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Webinar: CEO Perspective: The Mindset to Thrive During Turbulent Times

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

10-11 a.m. ET

Trying times call for strong leadership that builds community, looks ahead for new possibilities and offers hope. Join industry leaders as they share data, insight and thoughts about the industry in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

A question and answer session will follow the webinar.


Hal McEvoy, President and CEO

Hal McEvoy

President and CEO, IAAPA

As president and CEO, McEvoy serves IAAPA’s more than 6,000 facility, supplier, and individual members from more than 100 countries. 

IAAPA members include professionals from amusement parks, theme parks, attractions, water parks, resorts, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, science centers, museums, and industry manufacturers and suppliers. IAAPA helps members improve their efficiency, marketing, safety, and profitability while maintaining the highest possible professional standards in the industry worldwide. The association's global headquarters is in Orlando, Florida, US and maintains offices in Brussels, Belgium; Hong Kong, China; Shanghai, China; Mexico City, Mexico, and Alexandria, Virginia, US.
McEvoy joined IAAPA in 2017 as chief financial officer following a successful 42-year career with Busch Entertainment Corporation/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. He began his career in 1975 as a part-time accounting clerk at Busch Gardens Tampa. He was promoted to president and CEO in October 2018.

After his college graduation in 1976, McEvoy was promoted to a full-time position as cash control supervisor at Busch Gardens Tampa and worked his way up through the company to become vice president of finance for Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA. In December 2012, Hal relocated to Orlando, Florida, when he was promoted to corporate vice president of internal audit and compliance.

McEvoy has been an active IAAPA volunteer as a member and chair of the IAAPA Audit Committee. He holds an accounting degree from the University of South Florida.

Geoff Chutter, President & CEO, WhiteWater West Industries

Geoff Chutter

President & CEO, WhiteWater West Industries

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 Canada. Undeterred by a lack of water slide suppliers, he decided to leave his career as a CPA with KMPG to manufacture his own rides, and thus created his own manufacturing empire.

Nearly 40 years 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 a customer would require to launch their own world-class parks. Geoff spots trends and opportunities early and makes strategic partnerships (in 2018 alone with Wiegand Maelzer, VR Coaster, Holovis, and Cirque du Soleil) and innovation investments (Vantage) to bring clients the solutions they will need tomorrow, today.
This visionary thinking has allowed WhiteWater to grow to over 600 employees across the globe; providing everything from park design to full engineering, manufacturing, project management, installation commissioning, and operations expertise. With full-service offices on four continents and regional manufacturing capabilities, WhiteWater is in the unique position to be able to provide prompt and informed responses to global clients’ needs, delivering services in their language and time zone. 

An inductee into the World Waterpark Association’s Hall of Fame and a board member and chair for Covenant House, Geoff’s enthusiasm and dedication helps WhiteWater to be recognized annually with numerous industry awards. As a Canada’s Best Managed Companies award recipient, WhiteWater’s reputation, as well as its size and portfolio of famous brands as clients, secures its industry shaping leadership position.

Yael Coifman, Co-Founder and Senior Partner, Leisure Development Partners (LDP)

Yael Coifman

Co-Founder and Senior Partner, Leisure Development Partners (LDP)

Yael is a founding partner of Leisure Development Partners (LDP), a specialised consulting practice focused on the worldwide visitor attraction and leisure industry. LDP focuses on market and economic testing for both new projects and existing operations, providing services to the development, investment and operations communities. Prior to founding LDP, Yael was a Director at ERA based in Los Angeles, Washington DC, and London. During her 20+ years consulting in the industry, Yael has completed projects in over 60 countries, throughout Europe, the Middle East, the Americas, and Asia. 

Throughout her career, Yael’s experience includes projects around the globe such as theme and waterpark,  attraction, museum and themed entertainment resort feasibility, due diligence for sales and acquisitions, economic impact, improvement and development strategy, sports and entertainment venue appraisal, mixed-use development strategy, operator and investor solicitation and several expert witness appearances.  Yael has worked with many of the major players in worldwide attractions operations, including Six Flags, Fox Studios, SeaWorld, Universal, Parques Reunidos, Dreamworks, Disney, Warner Bros, DPR, Miral  and KidZania, as well as many museums, corporate brand centres, investment groups, developers and public sector organizations.  Over the past years, she has been involved in quite a few projects integrating entertainment into retail destinations. Clients have included INTU, British Land, Westfield, Immochan, IKEA and Europa City amongst others. Given her broad international experience, she brings global perspective to every project
Yael has an MBA in international business from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and a BA in Economics & Political Science from Yale University and is fluent in both French and Spanish.

Keith James, Owner and CEO, JRA

Keith James

Owner and CEO, JRA

If you look closely at many of the largest theme parks around the world – including Kings Island, Universal Studios Florida, LEGOLAND and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi – you will find the handprint of Keith James.

Keith spent his early years at Kings Productions, where he learned all of the disciplines involved in shaping a modern theme park. After overseeing the operations of both Canada’s Wonderland and Australia’s Wonderland, Keith joined Universal Studios Florida as Vice President, Show and Ride Production. Keith joined JRA in 1992, acquiring full ownership of the company in 2008.

To support the growth of the industry, Keith has served on the Board of Directors of IAAPA, as well as President of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2011, he received IAAPA’s Outstanding Service Award, and five years later was recognized with the TEA’s Buzz Price Thea Award for Lifetime Achievement. Keith’s professionalism, commitment to the industry, and kindness to others have strengthened his reputation as a true industry legend.

Scott Fais, Managing Editor, Funworld

Scott Fais

Managing Editor, Funworld, IAAPA


Scott Fais doesn’t slow down often. As the managing editor of Funworld—The official magazine of IAAPA—Scott guides the coverage of innovative people and places. Prior to joining IAAPA three years ago, Scott covered hurricanes, space shuttle launches, elections, and the attractions industry as a television reporter, producer and director.

His works has received accolades from the Associated Press and six Emmy Awards presented by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Today, he is proud to present stories in the pages of Funworld that inspire and connect IAAPA members around the globe.