University of the Cumberlands was thrilled to install a state-of-the-art, flight-type dishwasher, a generous donation from Jackson Warewashing Systems, Inc. The machine, worth approximately $120,000, is stationed in the T.J. Roberts Dining Hall on campus.

“We are extremely grateful for this; it is a blessing to us,” said Dr. Larry Cockrum, president of the University. “Having this kind of company right in our community is incredible. We appreciate them stepping in.”

The University’s prior dishwasher was installed roughly 10 years ago.

“There probably wasn’t another machine on campus that got used more during the school year,” said Dave Taylor, district manager for Pioneer College Caterers.  “It got turned on around 6:30 a.m. and didn’t get turned off until around 9:00 p.m. every day.”

Now some math to better understand the significance of the donation. Cumberlands’ cafeteria regularly provides meals to on-campus students and University faculty and staff, often servicing community members and campus visitors as well. The on-campus student body tallied 1,357 during the 2017-2018 academic year (The University expects more students than that this fall). Let’s assume an average of 1,000 people – students, staff, faculty and visitors – eat their meals in the dining hall on a normal school day.  Let’s also assume that each person uses one plate, fork, knife, spoon and cup for their meal (we’ll skip the oft-included ice cream bowl in this scenario). That’s five dishes per person, or 5,000 dishes per meal. The cafeteria offers 19 meals a week during the school year. Add it up, and in a typical week, the dining hall workers wash approximately 95,000 dishes.

Cleaning 95,000 dishes per week is hefty but manageable. That is, of course, until the dishwasher stops working.

“I don’t know how many times the old machine broke down this year, but it was several times,” said Taylor. “That’s more than an inconvenience for us; it’s a quality issue. We take pride in letting guests put their food on a nice plate because it creates a different experience. We’re glad to be able to regularly offer that experience to our students.”

Jackson WWS, Inc. is a full-line supplier and leading producer of high-quality commercial dish machines, all made in the USA. Their commitment to customers is that dishes get “Clean the First Time,” and the goal of their machines is to reduce customers’ labor, chemical, and utility costs. Cumberlands has purchased products from Jackson in the past, but this donation is a massive step in the company’s relationship with the school.

“We want to make sure we are supporting the local community and our local University,” said Jonathan Akin, president of Jackson WWS, Inc. “We’re a local company, and we’ve been here for over 30 years. We bring in employees from nearby counties, and when you walk through the plant, you will see some employees’ siblings, spouses, and grown children working there with them. It’s like family.”

The new flight-type dish machine boasts a simpler design with greater accessibility inside the machine for quicker fixes. Easy visibility to the machine’s upper wash arms simplifies the washer’s maintenance. The barn-door setup, easy-clean baskets, second rinse and de-lime cycle are also welcome design aspects for dish machine operators.

The machine is a prototype, with another identical washer set up in Maryland. Akin and his team are pleased to have a machine located in Williamsburg, near enough for Jackson engineers to come by, check on the washer, fix any problems and take notes back with them to continue perfecting the machine’s design.

Several other Cumberlands facilities have also gotten facelifts this year. In spring, an outdoor fitness court was built on campus, and state-of-the-art laboratory equipment was installed in the Terry & Marion Forcht Medical Wing (purchase of the lab equipment was made possible by the Eaton and Bizzack families, as well as other friends of the University). The Cumberland Inn is currently undergoing renovations as two-thirds of its hotel rooms are converted into dorm housing for incoming students. The running track at Cumberlands’ football field is also under construction, being replaced with new track material.