Live Oak Bancshares officially launches eLending initiative

By | March 11, 2016

Live Oak Bank-Red-Secondary-Horizontal2WILMINGTON, N.C. — Live Oak Bancshares (“Live Oak”) announced that it has officially launched its eLending initiative. This initiative offers expedited loans from $75,000 to $350,000 that are perfect for the purchase of games and equipment in an industry that has historically struggled to find financing. The process has been streamlined with quick approvals and fast closings, generally within 30 days, so borrowers can get the funds fast and get back to work. Additionally, the program offers competitive rates, 10 to 15 year terms, no prepayment penalties, no balloons or covenants and no fees charged by or paid to Live Oak.

“We plan to compete with bank and non-bank lenders with a completely transparent lending experience. Customers can expect to get a loan decision within 48 hours of a completed application, with a dedicated eLender to work with along the way. As a bank, we have the advantage of a lower cost of funds than non-bank lenders, which we pass on to our customers giving them a lower monthly payment,” said Neil Underwood, President, Live Oak Bank.

Jason Lumpkin, formerly a senior loan officer within Live Oak’s Emerging Markets division, has been tasked with leading the eLending team as General Manager. Lumpkin joined Live Oak in 2011 and has served in multiple capacities within the company, from portfolio management and servicing to loan origination and new vertical business development. That development includes helping establish the FEC lending team with Live Oak Domain Specialist, Ben Jones.

“Live Oak will continue to provide loans up to $5 million, but this new eLending initiative helps meet a need in the FEC industry that was currently unfulfilled. With 10 year terms and low rates based on the borrower’s cash flow versus collateral, Live Oaks eLending platform makes small business loans accessible and affordable. This is truly a game changer for the Amusement industry,” said Ben Jones, Live Oak FEC Domain Specialist and GM.

Live Oak will be at the AAMA Amusement Expo International 2016 booth #333 where an eLending expert will be available to answer questions about the new expedited loans. Amusement Industry professionals interested in loans from $75,000 to $350,000 can stop by the booth to be prequalified in as little as 10 minutes with their social security and tax ID numbers. Live Oak will also have loan specialists available to discuss financing needs up to $5 million.

Registration now open for Asian Attractions Expo 2016

By | February 26, 2016

Asian Attractions logoALEXANDRIA, Virginia — More than 325 international companies will display the latest innovations and next-generation products and services across 10,000 net square meters of exhibition space at Asian Attractions Expo 2016, the region’s premier trade show and conference for the global attractions industry. The event will take place at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre 13-16 June. The trade show floor is open 14-16 June.

The industry’s global trade association, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), owns and produces Asian Attractions Expo and expects more than 8,000 participants from 65 countries, including 6,000 buyers, to participate in the 2016 event. Exhibitors will announce and debut state-of-the-art rides, motion simulators, water attractions, video and skill games, theming, technology, food-and-beverage innovations, and more. Buyers represent theme parks, water parks, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, science centers, museums, resorts, property developers, and more.

“The Asian Attractions Expo trade show floor provides developers and attractions owners and operators in the region unparalleled access to top-tier international manufacturer and supplier companies,” said IAAPA President and CEO Paul Noland. “The business opportunities for buyers are unmatched, given the quality of innovative products and services on display, all designed to improve the guest experience and drive business.”

According to the IAAPA Global Theme and Amusement Park Outlook 2015-2019 report, theme park attendance in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to reach 540 million by 2019, which will account for 45 percent of global attendance, up from 41 percent in 2014 and 34 percent in 2009. New projects and park expansions in China, India, Japan, and Southeast Asia are contributing to the market’s rapid growth.

Since 1997, Asian Attractions Expo has been the premier international event for the multibillion-dollar leisure and attractions industry in the Asia-Pacific region. Asian Attractions Expo 2016 takes place at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre, 13-16 June, and include a 10,000-net-square-meter trade show floor, a comprehensive industry education program, networking events, and visits to some of the region’s premier attractions. More than 8,000 attractions industry professionals from more than 65 countries will participate in the 2016 event.

Miss Germany crowned at Europa-Park

By | February 24, 2016

EuropaPark TPRUST, Germany — On Saturday 20th February 2014, 24 young women competed for the title of Miss Germany in Germany’s largest amusement park. After the presentation of evening dresses and bathing wear, the jury made of prominent personalities selected Lena Bröder from Nordwalde in North-Rhine Westphalia as the winner.

Directly after the nomination, host and Europa-Park owner Roland Mack and James “Chip” Cleary, former managing director of IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions) congratulated the twenty-six year old beauty.

