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Webinar: Preparing to Reopen Your FEC

Event Type: Education
Venue: Online
Region: IAAPA Global
Member Price: $0 | Nonmember Price: $0
Credit Hour(s): 1

1-2 p.m. ET

It’s time to make the call. The decisions to be made are mounting. Which attractions will you open and when? How will you maintain capacity levels? What new hygiene, cleaning, and safety practices will be put into place? Reopening your FEC in the midst of COVID-19 recovery brings a lot of questions. Join a panel of industry professionals to gain insights and address these topics, and more.

Topics covered:

  • Things you can do while waiting to reopen
  • Protection for Guests and Employees
  • Cleaning Practices
  • Insurance and Risk
  • Financial Preparations
  • Marketing, Promotions and Events


Erik Beard, Managing Member/General Counsel, International Ride Training LLC

Erik Beard

Managing Member and General Counsel, International Ride Training LLC

Erik H. Beard is a managing member and general counsel of International Ride Training.  He has worked in the industry for over 27 years, first in ride operations with Cedar Fair Entertainment Company and Universal Orlando Resort, and then as an attorney where he has represented and advised clients on the Americans With Disabilities Act and operational and risk management best practices.

Jerry Merola

Jerry Merola

Managing Partner, Amusement Entertainment Management, LLC

Jerry Merola serves as Chief Financial Officer and Managing Partner of Amusement Entertainment Management, L.L.C, a position he has held for twenty-five years. He has focused much of his efforts on analyzing and enhancing the performance of the firm's client portfolio, which includes owners of entertainment venues, water parks, theme parks, casinos, and financial institutions. He has developed feasibility studies, business plans, business valuations, operating plans, and funding programs for some of the most notable names in the entertainment industry and performed business audits in almost all markets and sectors. Jerry and the firm have developed one of the most comprehensive attractions databases available, allowing its clients to obtain "real world" performance results and earnings capability for virtually any entertainment component.

Earlier in his career, Jerry served ten years in the commercial banking industry as Vice President of one of the Northeast's largest commercial banks, where he managed a team of lenders that controlled the bank's Fortune 1000 client portfolio.  Additionally, he served as a key member of the bank's lending committee, where he steered the investment focus for specific regions.  A holder of bachelors and masters degrees in corporate and international finance from Fordham University and Fairleigh Dickinson University respectively, Jerry brings to the table a wealth of experience in financial markets, project and land development, budgeting, and risk management.

Drew Tewksbury

Drew Tewksbury

Director of Sales and Marketing, McGowan Allied Specialty Insurance

Depth. In a word this sums up Drew Tewksbury as a person and a professional. His professional life has been dedicated to understanding, educating and protecting his clients. Real life experience running festivals and fairs, working on and inspecting amusement rides and helping develop safety standards for an industry provide him with a fundamental understanding of their unique business. A nationally certified amusement ride safety officer and ride inspector, Drew recognized early in his career that he wanted to help the amusement industry on a deeper level than just through providing exceptional insurance products. But what truly defines Drew are the powerful personal and unwavering relationships that he builds with his clients, colleagues and trading partners. Simply put, when it’s two in the morning and something has gone wrong, clients and friends all trust that he will be there to help.

Barry Zelickson, Owner, Big Thrill Factory

Barry Zelickson

Owner, Big Thrill Factory

Barry has the pleasure of being a part of a great team that took Big Thrill Factory from a concept in 2013 to be named the Top FEC of the World (North America) in 2017. He currently is focused on the continued development and growth of the BTF brand. In addition, Zelickson has extensive work and ownership experience with both large and small corporations including SVP of Border Foods, a regional franchisee in the QSR industry and Spooky World where he developed, opened and operated this nationally acclaimed seasonal Halloween theme park.

Brandon Willey, CEO, Hownd

Brandon Willey

CEO, Hownd


Brandon has 15 years of executive leadership experience in business operations, product development, sales, and marketing. As Founder and CEO of Hownd, an effortless foot traffic platform for FECs and Attractions headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, he has developed a passion for the attractions industry as well as a broad knowledge of the local marketing ecosystem and experience economy.


Thank you for your interest. This program has reached capacity and registration is now closed. A recording of the broadcast will be available on the IAAPA COVID-19 Webinars page after May 27, 2020.