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IAAPA Speakers

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Speaker Name

Speaker Biography

Speaker Dates

Jim Pattison, Jr.

Jim Pattison, Jr. has worked for Ripley Entertainment, Inc., in a variety of positions, since 1990.  Jim has been extensively involved in both operations and growth.  As part of his duties, he has had significant experience in media relations and has assisted in instructing company managers in media crisis management.  Ripley Entertainment has 47 attractions in 10 countries.

Updated 2011

IAAPA 2011

Pam Paquet

Pam Paquet owns and operates a Vancouver based corporate training business. She is a Masters level facilitator and counsellor who is a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers and is certified with the Canadian Counselling Association. Pam specializes in customizing and facilitating training programs for businesses and corporations to help their employees, managers and executives. She offers corporate training programs such as: managing generations, business assertiveness, problem solving, retirement transition, conflict resolution and leadership training. Pam is a professional speaker who enjoys travelling to share her business ideas and strategies. Pam’s passion lies in sharing business tools and techniques while making sure that learning is fun and interactive. Pam’s education includes a MEd (Counselling) from the University of Northern British Columbia (1999), a BA (Honours) in Psychology from the University of Regina (1994) as well as various professional development counsellor trainings over the last decade.

Updated 2010

IAAPA 2010

Daniel Peak

Daniel Peak is a structural engineer who has worked with the entertainment industry for the past five years. He has a Masters Degree in Structural Engineering from the University of Cincinnati.

Updated 2010

IAAPA 2010

Paul Pei

A graduate of the University of Denver in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science Degree majoring in calculus, chemistry, and education, Paul has been in the hospitality industry throughout his professional career. Born in Hong Kong, he emigrated with his family to Honolulu, Hawaii at the age of 8 and completed his education in the United States.  During the 28 years from 1972 to 2000, he held senior management positions as Director of Sales and Marketing, Executive Assistant Manager and Resident Manager with deluxe, 5-star hotel management companies such as Westin Hotels, Shangri-La International Hotels & Resorts, and Beaufort Hotels. 

Paul stepped out of the hotel industry in June 2000 to join Ocean Park Hong Kong as Executive Director, Sales and Marketing.   During these past 10 years, Paul has been instrumental in leading the sales and marketing efforts at Ocean Park through 6 record breaking years out of the last 7 years, for annual attendance, revenues, and profits.  In addition, Paul has participated in defining the US$750 million Master Redevelopment Plan of the park, a 6 year, 8 phase project, to be completed in 2012.  It will redefine Ocean Park and truly support its world class status.  

Paul is responsible for implementing all aspects of the park’s sales and marketing programs and leads the Park’s Corporate Social Responsibility efforts.  This involves developing the Park’s marketing and Sales strategy, and managing both its internal and external communications programmes, including promotions, advertising and public relations.

Paul is a member of the Board of Directors of IAAPA and also serves on its Executive Committee.

Updated 2010

Asian Attractions Expo 2010

Michael Peiffer

Michael Peiffer has 35 years Market Research experience. Theme park Research for the past ten years, has included developing models for attendance, guest satisfaction and in park spending models.

Updated 2010

IAAPA 2010

Yves Pépin

A native of Bordeaux, France, Yves Pépin pursued a specialist music education up to age 16. He later took a French postgraduate degree in economics and politics, and also received a French government bursary to attend a two-year, full-time education program studying classical Arabic at the Center for Research and Arabic Studies in Beirut. He then worked as a French radio and TV producer, before spending four years with one of France's first below-the-line communications agencies. In 1974 he founded ECA2, a design and production company, which has been part of Publicis Events Worldwide Group since 2002.
Under his direction, the company designed the Concorde logo and the Air France audio visual identity, among many others, and produced the first interactive audio visual installations for the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre, before shifting its focus to the production of multimedia shows. In 1989 Yves Pépin, a keen innovator, created and developed the process of Cinema on Water Screen (AQUASCAN®), a system subsequently adopted by Disney and Universal Studios, among others.

Learn more...

updated 2009

IAAPA 2009

Roberta Perry

Roberta has been a key personality in the development and growth of the themed entertainment and leisure entertainment industries for more than 20 years.  Roberta is a business development and strategies consultant working for dozens of clients worldwide including Cirque Du Soleil, Paramount Creative Services, LA Center Studios, and the Cerritos “Experience” Library.

