Behind the Scenes with Donald Dismuke
Donald Dismuke has been an employee of the Wisconsin Union for 13 years. As a person who always envisioned himself working within the Union, Donald has worked hard to attain his current position as assistant manager of the Sett Pub at Union South. His time, dedication, and passion for the Wisconsin Union contribute to making everything at Union South so welcoming and successful.
How long have you worked for the Wisconsin Union? Did you have any prior roles within the Union before becoming the assistant manager of the Sett?
I have worked here at the Union for the last 13 years. I started out in a food service 3 position as a grill cook and advanced into a food service 4 position for about four years before moving into my current position as the assistant manager of the Sett Pub. Before working at the Union, I was a car salesman at Thorstad Chevy on Park Street.
I remember the day I got the call saying a job had opened up for me. At this time, I had been trying to get a job in the Union for about five years, and, on Halloween of 2008, I got a call that my grandmother died. I went home, and all I could think of was her. The day I went back to work is the day I got the call saying I had been offered a position at the Union. For years, the first thing my grandma would ask me is, “Did you get that state job yet?” So, when they called, it was the best thing that could have happened on a bad day.
What is your favorite part of working both within the Wisconsin Union and as assistant manager of the Sett? What do you enjoy most about your job?
I think my favorite part of working at the Union is seeing the students, who I both knew as freshmen and now see as graduates, on the other side of the counter. I know a lot of time has passed, but their success is a win for me. I also enjoy being able to hire students to give them new opportunities and a new place to call home. I try to make the Union a place where people treat each other with respect and kindness. I want students to view coming to work as a positive thing, and not something they dread.
What are you most looking forward to this fall?
This summer, I have been working at the Brat Stand at the Memorial Union Terrace, and, this fall, I will be back at Union South at the Sett Pub. We are currently low on employees, so my main focus this fall is to build our staff back up and complete more training. We also have the Badger Bashes, our tailgate celebrations on home football game days, to get ready for as they are less than a month away. It is a pretty busy time period for me, but I feel I work best under pressure.
Do you work with more students or non-students?
I do work mostly with students as I’m responsible for showing them everything I know in terms of training during both the peak and slow times. It is important to let staff know that we’re only as good as our weakest link, so we need to uplift and train everyone who comes in the door.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my wife Tiffany and daughter Elise, who will be starting 8th grade. I am often taking her to tennis and basketball practice and am so proud of her and her accomplishments, such as having a 4.0 for 4 years.
Is there anything else you feel is important to know about your position, your experience, or any advice you would want to give to our readers?
Some advice is, although I do have a lot of experience in my field, I’m also learning every day. A short-term goal for me would be to become a general manager at the University of Wisconsin. There are always new things to learn and new things to look forward to.
Bonus Question: What is your favorite flavor of Babcock ice cream?
My favorite flavor of ice cream would, of course, have to be butter pecan.
We would like to thank Donald for his time and dedication to helping make the Wisconsin Union such a great place. If you know a UW-Madison student looking for a great place to work, please encourage them to consider the Wisconsin Union.