Manask & Associates consultants are the most experienced cultural institution consultants in North America that provide expert and prompt advice with offices from coast to coast to serve you.

Principals — Food & Beverage Services & Facility Rentals
Arthur M. Manask

Arthur M. Manask is founder of Manask & Associates, a consulting firm that provides management advisory services to cultural and other institutions that have in-house restaurant and catering services.  Clients in the cultural sphere include museums, botanical gardens, historic homes, aquariums and zoos.   Other clients include business corporations, colleges, and schools.  The company services its clients from offices throughout the U.S.

He has more than 30 years experience in the foodservice industry. His experience includes 16 years as president and owner of his own foodservice management companies, 14 years experience in senior operating positions with two national foodservice organizations, and 16 years heading consultant firm Manask & Associates. His multi-unit operating experience includes corporate dining; school and college dining; leisure and recreational foodservices; museum restaurants/cafés (including opening and operating cafés and catering services at the Getty Villa in Malibu, CA and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the '60s and '70s); on-premise, off-premise and special event catering; commercial restaurants; and tablecloth dining.

He is a past chairman and member of the Board of Directors of the California Restaurant Association for 30 years. He is also a former member of Young President's Organization and current member of World President's Organization. Manask & Associates' professional affiliations include American Association of Museums, American Society of Technological Center, and the American Zoo and Aquarium Association among other national, regional and state cultural institution trade associations.

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Jeff McNeal

Jeff’s 25 years in the hospitality field have encompassed many aspects of the food service industry, including restaurant ownership, operations management, menu and food costing, financial controls, human resource management and training.

Prior to joining Fessel International in 2013 as president and owner, 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, hosting thousands of events every year.

He has managed the foodservice operations at Angel Stadium, founded, owned and operated a chain of fast casual restaurants, and was responsible for the management and training for numerous restaurant and hotel chains and franchise restaurant operators.

In 2015 Jeff became a Principal/Partner with Manask & Associates and has worked on client projects including but not limited to, Cheekwood Estate & Gardens, The Huntington Library, The New Victory Theater, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power and Laguna Woods Village. He also has consulted with other cultural destinations including the National Aquarium, Aquarium of the Pacific and the Wilshire Boulevard Temple among others.

Jeff earned his Master’s degree in business from Pepperdine University with a specialization in marketing and entrepreneurship. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration with a concentration in Food and Beverage Management, and graduated with honors from Paul Smith’s College with a dual Associate of Applied Science degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts.

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Don J. Avalier, FCSI, FMP

Educated at UCLA, his professional experience includes positions as vice president-operations for Longchamp's, Inc. of New York, area director of food and beverage for Sheraton Corporation of America, corporate director-food and beverage for Princess Cruises Resorts and Hotels, and corporate director-food and beverage of American Golf Corporation. Don is a member of Food Consultants Society International (FCSI), the California Restaurant Association and one of a limited number of Foodservice Management Professionals (FMP) accredited by the Educational Foundation of the National Restaurant Association.

Don began working with Manask & Associates in 2000 after more than 25 years of operational experience and 10 years as a foodservice consultant. Accepted by the courts as an "industry expert," Don also provides litigation support to attorneys with expert witness support and consulting services. Some of Don's client projects include, but are not limited to: City of Santa Monica – Resource Management Department, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the Museum of Latin American Art, Hanford Reach National Monument Interpretive Center, Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center, Audubon Zoo, California State Railroad Museum, Experience Music Project, Honda Proving Center of California, Indian Ridge Country Club, Moon Valley Country Club, Spencer's Restaurant, Four Oaks Restaurant, Johnny Rockets, and Maple Drive Restaurant.

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Robert D. Schwartz

Rob, who resides in Detroit, MI, joined Manask & Associates in 2003 and works with cultural institutions throughout the country. Rob has over 30 years experience in the hospitality business that covers contract management with ARAMARK and Sodexo as well as private restaurants. He received his MBA from Michigan State University and majored in hotel, restaurant and institutional management. He received his BA from Alma College with a business administration major.

Rob’s experience covers operational and financial management for foodservice in Businesses, Hospitals, Colleges, and Museums. Some of Rob’s client projects with Manask & Associates include, but are not limited to: Detroit Institute of the Arts, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, the Trust for the National Mall, Prospect Park (Brooklyn, NY, City Park (New Orleans), Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Zoo Atlanta, Anchorage Museum of History & Art, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Central Illinois Regional Museum, Cincinnati Museum Center, Amgen, Inc., RAND Corporation, Louisville Science Center, Toledo Museum of Art, Paramount Pictures Studios, and EdVenture Children’s Museum.

