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Faircracker SUMMER 2019


Greg Chiecko, OABA President & CEO


February 1, 2019 Greg Chiecko was hired as the new


President and CEO replacing Bob Johnson after a 24-year career with the OABA. Bob remained as a full-time con- sultant until May 1, 2019. Bob will continue as a part time consultant as need throughout the year. On May 1, 2019 the Winter Park, FL office has officially


closed and new offices, on the grounds of the Eastern States Exposition, are open at 1305 Memorial Ave, West Springfield, MA 01089. Sue Gallup has joined the staff as the Administrative and


Member Service Manager. Sue had worked for Eastern States Exposition for over 30 years, most recently as, the Administrative Assistant for the Marketing Department. We are in the process of hiring a Director of Member Ser- vices and Sales to round out the team. H2B visas, or lack thereof, continues to be a major chal-


lenge for our industry. There are not enough sufficiently qualified, willing, available and able US workers to till the positions offered to H2B applicants. The Department of Labor allocated an additional 30,000 visas in April. To date these visas, have not been released. When they are released, we are uncertain on how they will be distributed. Several of our member carnivals do not have any foreign labor. They are managing for now. However, the larger events season is upon us and we have no viable plan to staff these events. For the past several years we have been able to obtain extra visas through an appropriation


bill. This stop gap method must be replaced by a permanent fix through an authorization bill. OABA, and its members, will advocate strong to reach a permanent solution to our foreign labor concerns. In early April ATT launched a com-


mercial across several media plat- forms entitled “OK Carnival.” The commercial, part of a series, depict- ed a negative stereo-type of the port- able ride industry. Our members were outraged, hurt and in disbelief. OABA, with assistance of our Public Relations firm and allied associations (including IAFE and IAAPA), launched a full scale, multi-platform rebuttal to make cer- tain ATT understood our position. We garnished attention from top management at ATT. We communicated with top management directly. They took our position under ad- visement. To date the “OK Carnival” commercials continue to be shown. ATT simply does not care. The OABA continues to work with operators in several


states including Florida, Texas, Utah and California on ride related legislation. We are also working with several states to assist members with exotic and other animal welfare bills. Our Board of Directors met in Washington DC on April 29


& 30 to implement our strategic plan for the future of the OABA. The group was very committed to making certain that OABA is on solid ground for many years to come. On May 1st twenty board members spent the day lobbying on Capitol Hill on issues that affect our industry.


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