Faculty Bios

Leonard A. Jackson, Ph.D.
Program Director

Dr. Jackson is the founding Director for the Hospitality Management program in the Coles College of Business, Kennesaw State University.  He has over 30 years of corporate and academic experience.   Prior to entering academia, Dr. Jackson held senior corporate positions and acquired extensive international experience in the areas of financial management and control; accounting; auditing; feasibility analysis; real estate and asset management and operations management. His experience encompasses the major sectors of the hospitality and tourism industry (lodging, airline, and food & beverage), and has worked for industry leaders such as Hyatt Corporation and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.  His academic experience encompasses the areas of lodging operations and strategic management; business development; financial management and control; real estate finance and asset management; entrepreneurial studies and revenue management.

He earned a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from Oklahoma State University; Master of Science in Entrepreneurship (M.S.E.), University of Florida; Master of Science in Management Information Systems (MS), Oklahoma State University; Master of Business Administration (MBA), University of Guelph, Canada; Master of Accounting (MAcc.), Florida Atlantic University; Bachelor of Commerce (BComm), Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada and diplomas (AA) in hotel management and food and beverage management from George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology, Toronto, Canada. He also completed postdoctoral studies in finance, accounting, and entrepreneurship at the University of Florida. Dr. Jackson also earned the following professional certifications: Certificate, Sustainable Investing, Harvard Business School; Certificate, Blockchain Technologies: Business Innovation and Application, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Certificate in Hotel Real Estate Investments and Asset Management, Cornell University; Certificate in Hotel Revenue Management, Cornell University; Certification in Advanced Hospitality and Tourism Analytics (CAHTA),Certificate in Hotel Industry Analytics (CHIA), Smith Travel Research and; Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance, Oklahoma State University. Dr. Jackson is also certified by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AH&LA) as a Certified Hospitality Educator.

During his career, Dr. Jackson has also generated over 50 intellectual contributions and presented his works at numerous academic and industry conferences.  He also secured several grants and other forms of corporate funding for his institutions including grants from the J Willard and Alice Marriott Foundation and the Statler Foundation.  Dr. Jackson has also received several awards for his teaching, research and service activities.  In addition to his academic and corporate endeavors, Dr. Jackson has been involved in executive development programs in Latin America and the Caribbean region.  He has also consulted with and executed executive and professional development workshops for national and global organizations including InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG).  He also served as a visiting professor of asset management and real estate finance at ESSEC Business School in France.  Dr. Jackson also worked with a team to develop the Master’s in hospitality management program and the Masters of Sustainable Management at the University of Southern California (USC), where he also served as a visiting professor.

Melih Madanoglu, Ph.D.
Endowed Chair & Professor of Hospitality

Melih Madanoglu is Michael A. Leven Endowed Chair and Professor in Hospitality Management in M.A. Leven School of Management, Entrepreneurship, & Hospitality. Prior to joining Kennesaw State University, he was Associate Professor and Dean’s Distinguished Research Fellow in Hospitality and Tourism Management in College of Business at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Madanoglu earned his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech University. In his 20-year academic career, he taught hospitality management courses at Virginia Tech University, Stephen F. Austin State University, Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida Atlantic University (FAU).

Dr. Madanoglu’s research efforts received several awards. At institutional level, he was the recipient of the Florida Gulf Coast University 2009 Junior Faculty Scholarship Excellence Award. This feat was followed by the 2012 Scholar of the Year award in College of Business at FAU in the Assistant Professor category. The apogee of his scholarship at FAU has been the 2018 Florida Atlantic University Scholar of the Year Award in the Associate Professor Category.

Another notable accomplishment is the 2016 Bradford Wiley Memorial Best (Published) Research Paper of the Year Award in hospitality and tourism. This award is given to a superior research publication on a topic relevant to the field of hospitality or tourism management. He was also winner of the Best Paper in Track at the 2016 Southern Management Association (SMA). More recently, he was the recipient of Best Paper Award in Contribution to Conference Theme at the 2020 International Family Enterprise Research Academy.

Dr. Madanoglu serves as the Vice President of International Association of Hospitality Financial Management Education (iAHFME). His publications appeared in renowned journals such as Journal of Retailing, Tourism Management, Small Business Economics, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Small Business Management, International Journal of Hospitality Management, and International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. He is the Research Methodology Editor of the Service Industries Journal. He also serves on the editorial boards of International Journal of Hospitality Management, International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, and International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Tourism Economics and several other journals.

Jonathan Brown

Mr. Brown's educational background is with the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia, where he has earned a BBA in Management as well as a Master’s in Business administration. Currently, he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Hospitality Management at Iowa State University and his research interests include Experiential Learning within Hospitality Education, Hospitality Internship Experiences, Economic Impact of the Craft Beverage Industry, and Program Evaluation within Hospitality Education. As a lecturer with the Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality program at Kennesaw State University, he has taught multiple subjects ranging from Beverage Management to F&B Purchasing to Strategic Hospitality Management.  Before entering academia, Mr. Brown spent 15 years managing hospitality businesses ranging from family-owned operations to large multi-national corporations; these businesses included Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, Cabernet Steakhouse, World of Beer, and HMS Host.

Esther Yi

Esther Yi is a Lecturer of Hospitality Management in the Michael A Leven School of Management, Entrepreneurship and Hospitality, Coles College of Business. She has over 15 years of diverse industry experience and has worked for industry leaders including Expedia Group, Hunter Hotel Advisors and Fifth Group Restaurants. Ms. Yi also worked as an adjunct professor at Georgia State University, where she earned her Master of Global Hospitality Management (MGHM) and her Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degrees. Ms. Yi also earned her Certificate in Hotel Industry Analytics (CHIA) and is a Certified Instructor of CHIA by STR.