News Flashes from Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazine

October 31, 2013 No Comments

IAAPA Welcomes Two New Employees: Brian Kirkland and Nico Reynders

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) welcomes two new staff members to its headquarters and European office team. Brian Kirkland is IAAPA’s director of education programs and services and Nico Reynders joins the IAAPA Europe team as junior program manager.

Kirkland is responsible for the development and evaluation of IAAPA’s educational offerings and assists with the management of IAAPA’s awards program.

Prior to IAAPA, Kirkland was assistant director of education at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) and senior manager of learning with the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology from the University of Pittsburgh and has a master’s degree in the same field from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Reynders recruits new members in Europe, provides customer service for IAAPA members in the region, and handles all online marketing for the office.

Before joining IAAPA, Reynders spent six years as the assistant front office manager at Hotel Mercure Leuven Center, an Accor Hotels property in Belgium. Reynders, an amusement park aficionado, holds a master’s degree in applied economics and a minor in marketing from the University of Hasselt. Reynders’ previous experience also includes a brief stint with Bobbejaanland, where he worked in merchandising. Reynders speaks English, French and Dutch.

briankirkland nicoreynders

Shown, at left, Brian Kirkland, with Nico Reynders at right.

Bowlmor Parties

Polaris® Industries Inc. Introduces the New Polaris® GEM® eM 1400

Polaris® Industries Inc., today announced the availability of the all-new Polaris® GEM® eM1400 vehicle. The compact electric vehicles are ready for order through all 280 authorized GEM dealers in North America. With industry-leading payload and cargo as well as versatile configurations, the GEM eM1400 can be customized to fit a variety of work applications.

“The entire GEM team is extremely excited to bring the all-new eM1400 to the market. This vehicle was  built for customers who want a light electric utility vehicle that is rugged, durable, and tackles work applications.” said Tim Blinkhorn, GEM’s general manager.

Backed by 60 years of Polaris innovation and technology, the GEM eM1400 delivers performance for the light utility market including its 7.0 horsepower AC motor, 1,400 pound payload, independent rear suspension and front MacPherson Strut. The rugged, ergonomic design and 1,250 pound towing capacity makes this the perfect vehicle for hauling cargo across a property or jobsite.

With available options and accessories to fit each customer’s unique needs, the GEM eM1400 is configurable to match your application. Factory installed options include removable bed sides and a fully enclosed max box. The GEM eM1400 also features Lock & Ride® and Lock & WorkTM accessories, a Polaris innovation.

The GEM eM1400 reaches a top speed of 19 mph, can be driven both indoors and outdoors and has a range of up to 45 miles per charge depending on temperature, grade, payload and driving style. An environmentally-friendly option, the vehicles are ideal for use in maintenance, groundskeeping, indoor warehousing, farm utility and hospitality.

All Polaris GEM vehicles come with a two-year base warranty. To find a dealer and schedule a test ride, or for more information on the complete Polaris GEM vehicle lineup, visit

The all-new Polaris® GEM® eM1400 vehicle.

The all-new Polaris® GEM® eM1400 vehicle.

Tourist Attractions & Parks eNewsletter Feature

Top Tips for Managing Employees: Part II

Citing and emphasizing instances in which employees perform a job well or go the extra mile in doing so, and perhaps overlooking the occasional mistake, also belongs on the list of savvy staff management practices. Jeff Whiting, general manager of workforce consulting firms WAVES University and WAVES for Success, advocates foregoing constant vigilance with regard to employee mistakes in favor of catching them doing something right, even at the expense of telling them one more thing they did wrong. “Every time they perform at the level you want to see repeated, let them know,” he advised.

Whiting recommended being as specific as possible in conveying messages of this type. For instance,  rather than noting that a guest mentioned having received excellent treatment from an individual, mention exactly what the staff member did to make the guest happy. “Building a foundation on compliments motivates employees to “improve in other areas at work,” Whiting asserted.

Frequent reinforcement and re-training go hand-in-hand with savvy employee management, too. At Branchburg Sports Complex in Branchburg N.J., staff members are required to attend periodic team building and re-training events.  “Every moment contains an opportunity to train and for our team to improve,” said Mark Lauber, owner.

Employees of Casey’s Amusement Park in Alexandria, Minn., undergo similar training. Frequent gatherings to reinforce concepts learned and to discuss any problems are the norm. “You cannot skimp on training,” said Todd Elmer, owner. “That’s very poor management.”

