Former Great Coasters members form new Skyline Attractions

Posted Tuesday, July 1, 2014 8:10 AM | Contributed by Jeff

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

Four amusement industry veterans announced today the founding of Skyline Attractions, LLC. Chris Gray, Jeff Pike, Evan Souliere, and Bill Wydra boast more than 50 years combined experience in amusement ride and device development. They will bring their lifelong passion for amusement parks and spectacular new ideas to life through Skyline Attractions, LLC and a subsidiary company, Skyline Design, LLC. The partners described the exciting details in the following statement:

We're thrilled to announce the forming of the Skyline companies. We'll be providing amusement operators of all sizes with amazing rides and devices year after year.

We got together some time ago and discussed the shortcomings in what manufacturers offer to the amusement industry - an industry we all love. We're here to fill those gaps. For years, we have been hearing operators asking "What's new?" and "Where to next?" Skyline's mission is to answer these questions with new and innovative attractions for fixed-site and traveling facilities every year.

Skyline Attractions, LLC will allow the four of us to harness our combined talents and focus our passion to bring to market new and exciting experiences that our customers' guests are going to love. We will deliver fun, safe, and reliable American-built attractions using high-quality components, impeccable attention to detail, and first-rate customer service. The first of several of those new ideas is already in development, and there are dozens more we are eager to begin work on!

Our subsidiary company, Skyline Design, LLC, is tasked with the research and development of the innovative new ride and game concepts to be distributed by Skyline Attractions. We will also invent proprietary ride devices as we seek to integrate technology into our product line that will have broad applications throughout the industry. Additionally, we will support industry customers in achieving their amusement goals with our technical and operational knowledge, including cooperating closely with Great Coasters International, Inc. on select wood coaster ride designs.

Our history and experience are huge benefits, but balancing experience and new talent will be critical to Skyline's long-term success. If you're passionate about fun, Skyline wants to hear from you! We will always be looking for fresh ideas to keep Skyline awesome.

We're focused on garnering respect from our customers and employees through fair and responsible business practices, and we look forward to building real relationships with our customers as we develop our ever-growing product line.

Keep an eye out in the coming weeks as we release information about our first product, officially launching on August 1. If you like "new," you'll love it!

Jeff Pike, Chris Gray, and Evan Souliere, formerly of Great Coasters International, Inc., have a combined 40+ years of experience in the design, sales, operation, and maintenance of amusement rides, including more than 25% of the world's operating wood coasters. Bill Wydra has founded several successful companies, most notably Ash-Tec, Inc., a high-quality custom contract metals manufacturer providing amusement equipment for almost 20 years that has been ranked on the Inc. 500 / 5000 "Fastest-Growing Companies" list for five consecutive years.

Visit the official Skyline Attractions, LLC web site.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 12:08 PM

Can anyone explain the reason they're branching out from GCI?

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014 5:05 PM

I know right? I assume when things like this happen there are personality issues or some kind of business failure.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014 7:09 PM

Honestly I think its another form of Zamperla or Larson, Where they will have a variety of attractions and "Games" to offer parks, FEC's and Carnivals.

A extra sales staff as it were on a commission. If they sell a park a GCII product, You think GCII is going to turn it down?

Even Premier rides sells from others lineups.

I think it's something like that, Then again, I could be totally wrong.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014 7:26 PM

Maybe they see money.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014 9:03 PM

Eventually, when you're at the top of the game, you want to see if you can make it on your own, do YOUR own thing. You don't want to fulfill someone else's vision, you want to realize your own.

Like coaching college or pro basketball, or football, or whatever. Assistant coaches become head coaches, mentoring and all that kind of stuff.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014 9:41 PM

Maybe, but the problem with this industry is its size. There isn't a whole lot of room to move about, let alone up.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014 9:50 PM

Thats what I was thinking, but there has to be something (in their minds) besides a lateral move here. I'll be very interested to see what these new concepts and attractions that they'll be offering are. Water rides? Flats? They're a talented team, they're not leaving coasters behind, apparently, and I'd bet the new projects have something to do with "stick construction" engineering. I'd also guess, from the name, that height is involved.

