IAAPA Honors 2024

March 3, 2024

Event Type: Connections
Region: Global
Event Time:
Venue: In-Person
Location:
The Venetian Resort Las Vegas
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas NV 89109
United States
Member Price: Sold Out | Nonmember Price: Sold Out
Credit Hour(s): None

What is IAAPA Honors?

A recognition experience celebrating attractions industry innovation, creativity, and excellence. Join us as we honor the 2023 IAAPA Hall of Fame Inductees, the 2023 IAAPA Service and Young Professional honorees, and winners of the IAAPA Brass Ring Awards. 

Learn more about IAAPA Awards.

Pricing Details
Food and beverage throughout the day on Sunday, March 3, 2024  Included
Networking with past and present winners, finalists, and inductees  Included
Exclusive in-depth exploration of finalist and award-winning products and programs  Included
Insider’s experience with the attractions industry’s “best of the best” of 2023 Included

Program cost includes all of the above.

IAAPA Honors 2024 Sponsors

Speakers

George A. Kalogridis

George A. Kalogridis

Retired Disney Executive
Disney

George A. Kalogridis is a C-suite executive with an accomplished career leading a Fortune 100 business around the globe. With 50 years of experience, George’s legacy is his ability to create an environment to deliver a best-in-class level of excellence. Throughout his career, George has cultivated strategic partnerships across The Americas, Asia, and Europe, and together with a diverse group of colleagues and thinkers, he has set the bar for delivering unparalleled customer experiences.

During his tenure at Disney, George held pivotal roles, including Vice President of EPCOT, President of Walt Disney World® Resort, and Chief Operating Officer of Disneyland Paris Resort. In his final chapter for the company, George ran The Disney Institute and National Geographic Live businesses, leading efforts to inspire business leaders to discover their own excellence with the help of Disney Institute leaders. George’s depth of experience throughout his 50-year career placed him in one of the most visible positions in the Company’s history as the Global Ambassador for Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.

Nicholas de Villiers

Nicolas de Villiers

President and Artistic Director
Puy du Fou

After studying law, Nicolas de Villiers graduated from Audencia Business School in Nantes, France. During his university years, he worked at Puy du Fou as an acrobat rider. Nicolas then joined the Puy du Fou teams as a show manager and then artistic director.

In addition to the artistic direction, he took the presidency of Puy du Fou in 2004.  As a charismatic man, he directs the staging of Puy du Fou shows with passion while drawing up the strategy and the vision of this entrepreneurial epic.

Andrea Gibbs

Adrea Gibbs, ICAE

CEO, Artistic Director and Experience Consultant
Alriginal Productions LLC

Adrea Gibbs’ sits at a unique intersection that seamlessly combines the creative with the operational. Her extensive background in communications, cultural awareness, live entertainment, operations, brand development, fitness, child development, retail/merchandising, leadership development and management make for a unique perspective and insight into a cross-section of industries. Adrea has worked with companies worldwide including Ramoji Film City, Slagharen Attractie-Park, Disney, Santa’s Village, Windows On China, Meow Wolf, Junior Miss, Boys & Girls Clubs, Planet Aqua Group Foundation, and IAAPA.

Adrea is an active IAAPA volunteer having served on multiple committees and as a member of the IAAPA Board of Directors. Currently she is the chair of the IAAPA Honors Awards Committee. She is proud to hold the IAAPA Certified Attractions Executive (ICAE) distinction and is dedicated to creating experiences that excite, engage, and elevate the human spirit.

Al Cross

Al Cross

Vice President
PGAV Destinations

Al Cross’ career has been a fruitful and enjoyable journey through most major building types, building toward the perfect position as a designer and project leader at PGAV doing Destination Consulting and Entertainment Design. 
Specialties: Leading a large disparate team toward a design and production goal.
Drawing from a client what they really want and need and then implementing it.
Succeeding with design in the context of modern project delivery methods.

