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April 2014

Items In This Month's News Digest

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WAMO Hosts Annual Pool Tourney

Pool shooters from Wisconsin and bordering states converged on the Dome at Chula Vista, Wisconsin Dells, for the 27th Annual State Pool Tournament. The event took place March 5 - 9 and was sponsored by the Wisconsin Amusement & Music Operators (WAMO), the state trade association for operators and suppliers of coin-operated equipment.

WAMO’s tournament is unique as it is one of the very few tournaments that uses electronic charting. Players, their families, friends and fans can view results on their smart phones, tablets and personal computers at www. compusport.us.

To be eligible for the tournament, shooters must have participated in league play on WAMO members’ pool tables. At the state finals, sanctioned shooters on 160 brand-new Valley tables vied to take home a share of the sizeable purse.WAMO says its event is the largest trade association tournament in the nation with an economic impact that makes it very attractive for host cities.

Co-Chairmen of the tournament were Neil Gilbertson of Northern Lakes Amusement in Hurley and Jay Coubal of Northwest Coin Machines in Bloomer. Dale Saunders is WAMO Sports Director and Bill Maloney is the Pool Tournament Drector. The sheer size of the tournament requires many WAMO members to share in the work load each day from early morning to the wee hours of the following morning.

From the proceeds of the tournament, WAMO contributes to a perpetual scholarship fund for full- or part-time students at any of the 16 Wisconsin technical college campuses.

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Golden Tee LIVE Hits Two Million Tourney Plays

On the afternoon of March 6, Incredible Technologies’ Golden Tee LIVE game reached an impressive milestone: the two millionth online contest was played! This particular tournament was a Prize Play contest on the Highland Links course with 50 Pro skill bracket players from across the country joining in throughout the evening. When the final player completed their game and the contest closed, a score of -14 from Sharoll W. (Alpharetta, Ga.) topped the leaderboard.

This milestone coincidentally occurred during Golden Tee’s 25th anniversary, having been originally introduced in 1989. Golden Tee LIVE itself debuted in 2005 and is in its fifth incarnation.

To celebrate both events, Incredible Technologies awarded $25 to each of the 50 participants in the two-millionth contest. This award was automatically added to their player accounts, which can be used to pay for more rounds of Golden Tee at their favorite locations.

“Two million online contests really is something to celebrate,” said Elaine Hodgson, I.T. President and CEO. “It truly spotlights the strength of the Golden Tee brand, and the power and popularity of online play. We are thrilled to know that we have helped to entertain millions of players and generate millions of dollars in revenue for operators.”

Golden Tee LIVE 2014 was released in October 2013 and can be found in more than 12,000 street locations, says the factory. The next course update, Golden Tee 2015, is scheduled for release in October 2014. “Golden Tee has a lot of life left in it, and we are behind the product 100%,” concluded Elaine. “We are already looking forward to the next million contests!”

To learn more, visit http://goldentee.com.

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Megatouch Ships Final Live Update

Megatouch Live’s final software release, V3.5.1, recently downloaded on all Live systems. This release allows all Megatouch Live systems to operate without a connection to the factory server. Features that require server connectivity are scheduled to be disabled in the near future.

In addition to the offline system conversion, V3.5.1 features a free play option, new selectable blue menu skin that resembles the familiar Ion platform, and 15 new classic games: Box Drop, Checkerz, Coco Loco, Feeding Frosty, Ink Rally, Kids Kolortime, Magic Charms, Megatouch Memory, Megatouch Switcheroo, Moondrop, QB Zone, Sticker Book, Tricky Fish, Vinci Ball and Wild Ape. The release brings the total number of games on the ML-1 to 141.

This final release also adds web browsing capabilities for players. Operators can customize the web browser home page with up to 12 quick links, giving players direct access to whatever popular web pages the operator chooses. Players can navigate the Internet, as well as control the volume, giving them a full online experience right on the ML-1, says the company. The operator can customize the pricing for the web browser by choosing the credit amounts and related time constraints. Megatouch says this new feature offers an easy, modern Internet browsing experience for players.

With 15 game titles and several features, the V3.5.1 release is a fairly large download, so Megatouch is recommending that ML-1s be connected via hard line when possible to avoid surpassing cell router data limits.

To learn more, visit www.megatouch.com.

