|Kevin McNicholas, President and Chief Executive Officer
K-M Concessions, Inc. / Service Systems Associates, Inc.
After a decade of senior management in the concessions industry, Kevin McNicholas formed K-M Concessions, Inc. (KM) 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 1972, KM expanded operations to the National Western Complex in Denver, and in 1973 KM was awarded the visitor service operations contract at the Denver Zoo.
In 1976, Kevin also successfully started Denver Arena Concessions and opened the then-new McNichols Arena in Denver as its initial concession, catering, and retail partner. McNichols Arena hosted the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Rockies (NHL) hockey club, and a wide variety of popular concerts.
35 years later, KM continues to operate the visitor services at the Denver Zoo.
In response to demand from Zoo Directors across the country, Kevin formed Service Systems Associates, Inc. (SSA) with Tim Brantley in 1988 to focus on visitor services in Zoos and Aquariums.
SSA is now recognized as the leader in the Zoo and Aquarium visitor service industry, with 30 Zoo / Aquarium / Museum partnerships in the U.S.
Kevin has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Benedictine College, and has been an Associate Member of the American Zoo & Aquarium Association (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; received the Humanitarian Award from the American Ireland Fund in 2003 with co-honoree Sen. George Mitchell; was inducted into the Colorado Restaurant Association Hall of Fame in 2007; and received the 2008 Torch of Liberty Award from the Anti Defamation League.
Business Bio for T. Kevin McNicholas:
- As a teen, Kevin McNicholas (a Denver native) started his concession career vending popcorn in the '50's, at Denver Bears baseball games at Bears Stadium. Kevin is fond to recall the days in which the concession company brewed the root beer for the games in the kitchen then located in the basement of the historic City Park Pavilion building. (The Pavilion, co-incidentally, currently houses Kevin's corporate offices on the second floor.)
- Kevin also managed the concessions at Winter Park ski area for the same concession company in the and '60's.
- Kevin formed K-M Concessions (K-M) in 1971 based on a "hand-shake" agreement with then Denver Broncos coach Lou Saban, and Denver Bears GM Jim Burris to sell programs, souvenirs, and provide catering in the press box. This hand-shake agreement lasted 23 years.
- In 1972, Kevin secured the contract to provide food and beverage service at the National Western Complex, and the company continues to provide these services today. In January alone, K-M Concessions serves over 600,000 visitors in just 16 days at this facility. K-M provides full service catering, concessions, cafeteria style dining, services a private club (breakfast, lunch and dinner), and a seated restaurant specializing in dry aged, certified angus prime rib. Throughout the rest of the year, the National Western is a convention/equestrian center, hosting a wide variety of trade shows, sporting events, and equestrian events.
- In 1973, Kevin secured the visitor service contract at the Denver Zoo, and continues to provide these services today. These services include: retail gift shops, concessions and cafeteria style service, full service catering, ride operation, and janitorial services.
- From 1974 to 1988, as 1/2 owner of Denver Arena Concessions, Kevin provided the food service at McNichols Sports Arena.
- In 1988, in response to demand from other Zoos around the country, Kevin formed Service Systems Associates (SSA) as a sister company to K-M, with business partner Tim Brantley. This company handles visitor services in Zoos and Aquarium's outside of Denver, with many current Zoo/Aquarium/Aviary/Botanic Gardens accounts.
- In 2000, Kevin was awarded the Daniel L. Ritchie Colorado Ethics in Business Award. The awards, founded by the Daniels College of Business at DU, ColoradoBiz, and the Samaritan Institute, offer annual tribute to Colorado models of the kind of leadership Bill Daniels hoped to foster in the community. The Ritchie Award is given to those who demonstrate character and ethics through caring for, respecting and working with others, without prejudice. Personal values, and the extent of the person's influence also are key criteria.
- K-M Concessions currently provides visitor services at the Denver Zoo, the National Western Complex, Colorado's Ocean Journey, Denver’s historic City Park Pavilion, and has entered into an agreement with another Denver cultural attraction to be announced in mid-July, 2004.
- Service Systems Associates currently provides visitor services at (listed in order of acquisition) the Pittsburgh Zoo, the Cheyenne Mtn. Zoo (Colo. Springs), the El Paso Zoo, the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, the Sacramento Zoo, the Albuquerque Bio Park (Zoo, Aquarium, and Botanic Gardens), Honolulu Zoo, the Detroit Zoo, the Reid Park Zoo (Tucson), the Los Angeles Zoo, the San Francisco Zoo, the Houston Zoo, the Boise Zoo, San Francisco's Union Square, the Conservatory of Flowers (SF, Golden Gate Park), the Minnesota Zoo, the Point Defiance Zoo (Tacoma), the Tulsa Zoo & Living Museum, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Our companies were built on the integrity of a hand shake. These ideals are just as important to us today as they were thirty years ago. We believe that a visitor's experience at a concession or gift shop plays a major role in determining their overall perception of the attraction. We also believe that a positive experience can best be achieved through fast, courteous service and a reasonable pricing structure. T. Kevin McNicholas