Doug Akers, ICAE

Doug Akers, ICAE

Vice President of Operations
New Ventures Universal Destinations & Experiences (UDX)

Doug began his career at Busch Gardens Tampa in 1998, working through a variety of leadership roles
and positions within the Merchandise Department. Following several years working with Busch Gardens,
Doug joined Universal Orlando Resort in 2004, serving management roles in both the Attractions
Operations department as well as Parking & Transportation.

In 2007 Doug was part of the opening Operations management team for Hard Rock Park. He joined
Resorts World Sentosa in 2009 as part of its pre-opening and opening management team for Universal
Studios Singapore.

Doug has had the opportunity to cross multiple departments in a variety of leadership roles during his
time at Resorts World Sentosa. In 2016 Doug rejoined UDX as part of the planning and operational
readiness for the Universal Beijing Resort. In his role after successfully opening the resort – he was
responsible for Park Operations, consisting of Attractions, Admissions, Guest Services, VIP Tours, Event
Operations, Event Services and Operations Safety/Compliance teams.

Doug has also worked with AIMS and IAAPA in the role of show ambassadors for several expos both
IAAPA Expo and IAAPA Asia Expo and is an active member of IAAPA while previously sitting on the Young
Professional committee, Asian Advisory Committee, Asia-Pacific Education Committee, and former Chair
of Asia-Pacific Membership Committee. He currently oversees the development of new resorts,
experiences, concepts, and joint ventures. This includes the new theme park concept for families with
young children coming to Frisco, Texas, as well as the new year-round horror experience in Las Vegas.

WhiteWater

Geoff Chutter

CEO
WhiteWater

With the founding of WhiteWater in 1980, Geoff Chutter helped establish an industry that continues to bring joy to millions around the globe. A water park veteran, Geoff’s start in the amusement and attractions space began with his investment in his own park in BC, Canada. Undeterred by a lack of water slide suppliers, he decided to leave his career as a CPA with KPMG to manufacture his own rides, and thus created his own manufacturing empire.

Four decades on, WhiteWater continues to thrive under Geoff’s stewardship as CEO, maintaining its place as the world’s undisputed leading water park manufacturer and supplier, by any metric. Where other suppliers chose to offer one or two product lines, Geoff built a complete water park service company, offering all of the products and services that a customer would require to launch their own world-class parks. Always looking to the future, Geoff was early to expand internationally, with our first projects in China in 1990 and establishing offices in Europe, the Middle East and Asia ahead of our competitors.

Throughout the years, Geoff has been recognized with various awards such as the national EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 award. Under Geoff’s stewardship, WhiteWater has also been named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for many years.

Glenn Davidson

Glenn Davidson

Advisor – Portfolio Department
Miral

A Theme Park and Attractions industry veteran of more than 45 years, Glenn Davidson currently holds the position of Advisor –Portfolio Department at Miral. Throughout his career, Glenn has been involved in the development and management of 17 parks and attractions in the United States and the Middle East. Glenn served on the World Waterpark Association’s Board of Directors from 2008-2014, including two years as Chair, and continues to be an active member. Glenn has been a member of the Miral Experiences Board of Directors since 2016.

Glenn earned his Bachelor of Science – Parks and Recreation Administration from Mississippi State University in 1978. He then started his professional journey at the Mississippi Department of Natural Resources – Bureau of Recreation and Parks, serving as Assistant Manager at Hugh White State Park, Paul B. Johnson State Park, and Buccaneer State Park. In 1984 Glenn joined Rapids on the Reservoir outside Jackson Mississippi during its construction and helped set up all its operational departments and procedures, to become General Manager in 1985. He then moved to Oasis Water Resort (later Knott’s Soak City Palm Springs and now Wet n/ Wild Palm Springs) in Palm Springs California in 1986, where he oversaw operational setup, staffing and procedures, and became General Manager after just one year of Operation. With a growing passion for waterpark design and development, Glenn moved to Wild Waters (now Wild Island) in Reno/Sparks Nevada in 1988 as General Manager where he contributed to the park design and witnessed its construction. During his time at Wild Waters, he worked to build the park’s operational practices including placement of management staff and implementation of policies and procedures.