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Namco Releases Goal Line Rush

Namco America recently began shipping their football-themed ticket redemption game, Goal Line Rush. The game is simple to play, reports the factory. Dozens of mini footballs labeled with varying ticket values lay on a rotating football field. The center of the football field is occupied by the football running back that is operated by the player. Pressing the button on the control panel causes the running back to rush forward and dive into the end zone, taking any footballs in the way with him.

Players win the total amount of tickets if multiple footballs end up in the end zone. Special sensors in the footballs are quickly scanned when it enters the end zone, and the ticket values are displayed on the screen. Once the game completes, the footballs are punted back onto the football field for the next play.

Goal Line Rush measures 49” wide x 59” deep x 98” high. Namco reports that preseason testing numbers have been impressive.

For more information, visit www.namcoamerica.com or check out a video of Goal Line Rush on YouTube at http://youtu.be/UrRZrfTdiQw.

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Coast to Coast Upgrades Ticket Production

Coast to Coast Entertainment says it has bolstered its redemption ticket production facilities in response to increased demand.

“With our recent explosion of ticket orders in the past six to nine months we have upgraded all of our printing presses at our facility,” said firm co-founder Gary Balaban. “We added the state of the art Observer 3000 Pro Mark Edition Laser Alignment system. This new system will allow us to make an even better-looking ticket.”

Coast to Coast has consistently increased redemption ticket sales each of the last three years. “With our four-color printing process it is very important to make sure all the colors are printed in the correct place on the ticket or the ticket will look blurry,” explained Balaban. “With the new Observer 3000 we are now using lasers to watch and record each and every ticket. If an error is detected, the machine will automatically know and adjust itself for a crisp and sharp image. The laser is much more accurate than the human eye, thus finding errors and correcting them before the operator could do before.”
Additionally, the company says they print their tickets on “virgin paper, which virtually eliminates dust.” They produce both generic and custom logo tickets.

“We have a great-looking ticket that allows ticket dispensers and counters to function much better,” added Balaban. “We are always looking to improve our process to provide the best for our customers. As FEC owners ourselves, we know what we like and try to provide that to our customers.”

To learn more, log on to www.cranemachines.com.

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Sacoa Partners with NY, NY & Megma Print-O-Pack

The New York New York Hotel Casino in Las Vegas has chosen Sacoa PlayCard for its newly remodeled Big Apple Coaster & Arcade. Because of a major renovation to the old Coney Island Amusement Emporium, installation was scheduled to begin in early March and is expected to open around Amusement Expo 2014.

The debit system will be used in their 200-plus piece gameroom, as well as at the redemption counter, roller coaster and various food concessions. This will also be the first time any MGM Resort property has gone entirely ticketless with redemption, opting for the e-tix where winnings are stored on the cards. In the near future, hotel guests will even be able to use their room keys to charge entertainment, purchase food and play games in the arcade.

“It is truly an honor for Sacoa to be selected by the New York New York management team as their cashless payment provider” said Sebastian Mochkovsky, Sacoa Director.

“This is incredible having a premiere location in Vegas to showcase our product,” added Brian Duke, who heads up new business development. “It’s the first major spot in America to install our new ColorShot HTD with “all-in-one” technology and touchscreen. With all the trade shows being held there each year, we’ll be able to tell attendees they can now see our system in full operation at Big Apple Coaster & Arcade.”

Sacoa PlayCard has also partnered with Megma Print-O-Pack of India to represent their debit system in that market. The two companies exhibited together for the first time at the recent IAAPI trade show (Feb. 5-7 in Mumbai) as Megma-Sacoa. Attendees were able to see the PlayCard lineup for FECs, amusement parks, arcades and water parks. Sacoa’s Brian Duke traveled to Mumbai for the event and was excited about this new working relationship he helped establish.

“We had wanted to create a larger presence in the Indian market, so we’re extremely pleased to add Megma Print-O-Pack to Sacoa’s global team,” exclaimed Duke. “Now we are able to offer our product to customers in India through this local partner who has over 20 years of experience selling tickets and wristbands to our normal customer base.”

Megma Director J.P. Lawania added: “We explored other cashless payment systems, but I knew Sacoa was best for Megma and our customers. Our reputation in the amusement industry is most important to us, and Sacoa shared our commitment to service and support. The strength of our two companies will be great for entertainment locations throughout India.”

