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Bon Appétit district manager recognized for service at Pacific

Feb 26, 2020

Proudly displayed in Sia Mohsenzadegan’s office is a $1 bill signed by former University of the Pacific President Don DeRosa and his wife Karen. It was the first dollar spent at the university’s recently-opened DeRosa University Center in 2008 and a symbol of Mohsenzadegan’s nearly 18-year journey with Pacific.

Mohsenzadegan is the resident district manager for Bon Appétit, Pacific’s food service provider on the Sacramento and Stockton campuses. On Jan. 30, he was presented with the General Manager of the Year Award from Bon Appétit. Surrounded by colleagues and students, Mohsenzadegan was recognized for his performance, program, finances and—most importantly to him—the relationship he’s built with the Pacific community. 

Mohsenzadegan said he feels honored to be recognized by Bon Appétit, but was especially moved by an oversized white and gold card that was signed and presented to him and Bon Appétit staff by students during the award presentation at Grace Covell Hall.

“The award is just recognition for my work and I appreciate that Bon Appétit acknowledges the hard work that goes in, but what’s rewarding to me is the response from the students,” he said. “The card the students gave me is more valuable to me than the award.”

Christine Giordani, Marco Alvarado and Sia Mohsenzadegan.
Bon Appetit's Director of catering Christine Giordani, chef Marco Alvarado and Resident District Manager Sia Mohsenzadegan (left to right) during the award presentation at Grace Covell Hall on Jan. 30, 2020.

Mohsenzadegan has been in food service for 44 years, including owning a French restaurant in Napa, and with Bon Appétit for 29 years, but he never expected to stay at Pacific for more than six years. When he arrived, the assignment was temporary, so he booked a hotel room while his family remained in Oregon. Then-President DeRosa asked him to move on campus and gave him a dorm room in McCaffrey Center. Mohsenzadegan lived there for six months and said it was the best decision he’s made because it allowed him to meet students, faculty and staff.

“The relationship we have with Pacific is strong,” he said. “They count me as their peer, not a third-party vendor.”

Carrie Lovelace Petr, vice president for student life, said Mohsenzadegan inspires respect and professional admiration among his peers and team.

“Sia is one of the most welcoming folks I have had the pleasure to meet since joining the Pacific family,” Petr said. “I knew he was special when he urged me to come to spend extended time with him touring the Bon Appétit facilities and meeting his staff. His joy at sharing his work and his love for not only food, but for providing a wonderful eating experience, is evident. We are blessed to have Sia as a leader on campus and as a staff member, and he is deeply appreciated by the Division of Student Life.”

Pacific students keep him young and push him to try new ingredients, programs and cuisines, said Mohsenzadegan, who can be found walking around the Marketplace during lunchtime. He has built a good relationship with students and listens to their input when he and chef Marco Alvarado create the 140-item menu, which rotates weekly. The foodie in him is thrilled to be part of the Freshman Honors Program culinary arts students’ annual cooking competition sponsored by Bon Appétit. And he also partnered with a Pacific alumna 10 years ago to develop a food donation program, where each day all food not used by Bon Appétit is given to St. Mary’s Dining Hall in Stockton. The program is still active today. 

“I love what I do and I love the environment at Pacific,” he said. “Everyone here is so happy and it’s a team. We are a partner with the university. I love the faculty and staff, and they are so appreciative of what we have done here.”

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