IAAPA 2006: Kinzel and Baker inducted into Hall of Fame

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

[Ed. note: Press release follows. -J]

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) announced today that Richard L. Kinzel and Harry C. Baker are the 2006 inductees to the IAAPA Hall of Fame. The announcement was made during the IAAPA Attractions Expo 2006, the association’s annual conference and trade show at the Georgia World Congress Center.

“This year we are inducting two legends in the amusement park business,” said Charlie Bray, IAAPA President and CEO. “Dick Kinzel manned the helm of a merger that grew Cedar Fair into a 12-park operation with revenues in excess of $1 billion annually,” explains Bray. “Harry C. Baker is one of the true early pioneers of amusement park and roller coaster design. He also served four terms as president of the association that would eventually become IAAPA.”

Richard (Dick) L. Kinzel

There are many successful amusement park operators who have climbed their way to the top with hard work, determination, and dedication. One of those men is Dick Kinzel, who began his career in the amusement parks and attractions industry in 1972 as a food service manager at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. He was promoted to director of park operations in 1975 at Cedar Point; three years later he became the president and general manger of Valleyfair. Then, three years later, in 1986, he was named president and CEO of Cedar Fair, the parent company of the parks which was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1987.

In 2003 he was named Chairman of the Board of Cedar Fair. Under his leadership, Cedar Fair has grown from two parks generating $96 million in revenue in 1986 to 12 parks generating $1 billion in revenue in 2006. At Cedar Point, he introduced the first 200 ft., 300 ft., and 400 ft. roller coasters in the world. In 2006, he shepherded the purchase of the Paramount Parks chain. He has supported IAAPA throughout his career serving on the board of directors for two terms and on many committees including the Executive Committee and Strategic Planning Committee. Dick Kinzel has been described as a man of his word and a man of honor; and excellent role model for his employees as well as the industry.

Harry C. Baker

Harry Charles Baker’s body of work, which included 30 years in the amusement park and attractions field, is marked by several successful ventures leaving a legacy that includes the famous Coney Island wooden roller coaster, the “Cyclone”. Baker was fascinated by the process of building wooden coasters when he first entered the amusement industry in 1908 as a construction worker at Riverview Park in Chicago. In 1918, he formed a business partnership with designer John A. Miller that lasted until 1923. During this time, the duo built almost 80 roller coasters and more than 20 full-scale amusement parks.

He was the principal of Harry C. Baker Inc., which was responsible for the famous “Whippet” and “Cyclone” designs. Additionally, Baker was an innovative leader in the industry and served four terms as president of the National Association of Amusement Parks, Pools, and Beaches from 1934 to 1938. Throughout his tenure, Baker helped lower the cost of liability insurance for members, increased membership within the organization, and even increased business for members during the Great Depression. Harry Baker died in 1939 at the age of 52 but his legacy continues to live on today as his rides continue to create memories for generations to come.

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