She was a Vice President at 20th Century Fox, responsible for the development of Fox Studios Australia’s entertainment complex development, the Fox Studios Baja tour and also responsible for James Cameron’s Titanic, a 50,000 square foot traveling experience. She served as Vice President of Business Development at ETI, At Iwerks Entertainment, Roberta was Vice President of Marketing and Managing Director for the America’s.

She was a founding member of the Themed Entertainment Association and served as the association’s president. Roberta also serves on several advisory boards, including: Editorial Advisory Board, The Ezone magazine, Entertainment Management magazine, and EXP3 conference Council of Advisors.

Updated 2011

IAAPA 2011

Bret Pfost

 

With almost 25 years of experience at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Bret Pfost has gained diverse operations experience, Resort knowledge, strong Leadership, and sound business sense. In his role as Senior Manager, Park Operations, Safety, Training, and Compliance, Bret influences a Safety culture in the Attractions, Custodial, Guest Services, Parking/Transportation, and Security/Emergency Services teams across the Resort.

Bret began his career with the Disneyland Resort in 1984 as an Foods Host and has since gone to hold a variety of leadership roles within Operations, including Food and Beverage, Attractions, Resort Development for the openings of Disney's California Adventure and Tokyo Disney Sea. In 2004,Bret became the Site Leader for California in regards to World Safety and Accessibility for the Walt Disney Company. As the Site Leader for California, he has enjoyed the opportunity to Audit the Safe practices of Disneyland Paris, Walt Disney World in Florida, Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Sea, and Hong Kong Disneyland. He is a member of ASQ (American Society of Quality) and spends his free time volunteering at the Food Bank to assist underprivileged families. Bret resides 3 blocks from the "Surf" in sunny Huntington Beach,California.

Updated 2009

IAAPA 2010

Jeff Prystajko

Jeff Prystajko is a senior web designer at Website Design & Development Ltd., and has been with the company since 2004. While there he has been responsible for the look and feel of several major amusement park websites including Cedar Point Amusement Park, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, and Worlds of Fun. Additionally, he has performed similar duties for numerous other clients and Family Entertainment Centers, including the Fun Center chain in Oregon and Washington.

A proponent of new technologies and trends, he has helped push clients to adopt online video, social networking platforms and mobile websites. Jeff also holds an MBA from the Rochester Institute of Technology, allowing him to help advise clients on what Internet strategies are best for their business. When not working he enjoys traveling, particularly to various theme parks across the country.

updated 2009

IAAPA 2009

Susan Ragonesi

Susan Ragonesi is currently the General Sales Manager at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Her career in the travel and tourism industry began 25 years ago as a travel agent. She spent 3 years working for an incentive agency and American Express Travel. In 1988 Susan began her career in the hotel industry as Sales Manager for the Sheraton University Center in Durham, NC and then Director of Sales & Marketing at Embassy Suites in Cincinnati. Additionally, she taught part time at a local travel school in Cincinnati.

Susan moved to the amusement park industry in 1996 and worked as Regional Sales Manager for Paramount’s Kings Island. She left Kings Island in 2007, and spent a year as Sales Account Manager at the Marriott Cincinnati Airport. 
In May 2008, Susan accepted the position as General Sales Manager at the Cincinnati Zoo.
Suan has two beautiful teenage daughters, Gabriella and Alexandra, and enjoys spending time on her boat and kayaking.

updated 2009

IAAPA 2009

Will Ramsey

As the Vice President of Sales for the Georgia Aquarium, Will Ramsey is responsible for developing and implementing the Sales Program within the Georgia Aquarium Marketing Plan to include group sales, call center sales, and onsite sales. In addition, he oversees the sales of the catered event program for the Aquarium, including all event services staff and the Wolfgang Puck Catering team.

Updated 2010

IAAPA 2010

Jim Reid-Anderson

Jim Reid-Anderson has served as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Six Flags since August 2010.  Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Reid-Anderson was an adviser to Apollo Management L.P. and to the managing board of Siemens AG.  In 2008, he was a member of Siemens AG’s managing board and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens’ $20 billion Healthcare Sector, and in 2007 he was the Chief Executive Officer of Siemens’ Healthcare Diagnostics unit. Prior to the sale of the company to Siemens, Mr. Reid-Anderson served as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dade Behring Inc., a medical diagnostics company. He previously held various executive roles at PepsiCo, Grand Metropolitan (now Diageo) and Mobil. He is a director of Stericycle, Inc.  Mr. Reid- Anderson is also a fellow of the U.K. Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and earned a BComm (Hons) from the University of Birmingham in the UK.