His international experience includes three years in Mexico focused on the Maquiladora industry on the border as well as project consulting/analysis in Argentina. Rob is fluent in Spanish.

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Dave Waddell

Dave Waddell has over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry including several senior financial management positions during his 23 year career with Aramark Sports & Entertainment serving as CFO of the Convention and Tourism Group before being promoted to CFO of the Sports & Entertainment Division. Prior to joining Aramark, Dave assisted in the opening of several fine dining restaurants as well as a boutique hotel in suburban Washington D.C.

Dave’s combination of operations and finance experience in all aspects of the hospitality industry includes cultural institution and fine dining, fast casual, catering, facilities services, hotels, marinas, retail operations and tour operations. Dave’s work with Manask & Associates includes SFMOMA, Academy of Motion Pictures Museum, Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Chicago Botanic Garden, Morton Arboretum, Perot Museum of Nature & Science, Perot Family Office, Hunt Realty and the Saint Louis Art Museum among many others. Dave provided financial and strategic leadership in contract negotiations with clients including Hearst Castle, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Mets, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (Lake Powell), Ellis Island National Monument, Las Vegas Convention Center and many more. Dave has a Bachelor’s Degree in Restaurant Management from Rochester Institute of Technology and an MBA, Finance from Widener University.

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Paul Flickinger

Paul Flickinger is based in the Washington DC area and has over 30 years of retail, food service oversight and management experience. For the past 17 years, Paul has been directly involved in cultural attraction business management. After receiving his Bachelors Degree in Marketing from the University of Maryland, he served as a multi-unit manager in a leading national specialty retail company in his early years. He was appointed Director of Stores for Smithsonian Business Ventures, the non-profit business unit created to manage the income generating activities affiliated within the Smithsonian. He was eventually promoted to Chief Operating Officer of Retail responsible for the income generating retail activities based in 16 of the Smithsonian museums, to include the stores, restaurants/cafés, IMAX theaters and planetarium, special event kiosks, in addition to several concessionaire businesses including simulators, green screen photography, and travel venue locations.

During his tenure at the Smithsonian, Paul was involved in all facets of management, including budgeting, planning and design, construction coordination, human resources management, and overall operations of the business, both self-operation as well as outsourced concession management. He was fortunate to gain experience with the grand opening of the National Museum of American Indian and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, and was involved in the remodel/renovation of several Smithsonian museums, to include but not limited to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of American History, and Arts and Industries Building and as part of the evaluating team for the Manask & Associates led food service RFP at the National Zoo. Paul’s experience with Manask & Associates also includes a project with the Trust for the National Mall. Prior to joining Manask & Associates Paul served as a Vice President for Event Network managing retail partnerships to include zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, iconic venues, and museums related history, science, and natural history.

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Gary W. Wattie

Gary has spent more than 20 years in the hospitality and food service industry in support of operations and clients with business development, sales and marketing in several sectors of the market. Prior to his experience in the food service and hospitality market, Gary spent 17 years in food packaging and new product development.

Gary has been responsible for business relationships across a broad spectrum of public gathering spaces. Gary’s specialty is recognizing the gap in a client’s service delivery and working with operations, finance and design teams to develop plans and models to elevate the guest experience.

He has successfully built businesses and relationships in the areas of sports and entertainment facilities, cultural attractions, convention centers, performing art venues and transportation hubs. Some of the clients Gary worked with include but are not limited to the Autry Museum of the American West, Morris Performing Arts Center Complex in South Bend Indiana, Indiana State Museum, and Indianapolis Zoo.

Gary joined Centerplate in 2006 as Vice President of Business Development before becoming the Senior Vice President. During his ten years at Centerplate, Gary spearheaded development of strategies, analysis, evaluations, proposals and presentations for all new business, resulting in $1.5 billion in new contract value. Prior to joining Centerplate, Gary worked in the Sports and Entertainment group for Aramark for approximately 10 years. During his last five years at Aramark, Gary was able to help Aramark increase their client portfolio by more than $100 million in annualized new business.

Gary has known and worked with Manask & Associates principals Dave Waddell and Michael Thompson when all were with Aramark in years past.

