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Profile
John McReynolds

Ensuring the highest safety standards across the global industry and continuing the harmonisation of those standards is the top priority for IAAPA’s new chairman


New IAAPA chair John McReynolds took the reins at the association’s biggest event of the year in November. Attractions Management sat down with McReynolds, who’s senior vice president of external affairs for Universal Parks and Resorts, to find out what his plans are for 2016.

What does your role as chair involve?
The chairman’s role is to be a goodwill ambassador for the industry and to be the volunteer leader who helps set the policy and direction of IAAPA, alongside the phenomenal staff we have here.

What aspects of your current job will help you with the role at IAAPA?
At Universal Parks and Resorts, I handle governmental, regulatory, legislative and land-development issues globally. Many of those issues dovetail into the regulatory nature of this industry, and that affects attractions operators everywhere. I can be the voice that represents our members.

What are your aims for the year?
I’m extremely proud to follow Gerardo Arteaga, who served before me as chair. We’ve become fast friends. He’s down to earth and he took the role very seriously.

We have a strategic plan at IAAPA that ensures multiple-year continuity and this next plan is one that both Gerardo and I had a hand in crafting. But this is not time for a monumental shift. The state of IAAPA is very good. We’ve had one of the best trade shows ever and we’ve had a tremendous year as an association, accomplishing a lot of our goals.

That being said, there’s huge growth around the globe and we need to keep developing the brand in those places. We like to say: One World, One IAAPA.

Secondly, my background in advocacy and government relations ties in wonderfully with our message that we want to be the global voice for safety and make sure that the industry stands for safety at all times.

How does IAAPA keep pace with rapidly expanding markets?
The expanding markets are looking for the expertise that IAAPA brings to the table. And let’s focus on safety for a second: we’ve taken the lead to make sure that different standards around the world are harmonised. That’s been a critical objective of IAAPA over the past handful of years. We’ve had some tremendous leaders in that area, whether it’s Steve Blum from Universal or Greg Hale from Disney, or other individuals. I’m proud of the volunteer leadership in this organisation and what it has achieved in harmonising standards.

What strategies are you taking to the Middle East?
We recently changed the name of the European advisory committee for IAAPA to include the Middle East and Africa [EMEA] and that was done intentionally so that the European section of the organisation would lead the reach-out.

Secondly, using technology and webinars has really helped us to serve those areas.

We had a very successful IAAPA Leadership Conference in Dubai in 2014. It was exciting to see a great turnout of people from the Middle East as well as people who came to Dubai from elsewhere.

We’re planning a Safety Institute in the Middle East in 2016 and we hope to bring the week-long Institute for Attractions Managers to the region in the near future.

What challenges is the industry facing?
The increasing regulatory nature of the industry and the governing bodies that oversee different parts of the industry are challenges for operators everywhere. This is my background and one of my strengths. It’s not to say that all regulations are bad, but the majority of new ideas have in fact been tried somewhere in the world.

What are the recent successes of IAAPA?
From standard harmonisation around the globe to leadership conferences that have opened up new business interests in the Middle East, IAAPA’s successes are almost too numerous to count.

We’ve also introduced a certification programme to formally recognise members for achieving three different levels of professional development. It’s been warmly embraced by many of our members.

When things are going so well, do you ever worry that will change?
You’re not a good leader of a company, business or association if you’re not always thinking about the contingencies. However, you can’t let thinking about that paralyse you into inaction. You have to keep reaching for opportunities and trust that the industry is strong and continues to grow in the right direction.

There are some issues that will be always be out of our hands, but we have to do the best we can, which is drive the association forward in a way that’s successful. Thanks to leaders like Gerardo and others before him, we’re on a proven path.

Did your predecessor give you any advice?
Gerardo is a phenomenal listener and he doesn’t rush into decisions. When I was watching him lead the association, the board meetings and so forth, I noticed his ability to sit back calmly and let the debate happen around him. There’s a fine balance between leadership and making sure everybody is heard – and he struck the right balance, which I hope to follow.

Do you have to find more time now?
I’ve got my father thank for a trait that we share – only requiring four or five hours of sleep a night. And I’m going to need every bit of that now! But really, when you get an honour like this, you make the sacrifices needed to get both jobs done.

How did you find the IAAPA expo?
I saw innovation, growth and excitement on the floor – the overall picture of a dynamic industry. Existing technologies are being used in new ways, state-of-the-art technologies are being introduced. The inventor of the dark-ride attraction, Fred Hollingsworth, was inducted into the Hall of Fame. That’s someone who dared to dream and that’s what the industry is all about.

The annual IAAPA expo is a good way to gauge the health of the industry, McReynolds says Credit: PHOTO: Steven Miller Photography
Fred Hollingsworth, creator of the dark ride and IAAPA Hall of Fame inductee
COMPANY PROFILES
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Jobs    News   Products   Magazine
Profile
John McReynolds

Ensuring the highest safety standards across the global industry and continuing the harmonisation of those standards is the top priority for IAAPA’s new chairman


New IAAPA chair John McReynolds took the reins at the association’s biggest event of the year in November. Attractions Management sat down with McReynolds, who’s senior vice president of external affairs for Universal Parks and Resorts, to find out what his plans are for 2016.

What does your role as chair involve?
The chairman’s role is to be a goodwill ambassador for the industry and to be the volunteer leader who helps set the policy and direction of IAAPA, alongside the phenomenal staff we have here.