Updated 2011

IAAPA 2011

Neva Richardson-Larson

 

 

Neva has thirty plus years in accounting, finance, and operations with fifteen of those years working in various positions within the hospitality/attraction industry. She has served on the IAAPA Finance and Information Technology committee for two three year terms where she was involved in and/or a speaker at several seminars given at the annual conventions. In her spare time, she is a Professor at Everest University in Orlando where she teaches business management and accounting classes in their undergraduate program.

updated 2010

IAAPA 2010

Terry Riddle

Terry has 35 years of food service experience at Silver Dollar City with the last 16 years serving as Director of Food and Beverage. An annual contender for the "Golden Ticket" award for best food service, Silver Dollar City has built a reputation for innovative food service featuring regional favorites presented in very unique settings. From 6 foot skillets to a wide array of themed festival presentations, Silver Dollar City is able to put it`s food front and center due to a thoroughly trained staff whose implementation of critical safety principles and hands on guest interaction has become the cornerstone for it`s success.

updated 2010

IAAPA 2009; IAAPA 2010

John Robinett

John Robinett has had a 25-year career in the leisure, entertainment, and real estate industries.

Currently he is a Senior Vice President at Economics Research Associates, and based in the firm’s corporate headquarters in Los Angeles. John’s responsibilities include oversight of the firm's museum and cultural attractions practice, and management of a variety of assignments in the attractions, resorts, cultural, and entertainment retail areas. Over his decades of history in the business, John has consulted to many of the leisure and entertainment industry’s leading companies, U.S. and foreign governments, major cultural and financial institutions, and golf, hotel, and real estate developers. He has directed assignments for The Walt Disney Company, the J. Paul Getty Trust, TrizecHahn, the University of Texas, Warner Bros., Bear Stearns, Bankers Trust, LEGO, The Tussauds Group, Kajima, NASA, Universal Studios, and numerous others.

Prior to joining ERA, John worked for the Walt Disney Company in business planning for the company’s attractions and resorts. John has an M.B.A. from the American Graduate School of
International Management (Thunderbird) in Arizona, and a B.A. in business from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

updated 2009

IAAPA 2009

Bob Rogers

Newsweek has called Bob Rogers “the theme-park industry’s resident futurist.” In 2003, he celebrated the 35th anniversary of his first job in themed entertainment: magician in the Magic Shop at Disneyland.

Bob Rogers is the Chairman of BRC Imagination Arts—planners, creators and producers of highly original, content-based presentations for museums, visitor centers, Expo pavilions and theme parks around the globe. Since its inception in 1981, BRC has been honored with over 250 international awards for creative excellence, including two Academy Award Nominations and eight THEA Awards for Outstanding Achievement in themed entertainment.

As Chairman of BRC, Bob is responsible for overseeing the creative elements of every company endeavor. He has also served as Executive Producer on a wide variety of projects for clients such as Disney, General Motors, NASA, the Texas State History Museum and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.

Bob is a highly sought writer and speaker on the subject of content-based themed entertainment. His reputation as one of the most innovative and insightful creators of educational visitor experiences in the world earned him an invitation to help NASA develop its master plan for the exploration of Mars. In September 2002, Bob was awarded with NASA’s most prestigious award – the NASA Public Service Medal.

Bob is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Short Films and Animation Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a former member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), and a current Board Member of the Rym.

Also See Keynote and Featured Speakers listing ...

updated 2009

IAAPA 2009

George Rohman

 

George is currently an Operations Manager for Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Waterparks located in Wildwood, New Jersey, and has been with Morey’s Piers since 1997.  Morey’s Piers currently owns and operates four Amusement Piers and two beachfront waterparks (Raging Waters & Ocean Oasis) with over 100 rides and attractions, entertaining over 3 million guests each season.  In addition to George’s waterpark operational responsibilities, he also oversees the waterpark division maintenance program, the company’s employee housing program and corporate security and loss prevention.

George has been involved with the amusement / waterpark industry since the age of 17, starting as a Lifeguard at Splish Splash Waterpark on Long Island, New York in 1991.  Throughout his career, George has held management positions at Splash Down Waterpark in Manassas, Virginia and Raging Waters Waterpark in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Additionally, George has spoken at industry conferences and written articles in trade magazines about topics ranging from water quality, supervisor training and amusement ride safety.

George graduated from Mary Washington College in Virginia with degrees in Business Administration & Psychology.  He is a Certified Pool Operator, member of ASTM F-24, IAAPA and WWA, and is currently an Associate, Instructor Trainer and National Faculty member for Ellis and Associates.

