MEET OUR MODERATOR, CARLA CLARK

Bringing over 40 years of Human Resource and Training & Development experience to IAAPA, Carla began her career with Disneyland, where she spent eight years gaining leadership and operations experience in the areas of Food Service, Operations and Costuming.  Ms. Clark coordinated the training and development effort for the Costume Division on the Tokyo Disneyland Project and monitored Theme Show Appearance for Disneyland.  While at The Walt Disney Company in Burbank, she was charged with developing and conducting corporate training and management programs for the Disney University. 

For the past 30 years Carla has worked as a consultant to theme parks, resorts and service businesses throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.  Some of her clients include:

  • Harrods of London
  • The Calgary Zoo
  • National Constitution Center
  • Roscoe Village Foundation
  • Ontario Place, Toronto Canada
  • Asian Amusement Industry Association
  • Fort Worth Zoo
  • Ringling Bros. Barnum Bailey Circus
  • Valleyfair/Michigan’s Adventure
  • SportsWorld, Kitchener Ontario
  • Six Flags Theme Parks
  • Cincinnati Zoo
  • Gatlinburg, TN Chamber
  • New York State Tourism &    Hospitality Association
  • The Columbus Zoo
  • Ripley’s Believe it or NOT!
  • Morey’s Piers
  • The Indianapolis Zoo
  • Kongeparken - Norway
  • The Toledo Zoo
  • Al Ain Wildlife Park and Resort, UAE
  • The State Fair of Texas


Ms. Clark has been selected as a facilitator for many of IAAPA’s conventions and shows in the United States, Europe and Asia.  From 1998-2006, Carla  consulted with Six Flags, Inc. as Corporate Director Human Resources and of eLearning Programs -- coordinating the HR and Training & Development practices for 30 parks globally.   Most recently Carla has worked with Bridgestone/Firestone Corporate Training to assist in the rollout of a companywide Guest Service initiative. 

 

Carla earned her bachelors degree and teaching credentials from Chapman University in Orange, California.  She served for 12 years as a member of the Board of Directors for the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau and is active in the following professional organizations: Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), SHRM Global Forum, American Society of Training and Development (ASTD), and International Association of Theme Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) where she has served on the Human Resources Committee.


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Barbara Flynn, President

People First

Barbara Flynn is the President of People First and has been in the Human Resource field for over 30 years.  Barbara received her Master’s Degree in Human Resources from Nova Southeastern University.  She is a Senior Professional Human Resource with both the Society of Human Resource Management and the Human Resource Certification Institute.

In addition to her People First duties she is also an Adjunct Professor at Florida Atlantic University and Barry University where she teaches various Human Resource and Business Management courses.
Prior to establishing People First, Barbara was co-owner of a high-fashion jewelry manufacturing company based in New York.  During her tenure there, she established a Sales office in London and a Manufacturing facility in the Philippines.  She brings a lot to the table and has a thorough understanding of what it takes to run a business.  Her motto says it all:  “People First... where everything begins and ends with people”.


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Austin Gold, Senior Manager

International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA)

Austin Gold is senior manager of advocacy at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA),the premier trade association for the attractions industry worldwide. Austin joined IAAPA in the spring of 2016. 
Within his role as senior manager, Austin advocates on behalf of IAAPA members on federal and regulatory-related policy issues, and also actively works with IAAPA’s security committee. Prior to joining IAAPA, Austin was a policy analyst in government relations at the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), the trade association representing manufacturers of HVACR and water heating equipment.
Austin is a magna cum laude graduate from George Mason University, located in Fairfax, Va., where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology, Law and Society.  

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Annika Chase, Vice President, Marketing Strategy

Disneyland® Resort

Annika Chase is vice president of Marketing Strategy for Disneyland Resort, leading the holistic marketing needs for the site. She is responsible for developing and implementing the consumer-driven marketing strategies to achieve the resort’s revenue goals. She also oversees the integration of all marketing and sales functions to execute the teams’ go-to-market plans.

Previously Annika served as vice president of Marketing for Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and was accountable for optimizing that park’s go-to-market activity. In addition, she drove integration with functional partners across the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts segment to accomplish revenue goals and manage Disney brand interests and integrity in all marketing activities and programs, ensuring alignment of strategies and tactical execution.

Prior to that, Annika held the position of Vice President of Regional Marketing for the Asia Pacific as part of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. She coordinated marketing activity for the region, partnering with leaders at Hong Kong Disneyland, Shanghai Disney Resort and Tokyo Disney Resort in order to ensure one voice to consumers, clients and internal business partners. Annika joined Disney in 2001 and has held executive marketing leadership roles in domestic, international, multicultural and Annual Passholder segments. During her tenure, she has led a wide range of programs across Walt Disney Parks and Resorts around the world, including campaigns, celebrations, product launches, seasonal events and travel offers. Annika holds a bachelor's degree from University of California, Berkeley and is a 2003 recipient of the prestigious Spirit of Disneyland Award.

