#44: The Recipe for Success with Pete Angelis

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  00:02

On the menu for dinner tonight at Bruin play at UCLA is a kale hummus, winter greens and red quinoa flatbread. You can’t help but salivate as you read through the menus posted daily online for the dining halls at UCLA. But this is just another typical day at UCLA. Dining colourful, vibrant, delicious, and well balanced meals. How does UCLA dining sir performing meals every day to its residents living on campus? Well, Pete Angeles, the Assistant Vice Chancellor of UCLA housing, hospitality will tell you, it’s all made possible through the care for and care from his remarkable team. What I’d like to start out with is not just how we first got to know each other, and how you really have been an inspiration to Semel healthy campus initiative for so many years, over seven years. I think it’s been from beginning Yeah, from the very beginning. And I think I’ve been reflecting on when you first came to these monthly EatWell, pod meetings that you now lead yourself. And I was reflecting on how you dove into the scientific literature that was brought to these meetings initially and read all the papers. What brought you to do that as a food operator and a person who’s in business? Like what made you decide to do that?

Pete Angelis  01:36

I love reading at the topic of health and wellness fascinates me. And the first study, I think you’ve mentioned is the one from the Netherlands where they did a vending study. So I always thought that, you know, I’ve been to Amsterdam, and I’ve seen kind of a Dutch viewpoint in their culture. And I thought that’s interesting that how would the Dutch handle this vending initiative to have people choose healthier vending options. And when I read through, it’s just it’s not wasn’t an extremely long study. But it was a meaty study done me that we have at that time was about a $2 million vending operation. And why couldn’t we try to replicate that study here. So I think we’re just that we have a vending business. And it’s a vending study. And I thought the perspective would be interesting on that study. And I enjoy it. Part of the thing I enjoy the Healthy Campus Initiative is getting connected to the academic side of campus. I’m an operator, my team, we do operations, some development, with our capital programs, partners. But it’s basically a big operation. That’s what we focus on and healthy campus gives me an opportunity to take a step back, look at things maybe from an academic perspective, or learn things from the academic side of campus, that gives me the opportunity to bring that back to my team and see what we can implement. So I think that’s just the motivation, the way that played out

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  02:58

How you ended up reading and actually even asking if you could do a similar kind of, you know, the healthier items with lower price at eye level and drop, the less healthy items lower and

Pete Angelis  03:10

And product placement and pricing. That’s right, moving. Yeah, through items at the top and promotion to marketing the machine with labeling that we made.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  03:20

Healthy, healthier choice

Pete Angelis  03:22

Pricing, the healthier

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  03:23

Not the healthiest choice, but the healthier choice.

Pete Angelis  03:25

And there’s still a choice. Yes, exactly.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  03:29

Not hurting the bottom line.

Pete Angelis  03:31

And we almost I think we’ve pretty close to replicated the Dutch study.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  03:34

That’s right.

Pete Angelis  03:35

That was fascinating to me that yes, that that is transferable. That was

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  03:40

That’s true science, actually, isn’t it?

Pete Angelis  03:42

And the other part was really fun was getting introduced to Joe. Yeah, the grad student was working on it and seeing how good the bright mind he brought to the table and how he was working with the data from the vending sales. That was fun, because I don’t do that. In my normal day. We take care of students. I’m surrounded by students all the time in my job, but I don’t get to engage with them.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  04:04

Yea you really mentored, yea you mentored him

Pete Angelis  04:08

I learned a lot about how grad study student goes about a project published paper. That was fascinating in and of itself.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  04:17

Did that give you a little more respect to publish papers? How much work it takes to get what you’re out?

Pete Angelis  04:22

Yes, definitely not my line of expertise. Very fast. Yeah.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  04:27

Well, I know it Joe used to talk talk to me about how was a real eye opener was to go into the warehouse where all the products for the vending were in place and try to categorize them in terms of what was healthy and not healthy. And he obviously landed on a criteria that was used by our public health department here in Los Angeles, but really, even categorizing snack foods as what are healthy and not healthiest is a challenge.

Pete Angelis  04:55

Yeah, but it was kind of interesting in hindsight, looking at that whole experience is That’s the magic of academic campus at UCLA. Is that really an academic solution? Police, my perception of it is, from my experience when I was an undergrad is that it’s where ideas or hypotheses are put out there vetted, the vetting process is rather intense. It’s for the sake of moving knowledge. And it was fun to really be involved with that project, because I saw that whole thing, the vetting of what was a healthy item, and what was not how rigorous that debate was, and how those.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  05:30

That’sr ight. You had all your nutritionists and yes, same time,

Pete Angelis  05:34

And campus nutritionists. It was like it was across campus bedding. And went on after we tried to get it and successfully moved it towards UCOP. President to have included in there was further vetting in that dialogue and discussion. So that’s the beauty of it. I think it was really a marvel for me to see that aspect of working at a university. And how that plays out with so many things I get to work with is this vetting it’s so natural for a university. And unfortunately, thE great people I get to work with here, a lot of the vetting. It’s like you’re having big discussions, and no one gets defensive on it. There’s like, No, I love that. That’s kind of that’s kind of like how I’m wired. I like to have debate. But however it works out. There’s no emotional attachment to the argument. It’s just make sure we argue this out, make sure that you get the right truth from it from the process.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  06:30

Wow, I never thought of it from that point of view. Yeah.

