Randall J Sparrow, CDM, CFPP 

Healthcare Category

Randy has worked in the health care field since 1981. His career includes stints with organizations such as ARAMARK, Trinity Health, and Indiana University Health. He is currently the Director of Food and Environmental Services at ProHealth Care which includes Wakesha Memorial Hospital, Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital, Angel's Grace, Pro Health Care Corporate Office Riverwood, and 19 Clinics.  

Randy has been involved in healthcare professional organizations, serving on the national boards of the Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals and the Association for Healthcare Foodservice where he served as president. He is a graduate of Purdue University’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program. 

In His Own Words

How did you get your start in the foodservice industry? 
My start began when completing a FFA (Future Farmers of America) project. I just turned 14 and was going into my sophomore year of high school. All FFA members had to have a project to be associated with either farming or agri-business.  My summer project was to make ice cream and sell it at local town festivals and county fairs. This eventually led to me developing my own summer concession business where I had three different stands and 15 workers through college. 

What do you enjoy most about your career in foodservice? 
I have had many opportunities to meet so many outstanding people throughout the foodservice industry - in addition to knowing that what we do certainly makes a difference to our patients, patient family members, hospital staff, and community. 

Tell us about a proud moment you’ve had along the way. 
Recently I was selected to the Purdue University’s Hospitality, Tourism Management Hall of Fame. ...knowing I wasn’t the most gifted academic student in college made being selected for the Hall of Fame very meaningful. From my connection and my involvement with the Purdue Hospitality Program, I am proud to say that I now have the opportunity to influence the next generation of hospitality students.  

How would your team describe you as a leader? 
I asked them to answer this for me. Their responses indicate that I clearly state my expectations and make quality a major focus. I allow staff to take risks and explore their creativity, even if the results aren’t always favorable. I believe in constant communication so that all facets of our department and business are known and goals can be aligned. 

What advice do you have for someone new to the foodservice industry? 
Don’t be afraid to reach out to others. Food people like to share. Take advantage of networking opportunities and get involved with your professional associations.  

What does being an IFMA Silver Plate recipient mean to you? 
This is one of the awards I read about when I was in college back in the 1970s and was in awe of the winners back then. To be included with previous winners is very special. 

What is your favorite meal? 
My favorite meal is anything that I prepare with my family...however, my favorite is meatloaf as this was the first main dish I ever made with my mother when I was 8 years old. I have been making the same recipe ever since! Brings back memories every time I make it.