EAS 2018 Masthead

Date:   Wednesday, 27 September 2017
Time:   18:00 - 21:15
Fee:   € 40,00 (IAAPA-Members)
    € 50,00 (Non-Members)

Messe Berlin Exhibition Center – Palais Ground Floor - Room 2
Reception at Funkturm-Restaurant

Course Description

IAAPA welcomes Young Professionals to explore a holistic view of achieving career success in the industry. Learn about the many career options in the industry, receive advice on how to be a great leader in any role, and learn the secrets on how to stay up-to-date on industry trends from special industry guests and a panel of young professionals. Most importantly the Young Professional Forum is the best opportunity to ask questions and get feedback from a mixture students, peers, and industry legends in one room.

The main topics that will be covered in the education session are:

  1. How to choose a career path in the Amusement Industry
  2. How to be a great leader in your company
  3. How to stay up-to-date on industry trends

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Some of the session´s speakers include

neva heaston

Neva Heaston, Director of Operations, New York Wheel, US

Neva has been working in the Waterpark Industry for 17 years. She began her career at Wild Island Family Adventure Park in Sparks, Nevada in 1999. In 2007, Neva graduated from the University of Nevada Reno with a degree in International Business and was accepted into the Jumeirah Hotel and Resorts Management Trainee Program in Dubai, UAE. In 2008, she joined Wild Wadi Waterpark as a Business Analyst and was promoted to Business Excellence Manager in 2011. Currently, Neva is the Director of Revenue Operations and leads the Admissions, Food and Beverage, and Retail Departments at Wild Wadi Waterpark. She lends her talents of leading a multinational and diverse group of colleagues to excel in both operational efficiency and financial performance.  As a proud member of IAAPA and an industry “Lifer”, she enjoys meeting new people and inspiring the next generation to pursue careers in theme parks and leisure.


Melissa Lockwood, Rides & Attractions Manager Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, UAE

Melissa Lockwood recently joined Ferrari World Abu Dhabi as Rides & Attractions Manager. Prior to joining the Ferrari World team, she was an Operations Manager for Ferrari World’s sister park, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, and a member of the park’s pre-opening team from 2012-2016. Before relocating to Abu Dhabi, Melissa worked for municipalities in Texas and Missouri in parks and recreation. She is an Ellis & Associates Instructor Trainer, National Recreation and Park Association Aquatic Facility Operator and Certified Parks and Recreation Professional, and an American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Missouri and a Master of Science from the University of North Texas.


Ella Baskerville, Business Development Manager, Blooloop, United Kingdom

Ella is Business Development Manager for Blooloop, the leading news website for the attractions industry. After graduating from the University of Bath in 2015, and being an IAAPA Show Ambassador in Orlando, Ella joined Blooloop- primarily running the company’s three conferences in Dubai, Asia and the UK. In addition her role included handling social media and contributing content to the site. In summer of 2016, Ella was promoted to Business Development Manager with Blooloop. The new role included researching leads and opportunities, pitching for sales, forming new relationships and managing existing client relationships for the company.  Ella attends IAAPA, EAS, AAE, DEAL, AAM and other relevant shows around the world to represent Blooloop and drive new business.


Camiel Bilsen, Owner, Coaster-Lab, The Netherlands

At the early age of six, Camiel was first introduced to the world of amusement parks and immediately found his calling. He devoted most of his free time studying and designing roller coasters. When he turned sixteen he started his career by attending IAAPA trade shows all across the globe and getting to know the people in the business. After obtaining his international baccalaureate, he went on to study Industrial Design to pursue his dream of becoming a roller coaster designer.
In the Fall of 2013 Camiel founded the company of Coaster-Lab. In the four years of running Coaster-Lab, he has worked with multiple international roller coaster manufacturers, including Gerstlauer Amusement Rides GmbH, Maurer Söhne, S&S Sansei Technologies and Intamin AG.
Camiel is in the process of obtaining his IAAPA certification and is currently serving as a member of the IAAPA young professional committee. Having attended just short of two dozen IAAPA expo’s over the span of eight years, he has considerable experience in the amusement industry and remains passionate and ever so dedicated to his career.

Miro Gronau

Miro Gronau, Tourism Director, Willingen, Germany

Miro has transformed his hobby into his job. His career started in Marketing of Heide-Park in 1997 and included work for HEIMO, Nürburgring and LEISURE EXPERT GROUP. He also had some interesting working experience phases in theme parks in England and Australia. With key positions as Assistant of the Management and later Park Operations Manager of EUROPA-PARK he has gathered a lot of experience in the leisure industry and is happy to share it during the Young Professionals Talk.

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