Ron Gustafson knows the ins and outs of Quassy Amusement and Waterpark better than anyone and he has the career to prove it. Since 2002, Ron has witnessed the incredible expansion of the park and after two decades of serving as Quassy’s marketing and PR director, he departs with an impressive legacy while leaving an indelible mark on this beloved Connecticut amusement park.
From writing about amusement parks in the newspaper to owning and operating his own rides with his wife, Nancy, outdoor thrills and attractions have been a long-time passion for Ron. Prior to joining the Quassy family, Ron was the marketing director and ride supervisor at Midway Amusement Park in Maple Springs, New York. In addition to writing about the outdoor amusement industry, Ron worked as a commissioned photographer for numerous operators and suppliers over the past five decades.
Over the years, Ron has worn many hats at Quassy. Aside from being the go-to guy for all things marketing and public relations, Ron was an educational programs coordinator, photographer, and even developed some major special events like the Quassy laser lightshow and the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Summer Sideshow.
Ron’s biggest contribution involved bringing recognition to the park; no addition was too small for the limelight. When Quassy debuted the Wooden Warrior rollercoaster, Ron and his team developed a wildly involved advertising campaign. “We still talk about the TV ad, the ‘Name the Coaster contest’ among regional schools, the international tour groups that came to ride this unique coaster, and photographing it from top to bottom,” Ron reflects.
The Wooden Warrior was the first to incorporate the Timberliner coaster train in North America. These trains are the most technologically advanced wooden roller coaster trains on the market and facilitate a smoother ride for passengers.
The park was also recognised with numerous IAAPA Brass Ring Awards for marketing. Throughout his career, Ron sat on the IAAPA marketing, small parks and attractions, and Hall of Fame committees. He also chaired the IAAPA Hall of Fame for three years, spoke at numerous IAAPA Expo workshops and other industry meetings and award ceremonies.
As for retirement, Ron has plans to write about the amusement park industry, a subject on which he has written three books and countless articles over the years. Ron also plans to continue consulting for friends in the business on rides, events, and educational programs.
Eric Anderson, President of Quassy Amusement and Waterpark, says: “Ron will be missed. He was so much more than a marketing director. He was a resource for all aspects of the amusement park world, he helped decide was rides we would purchase, he helped source out hard to find parts, he worked on all custom merchandise and much, much more. We hate to see him retire!”