Chip Cleary and Europa-Park owner Roland Mack present Miss Germany 2016.  Courtesy of Europa-Park

Chip Cleary and Europa-Park owner Roland Mack present Miss Germany 2016.
Photo courtesy of Europa-Park

Registration open for IAAPA Safety Institute

By | February 23, 2016

IAAPA_TransparentALEXANDRIA, Virginia — Registration is now open for the IAAPA Safety Institute in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The program provides the amusement park and attractions industry with the latest safety information and best practices. Attendees will gain essential takeaways from industry experts as they discuss how to achieve operational excellence. Park maintenance personnel should not miss this valuable opportunity to network with colleagues and learn how to implement safety best practices. IAAPA Safety Institute takes place on April 19, 2016.


    • Jerry Aldrich, Amusement Industry Consulting

      Jerry Aldrich’s expertise in developing a safe environment for exceptional customer service comes from more than 43 years of management and consulting experience, including 27 years with the Walt Disney Company. Aldrich presents workshops at industry-related educational safety seminars on subjects including incident investigation, crisis management, master planning signage, ASTM International standards, ride safety, government and industry compliance, policies and procedures, and operational guidelines.

    • Sgt. Katherine Severson, Calgary Police Service

      Sgt. Katherine Severson is a 20-year member of the Calgary Police Service and has been the lead of the emergency management team with the major events unit since 2010. In her current role, Severson has gained experience in command roles for the Calgary Stampede, the 2011 Royal Visit, and the 2013 southern Alberta floods. She has also served as the Calgary Police Service liaison in the City of Calgary Emergency Operations Center during many emergent events. She offers a valuable perspective on safety issues related to safety with a large public presence.

Additional speakers to be announced.

The registration fee is $99 for IAAPA members and $149 for non-members and includes registration, lunch, and coffee breaks. Participation in the IAAPA Safety Institute earns attendees four continuing education (CE) hours applicable toward IAAPA Certification.

Visit for more information about IAAPA Education and other IAAPA member benefits.

SeaWorld Entertainment announces operating leadership changes

By | February 19, 2016

PrintORLANDO, Florida — SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS), a leading theme park and entertainment company, today announced changes in its operational management team at its corporate headquarters and its San Diego, San Antonio and Williamsburg locations. The company also announced the creation of its Resorts Development Group.

John Reilly, SeaWorld San Diego Park President, has been promoted to Chief Parks Operations Officer. Daniel B. Brown, current Chief Parks Operations Officer has announced his retirement. The change will be effective April 1.

Dr. Christopher (Chris) Dold, Vice President of Veterinary Services, has been promoted to Chief Zoological Officer. He succeeds Brad Andrews, who will continue to serve the company as Zoological Director Emeritus, helping to drive the company’s conservation efforts, support new product development, and assist during the transition. These changes are effective April 1.

“These leaders bring to their new roles an extraordinary depth of knowledge and talent and the right expertise to deliver on our strategic priorities,” said Joel Manby, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. “John is a strong and experienced operator who has proven his leadership, both at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and amidst a challenging operating environment at our California location.”

As Chief Parks Operations Officer, Reilly will have operational oversight over all of the company’s theme parks. Reilly has led SeaWorld San Diego’s park operations since 2010 and has held a variety of leadership positions at other company parks and the corporate office.

“Chris is a highly respected veterinarian and scientist under whose leadership our animal care programs and contributions to conservation have helped further advance the care for animals in zoological settings and in the wild. I am confident that both John and Chris can drive forward our strategic priorities,” Manby added.

As Chief Zoological Officer, Dold will lead the company’s team of zoological professionals and oversee all animal programs that provide comprehensive care for the marine and terrestrial animals at the company’s parks, as well as the animals assisted as part of the company’s rescue program. Dold joined the company in 2005 as a Senior Veterinarian at the company’s SeaWorld Orlando theme park.

“We are grateful to both Dan and Brad for their passionate leadership, business acumen, industry expertise and incredible years of service – nearly a century of experience combined – to our company. We wish Dan nothing but the best in his retirement and are pleased to have Brad continue with us as Director Emeritus,” Manby said.

The company also announced that Marilyn Hannes, Vice President of Global Sales, has been promoted to SeaWorld San Diego and Aquatica San Diego Park President effective April 1. Hannes has served in a number of roles since joining the company in 1997, including Vice President of Marketing and Sales for the company’s California parks.