 

David Rosenberg

David Rosenberg is Director of Guest Experience for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. In this position, David is responsible for the daily operations including public programming, Admissions, Volunteer Docent Programs, guest experience training and development, Aquarium Adventures (paid programming), Safety and Security, and many other operational areas.

Mr. Rosenberg’s career began with Walt Disney World where he held positions in both Human Resources and Operations Management. He then spent over 11 years progressing through the ranks of Hyatt Hotels and was as an Executive for many top hotels around the country.

Mr. Rosenberg is currently an active member of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) where he sits on the Zoo and Aquarium Committee. He was recently a guest speaker at multiple industry conferences including the California Association of Museums. He is an active participant in the community and is a member of the Monterey County Hospitality Association and Board of Directors for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). His hobbies include SCUBA Diving, Skiing, hiking and competing in multiple marathons.

updated 2009

IAAPA 2009

Jack Rouse

Jack Rouse has multi-faceted career that spans more than 30 years. He has embraced the worlds of academia, entertainment, education, culture and community development. With a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Jack’s first career was as a college professor. Later, as a senior executive with Taft Broadcasting Company, Jack was one of the management investors responsible for the leveraged buyout of the theme park division from Taft and the establishment of Kings Entertainment Company (now Paramount Parks). In 1987, Jack left Kings Entertainment Company to form his own firm — Jack Rouse Associates, which serves museums, zoos, sports facilities, theme parks, entertainment complexes, cultural venues, community developments and corporate environments. Jack has assembled a variety of writers, artists, designers and producers and supports them with operations, marketing and administration professionals in order to create a firm of remarkable depth and diversity.

A much sought-after lecturer, panel member and charrette participant, Jack couples his thoughtful insights with a charismatic presentation style that has benefited audiences at ULI, AZA, IAAPA, TiLE, LIW, IAAM and numerous other professional association events in the United States, Europe and Asia.

updated 2009

IAAPA 2009

Adrienne Rowland

Adrienne Rowland is originally from Wichita, KS and has lived in Las Vegas for 15 years. A majority of her career has been in the hospitality industry in various guest service capacities with MGM Grand, New York-New York, Fairmont, and Canyon Ranch. Adrienne also worked in an administrative role with IMAX: Race for Atlantis at Caesar’s Palace, which won Best New Attraction from IAAPA in 1998. In 2002, Adrienne joined Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay as the Operations/Guest Services Manager; she has since held the positions of Deputy Director and Director.

updated 2009

IAAPA 2009

Timothy Ruedy

Timothy Ruedy is a seasoned theme park professional with a work history that ranges from family entertainment centers to major properties such as Six Flags Great Adventure. From 2002 to 2005 he was the Vice President and General Manager of Warner Bros. Movie World, Germany where he gained valuable international experience. Tim was also an opening team member of Knott’s Camp Snoopy, the indoor theme park at Mall of America. An active member of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, IAAPA, Tim recently served on the Education Committee which is responsible for the educational programming provided at the IAAPA International Expo. A present project for Tim is the inauguration of an Attractions Management Certification Program. As a part of this effort Mr. Ruedy is an instructor on Leadership for the Attraction Managers Institute.

Updated 2010

IAAPA 2009; IAAPA 2010, IAAPA 2011

Rich Sanfilippo

Rich Sanfilippo is the president of Sam’s Fun City in Pensacola, FL. Rich serves on IAAPA’s Board of Directors and the IAAPA Family Entertainment Center Committee and he has been an active member of IALEI. He has spoken at Fun Expo, Fun Academy, the IAAPA Attractions Expo education programs and at numerous industry related events.
Updated 2011

IAAPA

2010

IAAPA 2011

Scott Sanders

Scott Sanders is a principal and EVP at Integrated Insight, Inc., a management consulting firm helping organizations out-behave the competition. With over twenty years at Disney Parks and Resorts, Scott brings a unique breadth of experience that encompasses most major functions of the theme park and resort industry including Business Planning and Development, Research, Ticketing Operations, Marketing and Sales Finance, Revenue Management and Pricing. For his last five years at Disney, Scott held the position of VP of Pricing with worldwide responsibility for theme parks, water parks, hotels, Disney Vacation Club, Adventures By Disney, ESPN sports complex, Cirque du Soleil, retail dining and entertainment, food and beverage operations, merchandise operations, recreation and anything else that could be priced.

