Cedar Point GM John Hildebrandt retiring

Posted Monday, July 29, 2013 4:18 PM | Contributed by Jeff

[Ed. note: The following is an excerpt of a press release. -J]

Cedar Fair (NYSE: FUN), a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and active entertainment, today announced that H. John Hildebrandt, Vice President and General Manager of Cedar Point, will retire at the end of 2013. He will be succeeded by Jason McClure, Vice President and General Manager of Dorney Park.

“I would like to thank John for his 40 years of service and extensive contributions to Cedar Fair,” said Richard Zimmerman, Chief Operating Officer of Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. “John has helped to grow Cedar Point from a one park, one hotel, one marina operation, to the ‘Best Amusement Park in the World’ with a separately-gated water park, four hotels, two marinas, cottages and luxury campgrounds. He has directed the marketing campaigns for Cedar Point’s most iconic rides including Magnum, Raptor, Mean Streak, Mantis, Millennium Force, and Top Thrill Dragster. Throughout his career, John has led by example, emphasizing the Cedar Fair cornerstones and ensuring that each guest has a ‘Best-Day-of-Summer’ experience, each and every time they visited a Cedar Fair park. We will miss John and we wish him a happy and healthy retirement.”

John began his career with Cedar Point as a seasonal employee in Rides in 1969. He joined the Company full-time in February 1974 as a staff writer in the Marketing Department and went on to serve in various marketing and leadership roles including, Communications Manager, Marketing Manager, Director of Marketing and Vice President of Marketing.

In 2004, John was given the opportunity to move to Allentown, Pennsylvania as Vice President and General Manager of Cedar Fair’s Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom. He returned to Cedar Point as Vice President and General Manager just prior to the 2005 operating season and has remained in this role for the past eight years.

Jason McClure, Vice President and General Manager of Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, will succeed Hildebrandt upon his retirement and Michael Fehnel, Vice President and Assistant General Manager of Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, will be promoted to Vice President and General Manager of Dorney Park.

McClure has more than 10 years of experience with Cedar Fair. Prior to his promotion to Vice President and General Manager of Dorney Park in 2008, Jason served as the Vice President of Finance at Kings Island from 2004 to 2008, and as Vice President of Finance at Carowinds from 2001 to 2004. Prior to joining Cedar Fair, Jason was a certified public accountant with Ernst & Young.

Fehnel has more than 20 years of experience with Cedar Fair and its Dorney Park amusement park. He began his career as a seasonal employee within the Games Department and has served in a variety of leadership roles throughout Games, Merchandise and Foods before being promoted to Vice President and Assistant General Manager in 2013.

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Monday, July 29, 2013 4:20 PM

I really think John was the best guy on the planet to be a steward for Cedar Point during his tenure. He's one of my favorite people in the industry. What an amazing career!

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Monday, July 29, 2013 6:43 PM

Could not echo Jeff's sentiments more. John is a true gentleman, and clearly loved the work he did. He is going to be missed.

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Monday, July 29, 2013 8:41 PM

I had a coupla conversations and dealings with Jason McClure a few years back re: some issues I had with Dorney. He seemed like a guy that had it together and knew his stuff...as well as the best way to deal with people.

Last edited by Mike Gallagher, Tuesday, July 30, 2013 10:03 AM
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Monday, July 29, 2013 11:48 PM

John loved Cedar Point and the work he was doing. A few years ago I met John through a mutual friend. Talked with him a few times since then. He was a true gentleman and a real people person, who knew how to treat people and made you feel important. He will be hard to replace and missed by employees and guests.

John best of luck in your much deserved retirement.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013 6:21 PM

I cannot speak highly enough of Mr. Hildebrandt. Last summer, after a very distressing personal event happened to a family member while at the park, I wrote a letter to John thanking him for the amazing treatment (far above the call of duty) that the staff provided this family member.

Mr. H wrote back with a touching and personal reply letter, and also sent a park-themed gift. What a lovely man.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013 9:21 PM

Just saw John H. (again) on the long-running PBS "Great Old Amusement Parks". I've seen this show so many times....still get nostalgic every single time.

The "connection to our history" is what makes this hobby so tremendous for me...and hopefully some of you, too.

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013 12:48 PM

I watched last night too, although I too have seen it before. It's just interesting to watch to see how things have changed. Bill and Will Koch have both left us. I believe Whalom Park is gone. Raven and Magnum were the big deals at their respective parks.

It's a fascinating show, and it captures the parks well.

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