Charles (Hank) Salemi, a dear friend and attractions industry leader
I and many others in the attractions industry lost a dear friend yesterday, as we learned Hank Salemi, the Park President at Six Flags Great America, passed away suddenly at home. When I got the call, I was in shock. Having talked to Hank over the holidays, my thoughts went right to our conversation, he was his usual thoughtful and caring self.
Hank was an excellent leader in our industry who brought passion and care to his team at Six Flags Great America and their guests. The most important people in his life were his wife, Kathleen and daughter, Claire. He always talked about them with such pride and love.
He had his priorities right and had great plans for the future with his family. He so often put work and business on hold so he could focus on Claire, her schooling, and her activities. Spending time with Kathleen and Claire was most important to him.
I am sad for his Six Flags family and our IAAPA community. We all lost someone who dedicated so much of his time to helping us all succeed. Hank could always be counted on to be there, whenever he was needed. He listened intently and gave his well-measured thoughts to any problem or discussion. He was always focused on making things better and more efficient, while balancing quality. We would sometimes joke that Hank could be a “dream killer” - when he felt the risks were too high or more work needed to be done before a decision was made. But we also knew it always came from his vast expertise and dedication to helping us all be better.
As we go forward, I will always have his voice in my head and heart when I hear or discuss something Hank was passionate about. And I will smile knowing he left his mark on me and many others in making this world a better place.
President and CEO