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Letter From The COO - March 2017

New Role, Same Passion

Dear IAAPA members:

I am truly honored and excited beyond belief to have recently joined the IAAPA team as chief operating officer. I come to IAAPA with more than three decades of industry experience, beginning in 1984 at SeaWorld San Diego with a summer job to pay for school. Little did I know then I would now be able to reflect back upon a career filled with a variety of leadership positions across three different SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks and the company’s corporate offices.

In addition, I have been very active in IAAPA for many years, serving on the board of directors, various committees, and task forces. I have presented on behalf of IAAPA at conferences, Expos, and industry-related association events in 11 different countries across five continents. In 2013, I was honored to receive the IAAPA Meritorious Service Award. 

In many respects, I feel I have spent my entire professional life preparing for this new role at IAAPA. I’m energized by the staff, our members, and the opportunities that lie ahead. I’ve known some of the staff through my years of volunteering, but have quickly come to appreciate the depth of passion and commitment throughout the organization—from the current headquarters in Virginia to the regional offices in Mexico, Hong Kong, Brussels, and Orlando. We are fortunate to have such dedicated professionals working on our industry’s behalf, and I’m proud to now be a part of this team.

My arrival comes at an important time, as the organization is tasked with implementing one of the boldest and most strategic decisions ever made by the IAAPA Board of Directors: relocating the association’s global headquarters to Orlando. This decision is about much more than just moving offices from one place to another. Through this new headquarters, we will bring the association, our members, and staff closer together, and better represent and reflect the truly global nature of our wonderful industry as we prepare to celebrate our centennial in 2018. In my new role, I’m looking forward to facilitating the relocation, design, and construction of our new Orlando global headquarters, and to help position the association for success for the next 100 years.


Doug Stagner
IAAPA Chief Operating Officer