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Meet the team that made us what we are today.
FOUNDER, HEAD COACH
In 1978 Coach Clarence Mabe of Gray, Tennessee, noticed that his student-athletes were becoming fascinated with an exciting new phenomenon – video games. Clarence saw an opportunity and purchased his first video game system, Space Invaders, and placed it in a friend’s convenience store.
Shortly after buying Space Invaders Clarence purchased a Skee-Ball machine to add to his collection and S&M Amusements was born. Clarence became a pioneer of claw cranes, being only the second person in the United States to own one of the machines. One claw crane quickly became one hundred, and Clarence quickly grew S&M Amusements into one of the largest crane machine route businesses in the country.
In 1987 Clarence bought Rockin’ Raceway, his first family entertainment center (FEC). It was at Rockin’ Raceway that Clarence laid the foundation for the values that continue throughout FACE today: Faith, Attitude, Consistency, and Excellence. In 2013 Clarence’s two younger sons, Bucky and Rusty, joined forces with their father and Mark Larkey to create FACE Amusement.
S&M Amusement continues today as a route business while FACE Amusement continues to grow by leaps and bounds with new boutique arcades and attractions across the county. Clarence continues to direct the routes business and offers assistance and support to the FEC side of FACE Amusement. Ever the innovator, Clarence has created his own arcade games over the years, such as Toss ‘Em, Alley Cat, and Basket Fever.
Clarence believes in giving back to those less fortunate and has made doing so an important priority for FACE. The FACE Bear Hugs program was born from that generosity, as well as the annual STAR Christmas event. Clarence personally participates in a number of charities and organizations that give back to the community and support the youth.
When not working, Clarence is an avid tennis player and philanthropist. He loves cheering on the East Tennessee State University Buccaneers with his wife, Cookie, and their large group of lifelong friends. His greatest joy in life comes from his grandchildren, whom he continues to coach and teach into becoming the next generation of FACE Amusement leaders.
Born and raised in Gray – a suburb of Johnson City, Tennessee – Bucky grew up in a fun family environment. He was taught at a young age by his father, Coach Clarence Mabe, to be a risk-taker and inherited his entrepreneurial spirit. Coach Mabe offered Bucky his first job at $10.00 an hour; but, Bucky turned down the offer. Instead, Bucky started his own business mowing lawns and quickly discovered he loved – like his father – working for himself.
Once he saw he had the ability to turn a profit on his own, Bucky’s visionary abilities began when he was a junior in high school. Bucky and his business partner, Mark, started a games route business named B&M. When not in school, Bucky and Mark managed the routes located in grocery, convenience stores, and truck stops. Their routes extended from Tennessee to Western Kentucky, and Missouri to Florida.
In 2001, Bucky graduated from East Tennessee State University with a major in Finance and he and Mark hit the ground running with the ideas and vision that Bucky had been dreaming of. He and Mark paired up with Coach Mabe and they formed S&M Amusements. Bucky had the vision to not only provide the games but to operate them as well. He recognized there was more than just entering a video arcade and playing a video game. The opportunity existed to create lasting memories. In 2005, his love of the games and family came together with their first owned and operated Video Arcade, Rockin’ Raceway in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. With this opening, Bucky and Mark dedicated their time to learn operations with the vision of becoming a family entertainment center where all ages can have a FUN experience. The company has since expanded into Florida and Missouri.
With the evolution of business and technology, Bucky had a vision for taking the company to the next level. They rebranded to FACE (Faith, Attitude, Consistency, and Excellence). Not only are these the core values they deliver to each guest; but, what they look for in each employee, as well. Bucky is diligent and focused on delivering the best experience for all of their guests which is why he believes in the brand promise – FUN guaranteed.
Bucky and his wife, Sarah, have three sons and are very involved with games, sports, and the community.
PRESIDENT, FACE AMUSEMENT
Playing Division I basketball at East Tennessee State University taught Mark important lessons early on in life: you need teamwork and strong leadership to win the game. It’s the same philosophy and gamesmanship he instills in the team at FACE. Mark focuses on the construction and real estate development side of FACE Amusement and has been instrumental in helping FACE grow to the company it is today and is destined to become through their extensive growth plans.
