The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) has named James “Chip” Cleary as its new president and CEO, replacing the departed Charlie Bray.
Cleary will take over this top staff position on April 4, 2011, marking a return to the role for an amusement industry veteran. Beloved and respected by his colleagues, Cleary’s experience spans carnival (fair), amusement park, family entertainment centre and waterpark operations.
“Chip’s proven leadership acumen, diverse and extensive experience in the attractions industry and his years of service within IAAPA make him ideally qualified to lead the association,” highlights current IAAPA chairman Bob Rippy.
A 30-year industry veteran, the high energy Cleary started his career in 1978 at Adventureland Amusement Park in Farmingdale, New York, going on to supervise the design and construction of Splish Splash waterpark on Long Island, New York in 1991, where he served as president until 1999. The park was sold to Palace Entertainment in 1999, at which point Cleary became the company’s vice-president of waterparks. Palace Entertainment was purchased by the Spanish group Parques Reunidos in 2007 and Cleary was named senior vice-president of waterparks, and in 2008 Lake Compounce was added to his group.
Cleary has been an active volunteer in IAAPA for nearly 15 years, serving on the association’s executive, membership, strategic planning, government relations, safety and maintenance, compensation, conference, trade show and exhibitor award advisory committees. He also served as chairman in 2010.