IAAPA started early on Wednesday, with the General Managers and Owners’ Breakfast.
Jim Seay, President of Premier Rides received the Lifetime Service Award for his thousands of hours of work with the ATSM International Global Committee developing rides safety standards. He did this while also developing new roller coasters using both Linear Induction and Linear Synchronous Motors. He has been active with IAAPA serving on various boards and committees, and even testified before Congress regarding amusement ride safety.
1) As a leader you get obedience by telling your team what to do, you get commitment by telling them, why.
2) The biggest challenge for today’s leaders is exploring new ways to add value without incurring additional costs.
He cited several examples from his career during his address which was well received.
During IAAPA the National Roller Coaster Museum and Archives are sharing a wonderful display chronicling the history of amusement parks.
The display consists of a timeline, that features milestones in the history of the roller coaster, and is a labor of love done by a the museum's board members and a group of historians. This group felt the timing was ideal to remind the leaders of the amusement industry of it's remarkable past... and we whole heartedly agree!
Some of the Disney Legends returned to IAAPA to share what they learned during their careers. Marty Sklar, Jack Lindquist, and Lee Cockerell. Much joking around and great stories were told, as some of the magic from the past was relived. A big takeaway was Marty sharing that while Walt constantly pushed his staff to do better, his instance on excellence worked and developed loyalty amongst the team. Marty also wishes he was still helping to create new attractions.
Jack told the story of how he promised to resign if a certain attendance goal wasn’t realized, and he developed an ad campaign to get the job done. He said to push for what you believe in and not settle for less than the best. He also talked about how writing his book was almost like reliving the past, which although a lot of work, was also a lot of fun. He told the story about how Walt used his first draft of a speech for when Shirley Temple was opening up the castle for visitor without any changes. Jack also created the “Homecoming Theme” for Disneyland 50th celebration.
Lee, who has published two books, talked about how executives need to also be “behind the counter,” because if they don’t know the truth they cannot correct the issues. He said his granddaughter told him the first rule of customer service, “Be nice,” and remembered the Walt said, “If you keep it friendly and clean everything will be fine after I’m gone.”
The session concluded with a standing ovation and everybody got in line to get their books signed.