MEET THE JUDGES
The winners of the Park World Excellence Awards 2023 will be decided by our panel of esteemed industry professionals.
Carly Straughan began her career working in tourist attractions on a 3-month contract until she found a “real job” and almost 15 years later she is still here. She now works with museums, arts and heritage, and commercial tourist attractions to leverage technology to help them support their mission.
Ticketing, technology and tourism projects have taken Carly all over the world, from Dubai’s high-tech tourism culture, to China’s futuristic theme parks, via the UK’s World-leading museum fundraising.
Julian’s fascination for water attractions began as a small child. He and his brother created the YouTube channel TUBERIDES and a website about water slides (https://www.tuberides.de) back in 2009 and what started as as a “fun project”, soon began to grow as TUBERIDES became became a worldwide pioneer in filming water slides.
Since then Julian and his brother have visited more than 600 water parks and aquatic facilities all around the globe and experienced almost 3,000 slides of all shapes and types. Their videos have been watched more than one billion times and more than one million people have subscribed to their channel. “Few have tried more slides than us,” says Julian, adding that no other YouTube channel offers videos of more slides in the United States or Australia.
Since 2014, Julian has also been working as a freelance editor for a leisure trade magazine and he and his brother regularly produce video content for water parks and swimming pools.
Cathy is the membership coordinator for the World Waterpark Association, a position she has held since July 2013. She works closely with waterpark members, including outdoor, indoor, hotel resort and public sector park owners, developers and operators.
After completing a university degree in marketing, François created his own business and became the editor of NewsParcs, an online news magazine dedicated to the professionals of the amusement park industry. After a successful three-year run, he chose to focus on another business: OOPARC, an online guidebook about theme parks around Europe. François also works as a freelance author for one of the major trade publications covering the attractions industry.
As representative of the European Coaster Club (ECC) for Germany, Switzerland and Austria, and an attraction industry blogger, Nicole travels the globe in search of the industry’s best attractions and water parks. As a representative of the ECC, Nicole is involved in promoting the industry to both its members and the mainstream media, as well as organising events at theme parks. Nicole’s blog is read by a worldwide audience, covering reviews of parks and news update on new attractions. Nicole is ranked in the Top 10 women for having ridden the most rollercoasters, over 1900.
Marcus, owner of Ride and Park Media, has been writing about theme parks and rides for over 15 years for trade and mainstream publications. Focused on the promotion of the attraction industry, he typically spends at least 30 days a year in theme parks shooting dynamic marketing films, writing features and consulting on future developments.
An established author in the Polish leisure sphere and trailblazing consultant in the edutainment sector, Marek’s professional activities as the owner of PAIT Consulting,and Marek Pisarski Imagineering, include providing consulting services for different governmental institutions around the organisation and design of themed and interactive exhibitions, attractions and parks.
Phil Taylor is the managing director of Team Leisure, a specialist leisure-consulting firm based in the United Arab Emirates. Team Leisure offers market analysis and feasibility studies, including concept idea research; project development services; and operational services to the owners, developers and operators of leisure businesses worldwide.
Richard is director of operations and ride safety for VTP Global Holdings Ltd. He has been involved with the leisure attraction business since 1976 and before his employment with VTP, was operations director for Drayton Manor Park. Richard has held several responsible positions in the UK, Europe and USA on representative bodies including the Chairmanship of the British Association of Leisure Parks Piers and Attractions (BALPPA) from 1995—1997 and in 2005 completed a second chairmanship. Richard also represented BALPPA for eighteen years on the Fairground Joint Advisory Committee (FJAC) and later became chairman of the HSE Committee responsible for the publication of the Health and Safety Guidance (HSG 175).
Evelyne led the marketing strategy, brand and product development for the Grévin Group, now Companie des Alpesfor over 20 years.
In 2009, she plunged into the “small is beautiful” business and started an FEC company La Boîte aux Enfants, with fellow partner Gaëtan Le Jariel. La Boite aux Enfants is now a chain of 13 family entertainment centres in France, six of them (brand Gulli Parc) developed in partnership with the leading French kids TV channel.
Since 2019, Evelyn has been president of SPACE, the French association for indoor leisure. Covering all types of activities – CEC, Escape Room, Trampoline, Bowling, Laser Game, VR/Simulation –it has 400 members (25% of total facilities in France).
A member of IAAPA for many years, Evelyn previously served IAAPA’s Education Committee and as a member of the Themed Entertainment Association’s European Board.
Vincent is the owner of Funfaircity, a consulting micro business specialised in urban leisure places. Based on observation and blogging work that started over three years ago, Funfaircity provides city professionals with knowledge of what leisure venues can bring to urban projects and territories. It also shows leisure professionals what they can gain from developing in the city.