Young Professionals, Students,
Young Professionals Award


Deadline: August 1, 2017

2017 IAAPA Young Professional of the Year Award

The IAAPA Young Professional of the Year Award honors members who demonstrate a dedication to the attractions industry through strong leadership, teamwork, and integrity, while continually developing their knowledge and experience, necessary in this ever-changing business. The Young Professional must also be a strong advocate of IAAPA’s mission to support, grow, and nurture the amusement park and attractions industry.

Award Criteria

Nominees must meet the following criteria for consideration for the 2017 IAAPA Young Professional of the Year Award:

  • Currently working for an IAAPA member company in good standing.
  • Meets the definition of a young professional: A person less than 35 years of age, employed full-time by an IAAPA member company (Students not eligible).
  • Demonstrates strong leadership skills (Examples required).
  • Demonstrates strong teamwork skills (Examples required).
  • Demonstrates a strong sense of integrity.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to IAAPA (Examples required. Includes IAAPA certification credit hours earned, committee involvement, speaking at IAAPA or industry events).
  • Reference(s) from senior management of a member company and other IAAPA members.

 Tips for Nomination Submission:

  • The nomination form must be completed in full and contain sufficient information documenting the nominee’s contributions and achievement to accurately determine the candidate’s eligibility and qualifications for award.
  • Consider writing the nomination summary/citation as if presenting the award to the nominee, as it will form the basis for the award presentation for the selected recipient.
  • Use the nomination summary to highlight particular achievements and/or contributions that qualify your nominee for the award.

    Complete the statement of support by detailing these achievements, activities, and/or contributions to fully describe the nominee’s qualifications. Include supporting documents (if applicable) that will add to the detail and help solidify the nomination.

  • It is recommended that in submitting this nomination to the IAAPA Membership Committee and Young Professional Membership Task Group, you assume no one on these committees know your nominee. The details will provide the big picture.

For more information, please contact Kris Phillips at

Nomination Submissions

To submit a nomination for the 2017 Young Professional of the Year Award, download the 2017 Young Professional of the Year Nomination Form  and email to, fax 703-299-5774, or mail it to IAAPA, Attn: IAAPA Young Professional of the Year Award, 1448 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

Other IAAPA Awards

IAAPA Brass Ring Awards
IAAPA Hall of Fame Award
IAAPA Service Awards

2016 IAAPA Young Professional of theDoug3 Year Recipient

Doug Akers, ICAE, Universal Parks & Resorts 

The 2016 Young Professional of the Year Award was presented to Doug Akers, ICAE, Director, Operations, Universal Parks & Resorts, Orlando, Florida, United States, at the Young Professionals Reception, during IAAPA Attractions Expo 2016   in Orlando, FL. The Young Professional of the Year Award is presented in recognition of an individual that a member   company has identified for demonstrating leadership, teamwork, and integrity on a daily basis. The individual has fostered and enhanced the member company’s brand, productivity, and professionalism and has the potential to be an industry star of the future.


IAAPA Definition of Young Professionals

Qualifying as a Young Professional:  A person under 35 years of age, who is employed by an IAAPA member company, or is an individual member of IAAPA through student or individual membership.

Young Professionals can be divided into 3 tiers based on experience:


Definition:  A Young Professional Mid-Level Manager will be in a leadership position and will have obtained a minimum of 5 years managerial experience. They are responsible for overseeing a particular function, project or service.  The Mid-Level Manager may require industry specific education or leadership development and may be on the executive track within a member organization.

Focus: A Young Professional Mid-Level Manager will be looking for professional development opportunities.  Interests are best practice, leadership and innovation. The individual will be seeking structured education, peer-to-peer interaction and mentors to broaden knowledge and excel in their current role. 


Definition:  A new Young Professional will have a minimum of one year full-time experience in the industry (not a student). A Young Professional is a full time employee of an IAAPA member organization. The individual displays the desire and commitment to make a career in the attractions industry and can be identified as an emerging leader in their organization. 

Focus:  A new Young Professional will be looking for direction. Interests are around improving their personal brand, achieving a promotion, networking and sharing peer to peer employment experiences.


Definition: A person over 18 typically working toward a degree or other credentials in the attractions industry who wishes to further their understanding of the industry through involvement in IAAPA EXPO programs and other IAAPA opportunities. (E.g. Expo Ambassador Program)

Focus: A young professional student will be looking for jobs and experience. Interests are in improving CV writing, interview technique and networking effectively.



Young professionals employed by a company, currently an active member of IAAPA, are entitled to all the resources and benefits associated with IAAPA membership.  Not sure if your company is a current member of IAAPA? Contact IAAPA Membership and we'll be happy to assist you.  
Contact membership at or call us at +1 703/836-4800.