T. Kevin McNicholas Founding Chairman
After a decade of senior management in the concessions industry, Kevin formed K-M Concessions, Inc. (K-M) in 1971 to provide souvenirs and press box catering for the Denver Broncos football club and Denver Bears baseball club at Mile High Stadium. In 1973 K-M was awarded the visitor service operations contract at the Denver Zoo.
In response to demand from cultural attractions across the country, Kevin formed Service Systems Associates, Inc. (SSA) with Tim Brantley in 1989 to focus on visitor services in Zoos and Aquariums.
Kevin has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Benedictine College, and has been an Associate Member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) since 1979.
Mr. McNicholas currently serves as a member of the boards of the Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Society, Arrupe Jesuit High School, and the Denver Fine Arts Foundation. Kevin was awarded the Daniel E. Ritchie “Colorado Ethics in Business Award” in 2000, and was inducted into the Colorado Restaurant Association Hall of Fame in 2007.
Timothy L. Brantley Chairman
Tim is a creative thinker with a long-term vision for our company and our partners’ businesses. From college at Adams State in Colorado, where he learned the value of teamwork as a member of a winning football team, to multiple early management positions at the Denver Zoo including Manager of Retail, Director of Food and Beverage and Catering, and finally General Manager of Visitor Services, Tim has had his eye on improving the people and processes around him.
Together with Kevin McNicholas, Tim founded Service Systems Associates in 1989, helping it grow to become one of the premier visitor services companies in the country. Today, as President and CEO, Tim is leading the company’s charge into the future with innovative new programs and partnerships. His philosophy with business is simple: Be proud of everything you do and always make your clients’ priorities your priorities.
Outside of work, Tim is an active volunteer in community organizations, including his daughter’s high school, the T. Kevin McNicholas Foundation, and has been a member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) for over thirty years.View Timothy on LinkedIn »
Sean K. McNicholas President & CEO / Owner
Sean leads SSA’s Strategic Financing and Business Development initiatives. As an owner, he helps implement future growth initiatives by developing relationships with SSA finance partners and prospective clients. He is responsible for revenue and capital projections, ensuring that our partnerships are both fiscally responsible and rewarding. Working closely with Tim Brantley as Co-Owner / Operator, Sean focuses on maintaining healthy client relationships while leading our Administrative team in their capital, finance, and sales responsibilities.
Like most of the Executives within SSA, Sean’s visitor service experience began early in his career, and included hands-on experience working with front-line staff in concession and retail amenities, learning each and every position within the visitor service operations at Denver area cultural attractions. Sean received his undergraduate degree from Drury College, and earned two Masters degrees: his MBA; and Masters of Science from the University of Denver, Daniels School of Business.
Like many ambitious offspring of successful business owners, Sean began post-college career outside the family business, with an exciting role as a project manager for Accenture for several years. Though finding success, he soon discovered that coming back to work with SSA was his true calling. Upon his return in 2005, Sean gained further experience in several critical projects, and was the founder of SSA’s Sustainability, Business Intelligence, and Inventory Management programs. Importantly, he also spent several years as a Regional Vice President of Operations, learning the finer points of the business and client relations under the tutelage of Tim and Kevin.
Chief operating officer
As part of SSA, Eric has focused on fostering a culture to attract and engage the industry’s top talent. With talented teams in place, he enables them to continually improve and innovate. Additionally, an always-learning expert of campus-setting, seasonal attraction visitor services, he personally teaches a wealth of his own operation practices that drive results and improve guest experiences for the clients and families we serve.
Before joining SSA, Eric served as District Manager with national food and beverage visitor service provider, Sodexo. His 20 plus years of industry experience include dozens of high-profile Zoos, Museums, and Aquariums. His career includes vast experience in catering, quick serve dining, concessions, visitor service master planning, and facility construction.
An experienced, service-minded individual, Eric prides himself on fostering deep relationships, often by carefully communicating and balancing the needs of SSA’s clients, operational teams, and owners.
Eric earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Travel Administration at the University of Massachusetts, in Amherst MA.View Eric on LinkedIn »
Chief People officer
Shannon provides leadership for our Catering Sales Managers nationally, with extensive knowledge and expertise in event design, customer service and value added sales. She leads SSA’s catering teams by providing oversight on policies, procedures, and standards, while taking a direct approach to each new account, mentoring sellers on trends, sales technique and growth strategy.
Shannon attended DePaul University and earned her Bachelor of Arts in History & Secondary Education. Shannon serves as Secretary on the Board of the T. Kevin McNicholas Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on the education needs of young people, preparing them to enter the workforce with character, ethics and leadership skills.View Shannon on LinkedIn »
Chief Administrator officer
Kevin’s first job with the company included hawking souvenir hats and pennants at Mile High Stadium in 1979 during the heavyweight exhibition fight between Muhammad Ali and former Denver Bronco Lyle Alzado. Little did he know that this would just be the first of many adventures that Kevin would enjoy in his 30 plus years of employment with the company!