Glenn’s next venture saw him moving to Raging Waters San Jose in 1990, where he spent more than seven years overseeing operations and enriching his craft, including his involvement in the transition of ownership to Paramount Parks. During his tenure at Raging Waters. During this time, he oversaw the development and construction of the first major expansion to the park. Glenn also led the development of a fresh marketing strategy which resulted in the highest park attendance and revenue in the history of the park up to that time.
In 1997, a new attraction called, and Glenn found in it an opportunity to feed his old passion for waterpark development. He joined White Water Canyon (later Knott’s City San Diego, then Aquatica, and now Sesame Place San Diago and part of the SeaWorld San Diego California operation) just as construction started and stayed on for the next two years creating and overseeing the park’s operational practice. Glenn then took on Newport Aquarium in Kentucky, where he was instrumental in implementing operational changes that successfully increased productivity while reducing costs.

In 2001, Glenn packed up and moved to the Middle East to become General Manager of Wild Wadi in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. For the next seven years, Glenn successfully positioned the waterpark as a widely popular Dubai attraction and completed a major renovation project without closing the park, while maintaining its high guest satisfaction rating. Glenn moved to the neighboring emirate and capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi, in 2008 where he joined ALDAR Properties PJSC as Commercial Director – Theme Parks and was active in operational overview during the construction of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. Glenn then served as the park’s interim General Manager for one year, concurrently spearheading the design and development of Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi as Special Projects Director at Farah Leisure Parks Management (then a subsidiary of ALDAR, which later became Miral Experiences - subsidiary of Miral and operator of Yas Island’s theme parks). After the opening of Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi in early 2013, Glenn became Miral’s Director of Development on Yas Island’s following attraction, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi. He advised on the design and development of the theme park from inception to Grand Opening in July 2018. He advised on the sky diving - climbing wall experience Clymb. He then advised on the Design, Construction and Operation of SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, which opened on 23 May 2023. Glenn serves as the Theme Park Advisor for several expansions to Miral’s current portfolio. The design and development of Miral’s parks requires him to work closely with Miral Experiences Management. Nowadays, Glenn is advising on the development

James Anderson

James Anderson

Senior Creative Director, Visitor Attractions
Forrec

James T. Anderson has multiple roles at FORREC Ltd. including the Senior Director of Visitor Attractions, a Senior Creative Director, and the Director for Business Development in North America. James has been a driving force in the world of theme park and attraction design since joining the company in 1996. James's driving force lies in storytelling, evident in his dedication to creating compelling guest experiences that transcend the boundaries of design, technology, and interactivity. The challenge of conveying a narrative across various scales of experience design fuels his passion for creating memorable and engaging attractions and theme parks.

John Paul Geurts

John Paul Geurts

Founder
Funopoly, LLC

Creative Entrepreneur, John Paul Geurts has a strong passion for extraordinary guest experiences and exquisite design. He has spent over 30 years cultivating a unique approach to brand development, story-driven design, and live entertainment.  He recently launched his own design and consulting firm, Funopoly, to help brands develop experiential content and maintain high standards.

He has worked for Herschend Enterprises on new hospitality projects overseeing brand, design, and creative following an executive role at Universal Creative on Epic Universe. Throughout his career, he has been fortunate to transfer his theatrical training and scenic, lighting and costume design skills, to many industries outside the entertainment field, including but not limited to: Nickelodeon, The Walt Disney Company, Microsoft and Universal Studios.
 

Ken Whiting

Ken Whiting, ICAE

President
Whiting's Foods

Ken has 40 years experience within the amusement parks and attractions industry. As President of his family’s business, his company operates food & beverage locations at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and other venues. Additionally he provides guidance to venues worldwide on growing revenue and profits within all in-park spending areas, and works with industry employers to improve workplace productivity, performance and development, with the younger, next generation of employees. He attended his first IAAPA Expo in 1979, and has since become a long time committee volunteer and regular Expo and webinar presenter. In addition to his current role as a member of the IAAPA Board of Directors, he sits on the North American Regional Advisory committee, facilitates the Institute for Attractions Managers program, and is a past Chair of the Food and Beverage Committee.

