Western Faces: Ferriell sees evolution of dining services over 3 decades


Frank Ferriell remembers when once a semester, a group of dining services employees would go bowling at Southern Lanes.

On a Friday night, the place was nose to nose with noise and people. Ferriell’s group would split into teams of five, with the rest watching.

Whenever someone would lose, they would have to sing at the karaoke bar near the bowling lanes.

Frank Ferriell was that someone.

Jo Nell Howard, senior food service manager at dining services, bowled with Ferriell. He would sing “anything country,” Howard said.

Ferriell has kept that friendly nature throughout many bowling losses and three decades of working for Western’s dining services.

As office manager, Ferriell has been in charge of dining services’ finances for 12 years.

Ferriell came to Western in 1966 seeking a major in accounting. Two years later, he picked up a job sweeping and mopping floors in West Hall’s dining room. During that time, he stopped attending classes.

Downing University Center opened in 1970 and Ferriell followed to a night manager’s position at the grill, he said.

He kept that job until 1992, when Marriott took over dining services. Ferriell stayed at his current office manager position during the transition to Aramark dining services.

Ferriell has enjoyed seeing Western’s population grow to almost double the size of his graduating class.

As campus population has expanded, a more student oriented touch has been given to housing and dining services, Ferriell said.

Ferriell helps students out with meal plans and dining dollars at dining services, Howard said.

“I like what I do, the people I work with, the atmosphere,” Ferriell said.

“Compared to some people, he is very joyful,” said Alicia Oberhausen, Ferriell’s administrative assistant.

Rob Chrisler, director of auxiliary services, has known Ferriell for the past three years. Chrisler sees Ferriell “most every day. He’s an average, everyday friendly guy.”

Nashville freshman Simi Atolagbe answered phones and helped students during the office’s extended hours last semester and worked closely with Ferriell.

Respect was something Ferriell got from most of his co-workers, including Atolagbe.

Atolagbe and Ferriell frequently talked about his children.

“He loves his kids,” Atolagbe said. “I know that for sure.”

While Ferriell loves his job, he has considered other options.

He’s thought about being Bill Gates’ accountant.

But money seems to mean little to Ferriell.

“If you can be a millionaire and don’t like what you do, it means nothing,” Ferriell said.

Reach Bobby Harrell at [email protected]