In addition to designing and developing winning pricing strategies such as Magic Your Way at Walt Disney World, Scott has authored hundreds of promotional pricing offers around the globe, helping to drive business volume during non-peak periods, overcome economic downturns, and engage new audiences. His experience in leveraging consumer insights, quantitative analytics and predictive modeling enable taking pricing based on demand, and optimizing profit while maintaining or improving price value for the consumer. Current clients benefitting from Scott’s expertise include theme parks and amusement parks, indoor and outdoor water parks, small attractions, resorts, restaurants and retailers.

Scott began his career with Arthur Young and Company, Certified Public Accountants and also served in executive positions at John Q. Hammonds and Bass Pro Shops. A graduate of the University of Central Florida, Scott received a BS in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting.

Updated 2010

IAAPA 2010

Julie Scardina

Julie Scardina is Animal Ambassador for SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove. Julie makes more than 100 appearances a year, highlighting the parks' commitment to animal entertainment, education and conservation. A longtime marine-mammal trainer at SeaWorld San Diego, Julie began her media work as a part-time sideline more than 10 years ago and today serves as the full-time Animal Ambassador and Corporate Curator. In addition, Julie is a board member for the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund.

Julie's concern for our planet and its wildlife are the foundation of her presentations, whetherliveor onscreen.Sheis an advocate foranimals and the environment, sharingher passion with millions of television viewers, event-goers and guests of SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove.

Updated 2011

IAAPA 2011

John Paul Scott

John Paul Scott, AIA is an architect and an ADA-geek-guru.   Representing the amusement industry, he has been directly involved in the development of the New ADA/ABA accessibility standards. 

Formerly with Walt Disney Imagineering, John Paul formed Create Access, Architects / Consultants (CAAC) to serve amusement businesses.  CAAC assists businesses in understanding and applying accessibility requirements to new construction and alteration of facilities and attractions in amusement, theme and water parks.  CAAC provides assistance to a variety of clients throughout the United States and Asia.  In addition to serving as an expert, John Paul provides: training on design and construction of facilities; consulting on operational policies for disabled access; ADA risk management and litigation support.

John Paul served on the US Access Board’s Recreation Access Advisory Committee and as a public member of the US Access Board’s committees that developed the new ADA/ABA accessibility requirements.  He co-chaired the Amusement Ride subcommittee and assisted IAAPA in developing its position papers and public comment on the rule’s development.  He is a member of IAAPA and ASTM F24 Amusement rides standards committee.  He is a frequent contributor to IALDA on issues related with the Department of Justice’s implementation of the revised ADA requirements.

updated 2009

 

IAAPA 2009

Kimberly Schaefer

Kimberly Schaefer is the Chief Executive Officer of Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. For Kim Schaefer, chief executive officer of Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. (NASDAQ: WOLF), there is nothing more fun than building indoor waterpark resorts, then seeing her vision being enjoyed by families from coast-to-coast.

Kim has served in a senior leadership role of the company, which is the largest owner, operator and developer in North America of drive-to family resorts featuring indoor waterparks and other family-oriented entertainment activities, for more than twelve years now, and still hasn’t tired of taking the occasional water thrill ride herself, just to demonstrate to potential investors and VIPS how much fun it really is. Managing the growth of a publicly traded company with over $220 million in annual sales is no small feat either. The behind-the-scenes work includes operations oversight of the company’s portfolio of resorts, guiding the development of the brand which has become a gold-standard in family vacation entertainment, investor relations, and strategic oversight of the company’s development and licensing arm.

Learn more...

updated 2009

IAAPA 2009

Robert Semper

 

Robert Semper is Executive Associate Director of the Exploratorium in San Francisco and is responsible for leading the institution’s work in developing programs for the public and educators using exhibits, workshops, media and Internet resources.

Over the past fifteen years Dr. Semper has guided the development of the award winning Exploratorium Website that has explored the role of museums in the online world including the development of on-line fieldtrips to locations of scientific research. Since joining the Exploratorium in 1977, he has lead numerous exhibit development, teacher enhancement and media development projects focused on science education for the public, teachers and students.

updated 2009

IAAPA 2009

Ron Sevart

Ron Sevart has more than 18 years of senior management experience in the theme park and attractions industry with various companies including Six Flags Theme Parks, Cedar Fair and Sage Hospitality. Sevart began his career in the early 90’s at Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun in Kansas City before serving as Park President of 2 Six Flags properties including Six Flags Great Adventure, Six Flags New England and Six Flags Great America before leaving in 2006. Since 2006, Sevart has consulted on various projects including the Dubai Mall, Coco Key Water Resorts and Key Lime Cove Water Resorts. Sevart sits on the Board of Directors for Gator WaterSports and Invision Capital Group and is currently the President and CEO for the Space Needle, LLC, in Seattle WA.

