His educational background includes studying architecture at Arizona State University, and then on to Business Management at Ivy Tech Community College.
As a teen Al earned Photoshop and started a t-shirt and sticker business with brother, Nick, a project manager with the Great Lakes West PM Team. Al also enjoys working on his ’69 Camaro which he is restoring.
Ami has over 20 years of experience in accounting. She’s worked in multiple fields, from pharmaceutical to automotive, and now in foodservice. Ami’s current role for the design team is Project Estimator working out of our Southfield, MI office.
“With my 20 plus years of accounting experience I feel I bring an analytical mind to every project and had the pleasure of working in the foodservice contract department with Great Lakes Hotel Supply prior to joining the design team.”
When asked what sets the Great Lakes Culinary Design team apart, Ami said “It’s our people. We have an amazing talented team built from real-world industry experience that helps us bring our client’s visions to life!”
Outside of work Ami and her husband Gary of 18 years have 2 beautiful teenage daughters. They are an active family and Ami serves as a youth pastor for her church as well as a coach for a competitive Winter Guard team. She loves to read, roller skate, and spending quality time with family and friends.
Andrew Arata joined Great Lakes Culinary Design in 2018 as our first Technician.
His past experience of 16 years in the automotive industry made him the perfect addition to our team. His extremely detail-oriented approach is vital in our process of document production.
In previous roles, he was tasked with high technical work such as designing/engineering battery components and managing a quality assurance department, ensuring all company standards and procedures are met.
His addition has been a vital improvement to the team.
Originally from Mollendo, Peru, Franklin has since made Madison, WI his home for the last 20 years.
Franklin began his journey with design receiving a degree as Architecture Technician from the Madison Area Technical College in Madison, WI. It was here that he was brought into the digital drafting world of AutoCad where the path led him to the world of culinary design.
When not designing, Franklin loves to play the guitar, is great at doing custom body work on his car and loves to cruise around Madison with his fiancé. According to Franklin, “She is my biggest critic when it comes to the things I do to my car, by the way!”
Joel oversees the culinary design division for the Great Lakes portfolio of companies.
Joel has designed a wide variety of food service production, serving and dining areas experience for just about every sector, from hospitality and healthcare to corporate, schools and restaurants.
Starting as a dish washer in his family’s restaurants, he has been involved in every facet of the culinary world; working in restaurants, managing them and then jumping sides to the design and project management world. There isn’t a part of the foodservice industry he hasn’t been involved in.
Taking an out of the box approach, Joel has managed to marry efficiency, budgets and culinary design experience of over 20 years into award winning designs within a strong team.
Marcus brings over 12+ years of Bar/Restaurant Management throughout the Midwest ranging from Chicago to Lansing.
Marcus believes his combined background as a bar and restaurant FOH/Operations manager gives him an edge when working with clients and Chefs to efficiently design their space. He understand the operational headaches poor design can present, and more importantly, understand the ways in which these inefficiencies can affect the bottom line. These experiences shape his design philosophy.
When not working, Marcus enjoys traveling with his wife, playing with his two dogs, embracing his love for golf, or cheering on any his Alma Mater, Michigan State University.
Matt is a Project Manager and has designed and engineered a multitude of food service production, serving and dining areas for healthcare, corporate and university settings.
Whether it’s new construction or a multiphasic renovation his designs excel in both functional planning and aesthetic appeal, while ever conscious of project budget parameters.
He combines his strong graphic background, mechanical engineering experience and architectural training to design foodservice environments that function efficiently yet remain pleasant and desirable in their orientation to basic human needs for comfort and dignity.
Matt received his Bachelor of Architecture from Lawrence Technological University and has been designing in the food service sector for over 25 years.
Nick is a native Michigander, growing up in the beautiful Upper Peninsula, exploring its endless shorelines and untouched countryside. When he was of age, he joined the US Navy, specializing in the charting of navigational maps and the operating of sea systems on board a nuclear submarine.
Having grown up with an extended family extremely fond of food and drink, coupled with his food-abroad experiences, it was a natural for him to attend culinary school at the OCC Culinary Institute (Farmington Hills, MI). For the next 10 years after graduating, he worked in varying facets and locations of hot line kitchen work, including Hawaii and Portland. While in Portland Nick attended design school and subsequently worked for a large restaurant supplier in the Pacific Northwest. He’s been doing food service design ever since.
With Ryan’s background as an Executive Chef brings a litany of firsthand knowledge to the design department.
Having worked his way through the kitchens of large cities like Chicago and San Francisco, he has gained a unique understanding of the many different approaches to preparing food and the equipment and processes required to do so. This experience has given him an understanding of how great design can establish a solid base for a successful kitchen.
Ryan excels in transferring his experience and understanding into his designs. His ability to envision himself within the kitchen space and his technical aptitude come together to create clear and accurate design documents for client presentations and architectural coordination.