Shapiro announces reorg moves at Six Flags

Posted Tuesday, December 27, 2005 12:18 PM | Contributed by coasterguts

Mark Shapiro, President and CEO Six Flags, Inc, announced today two key appointments to lead a new division at Six Flags theme parks. Mark Quenzel has been named Executive Vice President of Park Strategy and Management and Chuck Hendrix Senior Vice President of Park Strategy and Management, reporting to Quenzel. As head of the Park Strategy and Management division, Quenzel will oversee all park operations, in-park revenue, ticket sales and safety for the 30 Six Flags theme parks.

Read the press release on Yahoo.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 12:29 PM
Jeff's avatar Put an ESPN guy at the top for operations. That's brilliant. Poor operations is only the biggest problem the chain has, so why not put someone there who doesn't have a clue about how to do it! At least the second-in-command guy knows something about it. Would love to hear how well people think Astroworld was run.
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Tuesday, December 27, 2005 12:43 PM
They say sometimes it's helpful to bring in someone from outside(Quenzel) a particular industry to spot and correct problems. This ISN'T one of those times. SF can't afford to take that gamble.

The only strength I see with Hendrix is from the enetrtainment aspect. He did have a reputation for putting on great entertainment at AstroWorld. Unifortunately, I don't care much about that. Snyder and Shapiro seem to have some vision of turning all the SF parks into a giant kiddieland.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005 1:20 PM
Are there not enough candidates out there from within the industry? Do those qualified candidates not want to take on the Six Flags challenge? Park Operations is unlike any other business and I think there is a certain level of knowledge and understanding that cannot be gleaned by outsiders.
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Tuesday, December 27, 2005 1:56 PM
I'm a little disappointed in the first moves myself. Quenzel was in charge of programming and production for ESPN. What does that have to do with park operations, in park revenue, ticket sales and even more interesting, safety. I would like to know what parks Chuck Hendrix has worked at for the past 35 years.
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Tuesday, December 27, 2005 2:15 PM
More often than not, business is business. Just because someone specializes in one field doesn't mean that they'll be a failure in another. So the guy was formerly with ESPN... so what? If someone has a good mind for business, chances are they can expand upon what they know and be successful elsewhere. Besides, what did they guy do before he was with ESPN? Maybe he switched fields when he started with ESPN?

I'm surprised there is so much negativity surrounding these changes when the fact of the matter is that none of us know how these changes are going to play out just yet. Reading this topic, you'd think that everyone was in the heads of these guys...

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005 3:31 PM
Per the yahoo article


Mark Quenzel, 49, joins Six Flags following 15 years with ESPN. At ESPN, Quenzel served as Senior Vice President of Programming and Production. In that capacity, he ran four divisions: Owned Events, Outdoors, Remote Productions and Remote Facilities; and supervised 375 full time employees and 4,000 seasonal providers. Quenzel also was part of the team that created the popular X Games franchise as well as the Great Outdoor Games. During his tenure, he was charged with the oversight of a number of major sport properties and brands such as NASCAR, NHL, MLB and B.A.S.S.


Sorry. I question how a guy that was Senior Vice President of Programming and Production for ESPN is qualified to run a chane of 32 amusement parks. It says he was with ESPN for 15 years. Doesn't say how long he's been in management.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005 3:34 PM
"Reading this topic, you'd think that everyone was in the heads of these guys... "

Oh... but we are. At least of those who got the new "Mind Reader XZ-2005 Crystal Ball" for Christmas.

There's a toggle switch on the bottom of the base that lets us switch between "How Crowded [input your park name here] will be on [input future date here]" and "What's currently in the heads of the new guys at Six Flags".

*** This post was edited by SLFAKE 12/27/2005 3:48:57 PM ***

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005 4:01 PM
"The only strength I see with Hendrix is from the enetrtainment aspect. He did have a reputation for putting on great entertainment at AstroWorld. Unifortunately, I don't care much about that. Snyder and Shapiro seem to have some vision of turning all the SF parks into a giant kiddieland."

I am new to the "Theme Park" scene, but as a stock holder I have been reading this website. I have never read that AstroWorld was known for putting on great entertainment. I would love to hear from those who have visted Astroworld for their thoughts on the operation of that park under Mr. Hendrix. Unless this is the park that won the awards for Entertainment? I will research.

*** This post was edited by phillyboy 12/27/2005 4:02:40 PM ***

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005 4:28 PM
"I'm surprised there is so much negativity surrounding these changes when the fact of the matter is that none of us know how these changes are going to play out just yet. Reading this topic, you'd think that everyone was in the heads of these guys... "

Thank you! We had people running Six flags that were in the business for years and were still doing a crappy job. Why not give these new candidates a chance to prove themselves!

