Tom Anstey, speaks to IAAPA’s new CEO and president, its new chair, and the immediate past chair about the changes going on in the organisation right now, as its leadership team maps out the century ahead for the attractions body
al McEvoy was named the new president and CEO of IAAPA in October 2018. Taking up the position following an interim period after Paul Noland’s resignation in February last year, McEvoy is aiming to making his mark at the head of the organisation.
Hal McEvoy IAAPA CEO and president
EVERYTHING IS MORPHING AND IT SHOWS THE CREATIVITY OF PEOPLE IN THE INDUSTRY BECAUSE THEY FIND A NICHE 64 attractionsmanagement.com
What’s your background? While studying at the University of South Florida in 1972, I found myself needing a job. My parents lived in Orlando, so I went to Disney World looking for work. That was my first job in the industry. A few years later, after leaving a banking job, I joined Busch Gardens as an accounting clerk. I worked in different Busch Gardens theme parks in Tampa and Williamsburg before moving to its corporate offices. 42 years later I joined IAAPA, becoming its chief financial officer. One of your main tasks is to establish the new headquarters in Orlando. How important is that for IAAPA? When you look at the history of IAAPA, it started in Chicago before moving to Alexandria. That was because of advocacy, which was the main focus at the time. It’s grown over the years. Now it includes things like safety, education and leadership. Once the new HQ is up and running, we can hold programmes and events, and
encourage people to come and see us. It’s going to help us as an organisation provide the services we need to help the attractions industry succeed. What’s currently exciting you most about the industry? Back when I started, a theme park was just a theme park, a waterpark was a waterpark. Now, everything is morphing and it shows the creativity of people in the industry because they find a niche that serves the population around them and they find a way to deliver. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the industry? You see things in the industry where for years attraction jobs were looked at as a job you would get starting out of college. In recent times, there’s been a real push for sustainable wages. You see companies really starting to take these things to heart. We could be better and are improving in terms of addressing sustainability and understanding societal trends. We also have to be more responsible with how the industry delivers, offering products that compliment the environment. Not just in our industry, but companies are now introducing sustainability statements. It’s a focus the global industry should be heading toward. AM 1 2019 ©CYBERTREK 2019
Attractions Management is the magazine and online community for decision-makers in the global attractions industry