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November 26, 2001

IAAPA: 2001 Service Awards Winners Honored

Article written by:
Eric Gieszl, Editor

Orlando, FL — The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) honored the winners of its 2001 Service Awards during the associations annual convention and trade show held this year in Orlando, Florida.

The IAAPA Service Awards are given to amusement facility owners and operators who are recognized throughout for their dedication, hard work and commitment to the amusement industry, and this year's winners demonstrate many of these characteristics.

This year's winners include Tim O'Brien, Parks and Attractions Editor for Amusement Business, the industry's leading trade publication, who was honored with the Lifetime Service Award.

O'Brien began has career 16 years ago and has since visited more than 500 amusement parks worldwide. His interest started early having grown up across from Buckeye Lake Amusement Parks in Columbus, Ohio.

He has written two books on amusement parks "The Amusement Park Guide: Coast to Coast Thrills" and another he co-wrote with his daughter, "Essential Guide to the Six Flags Theme Parks."

"There's something special in writing about people whose main business is to make people happy," said O'Brien.

The Outstanding Service Award was given to Larry Cochran, former President and CEO of Six Flags Corporation in Dallas. Cochran spent more than 35 years in the amusement industry, starting his career at the first Six Flags park, Six Flags Over Texas before it opened.

He served an important role in expanding the Six Flags brand to eight additional theme parks in the United States. His philosophy that you can "never have too many roller coasters" helped Six Flags become the industry leader for thrill rides.

Cochran was named Chairman of IAAPA in 1998, retired in 1999 and remains active on the IAAPA Board of Directors and as a consultant to Six Flags Theme Parks.

This year's Public Affairs Award was given to Jerry Aldrich and Sylvie Faujanet of Parc Asterix, Plailly, France. The award gives recognition to an individual or organization who has contributed to the industry in the field of public affairs.

Faujanet started in the amusement industry with the grand opening of Parc Asterix. She has been instrumental in the growth of the company, sitting on the Executive Committee and quickly becoming its Secretary General.

In 1999 she was elected President of the "France Parcs" amusement industry association. Under her guidance the association has grown and changed its named to "SNELAC", the leading national association for leisure, attractions and cultural companies.

Aldrich has dedicated his career in the industry to keeping it safe. He has worked in ride engineering for Walt Disney World for 27 years. Aldrich serves as Chairman of the IAAPA safety committee for the past three years.

He has participated in and facilitated many safety, maintenance and operational workshops and seminars to help educate the amusement industry on how their guests can have safe and fun experiences in theme parks and other amusement facilities.

This year's Phoenix Award was presented to the Leap-The-Dips Preservation Foundation for its preservation and restoration of the Leap The Dips roller coaster, the oldest operating coaster in the world.

The Phoenix Award is given to an individual or organazation responsible for the preservation or rebirt of a cherished part of the amusement industry. The Leap The Dips organization spent five years of fundraising to grant the roller coaster its needed million dollar renovation in order to re-open the ride to the public in 1999.

Leap-The-Dips was built in 1902 at Lakemont Park in Altoona, Pennsylvania. The coaster was closed in 1985 after it fell into disrepair and the park could not afford to restore the ride. Thanks to the organizations efforts Leap-The-Dips was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1996.

The Meritorious Service Award is awarded to a group of industry professionals who have worked with IAAPA to effectively meet the needs of its ever-growing international membership. This award is given in recognition for meritorious service by an individual, group, or organization that has improved the stature of the industry regionally, nationally or internationally.

This year's award was given to eleven IAAPA International Representatives. These individuals volenteered their time and talents to IAAPA to promote and further IAAPA's mission to become a global association. The hard work laid of these individuals laid the ground for IAAPA to open its office in Europe.

The IAAPA International Representatives and receipients of this award are: Ann-Maree O'Neill, serving Australia and New Zealand; Jeff Bertus, serving Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg; Maria Lucia "Didu" Romero, serving Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Chile; Evelyne Villame, serving France; Caroline von Landsberg-Velen, serving Germany; Masahiko Maeda, serving Japan, Taiwan, and the Republic of Korea; Hidetomo Tanaka, serving Japan, Taiwan, and the Republic. of Korea; Paulina Reyes, serving Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela; Frank Andersen, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Sweden; Kelven Tan, serving Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines; and, Peter Hadden, serving England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.