In addition, Carl Lum, Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA Park President, has been named San Antonio Park President effective February 19. He succeeds Dan Decker, who is leaving the Company. Lum will be responsible for leading the company’s Texas parks, SeaWorld and Aquatica. Lum has been with the company since 1999 and has held various leadership roles within the company, including Vice President of Finance for Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fla. before being promoted to Busch Gardens Williamsburg Park President in 2010.

The company is considering both internal and external candidates for the vacancies created by the promotions described above.

Formation of Resort Development Group

The company announced the formation of its Resort Development Group and the appointment of Steve Iandolo to the position of Vice President of Resort Development, effective February 1. Iandolo is responsible for leading the resort construction and development effort that was introduced in November as part of the company’s plan for organic and strategic growth. Iandolo has nearly 30 years of successful experience in design and construction in the hospitality industry. While with Universal Studios Parks and Resorts, he was creative director for the development of Orlando’s Royal Pacific Resort, Hard Rock Hotel and Portofino Bay Hotel. Iandolo joined the company in February from Herschend Family Entertainment where he was Vice President, Hospitality Development.

Six Flags announces board changes

By | February 18, 2016

SF Ent. logoGRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (NYSE: SIX), the world’s largest regional theme park company, announced that its board of directors has split executive leadership roles at the company by naming Jim Reid-Anderson the company’s executive chairman and promoting John Duffey to president and CEO, both effective February 19, 2016. Mr. Duffey has also been appointed a director of the company.

“The company has strong momentum and tremendous growth opportunities over the next decade, and I am proud to have helped our team deliver record guest satisfaction, industry-leading innovation, all-time high employee satisfaction, and our sixth consecutive year of record financial performance,” said Jim Reid-Anderson. “Strategically and operationally, we are firing on all cylinders and I am extremely excited to mentor the company’s next-generation of leaders. John Duffey has been instrumental in our past success and is a proven leader within the company, and this is an excellent time to transition responsibilities and develop others on our management team as we continue building the Six Flags brand globally.”

“I am honored and excited to become the CEO of Six Flags and work side-by-side with the best team in the industry,” said John Duffey. “We are extremely well-positioned for long term growth and shareholder value creation.”

The company also announced that Marshall Barber has been promoted to chief financial officer. Mr. Barber has built a successful career at Six Flags over the last 20 years, serving most recently as the company’s vice president financial planning & analysis. He is extremely experienced, having previously held both corporate level and park-based roles with increasing levels of responsibility.

In addition, the company announced its senior vice president of in-park services, John Bement, has retired from Six Flags following 48 years of dedicated service. Mr. Bement has been honored by Mr. Reid-Anderson for his incredible work, and received the company’s prestigious Angus Wynne Lifetime Achievement Award, which has only been awarded to a handful of people who have devoted their lives to enhancing both Six Flags and the theme park industry.

David McKillips, formerly senior vice president of corporate alliances, was named the new senior vice president of in-park services and Brett Petit, senior vice president of marketing and sales, has assumed the responsibility of the corporate alliances sales team, consolidating all marketing and sales functions under one leader.

SeaWorld unveils Mako car

By | February 17, 2016

SeaWorld_Orlando_4CORLANDO, Florida – SeaWorld Orlando unveiled the custom-built Mako lead car that will take riders on a thrilling experience this summer – the tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster in Orlando.

Mako’s design and engineering was inspired by the real Mako shark – one of the ocean’s fastest shark species. When it opens, Mako will top 200 feet high and reach speeds of 73 mph on a track that’s nearly a mile long. The new ride will be a hypercoaster, which means it’s all about speed, tight turns and that weightless feeling riders get at the top of each hill.

Coaster Train Design Facts Include:

  • Mako-Inspired Custom Car – In a collaboration between SeaWorld’s animal experts and ride engineers, the car is inspired by the physiology of an actual Mako shark, including five gills on each side, eye placement and sleek, hydro-dynamic look.
  • Fast Wheels– Comprised of a special compound that reduces friction — providing a smooth, relentlessly fast ride from beginning to end.
  • Upper Body Mobility – With only a lap guard on their lower body, riders’ upper bodies are free for added mobility and “airtime”

The coaster will boast a total of 21 cars – including 3 trains of 7 cars per train.


Main Event opens 23rd location

By | February 9, 2016

Main Event logoAVONDALE, Arizona — Main Event Entertainment, the Dallas, Texas-based company that specializes in bowling-anchored family entertainment centers, has opened its second Phoenix-area location in Avondale. The new center is Main Event’s 23rd location nationwide.

“Main Event is the ultimate entertainment destination for families, friends and large groups who seek variety but still want to have a shared experience,” said Vice President of Marketing Sherri Landry. “We’ve received an enthusiastic response from the Avondale community, and we welcome everyone to come and discover Main Event’s ‘Eat.Bowl.Play.’ experience.”

