Al Shacklett (Principal) is the founding principal of ORCA Consulting and has been a pioneer in the development and application of state-of-the-art analysis methodologies for the leisure industry over the past thirty years. His ongoing experience in project analysis has secured his position as a leading expert in the field of visitor capacity and circulation planning, contributing to the successful development of theme parks, national parks, museums, aquariums, zoos, science centers, visitor centers, fairs and expositions, sports stadiums and transportation systems worldwide.
After having served as a petty officer in the U.S. Navy and earning a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering at the University of Florida, Al’s professional career began as the first industrial engineer at Walt Disney World to focus exclusively on the science of “Guestology” where he was involved with project development and optimization for theme parks, transportation systems and resorts for Disney resort developments in Florida and California. Al was the founding manager of the Theme Parks Industrial Engineering department at Walt Disney World, which involved management of a large staff of industrial engineers and working with Disney Imagineers and operations managers to improve the efficiency and productivity of the theme park, resort, and transportation facilities and operations. To support the growing worldwide Disney theme park developments, Al went on to establish the Industrial Engineering Project Development department, where he managed the work of a large department of Industrial Engineers and MBA’s and was integrally involved with the development of many major Disney projects, including Euro Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. In 1993, Al recognized the opportunity to provide this type of project support to the general leisure industry and formed ORCA Consulting to enable the adaptation and refinement of analytical techniques originally created within the Disney “laboratory” to a wider variety of applications. Al’s support on projects includes sizing and layout recommendations to guide architects and designers as well as creative solutions to improve less-than-ideal spaces in existing facilities.
Al has been an invited speaker at many professional conferences, was nominated for outstanding achievement in Operations Research, was featured on ABC’s 20/20 program as an expert on theme park queues, and has taught classes in Engineering Economy, Operations Research, and Probability & Statistics as an adjunct professor at the University of Central Florida.
John Moss (Associate) brings broad experience in operational and hospitality management to ORCA based on a career that began at Walt Disney World and encompasses over two decades of multi-disciplinary training and management. Working in venues including the Disney Store, Panera Bread, and the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, John developed experience in retail and food and beverage venue operations before becoming Vice-President of Operations for the Indianapolis Zoological Society. In that role he directed new attraction development and installation in addition to managing guest services, food and beverage, retail, ticket and membership sales, attraction operations and maintenance.
John knows how to successfully improve sales results and implement policy and process changes to drive desired results. His areas of expertise include venue development and operations, retail and food and beverage management, ticketing and admissions, management training, and guest services.
With ORCA, John uses his experience to improve visitor services by analyzing venue plans and identifying improvements to enhance operations and revenue generation, reducing or better utilizing staffing, and eliminating potential maintenance issues. John also evaluates ticketing and admissions systems and strategies, visitation management strategies, and crowd control measures to determine how venues can best accommodate expected attendance levels, to help achieve maximum visitor and member satisfaction and loyalty.
Zach Buran (Simulation Modeling Specialist) started working as a simulation specialist for ORCA in 2015, and possesses an extensive background in the operations research industry. He has a degree in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech, and since then, he has been consistently growing his career in operations research by learning over 5 different simulation software and applying them to many different industries such as pedestrian flow, traffic flow, and manufacturing. Zach has been an integral part in building simulations at ORCA that are able to assist in pinpointing areas for improvement in pedestrian flow environments, and his simulation scopes have ranged from aquariums, to national monuments, and everything in between. One of his biggest accomplishments at ORCA was creating a pedestrian flow simulation for the Yayoi Kusama Exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum, where he programmed ORCA’s recommended timed ticketing system that the museum ended up using as a standard for the exhibition.
Russ Destifino (Operations Specialist) brings a wealth of wisdom from his work in a National Park setting along with years of service at Walt Disney World. While at Yellowstone National Park, Russ served in a variety of operations positions with Xanterra, a hospitality services provider contracted with many National Park facilities across the United States. At Walt Disney World, Russ furthered his operational expertise while working in both the Parks and Resorts Divisions, including his efforts in developing procedures and training methods for the implementation of a new high-capacity security screening system, Evolv.
Jerry Garst (Operations Specialist) brings over three decades of leisure industry expertise to our work, including restaurant operations, event operations, and resort operations. Jerry’s leadership career began in Virginia as a Restaurant General Manager operating a high-volume table service facility. After several years in this role, Jerry relocated to Florida where he supported Hilton Hotels in their Resort Security Services operation, based at a Hilton property in Walt Disney World. With the opening of Disney’s flagship 1000-room resort, Jerry joined the Walt Disney World Company, where Jerry became proficient in Resort operations, with an emphasis in visitor service standards. With over two decades of service at Walt Disney World, Jerry has been instrumental in the successful delivery of numerous facility enhancements and refurbishments.
Jerry’s operational background includes over six years of service at Hello! Destination Management, at which Jerry coordinated event-related transportation for conferences and other private event activity throughout Walt Disney World and the surrounding Orlando tourism corridor.