Gary is a graduate of Bucknell University with a degree in Business Administration, and also attended the Leadership Institute at Rochester Institute of Technology. He was also a Vice President and Board Member for the National Association of Concessionaires, chairing the Communications Committee. Gary is based in Philadelphia, PA.

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Michael F. Thompson

Michael Thompson has over 30 years of experience in the leisure, sports and entertainment hospitality industry, including diverse senior operational and new business development positions with national and international food service and hospitality companies.

Michael first joined Aramark in 2001 as senior vice president for the company's Sports and Entertainment division. He has also held the role of President of SportService (formerly Boston Concessions Group), a division of Delaware North Companies. Early career experience of note included providing the strategic operations for such events at Presidential Inaugurations, Super Bowls, Papal visits Olympic Games and All Star and World Series events.

Thompson served as Senior Vice President of strategic client relationships for Aramark. At Aramark Thompson led the business development team in growing the Sports and Entertainment client portfolio and developing proactive client retention initiatives in every segment of the business.

As a consultant, Thompson regularly interacted with the industry’s key decision makers and provided introductions to other consultants, architects, and designers. He was often called upon to speak at conferences and seminars that tackle the industry’s most complex problems.

He has worked closely with operational and marketing support teams of organizations to create innovative professional service solutions that enhance the guest experience. He directed sales efforts for Cultural Attractions, Stadiums and Arenas and Convention Centers, including food, facility, retail, lodging and other services worldwide. Michael’s experience working with cultural institutions includes the New England Aquarium, the Franklin Institute, Glazer Children’s Museum, Mercedes Benz Museum, Fort Worth Zoo and Turtle Back Zoo among others.

Michael who is based in Buffalo, NY has relationships with over 350 key executives of professional teams in the US and abroad. He has been called on to advise and provide strategic and operational direction on a number of subjects effecting fan and customer experiences.

A graduate of John Carroll University with a bachelor's degree in Marketing and Finance, Thompson has also attended the Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program and the Strategic Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.

Michael has known and worked with Manask & Associates principals Dave Waddell and Gary Wattie when all were with Aramark in years past.

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Principals — Gift Shop Services
Marjorie Sheldon

Marjorie Sheldon, recognized internationally as an expert in her field, serves as a consultant to non-profit organizations, including aquariums, botanical gardens, museums and zoos. Her projects have included directing the planning, design and merchandising of new stores, managing store renovation projects, business reviews, concession evaluations, new business development, business start-up and visual merchandising. Some of Marjorie's client projects include, but are not limited to: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Woodland Park Zoo, Como Zoo, San Diego Zoo, Science Museum of Minnesota, Seattle Aquarium, Aquarium of the Pacific, Santa Barbara Zoo, Detroit Zoological Institution, Melbourne Zoological Garden and the San Francisco Zoo.

As director of merchandising for the Zoological Society of San Diego for 20 years, Marjorie was responsible for all merchandising activities for the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Wild Animal Park, as well as management of the Society's 38,000-square-foot warehouse facility. She provided leadership to more than 300 employees and directed all planning, budgeting, buying, display and revenue tracking for more than 40 sites within the two facilities. Under her leadership, retail sales tripled and numerous revenue opportunities were realized. She was instrumental in the Society's long-range planning efforts and introduced innovative practices to ensure a leading edge in the industry.

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Shelley L. Stephens

Shelley Stephens has been in the retail profession for almost 30 years. She spent 17 years as director of merchandising at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, where she expanded the retail operations from two stores to six permanent stores and set up 12 special exhibition stores. She also produced a wide variety of custom products and established a wholesale division to market these products to venues worldwide.

Since 1993, Shelley has been providing consulting services to stores at cultural institutions across the country. She specializes in directing the planning, design and merchandising of new stores, as well as managing store renovation projects. She has also assisted institutions in areas such as providing store audits and evaluations, retail management and point of sale searches, producing new products, compiling feasibility studies, implementing e-commerce sites, concession evaluation, buying and visual merchandising. Some of Shelley's client projects include, but are not limited to: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, City of Los Angeles (Griffith Observatory), California Academy of Sciences, Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Central Library, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Ocean Institute, and the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA.