Pete Angelis  06:33

Yeah, seeing so much of that on this campus. And he has kind of an unselfish

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  06:37

Pursuit of knowledge.

Pete Angelis  06:38

Exactly I love it. I can see the team loves that. So yeah, definitely exciting project. And we’re really glad to be involved with it.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  06:47

Would you say from your perspective, having spent a lot of time in business, that that is a different kind of way of, of having a discussion?

Pete Angelis  06:56

Oh, I think my experience, absolutely, I mean, I think in business world, my experiences, you can have debates and hopefully you have the skill set to argue a point or debate a point in a way that’s not defensive or is not received defensively. But just the openness and how that whole process is embraced in the university world, and how transparent that all has to be, it’s definitely a different level, I find that one of the things I really enjoy, about being working at a college campus.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  07:25

You know, it’s what that perspective, I mean, you’ve opened my eyes to a lot of different viewpoints that I would never have considered based on your perspective, from a business, operating kind of way and my scientific perspective and having you describe just what you said to me about being able to disrupt, discuss something in a, in an open manner to then accept what is considered to be a better, you know, practice or investigate an idea that could be something that promotes health or well being in this case, makes me think how important it is for not just a university to do research for the sake of research, but especially in this area of health and well being where a lot of businesses have co opted, co opted the the narrative, even even around healthy food and healthier food. But having a university be defining these kinds of theories or identifying points of practice that really are based on true science and not based on profit or other motivations that would then promote that particular idea. I mean, to me, what you’re saying to me is, this is something that really is behooves universities to be working on, for the health of individuals and the community.

Pete Angelis  08:51

I think you were interesting business because we’re an auxilary. We don’t take any state funding. And we have to pay our own bills and cover the payroll and I’ll put money aside to develop and renovate as necessary to keep on our mission of continuing UCLA to transition from a commuter campus to a residential campus.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  09:11

It is news to me as well like that. I never knew that about your operation until you explain that to me, which is interesting. Being part of the umbrella, UCLA,

Pete Angelis  09:20

Right, but also part of the umbrella and I see this every day, when I see students arrive to the hill or residential community on campus. I realized these are because I’ve went through this myself as a parent, you send your, your kids, your young adults off to college, and they become formulating themselves as adults and really growing to a different level. Real developments are real. And you see I get to see that all the time. And with that you recognize the responsibility that you have, and the opportunity that if you can nudge or steer students at that point of their life into healthier decision making healthier behaviors healthier living You know, you overtime, year after year as the classes come in the classes graduate year over year, you can make a difference. And I think everyone on our team really recognize that they see that because all of our staff working with students, I think they appreciate that. And they understand that that’s a really unique opportunity. So are a lot of our decisions just not dollars and cents. You know, a lot of the times we’re making decisions on what’s, what’s the right thing to do big picture for these students as they grow and mature. And that’s what I love, again, by the healthy campus initiative, it’s just requires us to put that lens on for a while and really think about things. And then we get to see how that plays out on on the Hill. Not only do we see it now we hear it one meeting, and have Jeremy tell about the these pianos that might be available on campus. And what about a great idea of dropping a piano out in just a public space, and letting whoever wants to walk by play on the piano. I’ve watched that we’ve put the two pianos on the hill, the hill where most of us live and eat these pianos, we have to put a we have to lock them up at night during when students really want to study and go to sleep. But the day that they’re open, they’re constantly being played. And I am just amazed by how many students have such great talent and musical skills. And I never knew it before those pianos showed up. And then you watch the dynamic of it. And you can see maybe a student, you might come across kind of shy, and they’re playing incredibly well on a piano and people that I know have not talked with him because we have 14,000 plus 14,000 living on the hill. They’re they’re meeting people they would not have now without these interactions taking place around the piano. Ah, and it just changed the whole environment of the place where it’s just you can feel there’s a relaxing, you know, sound, the melodies the vibe, that just a couple of pianos made just kind of miraculous to me. That’s it’s been how many years? We’ve never had that. And it would have been how many more years?

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  10:24

Right

Pete Angelis  10:50

Without the Health Campus, meeting that steering committee meeting and getting exposed or noise worrying about it. I never would have heard about Yeah, go for some you don’t know. That’s

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  12:10

Right. That’s right. It’s the connectivity. It’s really is. Yeah,

Pete Angelis  12:13

Awareness is a big part of unleashing potential. That was another perfect example. Yeah,

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  12:22

I hadn’t imagined where they were. And then last week, I saw that once at the entrance of Bruin play, you’re standing there and you’re listening to someone on the piano. And then tell me what happens when you walk into that incredible dining hall, which you’ve now had accolades nationally as being one of the top the top dining hall for undergraduate dining. We are very proud of BruinPlate. Yeah. And, you know, I think the entire team was such a team effort. Yeah, the culinary side, the marketing team, the design group. It was so much effort into that concept. And like all our dining concepts we looked at, we look out at the private sector and see what’s taking off in the LA food scene in LA has become a great food city. I don’t know if you recall la from the 80s?  Not really.