At more than 58,000 square feet, the Avondale center provides unique entertainment and dining for people of all ages. Attractions include state-of-the-art bowling with 26 ice-white lanes accented with black lighting, a multi-level laser tag arena and a challenging gravity ropes course suspended over a games gallery featuring more than 100 interactive and virtual games. Dining options include an extensive chef-inspired menu, specialty pizzas and a full bar serving innovative cocktails, wines, and craft and local beers.

“The new Main Event in Avondale is a boost for the city and the Southwest Valley community in terms of jobs, entertainment and tourism,” said Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce President John Safin. “We’re grateful to have Main Event in the City of Avondale, and we know this new entertainment option will enhance our already high quality of life.”

Main Event is also an ideal venue for special events such as birthday parties, social gatherings and corporate meetings, with private rooms, full-service catering, free Wi-Fi and the latest A/V technology available.

World’s tallest water coaster coming to Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark

By | February 4, 2016

GALVESTON, Texas — Schlitterbahn Waterparks & Resorts is building the world’s tallest water coaster at its award-winning Galveston Island waterpark.

Called MASSIV, the German word for massive, the water coaster will be in place in time for the waterpark’s 10th Anniversary celebration this summer. Schlitterbahn Galveston Island is home to more thrill rides than any other Schlitterbahn Waterpark, making it the perfect home for this record-breaking ride.

The exact height of MASSIV is being kept secret until later this spring. Schlitterbahn has indicated that riders will need to climb 123 steps to the ride dispatch area. The length of the ride is 926 feet with seven green translucent sections and four uphill water blasts. The finale will include a thrilling triple-down.

MASSIV utilizes Master Blaster technology, which was invented 22 years ago by Schlitterbahn’s Wizard of Water, Jeff Henry. This technology was licensed to WhiteWater West, which is the company constructing MASSIV.

“We are thrilled to be bringing this iconic ride to Galveston Island,” said Ron Sutula, General Manager for Schlitterbahn Galveston Island. “It’s a massive anniversary present to all our guests, and is going to be a blast to ride!”

Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston Island has won numerous awards, including Amusement Today’s coveted Golden Ticket Award for world’s best indoor waterpark, for the last eight years. MASSIV will be twice as long as any waterslide in the park and the tallest ride.


Pacific Park introduces new logo

By | February 3, 2016

The West Coast’s only amusement park on a Pier turns 20 years old on May 26, a variety of birthday activities are planned for the world-famous landmark

Pacific Park New Logo 2016SANTA MONICA, Calif., — Pacific Park is busy preparing for its months-long 20th birthday celebration in 2016. The two acre amusement park on the Santa Monica Pier is detailing the rides, painting the exterior, refreshing the Ferris wheel with a new lighting package and introducing a new Pacific Park logo. The first change to the amusement park’s logo in 20 years, the new design features a contemporary look for a park that offers an authentic amusement experience, as described:

“Pacific Park’s logo symbolizes the only park on a pier that faces a sunset — and not any sunset, the iconic Southern California sunset, which echoes the shape of the pier especially when viewed from south of the pier. The baseline of ‘Pacific Park’ implies the wooden deck, with water underneath. ‘Santa Monica Pier’ subtly echoes the pylons beneath the deck, going into the water. Unique to the design is the beautiful double-entendre: sun over horizon – equals – wheel over pier.”

Pacific Park’s new logo is the leading element in a brand platform that includes a new visual identity for its advertising design, collateral development and in-park signage program, among other marketing activities.

“This is a very special time for Pacific Park and the Santa Monica community as we begin to celebrate our 20th birthday on the Santa Monica Pier,” said Jeff Klocke, Vice President at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier. “The new logo reflects the rich tradition and unique qualities of the Pier and Park while celebrating the quintessential California beach and amusement experience. Pacific Park is a special two acre theme park that helps attract more than 8 million visitors annually to the Pier.”

As a part of the 20th birthday celebration, the Park also introduced a new vision statement: “Our purpose is to provide an authentic California amusement experience, where guests of all ages play together in a safe and unrivaled setting.”

VENT, LLC in Los Angeles created Pacific Park’s new logo and brand platform.

Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, offers 12 amusement rides, 14 midway games, an oceanfront food plaza and beachside retail shops. In addition to the Pacific Wheel, the world’s only solar-powered Ferris wheel, Pacific Park’s signature rides include The West Coaster; as well as Inkie’s Air Lift Balloon Ride, the high-flying, family-sharing kids’ ride.