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David Rosenberg, Director of Guest Experience

Monterey Bay Aquarium

David Rosenberg is Director of Guest Experience for the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  In this position, David is responsible for the daily operations including public programming, Admissions, Volunteer Docent Programs, guest experience training and development, Aquarium Adventures (paid programming), Safety and Security, and many other operational areas. 

 Mr. Rosenberg’s career began with Walt Disney World where he held positions in both Human Resources and Operations Management.  He then spent over 11 years progressing through the ranks of Hyatt Hotels and was as an Executive for many top hotels around the country.   David had a reputation in the company for driving both financial and customer satisfaction numbers to maximum levels.  In January of 2007, David left the world of hospitality and took on his newly created position at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  During the last couple of years, under David’s leadership, the Guest Experience team has been re-structured and is currently receiving the highest audience research scores on record. 

 Mr. Rosenberg is currently an active member of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) where he sits on the Zoo and Aquarium Committee.  He was recently a guest speaker at multiple industry conferences including the California Association of Museums.  He is an active participant in the community and is a member of the Monterey County Hospitality Association and Board of Directors for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates).   His hobbies include SCUBA Diving, Skiing, hiking and competing in multiple marathons.  

Jeffrey Johnson

Jeffrey Johnson, President

Florida Defense Lawyers Association

 Jeffrey W. Johnson, the principal and founder, is rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell.  He has extensive litigation experience.  He has tried over 60 cases before juries throughout the State of Florida.  Mr. Johnson specializes in defending insureds and self-insureds in relation to their tort liability litigation and claims.  He routinely counsels clients from pre-suit through verdict and is intimately familiar with all stages and aspects of the claims and litigation process.
 Mr. Johnson is the President of the Florida Defense Lawyers Association (FDLA).  He is also on the Board of Directors of International Amusement and Leisure Defense Association (IALDA).  Mr. Johnson is also a long time member of the Defense Research Institute (DRI), Council for Litigation Management (CLM), Trucking Industry Defense Association (TIDA), Transportation Lawyers Association (TLA), National Restaurant and Retail Defense Association (NRRDA), Palm Beach County Bar Association, and the Broward County Bar Association. He has spoken at various conferences throughout the United States.
Mr. Johnson received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Tulane University and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Miami School of Law.  He is admitted to practice in all trial and appellate courts in the State of Florida, as well as the U.S. District Court (Southern District of Florida).

Jeffrey McNeal

Jeffrey McNeal, President

Fessel Internationa
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Mr. McNeal is President of Fessel International, a full-service consulting firm specializing in the hospitality and restaurant business.   Fessel clients range from independent start-up restaurant concepts to large corporations with services that include overall business planning and strategic analysis, master planning, new concept development, site selection and market research, as well as operational analysis.   Jeff has over 25 years in the hospitality field encompassing many aspects of the food service industry, including restaurant ownership, operations management, business development, menu and food costing, financial controls, sales and marketing, human resource management and training. Beginning his career as a dishwasher at a small local restaurant, Jeff found the kitchen hustle and bustle very appealing. Jeff worked his way through every kitchen line position while training with a seasoned chef who attended the Culinary Institute of America. Eventually earning the position of Assistant Chef, Jeff hungered to learn everything about the restaurant.  Aside from his main duties of running the kitchen, Jeff aided the Executive Chef of the fine dining establishment in menu development and recipe testing.  Jeff also spent an extensive amount of time experiencing the front of house operations as a busser, host, server, and a bartender. 

 Jeff graduated with honors from Paul Smith’s College with a dual Associate of Applied Science degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts and earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration with a concentration in Food and Beverage Management. He received his Master’s degree in business from Pepperdine University with a specialization in marketing and entrepreneurship Jeff continues to be a part of the hospitality community via serving as a Board Member of the Cornell Hotel Society, actively interviewing potential Hotel School student candidates and working with the local chapters of the California Restaurant Association, HSMAI and TEA Boards.

 Prior to joining Fessel International, Jeff was Vice President of Operations and Development at ZGolf Food & Beverage Services, which operates the Wedgewood Wedding & Banquet Centers brand.  He was instrumental in Wedgewood’s growth to over eighteen new locations as the largest full-service wedding and banquet chain in the country, while overseeing the operations and catering sales teams that hosted thousands of events every year.

He has managed the foodservice operations for ARAMARK at Angel Stadium, where he managed over $40 million in sales and served thousands of fans daily.  He has founded, owned and operated a startup chain of fast casual restaurants that we successfully sold for a profit.  His previous positions have included the responsibility for the management and training for numerous restaurant and hotel chains and franchise restaurant operators.


Phil Showler

Phil Showler, Vice President of Sales

TrainerTainment

Phil is an FEC industry icon with 20 plus years of sales experience. He has interacted with hundreds of fun centers and location based entertainment centers across North America.  Phil has led sales teams for industry suppliers and is currently the VP of sales for TrainerTainment.  His passion for raising the bar in the industry has compelled him to convince vendor partners to sponsor education events that ensure success for FEC rookies and for the old dogs who need to learn new tricks. He has sat on educational committees for years in an effort to bring great content to trade shows and seminar events. 