Pete Angelis  13:09

I do. Yeah. I don’t think it was a fluke city. Yeah, I would say in the last 15 years, this place has really been put on the map with great chefs, great culinary talent, and people recognize it as a Food City. Our students come with a very mature palette. They’ve eaten in a lot. A lot of our students have eaten a lot of these restaurants and Los Angeles. And so we look at the private sector. And at that point in time, some of the healthy concepts were coming out of Lemonade, Seasons 52. At the time Tender Greens are these healthy concepts were starting to percolate. So we saw that that’s something that’s on the horizon. But what really put one one together as the Chancellor’s announcement of making UCLA, the healthiest campus in the country. So when we heard that proclamation, we said this is like perfect fit, perfect timing. Now, how could we have timed this any better?

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  14:01

Let’s do it well, in our own backyard, and others will be inspired.

Pete Angelis  14:04

Yeah and what was really great about that project is we were able to build it from the ground up. So it’s not just the food. And we were able to design the architecture, in a way broke with the architects to have sky lighting, lots of curtain walls of natural daylighting surrounded by trees, plants, the artwork from our Southern Regional Library, medicinal plants that are indigenous to the campus landscape, incorporating all those things, the music, we worked with our students to have all the music tracks picked out. So you go there in the morning, it’s classical music. And throughout the rest of the day, it’s really kind of just a meditative, nice, relaxing, musical experience there. And so it’s not just food, it’s this whole

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  14:51

That’s right, which I think is what you’re breaking. You’re really breaking ground in terms of health and well being because it’s not about just food,

Pete Angelis  14:59

Right? And what I really love about the project too, is it didn’t open as a success. And I think that part, I think, is also something amazing about UCLA. So when it opened, you know, it seats close to 900, we need to turn those three times at least we had this thing, or the concept had to produce at least 25-2700, almost 3000 covers in the meal period, for the day. To be able to see, to expand to that number, at least do a minimum of half that on a meal period. And when we first open, I don’t think we were getting more than 350 people through there. And it was a long time. It wasn’t a week one week two, it took till about week 10 for it to hit its full

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  15:43

That means the last week of

Pete Angelis  15:44

of fall quarter. Wow. And we were nervous the whole time because a significant investment. Do we miss it? Students don’t like the spoon. When it first opened, it was a women athletes that were pretty much only people going there.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  15:58

Why do you think they –

Pete Angelis  15:59

I think they I think they knew they’re a women athlete. They knew you know, diet is important health, this alphas nutrition is important for athletic performance. And maybe they were on the cutting edge of realizing you can eat healthy food and it can taste good. Because I think they were the leaders of convincing their peers or their colleagues, other students that this is something that you should embrace and try. And it was fun to watch. It’s since it opened, it’s continued to be our top dining comments. And it’s healthy, nutritious and

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  16:31

No commercial soda,

Pete Angelis  16:33

No commercial soda.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  16:34

That was another area that was really brave.

Pete Angelis  16:37

Yeah, the whole thing. desserts are very small. They’re bite sized. A lot of fresh fruit Greek yogurt, small play well plate portion sizes, it’s so plant forwar, meats are condiment, not the center of the plate.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  16:51

Trays are hard to find.

Pete Angelis  16:52

No one uses trays there that we make trays available for our students, but they’re so conscientious of sustainability. We have locally sourced products there

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  17:00

Your vertical towers up stair towers.

Pete Angelis  17:03

Aeroponic towers, not 50 of them on the roof. And we leveraged what we produce up there into our salad bars. And it’s just a great overall concept. And, you know, again, what I really love about that is it didn’t open up successfully, we had to get traction to watch it and make it work. It was a hypothesis we took Yeah, and a gamble and never wants all the way up from the administrative vice chancellors office to the Chancellor’s Office. Did we ever get a concern that you know, you know, it’s a failure? It’s and I think that’s another great thing about campus, it’s okay to to make it’s okay to fail. It’s okay to have an experiment that doesn’t play up. Fortunately, it played out. Yeah, but you know, when we look back in hindsight, I don’t think we’re ever really afraid of political repercussions or something, we would have to change the concept map and make it work. But it was not ever this feeling of you didn’t pick the right. Never none of that. So we were allowed to let it play out and see how it worked. And definitely a tremendous success story. I’m glad now we have the cookbook out. Yeah. And the net proceeds go to address student food insecurity. So