Michael Collins

Michael Collins

Senior Partner
Leisure Development Partners

Michael Collins is a Senior Partner and one of the founders of LDP (Leisure Development Partners LDP). Michael has worked all over the world with most of the large theme park operating groups and developers, owners and operators of all forms of visitor attractions. Michael and LDP's work is in feasibility, business planning, improvement strategy and due diligence for attractions, entertainment and leisure real estate. Michael’s passion for the entertainment industry stems from his background as the fourth generation of a visitor attraction operating family.
 

Reinoud Van Assendelft

Reinoud Van Assendelft

Van Assendelft en Partners

Rex Jackson

Rex Jackson

Managing Director of the North American
LEGOLAND Resorts

Rex Jackson is the Managing Director of the North American LEGOLAND Resorts business, a division within Merlin Entertainments, a global leader in location-based, family entertainment.  With LEGOLAND Resorts in Florida, California, and New York, Rex is responsible for driving these family entertainment destinations' strategic growth and development.  

Jackson previously served as President for LEGOLAND Florida Resort, where his deep understanding of Florida’s tourism industry, combined with his passion for creating magical experiences for families, has been instrumental in the resort’s transformation from a single theme park into a multi-day vacation destination with the launch of multiple hotel properties, park ride and attraction expansions, and the addition of Peppa Pig Theme Park.

Prior to joining Merlin Entertainments, Jackson spent his career in brand management, including time at Procter & Gamble and Darden Restaurants.  During his tenure at P&G, Jackson played a pivotal role in driving the growth and market success of the Tide brand, earning recognition with several advertising awards from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.   Later at Darden Restaurants, Jackson further solidified his reputation as a dynamic leader by leading the development of a new brand campaign for Olive Garden and a menu strategy for Longhorn Steakhouse.

Originally from the Midwest, where he graduated with his MBA from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Jackson has called Florida home for the past 14 years.  He lives in the Orlando, Florida area with his wife Jessica and is a proud father to two daughters, Claire and Harper. 

Sascha Czibulka

Sascha Czibulka

Executive Vice President and Managing Director
Intamin

Sascha Czibulka graduated from the University of Economics in Vienna, with a master’s degree in
business administration. He then left his hometown and took a job in Bremen, Germany with Huss Rides
where he joined the amusement industry.

After five years as Senior Vice President responsible for Huss global sales and marketing activities,
Sascha joined in 2000 Intamin as Executive Vice President and Managing Director. Sascha takes care of
Intamin’s sales and marketing activities as well as several administrational efforts including legal,
contractual, insurance and patent law matters.

Sascha has since been very active within IAAPA and has over the years represented the M&S community
in various committees, some of which he also chaired. Other highlights were two terms on the IAAPA
Board of Directors as well as several terms on the IAAPA EMEA Advisory Committee.

Sascha is one of the governors of the Applause Award Board of Governors, the theme- and amusement
parks industry’s oldest and most prestigious award and is also an IAAPA Certified Attractions Executive.
Being able to travel the world and visiting many amusement and theme parks, Sascha can still live his
passion of riding roller coasters.

Steven Davison

Steven Davison

Vice President of Parades and Spectaculars
Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment

Steven “Mr. Spectacular” Davison is currently the Executive Creative Director of Parades and Spectaculars for Disney Parks Live Entertainment in Glendale and is celebrating more than 40th years with the company. In 1999 Steve’s nighttime spectacular career was born with Disneyland Park’s "Believe... There's Magic In The Stars.” He went onto to lead worldwide productions including several IAAPA Brass Ring award-winning shows such as “Ignite the Dream: A Nighttime Spectacular of Magic & Light” at Shanghai Disneyland and “Harmonious” at EPCOT. He loves the fact that guests find such satisfaction in his work and tries to put something special into each piece. Usually, the end of his shows features a special message for the audience.  One that encourages them to make a wish and find the true power within them to make it come true.

Agenda

 
7:30-9 a.m.

