After an extensive nationwide search, the Space Needle Board of Directors today announced the selection of Ronald Sevart, a nationally-recognized veteran of the destination tourism industry, as the new chief executive for the region’s number one attraction. The ownership of the Space Needle carries on its space age focus by setting the standard for growth in the city of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.
The Space Needle, which will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2012, continues to lead the way with new technology to enhance the visitor experience and an environmental program that makes the tower a role model for businesses and individuals across the region. Sevart is charged with creating new and exciting growth opportunities for the company as it moves into its second half-century.
Jeff Wright, Chairman of the Board, said “The board’s selection of Ron Sevart is another key element in our plan to grow the Space Needle’s position as a cutting-edge Northwest business and to reinforce our total commitment to the renaissance of the Seattle Center area. We are anxious to have Ron take the reins and move us into exciting new directions.”
Sevart brings extensive experience in the attractions industry to the job of CEO, having directed oversight of more than $400 million in capital projects including major attraction development, entertainment venues, restaurants and water resorts. His 20 years of leadership experience have been focused on guest service, marketing, entertainment, operations and revenue growth.
He was Park President of the three largest and most profitable Six Flags properties including Six Flags New England in Massachusetts, Six Flags Great America in Chicago and Six Flags Great Adventure, Hurricane Harbor and Wild Safari in New Jersey. At Six Flags Great Adventure, Sevart helped launch the tallest, fastest roller coaster on the planet—Kingda Ka—a coaster that soars 456 feet in the air at 128 mph.
Outside of his Six Flags experience, he has managed a $600 million portfolio of 10 indoor water resorts located throughout the US and aided in the development of $150 million Key Lime Cove Resort in Chicago. He consulted with the Emaar Malls Group and supported the development of marketing, staffing and operations plans for the Dubai Mall attractions, including The Dubai Aquarium, Kidzania, Sega Indoor Theme Park, an Olympic sized Ice rink as well as The Burj Dubai Viewing Experience at the Burj Dubai, the tallest building in the world.
Sevart was educated at the University of Kansas where he majored in advertising in the William Allen White School of Journalism. Sevart’s wife Michele is a behavior Analyst focused on children and adults with developmental disabilities and teaches at the Chicago School of Psychology. They have three children, Zoe (6), Zach (4) and Lexi (3). The family plans to relocate to the Seattle area by fall.
About the Space Needle
The Space Needle officially opened on April 21, 1962 – the first day of the World’s Fair. It remains the most popular attraction in the Pacific Northwest today.