'Work hard & Be nice': Food Service Department worker honored by company, co-workers

Apr. 19—long the bottom of Ian Corscadden's name tag is one simple phrase that guides him through his day in the Food Service Department at Mayo Clinic Health Systems-Austin.

"Work hard & Be nice."

"Try to go in there and do the best you can," Corscadden said. "Don't muddle through them. Do things right."

It's a mantra that guides Corscadden, but it's also a guide that has earned him some recognition as of late.

Recently, Corscadden was recognized across all Mayo sites in the country through a contest held by Morrison Healthcare for patient service excellence. It was an honor that came after being nominated for the region, which includes Austin, Albert Lea, Red Wing, Lake City and Cannon Falls.

Alyssa Rodriguez, Associate Director of Food Service in Austin, nominated Corscadden for the recognition with a paragraph and examples of his hard work and dedication on a daily basis.

While his work ethic more than backed up his deserving of the recognition at the regional level, Rodriguez and the department were equally thrilled with his nationwide recognition.

"I just thought that's awesome," she said. "We were all super proud. Everybody on the team got goosebumps. Phoenix is huge. Jacksonville is huge. Rochester is huge. It was super cool that it was our submission and he totally deserved it.

But Corscadden was more humble about it, feeling there are others that were more deserving of the recognition. He said he never really expected to be someone who would be in such a position.

"I honestly didn't think I was going to win," he said. "Honestly, at first I wasn't entirely sure why I was nominated. I feel like there are a lot more people here that are quite a bit better at the job. I just felt it was very much a surprise."

But things didn't end there. Everybody, from Rodriguez on down, thought Corscadden deserved more. Throughout his life, he has never driven to any of his jobs. He's always walked — even in the most extreme of weather.

In essence, because of the recognition and the work, Rodriguez felt like there was more possible.

"I talked to the guys. 'What do you think about everybody pitching in for a new set of wheels?'" Rodriguez said. "Everybody was like, 'yeah!' It was super quick. I feel like everybody was so excited to do it."

With the money gathered by Corscadden's co-workers, they were able to purchase him a bike that he could use to not only get to work, but to go most any place he wanted.

"The first thing that kind of came to mind, it was almost like you shouldn't have done this," Corscadden admitted. "It was way above and beyond. I was happy enough to hear I had won something and I would have a shirt with my name on it. Here they come in and show me this really kick-butt bike that could go through any terrain you want to go through."

"It was very unexpected and very nice," he added. "Something I'll always remember."

While everybody involved feels like Corscadden deserved the bike and the overall recognition, it's also indicative of the department as a whole and the pride that is felt working in Food Service.

It's a strong community of workers who would do anything for a co-worker.

"It makes it complete," said co-worker Elizabeth Sampsell. "It comes together really well. We have a lot of energy and it comes from him and it's good vibes all the time."

At the same time, it's reflective of just how caring the department is.

"I feel like it's not only him winning the individual award, but as a collective unit, working together — for him. For us," said another co-worker, Jay Saenz. "It shows we do care. We love what we do and just as a whole collective team, we just enjoy being around each other and we love Ian. It makes it special."

And as a supervisor, it couldn't make Rodriguez any prouder.

"Without them there is no food service," she said. "It's really inspiring that they do do it to the best of their ability and they do care and they put care into every tray we send. They come together very, very well and I know they will do this for anybody on the team."