Updated 2009

IAAPA 2009, IAAPA 2010, IAAPA 2011

Cynthia Sharpe

Cynthia Sharpe is currently the Director of Exhibits at Thinkwell Design & Production. Cynthia’s experience spans both permanent and traveling shows, ranging from creative exhibition development and project management to business and master planning. She works closely with Thinkwell’s creative team to ensure the vision of the exhibit stays true to the content and story, overseeing evaluation, and advocating for the museum and the museum visitor in all phases of design.

updated 2009

IAAPA 2009

Richard Sherman

The co-composer of "It's a Small World,” and “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” (Carousel of Progress), Richard remains the quintessential lyrical voice of Walt Disney.

His music from "Mary Poppins," won two Oscars® for best score and best song ("Chim Chim Cher-ee"), while "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" became a pop hit entering the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1965.

During Richard’s 13-year career at Disney (1960-73), he received four Academy Award® nominations for more than 200 songs he wrote for 27 films and two dozen television productions.  He also wrote music for a number of theme park attractions, including the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland.  Among his last projects before leaving Disney were songs for EPCOT Center and Tokyo Disneyland.
Also See Keynote and Featured Speakers listing ...

updated 2009

IAAPA 2009

Stephen Sheppard

Stephen Sheppard has been a professor of economics at Williams College since 2000. He is the Class of 2012 Professor of Economics, and Director of the Center for Creative Community Development, and Chair of the Department of Economics. He is a 2006 Fellow of the Homer Hoyt Advanced Studies Institute and Weimer School of Advanced Studies in Real Estate and Land Economics. Prior to joining the Williams faculty, he was at Oberlin College (1990-96 and 1997-2000), London School of Economics (1996-97), Washington University in St. Louis (1989-90), Virginia Tech (1985-89 and 1983-84) and the University of Reading (1984-85).

His research deals with urban economics, housing markets and the value of neighborhood amenities. He has examined the community and neighborhood impacts of land use regulation, rent controls, environmental quality, school quality, economic and social deprivation of residents and the presence of arts and cultural organizations. His studies have appeared in Economic JournalJournal of Housing Economics,Journal of Urban EconomicsRegional Science and Urban EconomicsJournal of Regional ScienceUrban StudiesRegional Studies, Brookings-Wharton Papers on Urban Affairs, Annals of Regional Science and The Handbook of Urban and Regional Economics.

He received his PhD in 1984 from Washington University in St. Louis.

updated 2009

IAAPA 2009

Jeffrey Siebert

Jeffrey Siebert oversees communications functions for all three of the company’s Texas waterparks: Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, New Braunfels, Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark, South Padre Island, and the new Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark. Jeffrey brings more than a decade of theme park experience to his position. He began his career as marketing manager at Americana Amusement Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. He moved to the Walt Disney Company to handle advertising and promotions for the Cincinnati Might Ducks sports franchise. Beginning in 1999, Jeffrey served as manager of marketing communications and guest experience at Paramount’s Kings Island, the Cincinnati flagship of the Paramount Parks organization.

Jeffrey has also been involved with the IAAPA communications committee since 2003.

updated 2010

IAAPA 2009; Webinar 2010; IAAPA 2010

Courtney Simmons

Prior to joining the Disney Internet Media Group, Simmons was Senior Director of Corporate Communications and Public Relations for Sony Online Entertainment. In that role, she was responsible for the strategy and execution of all corporate communication programs, making sure they remained consistent with SOEs plans and policies, while managing all aspects of media relations and executive communications.

Prior to her role as a Director, Simmons was the PR and Corporate Communications Strategist at SOE, managing the endorsement deal with baseball MVP (and avid EverQuest fan) Curt Schilling. Before joining Sony, Simmons was the head of the PR and government affairs office at LEGOLAND theme park in Carlsbad, California. Simmons also spent many years with Six Flags Magic Mountain as their PR Director, publicizing the biggest and best roller coasters in the world. Right out of college, Simmons worked with several local NBC affiliate stations, producing nightly newscasts. Simmons graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from California State University, Northridge.