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  18:15

I think you know, what you’re describing is this very organic way of change. And it doesn’t happen overnight. Rome wasn’t built in the day. Right. And he there was UCLA. And yeah, and you know, also changing somebodies sense of where they go and eat a dining hall with dining hall you just described is very typical of dining halls in college. And so it takes time for people to accept new ways of experiencing their dining experience at college and didn’t take that long if you really think about it 10 weeks, which shows I think the receptiveness of this age group, this developmental stage of students to accept new ideas and new ways. And that was what you were describing earlier. I am not sure if I share this with you but I had a student described to me she didn’t realize how much I knew about BruinPlate and how much I have admired your work Pete frowns and others in your team. And she described to me how her life was transformed by Bruyne plate. The food was so delicious to her and she just ate as much as she felt, you know, she listened to her hunger cues which were very well satiated and, and she also became a lover of healthier food of sorts, and she has brought it all home to her family, including the cookbook. She brought the cookbook for Christmas for her parents. And she was so excited to bring this knowledge and these experiences in this ability to share with her her parents at her next vacation time with them.

Pete Angelis  19:49

Yeah, I’m involved. I’m involved that menus have changed. Yeah, university research collaborative or other universities are trying to embrace more plant forward dining and talking to my colleague at Stanford. pouring some numbers in just very quick on a napkin. If you look at the 1000s of students that graduate, all these universities just that are members of MCRC, you’ve got 58 of them now, just all the numbers of meals that they will produce consume, once they’ve graduated over the lifetime, you’re in a billion, you’re past the billion. So if you look at trying to make a difference, or find some way of making a contribution to the planet, I mean, I think that’s what I think the team really gets is that this is something we’ll do every year.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  20:38

That’s right, and you can vote with your fork. Right?

Pete Angelis  20:42

And the student you just mentioned, as we look at it, it’s going to be on any given year of almost 6000, right that come through every year. 5700, I think is the exact Yeah, so it’s, it’s fun to see when they graduate, what we hear is that they want to maintain friendships with undergraduates are still residing on the Hill, so they can get swiped in and join them for a meal at BruinPlate. So yeah, we’re very proud of that. That project. And, you know, I think over time, it will make help move the needle.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  21:13

Yeah. You described the one of the reasons that you were particularly drawn to Healthy Camps Initiative and reading the research papers and so forth, was your longtime interest in health and well being where did that originate? And then also, how did you get here from the private sector

Pete Angelis  21:31

Coming to UCLA was the greatest professional thing that ever happened and probably happened in a period of my life that for my family is I can go into great story about that. It’s just It was a miracle how he ended up here and start with the setup but like arrowhead that’s after working 20 years plus, with Hyatt and Hilton through a variety of mergers and acquisitions. And so hotels and hospitality was my background.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  21:56

And why did you get into that in the first place? You know, you were a Berkeley boy.

Pete Angelis  22:00

Yeah, I went to Cal, I went in wanting to be pre-med. I think I read a book called paying for the party. And I think I look back at those days in these The danger with, with our big public universities, you can kind of fall through the cracks. I met my wife as a freshman in a calculus class. And in my mind wasn’t 100% on my studies where it should have been at that point in time. And it kind of steered me away from after you have one or two bad quarters there. And you got to say, well, you know, now I’m not going to go pre-med now. What else am I gonna do? And so what economics instead, and then I worked my way through there, we got married after we graduated, it was a recession. And you I worked my way through college in a hotel that was near the campus, the Claremont resort there. And so when there’s a recession, you’re looking for any kind of work, you’re looking at, what can you show on a resume, and I had some hotel background. So fortunately, we were out in Hawaii, and I found a job with Hyatt and I kind of worked my way up in the hotel business and, you know, I loved it. You know, hospitalities, kind of where I grew up with my father money. My family when we immigrated from Greece, my father worked his way up from a dishwasher, the Palmer House and ultimately became a restaurant manager that became a general manager with holiday ends. And he did a great, you know, he had a great successful career with them. So I kind of saw it, I kind of grew up in the industry. So that’s where I went through a career. But coming to UCLA, even though I started in the hospitality side here with Lake Arrowhead conference center, or Bruin Woods family resort for Bruin Woods, alumni, it started different, like I could see there’s so much more potential UCLA is just an amazing place. And when I interviewed here, I remember the person I interview with at the end, I said, you know, in a hotel business, you typically move every as a general manager I moved every two years is promotion my whole time to the different towns different moved all over so many different cities. And then a GM usually moves every five or six years, I would say, as my experience from what I saw colleagues doing. And when I study what happens at UCLA only have like arrowhead, the conference center here. I don’t know what, five, six years from now. And he said, Pete, at that time, there are 20,000 jobs at UCLA. I’m sure we’ll find something happened a lot faster than I thought. But it’s been a great ride. I’ve really enjoyed making that transition from not just hospitality, but also to learn, you know, kind of the university business environment. Let’s say that the scale is amazing. It’s mind boggling the scale that a university does. And the other thing that amazes me about the university is having that come in with a lot of experience in development and renovation work to the degree that we’re hiring architects, designers going through all that work. The university has so many great people that to help guide you and educate you and work with you and so much experience at the University that’s here already. that, you know, it could never happen, I could never have done this journey elsewhere. Just, it’s just a miraculous place. And it’s like a treasure hunt here a treasure hunt. Yeah, and if you look at our operation is something I talk to people very often about. It’s so complex, like the BruinPlate concept to do that number of covers with the execution that they do the technical execution that they do. If we were a typical hotel, you’re going to turn over about a 30 year staff every year. And at Bruin play in any university, we tend to have staff stay longer. And because we have staff stay, make careers with us stay with us, we can do things that are very complex that a typical, like place couldn’t do at that scale, because of the complexity of the whole chain host, supply chain production chain, to get to BruinPlate into any of our dining commons, everything, not just dining, but everything is really complex. Because we don’t have a lot of turnover, we can be complex. Yeah. Have you ever watched move in and move out? Here at the Oh, yeah. That’s a military operation. military operation? And the team does it. Like with no problems that are becoming less seamlessly? Yes, experience. There’s knowledge, continual training of the new people that do come on board.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  26:16