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Joan Doyle

Joan Doyle has 25 years of diversified retail planning and management experience with emphasis on store operations and strategic planning. Her project services include store evaluations, feasibility studies, profitability improvements, store design and renovations, buying, product development, staff coaching, and new store openings. Her diverse client list includes public agencies; fine arts, history and science museums; and performing arts and cultural organizations. Some of Joan's client projects include, but are not limited to: Seattle Art Museum, Brooklyn Children's Museum, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, McNay Art Museum, James A. Michener Art Museum, National Constitution Center, Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadelphia Zoo, the Franklin Institute, and the Pennsylvania Conventions Center. In addition, Joan has worked with specialty market retailers such as the NFL, casinos and major event attractions.

Joan is a recognized speaker and writer on the topic of museum retail planning and business improvement strategies and has presented for the PEW Charitable Trusts, the Nonprofit Finance Fund, the Museum Store Association and Global Shop. Joan is an avid enthusiast of the arts and has served as president and development chair for Collab, the committee that supports modern design at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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Janice Yablonski

Janice Yablonski-Hickey is a consultant to museums and cultural organizations specializing in the areas of ecommerce and interactive marketing. Janice has more than 25 years’ experience in museum retail and digital media. She was The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s first head of ecommerce, a position she held for 13 years, where she was responsible for the merchandising, marketing, technology, strategy, and design of Janice has conceived and led complete web site builds, re-branding and re-design efforts, 3rd party implementations, content enhancements, and functional improvement projects. She has an extensive background in web and print design, creative direction, imaging, copy, assortment planning, analytics, and reporting, as well as 10 years’ experience in product development, publishing, and museum reproductions. Her work has won awards including the American Alliance of Museums’ Best Institutional Web Site, Advertising Age’s Best Ecommerce Site, and most recently, the Museum Store Association's Best Web Presence for her re-design and re-platforming of the National Gallery of Art’s ecommerce site,

Janice has experience with both custom code as well as software as a service (SaaS) platforms, cloud solutions, and advanced technology for online retailing. Her work with Manask & Associates includes the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Texas State Preservation Board, and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, among others.

Janice’s marketing work includes SEM, SEO, email, social media, blogs, loyalty programs, database marketing, and catalogues. She has spoken at Direct Marketing Association events and Search Engine Strategies, has served on the customer advisory board for WebTrends, and is a member of the American Alliance of Museums, the Museum Store Association, and Museums and the Web. Janice holds a BA from Barnard College, an MA from Columbia University, and a certificate in Arts Administration from NYU.

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Senior Consultant
Douglas W. McDonald

Douglass W. McDonald’s museum career began in 1980 as a volunteer member of an advisory board for a museum, joining the museum field as the CFO of Conner Prairie Interactive History Park in 1983. As a Noblesville, Indiana city councilman for 16 years, he was a founding member of the Hamilton County Alliance, a private not-for-profit economic development organization, and also a founding member of the Board of Governors of The Legacy Fund, a community foundation.

As President & CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center, McDonald led the 17th most highly attended museum in the nation. CMC received the 2009 National Medal for community service from the Institute for Museum & Library Services, and in 2012 became accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

Cincinnati Museum Center became the owner of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (NURFC) in 2012 as part of a high-profile merger. McDonald became CEO of NURFC as well as CMC and led NURFC through accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums in 2013. While serving as CEO in Cincinnati McDonald raised close to $500 million; most recently he led a successful campaign for a county sales tax which is projected to raise $200 million towards the $212 million Union Terminal restoration.

Doug serves on the International Council of Museums Finance & Resources Committee, and has served on the board & executive committee of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the AAM Ethics Committee on Cultural Property, the U.S. Committee of the International Council of Museums, and the Association for Midwest Museums.

He currently is on the board & executive committee of Wilmington College (Ohio), Vice Chair of the Greater Cincinnati Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, chairs the Ohio U.S. Capitol Statuary Hall Commission and until recently served on the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission.

McDonald has been awarded: the Distinguished Career Award from the Association of Midwest Museums (2015), Outstanding President Award from Kiwanis International; Distinguished Service Award from Association of Midwest Museums; 2014 Friend of Education Award by the Southwest Region of the Ohio School Board Association, the Queen City Advocate Award; the 2010 NAACP Community Outreach/Partnership Award, and regularly was listed in Cincy Business Magazine’s “Power 100” list.