On weekends, Simmons enjoys spending time with her three kids, and does her best to take a step away from her busy work life to recharge her creative batteries.

updated 2009

IAAPA 2009

Kimberly Skaggs

Kim Skaggs began working at Six Flags in 1995. There, she spent 5 and half years in the Operations Department, working in both ride operations and admissions. Kim began working in HR in 2001. She has played a major role in interviewing, recruiting, benefits, international program and training. Kim obtained her BA from UCLA and earned her CA state teaching credential. Kim currently holds the position of HR Manager over Training and Development at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Updated 2010

IAAPA 2010

Doug Stagner

DougStagner


Doug Stagner is the Director, Global Marketing and Operations Systems at SeaWorld Park & Entertainment.
He is a senior leader within the SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment organization. Over his 26+ year career, he has held a variety of leadership positions at various parks across the country. He currently serves as a corporate director in Operations. His experience includes Vice Present of Operations at Busch Gardens Williamsburg as well as SeaWorld San Antonio. Doug was tapped to join a small team responsible for all aspects of planning and development of a four park international expansion. He has served on a variety of IAAPA member committees, and is currently chair of the education committee. He has a BS in Criminal Justice from San Diego State University and his MBA from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Updated 2011
IAAPA 2008
IAAPA 2009
IAAPA 2010
IAAPA 2011

Thom Stork

Thom Stork became President and CEO of The Florida Aquarium in April 2002. He is responsible for increasing the Aquarium’s awareness throughout the state and within the local communities, preserving conservation efforts, reaching out to children’s education programs, creating special events and marketing programs.

Stork spent 29 years as a marketing executive with Busch Entertainment Corporation.  He served his last three years with the company as Vice President of Marketing for SeaWorld of Orlando, overseeing a staff of 70 marketing professionals. Prior to SeaWorld, Stork was Vice President of Marketing for Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, with a staff of 50.

Stork joined the Busch Gardens Tampa Bay marketing department in 1975 as the publicity manager, coordinating media relations for the park for more than three years. In 1978, he was promoted to the position of Promotions Manager, and was further promoted to the position of Vice President in 1982.

Stork serves on the Florida Tourism Commission/Visit Florida Board by appointment of the Governor, where he has been Chairman of the Visit Florida Board and Vice Chair of the Commission.

Updated 2011

IAAPA 2011

 Debbi Stuart

Debbi Stuart,  Director of Sales for Six Flags Corporate, is a well known leader with over 23 years of experience in the leisure industry. Debbi is well known for her  hands-on experience in aggressive strategic planning, coaching, leadership, negotiating, training and motivating of  Group Sales Teams throughout the US, Mexico, and Europe. Her expertise  and creative style in developing and increasing sales teams in Amusement, Hotel, Educational, and Casino style programs has made her an asset to the development of professional leaders throughout the industry. 

updated 2009

IAAPA 2009, Webinar 2010

Martin A. (Marty) Sklar

Martin A. (Marty) Sklar recently retired as Executive Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering “Imagineering Ambassador.” Mr. Sklar’s work has put smiles on the faces of children and adults for over half a century. As Vice-Chairman and Principal Creative Executive of Walt Disney Imagineering, Sklar for three decades led the creative staff that provides innovative entertainment through design, master planning and engineering for all Disney parks and resorts. In February, 2006 he was appointed to a position created especially to take advantage of his leadership and unique Disney history and perspective: Imagineering Ambassador. 
Marty began his career in public relations at Disneyland one month before it opened, while still a student at UCLA. For 10 years, he wrote personal materials for Walt Disney including a 20-minute film that established the creative intent for Walt Disney World and Disney’s Epcot park. He was responsible for the creative development of Disney parks and attractions for 30 years beginning in 1974, and is the only active employee who has participated in the opening of all 11 Disney parks around the world, including the newest, Hong Kong Disneyland.
Learn more...

updated 2009

 

IAAPA 2009

George W. Smith

George W. Smith is the President of Family Entertainment Group and Senior VP of Business Development for Animaland Inc. During his industry tenure he has been involved in all facets of facilities operation and management. Mr. Smith is involved day-to-day with Animaland Inc., as Senior Vice President Business Development, a leader in the interactive plush stuffing markets. Mr. Smith is also President of Family Entertainment Group which owns and operates entertainment facilities in 7 states.

Mr. Smith is also the past President of IALEI the International Association for Leisure and Entertainment Industries and during his term made alliances with the Amusement and Music Operators of America (A.M.O.A.) and American Amusement Manufacturers Association (A.A.M.A.) culminating in the joint purchase of the FunExpo amusement show. Mr. Smith was secretary for many years of the joint operating association L.E.T.S. (Leisure and Entertainment Trade Shows).

updated 2009

 

IAAPA 2009

Tim Sorge

Tim is currently the President/Owner of Swings-N-Things Family Fun Park. He opened his 1st FEC in the Eastern U.S. in 1987. He became a Principle Partner in J&J Amusements from 1989 to 2007. His experience included the manufacturer of commercial Go-Karts & Bumper Boats. In 2003, he opened Paintball Village.