You can trust each other

Pete Angelis  26:17

And there’s a lot of trust. Yeah, that’s great. So it’s really unique or just a miraculous situation. I pinch myself every day coming to work, because so many ways I look at this place and marvel.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  26:29

You know, it’s really, I think, amazing about the way you operate Pete is that your ability to be a businessman but also to value parts of people’s lives that aren’t necessarily related to the bottom line with the knowledge that this is the right thing to do. And I mean, you you do that also, when you build building, tell me about the Luskin conference center because to me that epitomizes your vision of blending, health and well being and the environment and then a building that comes from the bottom up

Pete Angelis  27:06

On the Luskin conference center is the result of a generous gift from visionary people Meyer and Rini Laskin to make that project happen. And you know how fitting that that conference center is built at the very center of the very heart of campus. And one of the moves we made early on was we wanted to have this at least LEED Gold. And we succeeded in having a property that’s LEED Platinum. You know, 95% of the construction debris from the project was diverted from landfill. Over half of all the wood in that facilities sustainably harvest. Every meeting room has natural lighting. The lighting systems are highly energy efficient, are no tubs in the room, we have these beautiful showers, low water but high pressure. And there’s just so many different elements of making it a LEED project. So that I thought was fitting is that UCLA would welcome having a LEED building had it’s very hard, but it’s

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  28:09

And then the art.

Semel HCI  28:10

It was a miracle how all the art got gathered and installed. And every piece is Vicki Stealer. Past librarian here for the campus described that every piece had a destiny to be where it is in the facility. If anyone gets the opportunity to walk, just come into the campus walk through the lesson conference center. Look at the artwork. It’s all from faculty on the first floor. It’s all artwork, faculty that either currently teach at UCLA or have taught in the past. Many of them are in the Brode Museum at the LACMA we have an incredibly rich history of talented faculty that are artists. And you can see that all in one space on that ground level of the Alaskan. When you go above the ground level. There’s over 440 historic images of UCLA and walking the corridors up on the floors, walking the upstairs meeting space. You’re basically seeing the history of UCLA unfold visually through the archive of prints we’ve been able to assemble from the project. But it was it the amazing, probably most exciting project I’ve been able to be a part of in my career. And being a hotel person from the start. You don’t get those opportunities to get involved. From the moment the architect is brought on board and providing a program, seeing it constructed and opened and seeing the donor who made it happy with Mr. Meyer and Rainy Alaskan, be there at the opening with the chancellor and provost and do the ribbon cutting and see the joy of having them be able to see in his own lifetime that that property development. I’ll say this one I love this part of the story is that we had to go to all the different departments at UCLA to pitch this conference center and tell them why it’s important for UCLA. I always like to start with two images in the presentation one was a blimp photo and black and white of the original campus with the are the original four buildings of campus, right? You Powell library Royce Hall and the quad there and taken from a black, black and white. And the second image I show is the Google satellite image and color of the campus today with a huge medical enterprise, all the academic buildings, athletics, the residential part of campus, just how much that has all happened in the span of one lifetime. And when I told my Alaskan about these presentations, he said to me, Pete, he goes when I was a freshman at UCLA, it was just those four buildings. Whoa, that’s amazing to me. Wow. So it sounds like a big project. But this is like UCLA does this a breeze this it? That campus is continually transforming. And, you know, just great to be part of that one aspect of that one project and always the important place, at least that for me, when I look back in time at that property,

Pete Angelis  28:34

That just gets right back to like, how did you decide or what drives you to emphasize health and well being and also these other parts of your job that are, some people might consider ancillary or mission drift. I have to look at my upbringing, you know, my dad being Greek, or lived in Greece young. And I remember him, I used to always, like, want to study hard, and he was the one who always told me up, you know, it’s important, just be well balanced, maybe it is a great thing, or shows many cultures that share that. But you know, this importance of being balanced. So I like to work out hard, whether it’s lifting weights, or running, or eating healthy. But there’s this part, I work hard, and I never see one competing with the other because I just tried to, it’s just like, I’m just wired from my childhood, to just try to keep it as a balance, and just be happy. And I have confidence that everybody I work with is just, like really talented, very capable, and that we’re working on the right things, you’re focused on the right things. And we just keep focused, being focused on the right things and giving our best effort on it. And every year, our operation will continue to grow and be better and better.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  32:18

You know, I’ve heard you say a lot about your, you know, in the hospitality business, you expect people to go the extra mile or whatever. And it just What is your secret sauce? Pete? Because I see it? I mean, I see. And there’s not let not that much turnover with what you do. And hospitality traditionally has a bit of that stress or pressure?

