Penn State Great Valley: Alumni Profile
An Alum Who Designs Success and Service
Morreen Rukin Bayles, M.Ed., Instructional Systems, 2000
After fifteen years in the food services industry, where she achieved such successes as managing the conversion of 110 units from Boston Market to Boston Chicken, Morreen Rukin Bayles arrived at work one day in May 1997, resignation letter in hand and no new job to report to. “I knew my heart was working properly after that day,” says Morreen. “It was pounding so fast because it was one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my life.”
Don’t think for a minute however, that this level-headed, award-recognized woman left her job without a plan. With plenty of recruiting and operations experience, a passion for training, and a desire to impact more than one organization, Morreen started her own business, Creative Restaurant Solutions, Inc. (CRS), a company that helps clients in the hospitality, supermarket, and contract food services industries decrease operations costs and increase profitability and employee productivity.
Before leaving full-time employment, Morreen did plenty of research, networking with over 100 contacts to determine who needed operations consulting. When she was confident her services were marketable, she made the leap and took on her first two accounts. Around the same time, she began the instructional design program at Penn State Great Valley. “Throughout my career I had a lot of experience conducting training and leading teams,” says Morreen. “I even took a stab at designing some new training programs with a good amount of success, considering I had no formal training. When I started CRS, I decided it was time to go back to school and enhance my experience by studying how to better design and present training.”
The master’s program, which she completed in 2000, has had a huge impact on her business. “Our approach to designing impactful training programs for our clients is now more structured using the Dick & Carey model taught at Penn State Great Valley,” says Morreen. Both CRS and Morreen’s more recent spin-off venture, Combined Research Solutions, which services hospitals, banks, hotels, and retail, have implemented systems and processes related to needs assessments, content design, and validations following the model.
Thirteen years after starting her business, Morreen and her seven employees now support approximately seventy-five clients, including Bahama Breeze, Texas Roadhouse, ARAMARK, Eat’n Park, Dave & Buster’s, and numerous Applebee’s franchisees. She still networks with many of her fellow Penn State Great Valley graduates to share ideas, ask advice, and use as a sounding board when faced with challenges.
While her corporate successes are impressive, it is the work that Morreen does in her free time that make her a true inspiration to others, especially her husband Steve and their five-year-old daughter, Sydnie. Fueled by the death of her mother three years ago and a powerful presentation given by Jay Scott of Alex’s Lemonade, Morreen hoped to find a similar way to honor her mother’s life. It was Sydnie, only two at the time, who urged her mother to sell lemonade. Together the family hosts a thirteen-week lemonade stand every summer in their Downingtown community. This August, Morreen also accomplished her long-time goal to complete the three-day, sixty-mile breast cancer walk.
“If I can motivate one person each day to do their best, try a little harder, reach a goal they've set, and celebrate those milestones with them, I feel like it has been a great day,” says Morreen. “That's what being a leader is all about.”