Mark attended East Tennessee State University on a basketball scholarship majoring in Education and received his Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision. After graduation, Mark taught at his local high school, and then served as the Assistant Principal and Director of Athletics at Daniel Boone High School in Gray, Tennessee.
One of Mark’s proudest accomplishments was serving as a County Commissioner for 12 years. While serving the community as Commissioner, he offered his expertise in Budget/Finance Planning, overseeing a $120M budget, Commission Economic Development, and Public Works Committee. His goal was to make sure the road of progress and service towards the community would help future men and women have the same opportunities he was afforded while growing up in Washington County. “You have to have people who care to look out for the next generation,” says Mark. He is proud of the capital projects that were developed and launched during the time he served. Some of the greatest accomplishments were a very progressive approach to reinvesting in the county when they built three new schools, renovated two high schools, built a state-of-the-art Justice Center and invested significant dollars to maintaining the existing infrastructure throughout the county.
Growing up in the same area, Mark and the Mabe family had known each other their entire lives. Mark and Bucky formed a relationship while he was teaching. Mark’s expertise in Real Estate Development has allowed FACE to successfully expand into multiple states and he is excited about the new growth they have laid out for the future. In addition to family entertainment centers, Mark and Bucky have worked together on other real estate development projects – both commercial and residential.
Mark and his wife of 23 years, Christy, have two beautiful daughters. When not playing games at FACE, Mark, being the avid sports fan, enjoys watching college basketball and football.
PRESIDENT, FACE HOSPITALITY
Rosemary Rose is a seasoned executive leader with extensive experience across multiple industries and critical business functions. During her 30+ year career with Icon Orlando, Strayer University, The Walt Disney Company, Darden Restaurants, and Automatic Data Processing, Rosemary’s made significant contributions in Operations, Finance, Information Technology, and Marketing, with each role increasing in scope and responsibility, leveraging her skills to grow revenue and improve profitability. Her strongest talent and most dedicated focus was to identify high potential individuals, develop exceptional leaders, build diverse teams across multiple states and countries, and equip them to continuously deliver outstanding results, many times through the creative use of technology. Her extensive background will serve FACE Hospitality LLC, an entity of FACE, well as they look to expand into new and exciting entertainment and food and beverage offerings.
Rosemary graduated Cum Laude from the University of Central Florida in 1981 with a BS in Business Administration and a major in Finance and received an MBA from UCF in 1982 with a concentration in Management.
Most recently, she served as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Icon Orlando, located in the heart of the tourist district in Orlando, Florida. Rosemary built a highly talented and experienced team, and together they transformed the property and transitioned operating responsibilities to the new team.
Prior to her CEO role with Icon Orlando, Rosemary was the Chief Operating Officer of Strayer University and Officer of Strayer Education. She was responsible for 76 campuses, Information Technology, Student Financial Services, Academic Services, and Special Events. During her seven-year tenure with Strayer University, she grew the business during a time of challenge within the for-profit education industry, realizing multiple quarters of enrollment growth by investing in the development of the staff and relevant programs to enhance the student’s learning experience.
From 1998 to 2009, Rosemary was an executive with The Walt Disney Company. She began her Disney career as a Finance Director for Food and Beverage and progressed to Vice President of Operations, concluding her career after running Worldwide Food & Beverage and Merchandise Operations. While at Walt Disney World, Rosemary was responsible for 15,000 Cast Members throughout all Parks, Resorts, Downtown Disney and Sports & Recreation. When she entered her role, the profit margins for Food & Beverage averaged 15% across WDW and reached 35% within four years.
Prior to joining The Walt Disney Company, Rosemary was the Director of Menu Operations at Darden Restaurants. As a Darden team member from 1990 to 1998, Rosemary participated in the transition of the company from a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Mills, where she started as an Internal Auditor, to it’s standing as a separate public company. During her tenure with Darden, she had responsibilities as a Financial and Marketing Analyst, Manager and Director, primarily with The Olive Garden brand. Rosemary assisted in the start-up product and menu development of two other Darden brands.
In addition to her corporate responsibilities and community activities, Rosemary is also one of the founding members of Paddle Board Orlando, a large adventure business developed and based in Central Florida, as well as Palm Paddle Company, one of the top paddleboard manufacturers and sales organizations in Florida.