Pete Angelis  32:40

Absolutely. And coming from the private sector. I didn’t know what the secret sauce of that thought I knew what the secret sauce is, I still talk to people in the private sector. I think they think they know what the secret sauce is. I learned secret sauce at UCLA. And what it is, to me, is the whole difference between a great hospitality operation average one or a good one is how readily people will go the extra mile. Right? And

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  33:08

So how do you get them to do that

Pete Angelis  33:10

That’s the magical question and the revelation that came to me at UCLA is hospital is all about caring, right? You at the very we’re looking at the personality traits, the branding traits of your organization, if you’re in hospitality, what’s the most important thing you have to have? And that is that the team members, all of them have to care. And if they don’t care, they’re never gonna go the extra mile? Well, how do you make them care? You have to interview and hire for that personality trait? For sure, that’s very important. But I think you can, you can make it happen by showing them that you care. I mean, you got to constantly talk to them about how they need to care for our students, how do we take care of our guests, but you need to show them to that you care about that about that? Yeah. And you know, perfect example, we’ll talk a moment about the Diabetes Prevention Program, our mentorship program, our many professional development programs that we do for them. So we provide him with so many different ways that they can grow personally and professionally, and constantly encourage them and help them along that way. And that is probably like the big connection I have to have with healthy campuses. What can I bring back to the team, right, that we can install that lets them know that we care about them. And what I’ve seen from this is, the more they sense that you care, the more engaged they will be. Right? And that’s the secret sauce is engagement and this diabetes prevention program where we learn from healthy campus initiative meeting, a steering committee meeting where we heard a presentation that the CDC saying that we’re on a global tsunami of type two diabetes, the financial impact on the health system, the economy that when added to a product Becker, diabetics, the human pain and loss and costs involved with it, it’s mind blowing. And then they hear from that presentation at that meeting, that if a person goes through 22 training sessions in a one year period, and these training sessions are not over an hour there, I think over the course that or maybe average close up 45 minutes, ballpark, they go through 22 training sessions, they reduce their proclivity for type two diabetes by over 50%, or 53,

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  35:30

or 58 58%, to be exact. But yeah, so

Pete Angelis  35:33

I did the quick math, we got 3000 team members, a third of them, according to the statistics, or the CDC statistics, we’ll be getting Type Two Diabetes, we put 1000 them through this program, we can get 500 from getting type two, we had our first group go will graduate here,

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  35:50

Huge retention rate of like 85 percept

Pete Angelis  35:53

Yeah amazing.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  35:53

And a lot of males, which is uncommon, actually for wellness programs.

Pete Angelis  35:57

And the results of what we’re seeing with them is either replicating or exceeding the results from the study the CDC, my study

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  36:04

I think so.

Pete Angelis  36:05

But to me, that was showing our team that we care about you that we’re going to provide you these training sessions over the course of a year.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  36:12

And then you’re doing it on paid time

Pete Angelis  36:14

And doing it – We’re paying for that time. I think it’s probably one of my goal on this. My hope is that over time, we will show that this is a great business investment. And we should be scaling this Yes. To not only just easily housing group, it should be scaled up to you. You see, yeah. Universities countrywide worldwide. Yes. And it’s, you know, I see the benefit and the kind of the unique thing, the, the secret sauce we got from that program, is I’m watching these groups going through the training. And it’s not just dining staff, we have dining people working with, with maintenance people, with some managers with a marketing person or two. And you have like a broad range of people, all in the same meeting, getting the same training, helping each other out as cohorts, and tear down barriers that brings people together and that you see engagement happen at that meeting. And I you know, I see this and I, it’s the same thing we were talking about with you get a freshmen class comes through, they go through the system they graduate. We’re gonna do this year after year after year, and over time, these team members, they’ll have a healthier life, we can prevent over half of them getting from type two diabetes, and I look back to my career that’d be the thing I’m most proud of most happy of being affiliated with any project is that

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  37:35

It gives me that makes me feel so good just to hear you

Pete Angelis  37:38

It gives me the goose Yeah, talk to him I you know, I have I talked to one person he’s a manager or mains group dropped 40 pounds is a one C level drops so far that he stopped taking insulin. And I didn’t even think that was possible for a type two diabetic. Wow. And just so inspiring. And I tell me, one of our personality traits we do branding on is we want to be pioneers are innovative. And they’re being our pioneers. They’re that first group to go through.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  38:07

They took the dive, their eyes closed.