Last edited by RCMAC, Tuesday, July 1, 2014 9:51 PM
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Tuesday, July 1, 2014 10:18 PM

Are those guys really "formerly" of GCII? Or is this a pair of *additional* business ventures? There is a whole lot of that sort of thing going on in the amusement industry, too.

Consider, GCII doesn't seem to be too terribly busy right now, but if they have a concept for something cool and different, do they want to present it as a GCII product, when GCII is known for building quality wooden roller coasters? Sometimes it's better not to be the one-stop-for-everything company.

Note: this is idle speculation on my part. I realize the "formerly of GCII" language is in the presser, but most people would be very confused to learn how incestuous the amusement industry really is...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014 10:40 PM

Schike (foremerly of S&S) and the former structural designer of GCII built Lightning Run with Huss Morgan I think but they have their own company.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014 9:29 AM

^ Is that the same Schike formerly of Arrow that designed the 4-D coaster (or maybe that's Schilke?)

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014 10:07 AM

Chuck is talking about the guy who designed for Arrow, worked for S&S, and has done engineering work for Chance-Morgan and Rocky Mountain. That is exactly the kind of thing I was asking about with regard to the GCII/Skyline guys.

What most people don't understand about the amusement industry is that "everybody" works for or with everybody else, except for the occasional pair who can't stand each other. And even they sometimes end up working together.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014 12:21 PM

Does seem that one name in particular is beginning to stand out as "hard to work with" - based on a few conversations in different circles.

GCII might not be getting much work in building new, but for the last several years they've been doing a LOT of repairs/maintenance...

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014 12:26 PM

My guess is that this is simply a way to grow the business. I don't know what the saturation level for mid size wooden coasters is, but I suspect it isn't a growth market like it may have been 20 years ago. Plus, Gravity Group and now Rocky Mountain aren't showing signs of slowing down.

As mentioned, GCI has a great reputation for wooden coasters, and even has "Coasters" in the title.
But that could be a disadvantage if they want to market non-coaster attractions. Plus, if there are growing pains or even failures with the new stuff, the reputation of GCI will suffer far less since it's not as directly connected.

I really like the name "Skyline Attractions". It is "amusement parky", uplifting, and leaves the door wide open to market almost anything in the entertainment industry.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014 12:50 PM

Alan Schilke is an engineer. I'm sure, like Stengel, anyone can get his company to engineer a ride. Where did you hear he worked for GCI? He worked for Arrow, then S&S, then cofounded the company he works for now. He may have worked WITH CGI...

He did not 'build' Lightning Run.

And Morgan is now Chance Rides. They are not affiliated with Huss.

Step away from the wings & beer, Chuck.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014 1:00 PM

I did not say Alan Schilke worked for GCII I said HIM and the FORMER structural engineer from GCII formed a new company that worked on Lightning run with Huss Morgan or Chance Rides as you put it.

Perhaps you should read before you bash,

Maybe Grow up a little bit as well :)

Ride Centerline is the name of the company Schilke runs and he's a Maverick of the industry, never content to stay the course but find new and exciting things.

Last edited by Charles Nungester, Wednesday, July 2, 2014 1:08 PM
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014 4:59 PM

First, it's hard to understand you with all of the spelling errors and grammatical errors. The way you worded it looks like it only refers to one person. Learn to write in a way that people understand you.

Second, Chance Rides is the name of the company. NOT Huss Chance. Huss Rides is a totally separate company located in Europe.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014 5:42 PM

RCMAC said:

I'll be very interested to see what these new concepts and attractions that they'll be offering are. Water rides? Flats?

How about something along the lines of what Rocky Mountain are doing? Would there be any reason they wouldn't want to expand in that direction under the GCII name?

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014 7:34 PM

I've heard a lot of stories, Bill, about drama, but I'm not one to gossip. Ask a buyer at IAAPA though, and they'll probably tell you there are certain vendors who talk a lot of smack about other vendors. Not saying that's the case with these guys, just that respect around the industry is not mutual.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014 10:09 PM

Point taken Tek.

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