GYM Fitness Team

Steve Smith


Mr. Smith, a former arena football player and a national bodybuilding champion, began his business career by opening a gym in the town of Oxford, MS upon graduating from Ole Miss. Mr. Smith is a former licensee of three Gold’s Gym locations, and recipient of the International Gold’s Gym Marketing Award. He has been involved in the fitness and wellness industry since the age of 18. In 1996, he founded Planet Beach which has grown into the world’s largest fully automated spa franchise, and is now operating 345 locations in 8 countries. In the fall of 2009, While training under the guidance of Coach Duke Rousse, an NFL strength and conditioning expert, he was inspired to create a group training fitness concept which resulted in the formation of GymMatrix Franchising Systems, L.L.C. and the launch of the GymMatrix brand as a new fitness franchise. He is a resident of New Orleans, LA. To contact Mr. Smith please email him at

Jessica Matherne

Senior Director of Franchise Operations

Ms. Matherne a former high school and intramural college athlete and also an avid fitness enthusiast began her business career as a manager of a top Planet Beach Tanning Salon location. She was quickly promoted to the corporate headquarters in New Orleans as a Grand Opening Coordinator where she worked with well over one hundred franchisees on starting up their new businesses, and spent 2 years traveling the United States to successfully open Planet Beach locations. In January of 2010, Jessica took on a promotion as the Senior Director of Operations and Brand Manager for Gymmatrix Franchising Systems LLC (GFS). In this role she has been in charge of creating and evolving all sales, marketing, pre sale and all other operational systems for the franchise as well as spearheading the pre-opening and pre-sale of the first Gymmatrix Flagship location. Ms. Matherne continues to serve the franchise in this capacity. In 2011 Jessica and her husband Todd also began their journey as the first franchisees of the GymMatrix Brand. Their Marrero location is slated to open in teh spring of 2011. To contact Ms. Matherne please email her at

Richard L. Juka

Chief Operations Officer & Director

Mr. Juka is one of our co-founders has served as our Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Secretary, Treasurer and Director since July 1996. He has 25 years of management experience in retail, wholesale and franchising businesses. Prior to joining Planet Beach Franchising Corporation, Mr. Juka served as Store Director and Field Operator for Pet Smart from 1991 until 1996. He was with Pet Smart during their 1993 initial public offering. Additionally, Mr. Juka worked for two publicly traded companies in the home improvement industry. In 2002, Mr. Juka received the designation of Certified Franchise Executive from the International Franchise Association for his work and study in the franchise industry. He has been a Planet Beach franchisee since November 2, 2009.

Craig M. Berner

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Berner has served as our Chief Financial Officer since August 2007. Prior to that time, Mr. Berner served as Associate Controller and Director of Accounting for Tulane University from October 1999 to August 2007, where his primary responsibilities included overseeing all financial reporting, developing and monitoring internal controls, managing the operations of the accounting office, and preparing cash forecasts and capital budgets. He was also Manager of Budgeting and Financial Reporting for Tidewater Inc. from March 1998 to October 1999, and was responsible in that position chiefly for all budgeting and financial reporting, preparing quarterly and annual SEC filings, supervision of accounting staff, and custody of corporation and insurance reserve general ledger accounts. Mr. Berner, who is a Certified Public Accountant, has a B.S. in Accounting from the University of New Orleans and a M.B.A. from the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University, with a concentration in finance and management.

David Q. Mesa Jr. CFE

Senior V.P. of International Development

Mr. Mesa served eight years in the Unites States Marine Corp as an Air Traffic Controller, receiving an honorable discharge. Additionally, Mr. Mesa also served as Director of Business Operations for Allegis Group, a personnel staffing company, for eight years. In March of 2005, he received the designation of Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) by the International Franchising Association for his work and study in the franchise industry and has maintained that designation to date. Mr. Mesa is also a member of the International Institute for Franchise Education (IIFE) Mini MBA Club. In October of 2007, Mr. Mesa became a Director of Planet Beach International, LLC and is currently acting Vice President.

Nancy M. Price

Senior Vice President of Sales

Ms. Price co-founded Planet Beach Franchising with Smith and Juka and has served as our Senior Vice President of Sales since 1996. She was a member of our board of directors from 1996 to 2010. She received the designation of Certified Franchise Executive from the International Franchise Association for her work and study in the franchise industry. Ms. Price studied health and physical education while attending Southeastern Louisiana University at Hammond from 1986 through 1990. She has 13 years experience in the health club industry and a total of 24 years experience in membership sales. Additionally, Ms. Price acted as the National Marketing Representative for Sydney Frank Importing Company, Inc. from 1988 through 1992 and also acted in the role of Corporate Trainer for the outside field staff of models and promoters. She has been a Planet Beach franchisee since December 1996. Nancy now serves also as Senior Vice President of Sales for GymMatrix Franchise Systems.

Jodie Mateu

Executive Assistant to the CEO

Mrs.Mateu graduated from Southeastern, Louisiana University in 2000. In 2005, she went on to achieve the designation of Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) by the International Franchise Association for her work in study in the franchise industry. She and her husband Luis, are multi-unit franchisees for the Planet Beach Brand. Jodie has served Planet Beach Franchising Corporation for over ten years. Her role as Executive Assistant to the CEO began in February 2004. Prior to her current role, Jodie worked as a Spa Performance Consultant and a Grand Opening Specialist where she worked with over one hundred Planet Beach franchised locations.

Coach Duke Rousse

Athletic Trainer

Athletic trainer Duke Rousse has a who’s-who list of stars that work with him to get in shape through a vigorous series of workouts. Athletes such as New Orleans Saints All-Pro safety Darren Sharper stop by, so do other football talents such as ex-NFL cornerback Adam Jones, former Oklahoma State receiver and top draft prospect Dez Bryant, Redskins safety LaRon Landry, Seahawks receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, just to name a few. He also has hooked up with former NFL star Deion Sanders and formed Prime U, Sanders’ performing training center in Dallas. But the majority of Rousse’s work is done at the Kenner Orthopedic and Sports Therapy Center, where Rousse has a team that includes physical therapist Craig Goodwin, nutrition consultant L.J. Canal and assistant Nat Bhanthumachinda. Indeed, Rousse’s program is growing. It consists of some of the most talented prep athletes in the nation to NBA players and college hoop stars. But he quickly points out his job isn’t simply to train athletes but to help anyone interested in taking it to the next level in fitness. He really enjoys mentoring young people and has camps and classes are designed to increase players’ speed, agility, quickness and strength. Visit for more details.