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Steve H. Taylor, Director Emeritus of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Steve Taylor has forty years experience working in four different accredited Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) zoos. He retired from the position of Zoo Director of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on December 31, 2012 after 24 years. While Director of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo over $90 million was invested on capital improvements including the RainForest, Wolf Wilderness, Australian Adventure, the Reinberger Education Center, the Sarah Allison Steffee Center for Zoological Medicine and adjacent Rising Waters Safari Camp and the award winning African Elephant Crossing.

Steve completely reorganized the organizational structure of the Zoo by creating several new important divisions including veterinary services, guest services and group sales, conservation and science and public relations and marketing. Steve greatly expanded conservation education that has been the recipient of numerous national awards for excellence.

Steve worked with Manask & Associates on a variety of projects when at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo including evaluation of the Zoo’s retail and food concessions and an RFP for the food and retail concessions and catering service at the Zoo that included significant renovation and updating of all the concessions.

Prior to coming to Cleveland, Steve was Director of the Sacramento Zoo, Children’s Zoo Manager for the San Francisco Zoological Society, and an Animal Keeper and Associate Curator at the Los Angeles Zoo.

Steve remains active in the zoo and aquarium community by leading ecotourism trips, consulting and participating in regional and national conferences where he is a member of several committees. He was on the Board of the Association of Zoo and Aquarium (AZA) from 1987 – 1993. He was president of that organization in 1992/93. Steve has a passion for zoos and their conservation mission. He has visited more than 218 of the 230 AZA accredited zoos and aquariums in the North America, many of them as chair of their accreditation visiting team. He has consulted with many zoos on governance, long-range planning, and organizational structure.

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Matt Mundok, FMP

Matt's experience includes more than 18 years of consulting and on-site operations management experience in business dining, cultural institution, and college and university food service. His experience also includes design services work in the U.S., Canada and Europe. A proven project manager, Matt's knowledge of information technology, space planning, financial analysis and the development of strategic retail food service programs has earned him high marks with clients, employees and service providers.

Matt has successfully led numerous food service evaluation, strategic planning and operator selection projects for clients across the country. He has also been an innovator in the areas of point-of-sale (POS) systems and cashless payment solutions. His experience includes developing information technology strategies and systems that include common POS platforms, remote order entry, and data warehousing solutions to drive revenue growth and operator efficiency. Matt has been a featured speaker for technology forums, has served on advisory boards for software manufacturers and speaks regularly at Penn State University, School of Hospitality Management.

Matt is currently an active member in Society for Foodservice Management (SFM), National Association of College & University Food Services (NACFUS) and International Facility Managers Association (IFMA) where he is leading development of the Restaurant and Foodservices Community.  Some of Matt's client projects include, but are not limited to: the National Law Enforcement Museum, Grounds for Sculpture, Imiloa Astronomy Center and University of Central Missouri.

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Ray Coen

Ray Coen has teamed with Manask & Associates to work with the Los Angeles Zoo, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Science Museum of Minnesota, among others, in developing marketing and business plans for the special events department of public attractions. Ray started his consulting firm in 1981. He has built a successful practice, building sales volume for a variety of clients in the restaurant industry. He works with chains and institutions of every size and at every dining level on issues of business strategy and marketing. His client list includes the revival of Boston Market, KFC, Islands Burgers, King's Hawaiian Restaurants and Bakeries, Winchell's Donuts, Sizzler, Ponderosa, The Daily Grill chain and others. Uniquely, he also consults to supermarkets and other retail chains, as well as packaged goods companies. This enables him to bring retailing expertise and brand building skills to the foodservice industry. Some of Ray's work on client projects includes: The Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, a destination restaurant study for Rock & Roll Hall of Fame/Great Lakes Science Center, and the National Zoo.

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Kim Royster

Kim has more than 25 years’ experience in market research and strategic planning for a wide variety of clients including hospitality, cultural, attractions, high-tech, advertising, consumer products/services and business-to-business clients.

Ms. Royster has a strong background in both qualitative and quantitative research. Her experience includes 16 years in the field of market research and strategic planning, and 11 years as a consultant with several global hospitality consulting firms including Laventhol and Horwath, Arthur Andersen and Coopers & Lybrand.

For the past 20 years, Ms. Royster has worked with Manask & Associates clients providing market research services helping clients and their operators increase earned income in areas such as visitor dining, facility rental sales and catering revenue. Clients include but are not limited to Monterey Bay Aquarium, Museum of Science & Industry, Museum of Science, San Francisco Zoo, California Academy of Sciences, Minnesota Historical Society, Ravinia Festival, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, among others.

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