Mendocino College Faculty in Focus: Erik Stadnik
Mendocino College (MC) instructor of Business Office Technology, Eric Stadnik, and his family moved to Healdsburg from Southern California 22 years ago. Stadnik had been the Director of Training and Development for iHop and Hungry Tiger restaurant chains headquartered in the Los Angeles area, and they were ready for a lifestyle change.
The Stadniks moved to a 115 acre ranch where they started to grow grapes and raise farm animals. Stadnik loved country life, but he soon missed the teaching aspect of his former job. He started teaching part-time at Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) and discovered that he loved it, so he stayed on teaching business and computer classes for 14 years. He also taught business classes at Dominican University. Meanwhile, a grown son, "who loves farming," took over the ranch operations.
Stadnik says it was his dean at SRJC who encouraged him to apply for the MC position. "I had decided I would like a full-time teaching position," says Stadnik, "and due to the budget cuts, there would be no full-time positions available at SRJC for years, so I started to think about teaching at MC." Stadnik says he and his wife already loved Mendocino County, and have owned a weekend home at Glass Beach for many years.
Stadnik has extensive business experience, having been the Director of Training and Development for iHop Corporation, where he managed six training centers for employees and franchisees at 1,200 restaurants worldwide. Before that, he was the Director of Training and Development for Hungry Tiger Inc., with 41 restaurants in three states. He was gratified to be part of a small team that brought the Hungry Tiger chain back from the brink of bankruptcy.
Stadnik says he decided to go into teaching while studying at UCLA for professional certificates in Industrial Relations and Management. "The teachers were exceptional," he says, "and their excellence motivated me to follow that path."
Since beginning his MC career in August 2011, Stadnik says he has been impressed with the friendliness of the local community. He is interested in learning what career and technical skills local businesses would like the College to offer, to help prepare students for future employment in this area. He encourages business owners and managers to share their ideas and requirements for ideally prepared employees with him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (707) 468-3021.
Stadnik says the best part of his current job is "The People!" He appreciates working with both the students and his colleagues at MC. He says the most challenging part of his job is getting everything updated in a timely fashion, since there has not been a full-time person to attend to those duties in over a year.
Stadnik's motto is: "Follow your passion, and the path will make itself known to you." He says it is his passion "to make a difference." He expects to be active in committee work at MC, and to serve on boards and advisory councils in the community, if asked.
Stadnik's wide interests include woodworking, spirituality, outdoor activities, academic studies, cooking, traveling, and raising animals. He and his wife recently traveled to Sweden and Iceland to visit the schools of his international business students from SRJC.
Stadnik shares that he and his wife, Ruth, were married three times, in three separate locations, so they could enjoy small, intimate weddings. He says they also like to have multiple small parties for family birthdays and other celebrations.
The Stadniks have three adult children who all have their own families.