Mark Rucker

University of Missouri

Board Advisor, School of Hospitality Management

In 2020, Mark Rucker joined the University of Missouri as a Board Advisor in their school of Hospitality Management. Prior to that he was SVP of Operations with Great Wolf Resorts (GWR), leading the western U.S. Operations teams which produced record lodge revenues and EBITDA. Rucker established corporate roles for Rooms, Engineering & Aquatics lines of businesses, implementing new enterprise-wide business processes and standards, like housekeeping cleaning standards, integrated facility planning and ride utilization monitoring. He led the Operations Development team to support the U.S. new business growth strategy, including the opening of four lodges during his almost 3 year tenure. Rucker also partnered with the Development and HR teams in strategic planning initiatives to enhance new lodge layout/flow/design and employee recruiting, employee training & development and employee experience and engagement. As an active Executive Leadership Team member, he worked toward the November 2019 sale of the company. Prior to joining GWR, Rucker had a fulfilling and successful 32-year career working globally in Walt Disney Parks and Resorts (WDP&R) and regionally at the Walt Disney World Co. (WDW). During that time, he rapidly moved through fifteen different roles with ever-increasing responsibilities. Some of those roles included global VP of Experience Planning & Integration, Park Operations, Lodging and Operations Systems Integration while at WDP&R. Other executive roles included VP-Park Operations, Director-Resort Room Operations, GM-Park Operation at EPCOT, Director-Transportation and Resort Support and GM-Water Parks & Recreation while at WDW. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri, where he majored in industrial engineering (1983) and later earned an MBA while working at Disney. Rucker currently lives in beautiful Golden, Colo. with his wife Stephanie. When not consulting, you can find him babysitting his first granddaughter, writing two new books, hiking and snow-skiing in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.