Registration

Location: Lido Foyer 3rd Floor / The Venetian
7:30-8:30 a.m.

Breakfast

Location: Murano Ballroom 3rd Floor / The Venetian
8:30-9 a.m.

Doors Open

Location: Lido Ballroom 3rd Floor / The Venetian
9-9:05 a.m.

Program Welcome

with Jakob Wahl, IAAPA president and chief executive officer
9:05-9:45 a.m.

Keynote Presentation: Fostering a Culture of Innovation, Creativity, and Excellence

with George Kalogridis former Disney executive. Moderated by Michael Collins, of Leisure Development Partners
9:45-9:50 a.m.

IAAPA Brass Ring Award Recognition

for Best Exhibits from IAAPA Expo 2023, IAAPA Expo Asia 2023, and IAAPA Expo Europe 2023
9:50-10:30 a.m.

Panel: So, You Think You’re Creative

with Rex Jackson from North America LEGOLAND Resorts; and John Paul Geurts, founder of Funopoly, James Anderson, Forrec; Moderated by Adrea Gibbs, ICAE, Alriginal Productions
10:30-10:40 a.m.

IAAPA Brass Ring Awards Presentation for HR Excellence

10:40-10:50 a.m.

IAAPA Young Professionals of 2023 - Europe, Middle East, and Africa & Asia Pacific Recognition

with Doug Akers, ICAE, Universal Destinations & Experiences
10:50-11:20 a.m.

Break - Featuring IAAPA Brass Ring Food & Beverage Excellence Selection

Location: Murano Ballroom 3rd Floor / The Venetian
11:20-11:45 a.m.

IAAPA Brass Ring Awards Presentation for Marketing Excellence

Location: Lido Ballroom 3rd Floor / The Venetian
11:45-11:55 a.m.

IAAPA Brass Ring Award Recognition for Best New Products Awards from IAAPA Expo 2023

11:55 a.m. - 12:55 p.m.

Panel: From Ideation to IAAPA Honors: The Seaworld/Hypershere 360 Experience

with Sascha Czibulka, Intamin; Glenn Davidson, Miral; and Al Cross, PGAV Destinations; Moderated by Geoff Chutter, WhiteWater West
12:55-1:15 p.m.

IAAPA Brass Ring Awards Presentations for Food & Beverage Excellence

1:15-2:15 p.m.

Lunch

Location: Location: Murano Ballroom 3rd Floor / The Venetian
2:15-2:45 p.m.

Presentation: The Art of Disney Spectaculars

Location: Location: Lido Ballroom 3rd Floor / The Venetian
with Steven Davison, Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment; Moderated by Ken Whiting, ICAE, Whiting's Foods
2:45-3:15 p.m.

IAAPA Brass Ring Awards Presentation for Live Entertainment Excellence

3:15-3:30 p.m.

IAAPA Young Professionals of 2023 - North America and Latin America & Caribbean

with Doug Akers, ICAE
3:30-3:45 p.m.

IAAPA Brass Ring Awards Presentation for Top FEC of 2023 and Games & Merchandise Excellence

3:45-4 p.m.

Break - Featuring IAAPA Brass Ring Food & Beverage Excellence Selections

3:45-4:45 p.m.

Presentation: Excellence in Storytelling

with Nicolas de Villiers, Puy Du Fou; Moderated by Reinoud Van Assendelft de Coningh, Van Assendelft & Partners
4:45-7 p.m.

Program Break

7-11 p.m.

Evening of Excellence

Location: Villa Azur / The Venetian / Cocktail Attire - Sequins optional Grand Canal Shoppes Sky Garden (across from Tory Burch)
7-8:30 p.m.

Excellence Reception

Reception with IAAPA Honors and North America Summit attendees
8:30-9 p.m.

Excellence Presentations

Recognition of the IAAPA Hall of Fame inductees, IAAPA Service Award recipients, and the Liseberg Applause Award winner
9-11 p.m.

Excellence After Party

All are welcome to stay and continue the celebration
11-11 p.m.

Honors Program Ends

Please Note: Agenda is subject to change.