What aspects of your current job will help you with the role at IAAPA?
At Universal Parks and Resorts, I handle governmental, regulatory, legislative and land-development issues globally. Many of those issues dovetail into the regulatory nature of this industry, and that affects attractions operators everywhere. I can be the voice that represents our members.

What are your aims for the year?
I’m extremely proud to follow Gerardo Arteaga, who served before me as chair. We’ve become fast friends. He’s down to earth and he took the role very seriously.

We have a strategic plan at IAAPA that ensures multiple-year continuity and this next plan is one that both Gerardo and I had a hand in crafting. But this is not time for a monumental shift. The state of IAAPA is very good. We’ve had one of the best trade shows ever and we’ve had a tremendous year as an association, accomplishing a lot of our goals.

That being said, there’s huge growth around the globe and we need to keep developing the brand in those places. We like to say: One World, One IAAPA.

Secondly, my background in advocacy and government relations ties in wonderfully with our message that we want to be the global voice for safety and make sure that the industry stands for safety at all times.

How does IAAPA keep pace with rapidly expanding markets?
The expanding markets are looking for the expertise that IAAPA brings to the table. And let’s focus on safety for a second: we’ve taken the lead to make sure that different standards around the world are harmonised. That’s been a critical objective of IAAPA over the past handful of years. We’ve had some tremendous leaders in that area, whether it’s Steve Blum from Universal or Greg Hale from Disney, or other individuals. I’m proud of the volunteer leadership in this organisation and what it has achieved in harmonising standards.

What strategies are you taking to the Middle East?
We recently changed the name of the European advisory committee for IAAPA to include the Middle East and Africa [EMEA] and that was done intentionally so that the European section of the organisation would lead the reach-out.

Secondly, using technology and webinars has really helped us to serve those areas.

We had a very successful IAAPA Leadership Conference in Dubai in 2014. It was exciting to see a great turnout of people from the Middle East as well as people who came to Dubai from elsewhere.

We’re planning a Safety Institute in the Middle East in 2016 and we hope to bring the week-long Institute for Attractions Managers to the region in the near future.

What challenges is the industry facing?
The increasing regulatory nature of the industry and the governing bodies that oversee different parts of the industry are challenges for operators everywhere. This is my background and one of my strengths. It’s not to say that all regulations are bad, but the majority of new ideas have in fact been tried somewhere in the world.

What are the recent successes of IAAPA?
From standard harmonisation around the globe to leadership conferences that have opened up new business interests in the Middle East, IAAPA’s successes are almost too numerous to count.

We’ve also introduced a certification programme to formally recognise members for achieving three different levels of professional development. It’s been warmly embraced by many of our members.

When things are going so well, do you ever worry that will change?
You’re not a good leader of a company, business or association if you’re not always thinking about the contingencies. However, you can’t let thinking about that paralyse you into inaction. You have to keep reaching for opportunities and trust that the industry is strong and continues to grow in the right direction.

There are some issues that will be always be out of our hands, but we have to do the best we can, which is drive the association forward in a way that’s successful. Thanks to leaders like Gerardo and others before him, we’re on a proven path.

Did your predecessor give you any advice?
Gerardo is a phenomenal listener and he doesn’t rush into decisions. When I was watching him lead the association, the board meetings and so forth, I noticed his ability to sit back calmly and let the debate happen around him. There’s a fine balance between leadership and making sure everybody is heard – and he struck the right balance, which I hope to follow.

Do you have to find more time now?
I’ve got my father thank for a trait that we share – only requiring four or five hours of sleep a night. And I’m going to need every bit of that now! But really, when you get an honour like this, you make the sacrifices needed to get both jobs done.

How did you find the IAAPA expo?
I saw innovation, growth and excitement on the floor – the overall picture of a dynamic industry. Existing technologies are being used in new ways, state-of-the-art technologies are being introduced. The inventor of the dark-ride attraction, Fred Hollingsworth, was inducted into the Hall of Fame. That’s someone who dared to dream and that’s what the industry is all about.

The annual IAAPA expo is a good way to gauge the health of the industry, McReynolds says Credit: PHOTO: Steven Miller Photography
Fred Hollingsworth, creator of the dark ride and IAAPA Hall of Fame inductee
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COMPANY PROFILES
Sally Corporation

Our services include: Dark ride design & build; Redevelopment of existing attractions; High-quality [more...]
TechnoAlpin

The TechnoAlpin SnowRoom is the most attractive and effective way for customers to cool down from h [more...]
Red Raion

Founded in 2014, Red Raion is the CGI studio specialized in media based attractions. [more...]
Polin Waterparks

Polin was founded in Istanbul in 1976. Polin has since grown into a leading company in the waterpa [more...]
+ More profiles  
FEATURED SUPPLIER

IAAPA helps move leisure and attractions industry forward with IAAPA Expo Europe
As the leisure and attractions industry continues to recover and look to the future, IAAPA, the global association for the attractions industry, is moving forward with plans to host IAAPA Expo Europe this September. [more...]
VIDEO GALLERY

Proslide Tech Inc - ProSlide | Atlantis Dubai
More videos:
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

24-25 Nov 2021

Scotland’s National Tourism Industry Conference

EICC, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
01-07 Dec 2022

World Leisure Congress 2022

tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
+ More diary  
 


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©Cybertrek 2021

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