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Duane Leitzell Leads Culinary Services at The Village by Example While Teaching Others to Do the Same

January 12, 2023

Duane L. has been Director of Dining Services at The Village of Penn State in State College, PA, for nearly twenty years. During that time, he has demonstrated exemplary hospitality management, customer service, teaching, and training skills to Dining Services team members at The Village and to hospitality management students at Penn State University. In addition to his role as Director of Dining, he teaches at Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management in Senior Living courses as Adjunct Faculty.

Earlier in life, he learned culinary arts in what he calls “the school of hard knocks,” and then honed his professional skills by earning a Bachelor of Science Degree from Penn State University in Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management. Then, he expanded his experience by working for a large corporate Hospitality Management firm in New Orleans, LA, and as a multi-unit Manager for a large franchise corporation, and later served as Restaurant and Bar Manager at the Penn Stater Convention Hotel before joining the team at The Village in April 2003.

Duane says, “I truly enjoy teaching Culinary and food safety, as I teach ServSafe also in my class, and Hospitality Management Courses to Penn State students because that keeps me in touch with younger talent and allows me to contribute to training the next generation of professionals who want to enter the Hospitality field.”

Duane holds numerous licenses and certifications in the hospitality and culinary field. He leads Penn State students by example, and he leads his entire team at The Village by rolling up his sleeves and working alongside them during the busy meal times. “There are periods during the week when I need to be doing administrative work in my office, but I would never stay hidden during service times; I am in the Dining Room, or in the kitchen, when we are all needed during “service times” to provide excellent service for our residents,” he asserts.

Duane adds, “My job involves executing excellent food preparation and hospitality service and ensuring everyone is working together to provide a better an outstanding culinary experience for residents at The Village. Dining is more than eating; it is a social and cultural experience that needs to be savored and enjoyed. Our team understands that they provide unique customer experiences for residents.

Thank you, Duane, for your twenty years of excellence in hospitality management, customer service, and Culinary team training!