Joel Manby is President and Chief Executive Officer of Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation (HFE). HFE develops and operates entertainment, tourism and hospitality properties that currently span 22 locations in 10 states and is widely recognized as the premier privately held theme park operator in the United States. HFE was recently ranked the 10th largest themed attractions company in the world following Disney, Universal, Six Flags, Cedar Fair and five other firms.
Joel was a valedictorian graduate of Albion College and a Rhodes scholarship finalist. He began his career at General Motors and attended Harvard Business School on a GM scholarship. Upon graduation from Harvard, he was asked to join the start-up team for Saturn Corporation where he was instrumental in launching Saturn’s innovative marketing and distribution strategy. After seven years with Saturn and a two-year term with GM’s International Division, he was promoted to CEO of Saab Automobile USA. During Joel’s four-year tenure at Saab, he led the company to dramatic results as sales increased by 67 percent and their J.D. Power Quality Rating improved from 30th to fifth in the industry.
Joel’s association with HFE dates back to 1998 when he was asked to serve on the HFE Board of Directors. He later became Non-Executive Chairman of the Board and then accepted the role of CEO in 2003. Under Joel’s leadership, HFE has expanded its creative capabilities and demonstrated strong profit expansion through targeted acquisitions and organic growth.
Joel was elected to the Albion College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991 and has served on the Albion College Board of Trustees. As a volunteer, Joel serves as Chairman of reThink, a non-profit company whose mission is to provide effective tools which enable families to learn biblical virtues in the home, school and church. Joel is also on the board of John Stott Ministries. He and his wife, Marki, have four daughters and reside in suburban Atlanta.