Pete Angelis  38:11

They sure did. And so proud of what they’ve done and, and when you talk to them, and you see him the smile they give you when they’re in that meeting, I’ll work in the gather. I mean, that doesn’t get your juices flowing to go to work. I don’t know what it is and, and I That’s the secret sauce. And I think you’ll feel that when you go into Luskin conference center. You’ll feel that as a parent, when you come to UCLA, I’m Bruin Day and you come up on the hill and you go to any of the dining commons, you see our housekeeping staff, you see our culinary team, you see our grounds crew, just look at that. I think being hospitality. First thing, I look for smiles and eye contact. And I invite anybody on the Hill, anybody in the lesson conversation, you can’t take two steps into that building without getting smiles and eye contact. And we’ve got the secret sauce. And we learned here at UCLA.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  38:59

And doing that it’s really innovative for a business to take it on and pay for people’s time to do it. I mean, I that’s one thing that wellness programs or well being programs have often been offered. But you know, time off, or lunchtime or having it during work time actually respects their time as well there.

Pete Angelis  39:21

It’s more than just time, you know, we got to care about the people we work with. I have a son who’s a type one diabetic, he had no choice in the matter and I see how much the disease impacts his life, you know, on what he can do what it can all these impacts, and he’s gonna have it for his entire life. And you realize that a third of our population is on that track. And, you know, people don’t deal with the problem. It’s just gonna get worse, that’s for

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  39:53

sure. And what’s really good, it’s almost a full circle conversation because but you’ve also with this particular further program have invited our researchers on campus to look at the social well being impact of this program on your staff and or team members. That to me is I, I picked up a couple of things, your nomenclature is so respectful. So you don’t use the word staff use team don’t use always dining hall instead of cafeteria.

Pete Angelis  40:23

Yeah, I don’t like the word employee. Yeah, just by saying it, you’re, you’re casting a person in a like in a different light than you’re calling them as they are. They’re a team member or in it. Yeah. And I hate the word customer. I mean, a customer is very transactional, saying, Who buys a soda beverage gives you cash and just maybe at a gas station goes. I mean, there’s, you’re not looking for a guest experience in the hotel? Well, it’s an experience. It’s a deeper level. I mean, we’re responsible for their health, their well being their safety. Yeah, it’s a deeper obligation. So we always refer to them as, our guests or residents, our students. Definitely not customers,

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  41:03

Right, and team members. So I noticed those sort of details, which are all all add up to some message subliminal message of carrying,

Pete Angelis  41:13

The message has to be every day that’s really, we can’t do announce something once a year or twice a year. It’s not gonna it’s got to be a drumbeat that happens every day. And, and hopefully, we’re all singing that same message and believing and it’s more important, and I definitely believe in. You know, that’s another thing with healthy campus that just the Healthy Campus Institute HCI constantly gives me this reinforced belief that there’s something we can do. And it’s, why are we doing it and I go back to that point, a lot of the stuff we don’t do is because we’re not aware, right. And I think that’s the beauty of what you do for UCLA, and what the potential of this institute over time, is increasing awareness outside of just those who at UCLA will participate with this group, and bringing more people together that are focused on wellness, right, so they can share the message and make people aware, when I talked to that DPP group, that diabetes prevention group, our team members, one person told me lost 10 pounds in the first month. So what was what was the worst and he said, I had a refrigerator full of sugary beverages. And I didn’t realize how many ounces of a sugary beverage I would drink every day. So DPP, we just switched it, and I lost weight. My kids have lost weight, my wife, my family is like we’re like just that one move, total awareness that they weren’t aware of what they were consuming in terms of calories, and sugar. So that perfect example just raising the level of awareness.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  42:51

Like, just to me what’s really cool about our experience here and working with you, Pete and the university is this researchers and academics and also physicians, often they have challenges to translate their knowledge and their research and communicate it to the broader population or, or influence the influencers. And having people like you be exposed to the researchers in nanoseconds, you can translate Yes, what is happening, which is like, I mean, it’s like heaven for everybody. I mean, it’s heaven for the, you know, researchers and the, and the scientists and the practitioners definitely operator AND operator. I mean, it’s like, this is like a magical. And here we are at a university where all this is happening. We’re a little mini city. And we’ve got the experts, the experts didn’t have the opportunity to share it with our own people in our own backyard, which is what’s happening. Yes. And you translate. Yeah. And you translated your experience to UC San Diego, thanks to you, they’re going to have a DPP program because their dining, their dining group, were afraid to do it. But because your dining group did, they felt Oh, well, we could probably do it.

Pete Angelis  44:13

Well, we’re all the UCs. I mean, we’re here to help move the needle right from now on in so many different areas and HCI the network that over the campus network, yeah, how that how that network builds over the years, that’s gonna get stronger and stronger. And I love that the thought that the chancellor made this proclamation, the Semels made a commitment to make this happen. And, and he can just see it’s just not a short term short lived.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  44:44

Right? Rome wasn’t built in a day, right? I mean, they, again, it gets back to this sense of patience and understanding that things don’t you know, you don’t have immediate change or you got to take risks.

