Be Educated

Meet the 2016 Operator’s Forum: Guest Accessibility and Experiences Speakers

Erik Beard, Attorney, Wiggin & Dana LLPErik Beard
Erik Beard is an attorney in Wiggin & Dana's Litigation Department with a practice focused on product liability and aviation litigation, amusement / leisure counseling and litigation, and general business litigation. 

Erik has experience representing clients in a variety of product liability and aviation matters, defending product manufacturers, distributors, sellers and insurers in state and federal courts in Connecticut and throughout the country. Having spent several years working for two of the largest amusement park operators in the world, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company and Universal Orlando, he has a unique hands-on, high-level day-to-day operating experience in this industry and is a frequent speaker at amusement industry events and trade shows. Erik serves on the Board of Directors of the New England Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions and on the IAAPA North American Government Relations Committee. Erik independently authors The Legal Roller Coaster, a blog specifically devoted to legal issues affecting the amusement and tourism industries (

Laura Woodburn, Director of Ride Operations, Hershey Entertainment and ResortsLauraWoodburn
Laura Woodburn is the Director of Ride Operations for Hershey Entertainment and Resorts. She oversees the safe operation of Hersheypark’s 72 amusement rides and water attractions. Laura is active in her company, serving as the administrative support for the “Respectful of Others” Strategic Planning Committee and Chairs the Event Planning subcommittee for the Women In Leadership Committee.

Laura serves on the Board of Directors and Spokesperson for the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials. Laura was honored with the “Person of the Year” award in 2013 for her work on NAARSO’s first ever Ride Operations Certification program. In January 2015, Laura developed the second level of training and certification for the Ride Operations Certification program.

Locally, Laura serves as on the advisory board for the Derry Township School District, Act 48 Committee, and volunteers with Milton Hershey School’s Project Fellowship program. 

Laura also serves as Chair for IAAPA's Facility Operations Committee. 

Laura began working in the industry in 1988 and has served in various roles at Hersheypark, including the directors of Ride Operations, Guest Services and Ticketing and Entertainment.

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