Russ Saunkeah
Executive Chef and Associate Director of Culinary Services

Saunkeah began his career at UCCS in 2001 when he was hired as catering director with Sodexo. Five years later he was chosen to fill the position of General Manager where he served until becoming the very first UCCS Dining Services employee in November 2013. Previously, he served as Chef de Cuisine for the Briarhurst Manor and in a variety of food service management positions, including executive chef, for resorts in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, New Mexico and the Broadmoor Hotel. He attended the University of Oklahoma and completed courses with Sodexo and the University of Virgin Islands.


Photo of Mark HayesMark Hayes
Director of Food Services 

A 24-year veteran of the food service industry, Hayes serves as the first director of university-operated food services at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Hayes joins UCCS after serving as the Director of Dining and Summer Conferences at the University of Wisconsin (UW) - Stevens Point since 2009. Previously, he served as general manager with Harvard University Dining Services, Cambridge, Mass., and worked as a managing partner and general manager for privately owned restaurants in Pittsburgh, including Lidia's Pittsburgh, owned by James Beard award winning chef Lidia Bastianich. Hayes also opened restaurants in the Netherlands and Singapore.

Hayes earned a bachelor's degree from Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA., and a master's degree from Indiana University, Bloomington. He has completed coursework for a doctoral degree in higher education leadership from Edgewood College, Madison, Wisc., and earned certificates from Harvard University and the Federal Emergency Management Administration. He is a certified Foodservice Management Professional.

In 2013, Hayes led UW-Stevens Point to a National Association of College and University Food Services gold medal for residential dining, the first gold medal in the UW System. He developed a local foods and sustainability program that contributed to recognition on the Princeton Review's Green College Honor Roll and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Stars. He also led the food services department to superior scores on a national college food service benchmarking survey.


Photo of Mark Hayes Sara Santa Cruz
Graduate Assistant for Sustainability

Sara is a graduate student in the MA in Applied Geography Program, studying sustainable food systems. She is originally from California, where she studied forestry, and moved to Colorado in 2011 to pursue a BA in Geography and Environmental Studies. Sara says she loves everything about food: growing it, cooking it, eating it, and educating about it! In the future, she hopes to have a working farm with an educational program built-in, where people can reconnect to their food and their place. She also loves hiking, biking and just being outside in the Colorado air.

Photo of Mark Hayes Andrea Vanderwoude
Nutrition Graduate Assistant  

Andrea  is a Registered Dietitian from Idaho and a graduate student in the sport nutrition program here at UCCS. In addition to her passion for sports and performance, at the heart of the matter is good food; therefore, she seeks to empower people, particularly students, to eat healthy through the food itself and inspire a love for cooking.


Photo of Mark Hayes James Cowdery
Executive Sous Chef/Catering Chef

James graduated from Joliet Junior College in May of 2007.  After graduating he started his career in higher education food service at Illinois State University in Normal as a sous chef for their catering department.   In 2011 he accepted the position of Dining Services Manager/Executive Chef at Pueblo Community College.  James' passion for food is in the creativity and diversity of what you can do with it.  While using food as an educational tool, he enjoys persuading people to step out of their comfort zone & to try new things. 


Photo of Mark Hayes Zach Dunlap
Assistant Retail Manager

Zach Dunlap hails from Colorado Springs. He attended high school at the Fountain Valley School of Colorado.  Upon commencement, Zach moved to Fort Collins, Colorado to pursue a business degree at Colorado State University.  During this time, when not in class, he worked slinging steaks and margaritas with various steakhouses.  In addition, Zach spent many hours learning about craft beer and local, Colorado cuisine.  He has worked in all aspects of food service from hotel dining, with the Doubletree, to Quick Service, most recently as a National Training Manager for the Arby's Brand.

Zach is overly excited to join the Dining and Food Service Team as the Assistant Retail Manager. He will specialize in management of Clyde's in the University Center, with additional duties in Café 65 and the coffee shops around campus.  Zach has been quoted as saying he will be with the university for many years until he decides to 'just give it all up and become a handsome billionaire.'

Zach would also like to remind the campus that 'nice guys always finish lunch.'


Photo of Mark Hayes Joel Bagley
Food Service Business Manager

Joel grew up in Woodland Park, Colorado, entered the Air Force in October 1992 and recently retired from active duty after 21 years of service.  He has vast experience in restaurant, hotel, fitness, officer/noncommissioned officer club and emergency management. His Air Force duties sent him and his family to bases in Wyoming, New Mexico, North Dakota and Colorado. He has also served overseas in Turkey and Germany as well as a number of deployments to Southwest Asia in support of operations Desert Thunder, Desert Fox, Northern and Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom. Joel also served 6 years as senior management in public relations, mentorship and leadership positions. During his time on Peterson Air Force Base, he helped lead a section comprised of 190+ active duty officers, enlisted, civilians that supported over 50K customers.  

Joel is a recipient of multiple awards for outstanding performance and professionalism in the United States Air Force and earned his Bachelors of Science Degree in Organizational Management all while attaining the rank of Senior Master Sergeant which has a selection rate of only 2 percent of the enlisted force. He also earned his Professional Manager certification from the Community College of the Air Force.  

During his leisure time Joel enjoys spending time with his family; Peggy, his wife of 19 years and his kids, Claudia and Kenneth. He also enjoys playing golf, horseback riding, traveling, reading, camping and attending sporting events.

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader."  Chris LeDoux

Photo of Mark Hayes Nanna Meyer, PhD, RD, CSSD, FACSM
Associate Professor, Sport Dietitian, Healthy Campus Nutritionist & Advisor

Nanna Meyer is an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in the Department of Health Sciences and specifically, in the Sport Nutrition Graduate Program. Her research interest in sport and exercise relates to bone health and body composition in athletes. She also conducts applied research that refines the efficacy of sport nutrition services for athletes. Nanna has been a working group member of the International Olympic Committee Medical Commission related to winter sport nutrition, body composition, health and performance, and relative energy deficiency in sport. Nanna is the past president of Professionals in Nutrition for Exercise and Sport (PINES) and has been in Olympic sport nutrition for the past 20 years. As the world's urgency to address climate change is rising, more of Nanna's time is devoted to the topic of food and environment. Nanna promotes food literacy, especially leveraging co-benefits of health and sustainability, using creative educational approaches, which her graduate students deliver to the local community.  And as UCCS' Healthy Campus Nutritionist and Advisor to the UCCS' Leadership in matters of good food and healthy lifestyles on campus, Nanna supports the University's Sustainability Strategic Plan and UCCS' Dining and Food Services Food Vision to promote and cultivate a sustainable food system in support of a healthy campus culture.