This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Interview Rippy takes the helm at IAAPA

BOB Rippy takes over from Chip Cleary as chairman of IAAPA during the annual IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando in November, to begin his year at the head of the organisation. Here he talks to InterPark Editor Andrew Mellor about various aspects of the business, including his goals during his term of office, the association itself and some of the current challenges facing the industry

Bob Rippy became involved in the amusement park industry in 1984 when he invested in a small waterslide as a non-operating partner. In 1987 a jungle golf course was added to the venture, while three years later in 1990 his partners decided to “get out” and Rippy started a seven year expansion that built the Jungle Rapids park in Wilmington, North Carolina, he owns and operates today. He attended his first IAAPA Attractions Expo in

1990, joining the FEC committee in early 2000, and has served on the Board of Directors and many other committees over the years. Since first joining, he feels the membership has become more international and diversified and was inspired by the Chairs who have served before him to take on the challenge of the IAAPA Chairman’s role. So what will be his personal goals and aims during his term

of office? “I want to keep moving the association forward by

focusing on: • Establishing our new regional office in the Asia-Pacific region. The office is based in Hong Kong and through it we will be better able to serve our members in that part of the world.

• The IAAPA Strategic Plan. It is updated each year by the Strategic Planning Committee and approved by the board. We will focus on the key goals outlined in that plan.

• Growing membership. We acquired a number of new family entertainment centres (FEC members) as a result of our merger with IALEI. We are developing new services for FECs and we want to renew as many of those memberships as possible. We are also working to enhance the services we offer our waterpark members. Plus, we want to attract as many new members as we can.

• Providing additional products and services for our members that are not directly associated with one of our trade shows. From education programmes to industry data, there are a number of ways we can enhance the services we offer members on a year- round basis.”

46 And how well does Rippy feel IAAPA caters to its many

different operator sectors? Does he think it’s stronger in some areas than others? “IAAPA has evolved as the attractions industry has

evolved,” he says. “At one time, the association’s membership was made up primarily of amusement and theme parks, many of which were family owned. Many of those parks have been acquired by large companies and that dynamic requires evolving the benefits we offer our members. Additionally, attractions themselves are evolving. Zoos are adding rides. FECs and resorts are adding waterpark attractions. Waterparks and theme parks are adding zip lines and ropes courses. These changes have created opportunities for IAAPA to change and provide services for a greater variety of attractions. Certainly, different types of members get different benefits from their involvement with the association. Ultimately though, all members are looking for ways to expand their business and IAAPA is here to support them.” And he continued: “What’s important to one member

may not be important to another. Some companies are members to simply support the government and media relations work the association does on behalf of the industry. Others rely on IAAPA for basic resources, operating guidelines and education or training resources. I think most of our supplier members rely on IAAPA to help them meet new customers. All members benefit from the information the association provides through products like the daily news compilation e-mail News Flash and Fun World magazine.” The association focuses on all of these areas to serve its members and the industry at large. The industry obviously faces various challenges, both

within and outside the US, and Rippy agrees these will differ from country to country. “The day-to-day challenges differ around the globe,” he

states. “From legislative and regulatory issues to staffing challenges and school calendar debates, there are numerous issues that impact our members. Three issues in particular, though, impact the majority of our operators: • Lack of capital – thanks to the economic downturn, acquiring funds to develop attractions has become much more difficult. Operators must do their homework and only the strongest of projects will get the funding they need.

• Safety Standards Harmonisation – safety is our top priority and having a set of uniform safety standards will help us maintain that commitment around the globe. The standards should be based on the very best design, engineering, maintenance and operations practices in the world. They should be continuously updated to take advantage of new learning and technological

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76