Kevin is responsible for leading the Corporate administrative team, including Payroll, HR, Accounts Payable, and Accounts Receivable. Since joining the retail department of the company in 1979, he held many operating management positions prior to joining the administrative team, giving him a valued perspective of the challenges our operating teams encounter daily.
Outside of work, Kevin is a fervent booster of the athletic department at his children’s school, and Kevin also serves as a Trustee on the Board of the T. Kevin McNicholas Foundation, a non-profit education foundation.
chief retail officer
Patrick joined SSA in 2010, bringing with him more than 20 years of National retail operations experience with retailers Brookstone, Inc. and Williams-Sonoma, Inc. Patrick is responsible for all retail programming and operations for the company.
Over the years, his teams have responded to a management style that includes strong interpersonal relationships; a supportive role in helping units make appropriate decisions; a challenging but positive attitude to move business forward; humor; integrity and trust. His emphasis is to coach managers to become “owners,” including (but not limited to) the quality of their teams, the effectiveness of their communication, the impact of their leadership and, ultimately, the strength of their results.
Patrick grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and an M.B.A. from the University of Utah. He and his family currently reside outside Denver, Colorado.View Patrick on LinkedIn »
chief executive chef
Travis, who joined SSA in 2009, has 13 years of industry experience. He has been a member of American Culinary Foundation since 2000.
Travis conducted his formal culinary training at Le’ Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute, in Pittsburgh PA. Highlights of his career included working with “celebrity chefs” Jean Paul Robert (Cincinnati) and Stephen Pyles (Dallas), opening prestigious Dallas Museum of Art, orchestrating high profile events for Barbara Bush, the Country Music Awards, and Robert Mondavi. In 2007, his organization awarded him Division Culinarian of the Year.
Travis is the rarest of all chefs. He has is classically trained, but is familiar with all styles that are current. Formal events are where his skills can shine, yet he continues to exhibit passion in every-day, quick-serve dining operations. He is blessed with an incredible palate, passion to serve, unusual levels of energy, all combined with natural leadership skills.
It is only natural that he inspires SSA’s 24 executive chefs in the goal of “best in class” food & beverage operations.View Travis on LinkedIn »
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Mark coordinates the banking, finance, license and insurance needs of SSA, and has been involved with financial planning for the company since 1982. He maintains SSA’s financial resource and insurance relationships, and also acts as our liaison with the financial officers in our partner attractions. Mark has helped execute SSA’s mid-to long-term financial vision for more than three decades.
Outside of his role with SSA, Mark has served as treasurer of his home church for 15 years and currently serves both as treasurer and as a mentor for Master’s Hands, a nonprofit guidance program for men in troubled situations dedicated to becoming better fathers. He also serves as Treasurer for the T. Kevin McNicholas Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities for those in need.View Mark on LinkedIn »
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
Working towards his third decade with the company, David is a seasoned legal, sales, and operations executive highly successful at transforming prospective relationships into long-term partnerships through detailed financial planning, effective proposal writing, and the drafting of comprehensive operating agreements.
David’s executive legal responsibilities include the crafting and negotiation of operating agreements and amendments; the drafting, review, and negotiation of sub-contract agreements with company vendors; and management of per-unit contract compliance with an emphasis upon monitoring SSA’s capital obligations.
Prior to entering into operating agreements, David produces SSA’s sales and marketing materials, which includes proposals, financial modeling, and business operating plans. David also oversees the public relations (web, news releases, newsletters) department within the company.
After receiving his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology, Cum Laude, from the University of Colorado at Boulder, David transitioned from part-time with his long-term employer, Service Systems Associates, to a career in executive administration. David is also active in community fund-raising and non-profit groups, serving as Executive Director of the T. Kevin McNicholas Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on the education needs of young people, preparing them to enter the workforce with character, ethics and leadership skills. David also serves on the Board of Directors for the Mile High Chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association, and is on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Restaurant Association’s Education Foundation (CRAEF).View David on LinkedIn »
VICE PRESIDENT OF PROCUREMENT
Ron joined the SSA team in 2009 with the focus of streamlining procurement for the organization. His passion and spotlight focuses on “change,” and the constant re-evaluation of the status quo. Ron believes if you can be great and helpful for others, the luck and talent will come back to you ten-fold.
Ron has over 25 years in Hospitality, Healthcare and Procurement / Distribution. His focus on being customer oriented while achieving company goals through organization management has led him to be respected by many inside the Food and Healthcare industry.
While achieving his goals, his passion includes speaking engagements on “Spend Management” and “Team Organization” at venues such as the National Restaurant Association and State Dietetics events. Ron has also spent the last nine years working as a Volunteer in his community with the Give Back Cincinnati organization. He has led the largest Thanksgiving meal in the Midwest for six of those years, feeding 8,000 under served people on Thanksgiving Day. He has also been a Team Lead for the Paint Town event, in which a group of 1,200 volunteers paint the exteriors of over 50 needy family homes in one day.