Tim served on IAAPA Board of Directors for 3 years, the IAAPA FEC Committee for 14 years, and served as the FEC Committee chair for 4 years. He was instrumental in developing the Insurance Program for IAAPA FEC Members. As part of the Task Force Committee on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards & Guidelines for Miniature Golf Courses, Tim developed and wrote Miniature Golf Industry’s Response to Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding ADA Standards & Guidelines. He has represented & testified on behalf of Miniature Golf Industry at ADA Hearings in Washington, DC. His industry activity earned the IAAPA Meritorious Service Award in 2009. Tim’s background includes an Associate of Arts from Cuyahoga Community College; a Bachelor of Science (Education) from Cleveland State University; and a Master of Science (Education) from Akron University. He was inducted into Cuyahoga Community College’s Athletic Hall of Fame (First Inductee) in 2009.

 

David Spencer

David has been in the theme park industry for 34 years, starting his career at the Great America theme park in Santa Clara , CA. David has held a variety of positions in the industry from line employee to operations leadership and the majority of his career spent in human resources. He has worked for the Marriott Corporation, Kings Entertainment Company and the last 17 years with Busch Entertainment Corporation where he was recruited to be the Vice President for human resources at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. David has managed traditional human resource functions and has extensive experience with international recruitment. This experience made him an ideal choice for his current position with Busch Entertainment Corporate as they build the operation for four theme parks which will open in Dubai starting in 2012.

updated 2009

IAAPA 2009

Grey Stafford, Ph.D.

As Director of Conservation for the Wildlife World Zoo in Phoenix, Grey Stafford, Ph.D. actively promotes wildlife conservation and positive reinforcement training through weekly television segments in Arizona and contributions to programs such as The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He also posts a regular pet training column on Belo Corporation's website, mysweetconnection.com. Dr. Stafford has been a speaker at national conferences and has co-authored award-winning presentations and publications on animal behavior training techniques.

updated 2009

IAAPA 2009

Sharon Swendner

As President of .Com Marketing, Sharon Swendner draws upon more than 20 years of strategic marketing and management experience to help her clients reach their business goals. Her Internet career began on the client side, where she spent 11 years implementing some of the industry's first comprehensive Internet marketing programs.

Prior to joining .Com Marketing, Sharon served as Vice President of Marketing for Centex Homes, a Fortune 175 National home builder that operates in more than 50 markets. At Centex, she was responsible for strategic Internet marketing, including SEO, SEM, email marketing programs and on-line partnerships. She implemented the first fully automated email lead follow up program for the Wayne Homes brand, resulting in a 20 percent increase in Internet-derived traffic and sales.

Sharon earned an MBA from Arizona State University and a Bachelor`s degree in Marketing from Florida Atlantic University. Active in her professional associations, she currently serves on the boards of the American Marketing Association of Central Florida; the American Advertising Federation of Orlando; and Doterati, a new Internet marketing association.

updated 2009


IAAPA 2009

Randy Thomas

Randy Thomas is principal of Randy Thomas & Associates which is a leisure time group sales agency specializing in building local and regional group admission and catering-based business and travel industry sales for amusement parks, theme parks, family entertainment centers, water parks, events, zoos & aquariums, shopping complexes and tourism destinations.

Randy joined the leisure industry in operations at Disneyland, participated in opening Walt Disney World, and later worked in group sales and marketing upper level management positions at Busch Gardens - LA, Knott’s Berry Farm, Queen Mary Attractions and Hotel, and then Lake Arrowhead Village Resort as General Manager. And then, in 1989 after identifying ample opportunity to re-enforce, and more-often develop incremental group sales revenue programs for attractions of all sizes, Randy Thomas & Associates opened as a unique, one of its kind, group sales agency to meet these needs.

In recent years, Randy Thomas & Associates has worked successfully with an extensive list of well-known client companies. Services provided for clients vary and include group sales area organization or re-organization; sales program and pricing development; strategic planning, administration and on-site management; staff development & training; creating and implementing miscellaneous sales operational policies and procedures; integrating sales area with marketing & operations; innovative use of the Internet for ticket sales; and meeting additional customer needs as necessary.

updated 2010


IAAPA 2009,

Webinar 2010

Speakers by Last Name: A - E; F - JK - OP - TU - Z

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