College students always want the latest and greatest innovations in services, it’s really human nature,” explained ACES Executive Director David Sengstock. “What is fun about our company is that we have to anticipate the services they want and then deliver them with excellence. This challenge keeps us young.”
ACES provides dining services, campus bookstores, transportation, vending, and laundry services at Alfred State. The organization also owns and manages the Lake Lodge in Alfred Station.
As a partner of Alfred State, ACES plays a critical role in attracting the best students to the college. Last year, the company provided more than 500 scholarships for area high school students who meet academic criteria. ACES annually provides additional educational support for the college, including help for the peer tutoring program and the culinary arts program among others.
“Our remarkable longevity can be attributed to our ability to stay nimble and our long-standing commitment to the college,” Sengstock explained.
As a 70-year-old company, ACES relies on a stable, flexible, and well-trained workforce to keep moving forward.
“It’s important to note that our employees -- many, many of whom have worked for us for over 20 years -- are critical to our company and to our student customers. It is our dedicated full-time staff who helps us become a new company every year,” stated ACES Director of Human Resources Christina Loper. “They are completely dedicated to our students. We get to know our student customers and love and nurture them as they move through their college experience.”
On Nov. 17, ACES will celebrate this major milestone throughout the day with prizes and gifts for lucky students. Employees will receive a special token as well. A celebration cake, crafted by Alfred State culinary arts: baking, production & management students from Wellsville, will cap off the festivities at the Terrace in Central Dining Hall during dinner on the Alfred campus.
Food truck mania will sweep over Alfred State this fall, ushered in by the arrival of “The Feast Beast,” the college’s first mobile dining venue.
Alfred State President Dr. Skip Sullivan drove the Beast through the inaugural blue ribbon, Monday, June 13, signaling the arrival of the 24-foot truck. The Beast, which will serve exclusively on the Alfred State campuses and property, will offer signature sandwiches and hand-crafted burgers and salads. The food truck is owned and operated by Auxiliary Campus Enterprises and Services, Inc. (ACES), the not-for-profit corporation that provides dining services on campus.
“The multi-year renovation of the MacKenzie Complex has forced us to close one of the most popular eateries on campus,” explained ACES Executive Director David Sengstock. “We had to come up with a flexible solution that would fill the needs of students who will be looking for convenient dining choices. Our new food truck provides us the ability to be anywhere on campus and with the equipment onboard, we can serve a tremendous variety of menu items.”
The truck, designed by Custom Mobile Food Equipment, with graphics created by Lonowood Art Company, was available for tours at its debut. Students, faculty, and staff are already lining up for the opportunity to see and taste what “The Feast Beast” has to offer.
“My friends and I are so excited to jump into food truck cuisine,” said Kaitlin Johnson, a culinary arts major from Fredonia. “Even though it’s only June, I’m ready for August already. I loved the chance to see the inside of the truck before ACES started using it.“
“The Beast will really up the ‘fun factor’ for student dining,” said Denise Brownell, director of Dining Services. “We designed the truck for maximum flexibility because we want to be able to respond to student feedback and change menu items easily. ACES is confident that students are going to be excited when they see the food truck on campus.”
Students will be able to use their meal plan to dine from the food truck by purchasing a value meal option, or by using Dining Dollars or Campus Spending Account cash. Cashiers onboard will also accept cash and credit cards.