But no matter how staff is managed, operators should firmly resist the urge to engage in micro-management and adopt a stance wherein their word cannot be challenged. Such an approach may make sense to owners at first blush, but in truth, it does nothing more than quash employee morale, in turn interfering with employees’ performance.  “One of the biggest detriments to morale is micro-managing employees and taking the position that you are the owner, and what you say goes,” said Frank Price, founder of Birthday University. “People perform far better when they learn, through training and then supplemental material, such as employee handbooks and written policies, what is expected of them and when they are given a chance to show that they can do it.”

(See the October 24, 2013 eNewsletter for Part I.)


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American Changer

Bill and coin dispensers and counters, ticket machines and more.

Richie\’s Italian Ice

Italian Ice Kiosks and Carts

Muncie Novelty Co., Inc.

Admissions, financial equipment, printing and tickets.

Rio Syrup

Over 250 flavors, syrups and concentrates for shaved ice, sno cones, shushes, food colors. Now featuring Hawaiian Flower Cups.

Cost of Wisconson

Creators of simulated environments, duplicate structures, sculpted figures, exhibits, water features, mini-golf and more.


Research and development of interactive water games for use in the commercial amusement industry.

Northeast Insurance (NIC)

Insurance programs.


Evaporative snow systems.

Thomco Insurance (Fun Pro)

Fun Pro is an insurance program especially designed for party planners and party rental businesses.


Patented soft play design, soft playgrounds.

Flagship Carpet

Custom carpets and rugs.

Kay Park Recreations Corp.

Picnic tables, grills, park benches, planters, trash containers and more.

Look Solutions

Fog machines.

Wells Fargo

Commercial insurance for inflatables and event planners.


Boxerjocks robotic boxing amusement ride game attraction.

Friedman Group Ins.

Insurance for amusement devices.

Nieco Corp

Nieco automatic broilers.

Extreme Engineering

Industry leader in zip lines, climbing walls, jumper systems and adventure products.

Action Lighting Co.

Lighting supplies.


Manufacturer of waterslides

Adventure Golf

Miniature golf courses, consultants, architecture and design.

Lil Orbits Inc.

Food equipment, donut machines and vendor carts.

International Special Events (ISERA)

Risk purchasing group, a better way to purchase liability insurance, specializing in inflatables and much more.

Gerber Manufacturing, Ltd.

Outdoor furniture, benches, picnic tables and grills.

Quik N\’ Crispy (QNC)

Quik n’ Crispy greaseless fryer.

Xtreme Inflatables

Repair and service for all inflatable products.


Designed and manufactures PlayCard, the rechargeable debit card system.

Penny Press

Penny souvenir machine, great for parks, FECs, bowling and skating centers, museums and tourist attractions.

Coast to Coast

Coin-operated entertainment, crane machines.

See Coast Manufacturing Co., Inc.

Coin-operated binoculars and telescopes.


Fresh food and sandwich options.

Knight Equipment

Drive cables for ferris wheels, Tilt-A-Whirls, Rock-O-Planes and many others.

Gould Manufacturing, Ltd.

Concession trailers and Antique, Jeep and Grand Prix auto rides.

Laser Star

Laser shooting galleries, laser tag, dark ride target systems, overhead target ranges.

Amusement Entertainment Management (AEM)

Premier entertainment consultants.

Empex Water Toys

Aquatons Water Toys

Davis & Davis, Inc.

Planning consultants for wet/dry attractions, mini-golf, go-kart tracks and laser arenas.

Precision Dynamics (PDC)

Wristbands with no hidden costs, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Wristband System.

Tube Pro

Waterpark tubes.

European Body Arts

Airbrushed temporary tattoo products and systems.

Art Attack

Theming, miniature golf, parade floats, 3D props, air-brushed murals, signage and art panels.

Belson Manufacturing Co.

Park and recreation outdoor furniture and equipment.

Zebec Water Sports

Large variety of waterpark needs

Soft Play

Leader in designing, manufacturing and installing soft contained playground equipment.

Master Pitching Machine

Batting cages and pitching machines.

Martin Professionals

A lighting supplier of choice for the entertainment industry.

Castle Golf, Inc.

Planning, design and construction of miniature golf courses and family fun parks.

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Extreme Engineering
Rebound Unlimted, Inc.