Pete Angelis  44:57

We talked earlier about the whole thing about them. Adding the university’s vetting. And what I what I love about if I can see in the future with HCN is the vetting over time is going to show that this is a real positive thing for each of these campuses to not only embrace but to really be active in implementing as many things that university can that touch people make their work experience while at campus or their study their student experience a campus healthier and better, you can see it’s just not something that’s been a one year program to your program. This is something that will evolve over years and years and years. And I think you said it’d be a different place 10 years from now than it is today and a healthier place, a far healthier place.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  45:42

That’s right. And we can then also learn, I mean, I think you and I learned a lot from UC San Francisco, and their removal of sugar sweetened beverages and how they handled that and how it can be an evolution not a revolution, how we can enhance our own healthy beverage.

Pete Angelis  46:00

There’s another example. I mean, we talked earlier about private sector, my private sector experience, you don’t share your business secrets and the private sectors, you guard them. That’s your intellectual property rights. That’s your that’s your competitive advantage. Right? You don’t share that. In our world, we are so eager to share everything. That’s right. That’s the beauty of another thing about the academic world is like, we’re here to share knowledge, right? Or experiences, things that happen well, and things that maybe we’ve got to redo a different way. And that’s really been fun to watch this HCM, I can see how that’s gonna grow just by how knowledge gets shared from campus to campus. Yeah. And then the fun thing, going back to scalability, it’s not just the UC’s, I mean, we have this right. So a lot of college campuses,

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  46:44

Cal States and community colleges. Yeah.

Pete Angelis  46:46

Then you see how, like the evolution of how sustainability happened, and was really grassroots driven? Was students really pushing that?

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  46:53

That’s right.Oh, well, it’s really related to health and well, exactly. I mean, we can’t be healthy without a healthy planet.

Pete Angelis  47:00

Yeah, it’s a joy to be involved.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  47:03

You’re right. Well, you know, I guess I’d love you to leave all our listeners like what would be your vision for the future, like what would be your ideal scenario that you’d like to see happening here at UCLA or on a college campus and then percolate out to the community?

Pete Angelis  47:20

First and foremost, our primary mission is to complete the CLAS transition from a commuter campus to a residential campus. And I grew up seeing UCLA many, many years ago, or everybody drove a car into the 405. To get to campus, get, in my opinion, can’t be premier world class, academic institution, unless you have a residential campus, I firmly believe it because I see with my own eyes, students learn so much, not only in the classroom, but outside of the classroom, in a residential environment. So I think, why do you think they learn, I think they learn a lot of life skills, they make lifelong friends, they, they learn interpersonal skills, that opens the doors to so much because we can make impacts to their environment. And that’s our secondary mission. So our secondary mission is to create environments that empower people to reach their fullest potential. And when we say people, it’s not just our students, or our guests or residents, it’s also our staff. And this is where I think we’ve come perfectly in line with HCI is what elements that we can learn that we can employ in the hill in terms of design in terms of services, in terms of programs that really make everybody involved with that area thrive. And so that’s what I’m, you know, I’m looking for that Eudaimonia living a life of purpose and meaning. Exactly, exactly. And having that fostered through the environment that students live in. I think that’s the that’s your goal. That’s my goal. Yeah. I’m sticking to it. Yes.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  49:01

Well, I think that we are turning out the future parents and leaders of our community in our country, and our world. I’m UCLA. So a world that needs great leaders, that’s for sure. And really are pursuing a life of meaning and purpose. So thank you, Pete. Is there anything else you want to share?

Pete Angelis  49:19

Thank you for your leadership, your vision, the assembles vision for healthy campus and just thinking you thinking UCLA for the opportunity, a part of the team that tries to move the needle? Yeah. Thank you all.

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  49:33

Thanks, Pete. Because you know, with your vision, your partnership and your ability to take ideas and translate them into action and nanoseconds to me is what is brought Semel HCI to where we are today and it continues to just amaze me how you can translate and see how programs and work that is being researched or published from our great scientists here. How it can really be applied to practical, you know, settings like where the work you do.

Pete Angelis  50:06

Some may have a great team or talent. They inspire me great too. So yeah, they’re they’re the ones who

Dr.  Wendy Slusser  50:13

Oh, right on team.

Semel HCI  50:16

Thank you again for joining us. For more information about today’s episode, visit our website@healthy.ucla.edu backslash live well podcasts. today’s podcast was brought to you by the Seminole healthy campus initiative Center at UCLA. To stay up to date with our episodes, subscribe to UCLA live well on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Leave us a rating to tell us how we’re doing. And if you think you know the perfect person for us to interview next, please tweet your idea to us at healthy UCLA. Have a wonderful rest of your day. And we hope you join us for our next episode as we explore new perspectives on health and well being

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