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005 4:57 PM
I was basing the entertainment statement concerning Astroworld on the fact that they consistently have won industry awards for their in-park shows.
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Tuesday, December 27, 2005 5:15 PM
Six Flags is in a financial and operational mess. I'm disappointed Mark Shapiro and Dan Snyder didn't seriously look to recruit an experienced industry veteran to come work for SF. Say somone like the current head of Paramount Parks that may loose his job in the coming weeks and months. Surely there are qualified candidates that are better. Quenzel's bio is full of fluff to make it sound like he can handle the job.

*** This post was edited by coasterguts 12/27/2005 5:33:23 PM ***

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005 7:36 PM
of course they are not going to look for someone who has expierience in the amusment park industry Who do they know well.. They are going to hire all of their friends at ESPN instead. Their friends who have to same outlook as they do.

ESPN all they know is how to attract men into arenas using sports, women ,and booze.

Now they have to do the opposite and attract women and children into amusment parks. I hate to see what the parks will look like.when they are through with it.*** This post was edited by Cs6153 12/27/2005 7:52:51 PM ***

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005 8:16 PM
Chuck Hendrix was probably the best thing that happend to AstroWorld in 1999. Keep in mind the park could only work with what they were given by corporate...and they did the best with what they got. Mr. Hendrix was the first to admit that they knew they had issues...and even what they were. Ask anyone who attended Winterfest there in 2002, or Spring Con in 2003, or Coaster Masqurade last year. The entire management staff of AstroWorld truely loved the park and did what they could to try to make it better and that was obvious over the last couple of years.

From the park side of it, I think the most recent management staff of AstroWorld did a great job considering they were given very little money to work with each year. And anyone who got to hear Chuck speak or meet him in person over the past couple years should know how much he enjoys what he does and how he did what he could to make AstroWorld better.

I'm glad to hear Chuck is staying with the company and hope some of the other management will as well. Losing any of them is a huge loss for the chain.

As for the shows...that's Fiesta Texas that wins all the awards. AstroWorld's shows were pretty good too though.

Jason*** This post was edited by Jason Knutson 12/27/2005 8:18:01 PM ***

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005 8:24 PM
The smallest maintenance budget with the oldest rides and the shortest downtime of any of the parks based on percentage of money for each ride.

Think about that.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005 8:25 PM

I'm glad to hear Chuck is staying with the company and hope some of the other management will as well. Losing any of them is a huge loss for the chain.

As for the shows...that's Fiesta Texas that wins all the awards. AstroWorld's shows were pretty good too though


Fiesta Texas is also a Six Flags Park, correct?

Thank you for the information. Jason, you seem to know alot about these parks. Where are the best management teams for Six Flags? Owning stock in Cedar Fair and Six Flags, I am interested in knowing where this ship is headed. I read a lot of negative comments on this site about Six Flags, but it isn't specific to the following question: Is it the entire chain or individual parks?

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005 8:54 PM
Yes, Fiesta Texas is also a Six Flags park.

I haven't been to a lot of the Six Flags parks and really only know the ones here in Texas really well as they are the only ones I've dealt with management at.

I think a lot of the problems the parks have now are due to the corporate management, not individual park management. While I'm sure there are some parks out there have problems on both levels, I think a majority of the problems have been caused at the corporate level.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005 9:51 PM
"I'm surprised there is so much negativity surrounding these changes when the fact of the matter is that none of us know how these changes are going to play out just yet. Reading this topic, you'd think that everyone was in the heads of these guys... "

Agree.....and why do they have to be theme park veterans? What did Paul Pressler know about the GAP when he left Disney in 2002? He didn't have to because he is a leader. Six Flags' main problems revolve around attraction availability, cleanliness, and friendliness.... these aren't rocket science topics and any good "leader" could address and come up with a plan and a vision to fix. You don't have to have a theme park background to be successful in these areas. Furthermore, a fresh set of eyes and ideas is just what Six Flags needs. Will they pull it off? I don't know, but I'll bet they will evolve the Six Flags product further than the Burke administration ever did.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005 11:00 PM
Very good point!

And may I remind people that Gary Story had an extensive background in theme parks, and we all know what a bang up job he did.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005 12:26 AM
I believe that Pressler came to Disney from the GAP, and was brought into the company to head their then new retail division. Transfering him over to the parks division proved to be monumental mistake. He went back to were he came from, and now the GAP is having problems. Does that tell you anything?
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