Ron has an Associate Degree from the Midwest Culinary Institute in Chef Technology, Bachelor Degree from Thomas More College in Business, and an MBA from Franklin University wtih a focus in Finance.View Ron on LinkedIn »
VICE PRESIDENT of RETAIL MERCHANDise
Jacki leads the retail team’s product development and purchasing operations. Her buying expertise and knowledge of retail design helps create the unique shopping experiences that millions of guests to our partner attractions realize each year.
In her role, Jacki’s focus is on developing product assortment “stories” that incorporate multiple categories of products directly supporting an attraction’s exhibits and mission. She also partners with the Visual Director to optimize store layouts, increase custom product offerings and incorporate educational messages supporting our partner’s mission.
Jacki has more than 15 years of retail experience as a senior buyer and senior business analyst at several mass retailers. She moved into cultural attraction retail as a buyer for the Smithsonian Institution prior to joining SSA. Born in Connecticut, Jacki was raised in the Cincinnati area where she was a frequent visitor at the Cincinnati Zoo. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from the University of Michigan. She is a mother of twins, and when she is not working, she spends time with her family, enjoys cooking gourmet meals, and is an avid University of Michigan sports fan.
vice president of retail operations – east
Providing leadership for SSA’s retail managers on the East Coast, Tracie has over twenty years of Retail management experience. Prior to joining SSA, Tracie was with Delaware North Companies as a Retail Director at Ralph Wilson Stadium where she was responsible for all merchandising , assortment and marketing plans as well as all purchasing, allocations and inventory control. Prior to her tenure at DNC, Tracie worked for the Disney Stores as a District Sales Manager where she was a top performing District Manager and served on several task force teams and as a training District Sales Manager.
Tracie is a determined and driven sales leader who excels in assessing and developing talent. Tracie sets the standard for providing feedback that is actionable and aligned with the company’s and client’s vision. She provides coaching and developing of her teams that allows them to fulfill their career aspirations.View Tracie on LinkedIn »
retail visual director
Neil joined SSA in 2005 as the Human Resource Manager at the Detroit Zoo. Four years later, he assumed responsibility for Retail Operations there. Prior to SSA, Neil work for national retailers, Target and Kohl’s, specializing in opening new stores around the country.
In 2009, Neil was awarded SSA’s Employee of the Year, recognizing his performance, commitment and passion in creating incredible guest experiences. Along the way, his visual merchandising skills and store design acumen became evident. He successfully ran the Detroit Zoo retail operations through 2014.
In January 2015, Neil was promoted to the newly created position of Visual Director. He is responsible for the look, feel and flow of SSA’s retail stores. In his role, he works closely with GMs and Retail Operations Managers, buyers, numerous company executives, contractors, designers, graphic artists and many others that impact store design.
When not working, Neil enjoys his Yorkie Terrier, Buster, rooting for the Detroit Tigers and attending The Book of Mormon musical as many times as possible.View Neil on LinkedIn »
Executive vice president of food & beverage
After making the leap out of the kitchens and into the front lines, Nick found his true passion: teaching, engineering, and pioneering the high level of culinary and operational standards found in leisure venues across the United States.
Before joining SSA, Nick served as a District Manager, Regional General Manager, General Manager, and Executive Chef for Compass and Sodexo.
Nick trained at the Culinary Institute America, and earned his associate degree in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management from Sinclair College, in Dayton, Ohio.View Nick on LinkedIn »
REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENT
Mark leads our Mountain and Central Regions operational teams. His management style fosters a culture of engagement and development within his teams, and he provides a wealth of expertise in operational and master planning for both SSA and our client partners. Mark also specializes in managing capital projects, and his revenue growth strategies have yielded exceptional results.
Upon earning his Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Cincinnati, Mark’s career originated in the restaurant industry. But with a fateful job change into a cultural destination management role nearly 15 years ago, he found his true passion. It is here that he has fostered his leadership skills along with his operation planning expertise.
Prior to joining SSA, Mark most recently held the position of District Manager for Sodexo, responsible for many cultural destination venues nationwide, and was recognized as the national District Manager of the Year in 2010.
While he has had many achievements, it is his passion for mentoring others, positive leadership and strategic innovations that have always been valued by his team and his clients that he is most proud of.
Craft, Fine Street Foods
SSA’s Ambassador with real “Street Cred,” Craft makes its way from attraction to attraction serving the yummiest local concoctions that our Chef’s can…Craft! After graduating from the Assembly Class of ’13, Craft started serving fine street foods at local Zoos in Tennessee, South Carolina and Colorado, wowing guests with loaded tots, freshly prepared salads, and the finest grilled sandwiches made from locally sourced breads, produce and proteins.
On the personal side, Craft loves cruisin’ down the open road, frequent baths, the smell of grilled meat, and putting smiles on faces.
Craft’s favorite movie quote: “Get in my belly!”
Craft aspires to be a firetruck when all grown up.View Craft’s Facebook Page »