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Park News

New Holiday World leader

named amidst conflict Matt Eckert has been appointed as the new president and CEO of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Indiana, following the departure of Dan Koch.

Matt Eckert

“Matt was hand-picked by my husband, Will, to be in a leadership role at the park; I know he would be pleased with our choice,” says Holiday World vice-president Lori Koch. “My brother-in- law Dan stepped in to serve as president following Will’s sudden death in 2010. We thank him for his leadership and wish him well as he returns full-time to his law firm in Florida.”

Lori, widow of Will Koch, Holiday World’s late president, recently took a controlling interest in the park following a two-year lawsuit. She fired Dan Koch shortly after the verdict was handed down in early December. Dan is appealing the verdict, and remains a minority shareholder in the holding company Koch Development Corp. The park’s board of directors also includes Lauren Koch, Leah Koch, William A Koch III and former IAAPA president/CEO Chip Cleary. Matt Eckert, meanwhile, began his tenure with the family-run business in 2000 and acted as one of two Holiday World general managers from 2007 to 2012. He has also served on IAAPA’s human resources Committee.

Musical chairs at Six Flags The retirement of Melinda Ashcraft as president of Six Flags

Over Georgia in Atlanta has resulted in a shuffling of top management at the Six Flags group. Dale Kaetzel has replaced Ashcraft at the Georgia park, transferring from his previous post as president of Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in California. The latter position will now be filled by Don McCoy, leaving his presidency at The Great Escape in Lake George, New York, another Six Flags park. Filling McCoy’s position at The Great Escape, coming over from adjacent Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Water Park, where he had been general manager.

Key leadership Meg Crofton

changes at Disney Meg Crofton has completed her transition to the role of president for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ operations in the United States and France, a position she has held since July 2011 while concurrently serving as president of Walt Disney World, Florida. With Crofton now fully

focused on her international role, George A Kalogridis becomes new Walt Disney World president, while in California Michael Colglazier takes up the same role at the Disneyland Resort.

Withers named ASTM chair

Mike Withers, vice-president of ride engineering for Walt Disney Imagineering, has been elected to serve a two-year term as vice-chairman of ASTM subcommittee F24.24, offering guidance on the design, manufacture and safety of amusement rides and devices.

An ASTM international member since 2000, Withers has been an active member of several F24 subcommittees, and also represents ASTM on the CEN/TC 152 committee, which performs a similar function in Europe.

Mike Withers Funtown founder dies

Kenneth D Cormier, founder and president of Funtown USA in Saco, Maine, died January 8 at the age of 80. He passed away in Celebration, Florida, following a brief illness.

Kenneth D Cormier

In 1960, Cormier and his wife Violet started the Marvel Drive-In on Route 1 in Saco. In 1967, the couple started Funtown USA in partnership with Andre (Ted) and Muriel Dallaire, Violet’s sister and brother-in-law. In 1996, Ken and Violet purchased Cascade Water Park and Amusements from the Dallaire Family, creating

Funtown Splashtown USA.

Cormier was very active in the amusement industry, serving three-years on the IAAPA board and audit committee. Named Maine’s Small Business Person of the Year in 2001, he was inducted in the New England Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (NEAAPA) Hall of Fame four years later.

Cormier is survived by Violet, his wife of 50 years, plus six children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

18 FEBRUARY 2013

Melinda Ashcraft

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