Phil’s approach to sales is intentional. He believes that when you ͞build a relationship first͟ the rest takes care of itself. Friends buy from friends. This approach has many people across the country calling Phil Showler, friend. Phil intentionally encourages and helps folks who in turn have certainly helped him create millions of dollars in sales. 

In his ͞spare time͟ Phil pastors a church in his home town of Kissimmee, FL and loves the outdoors. You’ll find him Kayaking, enjoying beach time and jet ski’s, when he’s not on the phone trying to solve one more challenge.



Brenda

Brenda Morris, Chief Financial Officer

Apex Park Group

"I thrive on energy and excitement, which is a perfect partnering with what Apex parks brings to our guests each day.  I love that here at Apex work and fun become blurred lines because I work with great people who have the same vision of creating a fun experience for our customers.  My mission is to give our team the information and tools they need to drive their businesses while empowering them with processes and analytics that allow them to be more successful." - Brenda Morris 

Brenda is an operationally focused executive, with extensive experience as a CFO/COO in public and closely held companies including entrepreneurial start-ups, high-growth and mature organizations. Brenda has acquired deep experience in the areas of M & A, FP & A, accounting and treasury functions, process optimization, systems development, financings and IPOs. An energetic and fun-loving executive who understands the business issues beyond the financials and focuses on leading by building relationships and collaborating at all levels.

She is successful at managing and growing public, privately held and private equity owned companies with a strong execution record. Brenda loves to build, develop and nurture an organization for high performance and success.  Brenda has been with several top-notch retailers, consumer products and lifestyle organizations, with revenues from $60 million to $1.2 billion and up to 1,200 locations. She has been able to drive results at companies such as Hot Topic, Torrid, 5.11 Tactical, Zumiez, K2 Sports and Icicle Seafoods.  Brenda is on the Board of Directors of Duluth Trading Company and Boot Barn Holdings, where she chairs the audit committee and the advisory board of Asarasi Water.  A graduate of Pacific Lutheran University, Brenda earned her MBA from Seattle University and is a CPA, CMA and CGMA.

 

Beck

Dwayne Beck, California Trial Attorney

Law Offices of Dwayne S Beck and Associates

Dwayne S Beck is a California Trial Attorney that represents all forms of amusement parks in the entire State of California. He has 25 years of experience in all facets of amusement park litigation and works with several clients as a consultant in their business operations and loss prevention. He is a member of IALDA and Southern California Defense Counsel and has presented seminars at IASS, WWA and FEC conferences throughout the country. 


Nick DeMatteo

Nick DiMatteo, Midway Operations Director

Dave and Buster's

Nick DiMatteo stepped into the role of Midway Operations Director for Dave & Buster’s in 2015.  In this position, Nick supports amusement operations for about half of the company’s 100+ locations.  He primarily oversees the western half of the U.S., Alaska and Hawaii.  Originally from Philadelphia, Nick and his family now live in the Phoenix, AZ area.

 After several years of multi-unit management in the food and beverage industry, Nick moved into the amusement industry as an assistant manager with Namco Cybertainment in 2000.  In 2003, he joined Tricorp Amusements at a pivotal time in the company’s growth.  In 2011, Nick left his position as Northeast Director of Operations with Tricorp to begin a career at Dave & Buster’s.  He held the positions of Amusement Manager and Senior Amusement Manager before being promoted to his current position.

Nick completed the Drexel University Corporate Education program where he studied Computer/Information Technology Administration and Management. 

 After many years of attending IAAPA, Nick was honored and excited to become an IAAPA FEC committee member last year.  

DTDrew Tewksbury, Senior Vice President

McGowan Amusement Group

Drew Tewksbury is the Senior Vice President of McGowan Amusement Group, from Cleveland, Ohio.

Drew brings over 19 years of risk management and insurance industry experience to this webinar program.  He holds a National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials (NAARSO) Level 1 Amusement Ride Inspection License and is a licensed amusement ride inspector in multiple states.

Drew is a nationally recognized speaker on safety and risk management for the amusement industry. He was ranked one of the top five speakers at the IAAPA Attractions Expo last November in Orlando, and has presented Risk Management sessions FEC Las Vegas, FEC Dallas and our Rookies & Newcomers session in Orlando the past two years.  He has presented at the Fun Academy at Fun Expo, The American Inflatable Roadshow, and is a regular instructor at the semi-annual Commonwealth of Pennsylvania State Ride Inspection Safety Training Program and NAARSO Schools.

Drew is an active member of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), Safe Inflatable Operators Training Organization (SIOTO), Responsible Operators of Amusement Rides (ROAR) and is a participating member of the American Society for Testing and Materials F24 (ASTM) committee for Amusement Rides and Devices, Outdoor Amusement Business Association (OABA) and The Showman’s League of America (SLA).

Drew has been interviewed and cited regularly in both amusement industry, insurance industry trade journals and nationally published news magazines.