Meet the Staff

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.