Industry’s Highest Honor Goes to Larry Cochran, Edgard Meeus, and Arto Monaco
The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) announced Larry Cochran, Edgard Meeus, and Arto Monaco, as the 2008 inductees to the IAAPA Hall of Fame. Each year, the attractions industry trade association inducts one or more industry leaders who have made lasting contributions to the global industry. The award was presented Tuesday, Nov. 18, during the Kickoff Event for IAAPA Attractions Expo 2008 in Orlando, Florida.
“This year we celebrate a variety of accomplishments in the attractions industry with three legendary professionals, ” said Tim O’Brien, vice president of communications and publishing for Ripley Entertainment and chairman of the IAAPA Hall of Fame and Archives Committee. “Their work in the industry established new standards of excellence by which we measure ourselves today.”
Born in Mississippi, Larry Cochran moved to Texas in 1961 to work for Six Flags Over Texas under park founder Angus Wynne. Cochran’s summer job turned into much more—lasting almost four decades, and by 1982 he was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer of Six Flags after having served as president and general manager for Six Flags parks throughout the country. He was named president in CEO in 1985, chairman in 1987, and later retired from Six Flags in 2000. In addition, Cochran served as IAAPA chairman of the board in 1998, bringing insight, creativity, and experience to the position.
Edgard Meeus launched Walibi World in Wavre, Belgium, the first parks in Europe to offer an all-inclusive entrance ticket. Walibi parks were also the first to carry a consistent name brand among a chain of parks in Europe—with its locations across Belgium, France, and The Netherlands. Meeus introduced several new concepts, including the first flume ride in Belgium, the first corkscrew ride, and the first inverted coaster in Europe. Committed to the constant improvement of the theme park experience, Meeus’ innovations set the tone for new experiences in the burgeoning attractions industry.
Arto Monaco is a true founder of the attractions industry, having built two of the United States’ first theme parks. As a precursor to entering the industry, Monaco succeeded in Hollywood as an artist for MGM Studios and Walt Disney Studios. His accomplishments there served him as he returned home to the Adirondack Mountains to design and construct the first Santa’s Workshop in New York, United States. Monaco next designed and built The Land of Makebelieve in New York, United States. His legacy lives on in his parks, their historical impact, and in the guests he entertained.
About IAAPA Attractions Expo 2008
The IAAPA Attractions Expo 2008 is the largest conference and trade show for the amusement park and attractions industry in the world. With its theme “Success in Every Direction, ” the show will draw an estimated 25, 000 participants, representing amusement and theme parks, family entertainment centers, waterparks, zoos, aquariums, museums, casinos, resorts, developers, themed entertainment designers, consultants, manufacturers, and suppliers, to the Orange County Convention Center from Monday, Nov. 17, through Friday, Nov. 21. The trade show floor will be open Tuesday, Nov. 18 through Friday, Nov. 21.
IAAPA Attractions Expo 2008 offers a solid week of business and fun. More than 1, 000 exhibitors will display their products and services in 1 million square feet of exhibit space. The event also includes educational sessions, behind-the-scenes tours, marquee social events, and networking opportunities. This is the marketplace where amusement and attraction industry leaders, decision makers, and visionaries gather to network, view the latest innovations, and plan for the future.
IAAPA, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, is the premier trade association for the attractions industry worldwide. Founded almost 90 years ago, IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently situated amusement facilities and attractions and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the amusement industry. IAAPA represents more than 4, 300 attraction, supplier, and individual members from more than 90 countries.
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