Rosemary and her husband Doug have two sons and are Florida natives. Giving back to others outside the workplace has also been an important priority for Rosemary and her family. She has served on several non-profit boards and in church/community partnerships.
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, FACE
A native of Johnson City, Tennessee, Matt Wilhjelm has strived for excellence from the football field to the boardroom. His commitment to strong leadership can be traced back to his days as the quarterback for the East Tennessee State University Buccaneers. This opportunity taught him to see the big picture, and how-to bring teammates together to achieve a shared vision.
Matt’s roles within the financial world began quickly after graduation. His first role was with Amerace in business development and marketing role. He worked to procure new products and cultivate relationships within different industries. Matt quickly found himself as a financial analyst where he oversaw and executed a profitability analysis and site selection for potential domestic and international plant installations. As Matt proved his leadership and knowledge with Amerace, he became the CFO. His new responsibilities in his new role was overseeing all financial aspects of the company.
Matt’s next role allowed him to become the Vice President of Finance and Corporate Administration with Free Service Tire, a 98-year-old family-owned company. His proven leadership and knowledge of financial landscapes allowed him to lead them in their growth and development. He was responsible once again for all financial aspects of the company, as well as managing its real estate transactions. Matt brings to FACE the ability to look to the future with strong financial projections and create solid banking relationships.
When he’s not at work or giving back to the community, you can find Matt spending time with his family or teaching Webelos scouts the correct way to tie a square knot. Matt and his wife Karen have six kids ranging from ages 2 to 13. Matt can also be found behind the microphone presenting color commentary for the ETSU Buccaneers football team, and on the Washington County Community Board for Mountain States Health Alliance.
VP CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE, FACE
Rusty Mabe is a native of Gray, Tennessee, and a graduate of East Tennessee State University. Like his father Coach Mabe, Rusty has an eye for the little details that elevate an experience from great to “Whoa!”
Rusty is an entrepreneur in his own right, having operated a mobile DJ business for many years. Rusty’s greatest passion in life is bringing people together and creating fun experiences, so you might say he’s the perfect man for the job when it comes to planning how FACE creates fun experiences for our guests.
Rusty is an early-adopter of all things technology and keeps everyone at the FACE Support Center up-to-date with the latest and greatest technology advancements. Rusty coordinates FACE’s research and development efforts and is constantly on the lookout for the next big thing. Rusty serves as a liaison for our many product vendors and helps coordinate rollout of new attractions with a customer-centric approach that puts the guest at the center of the experience.
When not working, Rusty enjoys spending time with his Wife Katie and their dog, Copper. Rusty enjoys traveling when he’s not cheering for his Alma Mater, the East Tennessee State University Buccaneers.
EXECUTIVE CHEF, FACE HOSPITALITY
By the time he joined The Walt Disney Company in 1989 as an intern, Chef Michael Thompson had already proven himself as a masterful line cook. After interning and working as a chef, he worked his way up to Chef de Cuisine at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Co. Business Optimization Team & Heart of the House Systems, to his time as Executive Chef at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Now after 25 years he is excited to join FACE Hospitality and lead us in our research, development, and opening of our new restaurant concepts.
Faith, Attitude, Consistency and Excellence are what make FACE a different kind of amusement group.
BEING CONFIDENT IN ONE ANOTHER
We are believers, committed to service and being a source of inspiration and fellowship for our guests and our co-workers. Good faith in our process and our people is a cornerstone we believe sets us apart, making each touchpoint of interaction something meaningful.
RESPONDING POSITIVE, REGARDLESS OF CIRCUMSTANCE
We strive to be uplifting in every interaction with our guests and each other, offering encouragement and can-do response at every turn. We believe the right attitude sets the tone for all the things you put out into the world, its an active perspective that we strive to keep in our work.
DOING WHAT IS EXPECTED, EVERYDAY
We are guided by conscience, committed to doing the right thing by keeping promises and supporting others without fail. Our experience has always been that consistency breeds trust, and trust breeds fulfilling experiences for ourselves and for our customers.
PURSUING MY PERSONAL BEST
We give it our all every day, with each of us striving to be the best team member, fun-maker and person we can be. Excellence is earned through hard work and forged by a dedication to our people, our standards, and to every customer experience.