For more information, visit www.sacoacard.com.

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NDA Elects Executives

The AMOA-National Dart Association (NDA) has elected three new directors for 2014: Traci Noteboom, Shawn Smith and Patrick Webb. The group also elected new officers: President Lloyd Williamson, VP Alvin Gerlach and Treasurer Mary Lavine.

Adam Lipinski has also joined the board as the new manufacturer sponsor for Shelti. Lipinski serves as Shelti’s software manager.

Noteboom has been the Dart League Coordinator for Rushmore Amusement in Rapid City, S.D., for the last 15 years. She is a regular volunteer at the South Dakota State Dart Tournament and at Team Dart for Singles and Doubles events.

Smith is the Dart League Coordinator for J & J Ventures and Kentuckiana Vendors in Evansville, Ind. He has been a co-director with the Illinois operator association for the past six years, and a head referee for the last 12 years. At the national level, Shawn has been a referee for over seven years and a previous co-director and head referee for ILTDPA.

Webb is the Owner and Dart League Coordinator of City Amusement Enterprises LLC in Portsmouth, Ohio. He has been in the coin-op business for 22 years and is a member of the Ohio Coin Machine Association’s Board of Directors.

Noteboom, Smith and Webb’s terms expire January of 2017.

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NDA Completes Regional Tourney Series

In other NDA news, the association held its final regional soft-tip dart tournament, in an inaugural series of three, in Kissimmee, Fla., Feb. 14-16. Six NDA operators sent 110 players to the Florida tournament to compete for $15,000 in prize money.

Operators participating in the tournament purchased 164 event entry certificates. Events included Open Singles Combo, Doubles Cricket, Doubles ’01 and Mixed Triples Combo offering varying levels of play based on player skill ratings. Prizes were awarded in each event level providing a fair and competitive environment for all skill sets.

In this first year for NDA Regional Tournaments to be held, organizers said the tournament series proved successful with a total of 439 players and 30 operators participating, and 624 event entry certificates purchased.

Players and operators were enthusiastic about the extra fun and affordable opportunities to compete and win, reported NDA. With Regional Tournaments proving a success, the dart association will host another series of such events later this year. (Details will be forthcoming, said the dart group.)

Despite the Regional Tournament season coming to a close, NDA-sanctioned players still have more opportunities to compete this year with Team Dart at Bally’s Las Vegas, April 25-May 3, and the first-ever NDA Junior Tournament in Bloomington, Minn., June 20-22.

More information about the NDA, can be found by visiting www.NDAdarts.com.

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Virtual Currency In Turmoil

The virtual currency bitcoin, which has achieved near mythical status amongst techies and some investors, came close to collapse last month.

“In a stunning blow to a novel way to buy products and services, the world’s largest exchange for trading bitcoin currency shut down, triggering a massive sell-off and sending many prospective investors away –– perhaps for good,” reported the LA Times newspaper.

Financial expert Mark Williams told the paper: “What we’re seeing is a lot of the flaws. It’s not only fragile, it’s fragile as eggshells.”

The virtual currency began spiraling amid news that one of the biggest exchanges, called Mt. Gox, shuttered after being unable to honor depositors requests.

“Mt. Gox users may have lost more than $300 million worth of bitcoins in what was the latest and biggest in a series of recent setbacks for the virtual currency,” explained the LA Times. “The currency exists only online, and its value is based on an algorithm. Investors buy bitcoins with dollars, euros and other real currency. A purchase with bitcoins typically involves transferring an amount from the buyer’s bitcoin ‘digital wallet’ to the seller’s wallet on the Internet.”

Bitcoin critics have raised red flags in the past because the currency is traded anonymously and outside the reach of sovereign regulators. The virtual currency, along with other forms of cashless payment, was the subject of a panel discussion at the recent AMOA Council of Affiliated States meeting in Tampa, Fla.

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Asian Attractions Expo Expects More Than 5,000

Asian Attractions Expo 2014, produced by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), will bring more than 5,000 professionals from the global attractions industry to the China National Convention Center in Beijing June 17-20.

More than 275 companies will display new products across more than 8,000 net square meters of exhibit space, the largest trade show floor in the event’s history. Registration is open to attractions industry professionals only at www.IAAPA.org/ AsianAttractionsExpo.

The attractions industry is rapidly growing in the Asia-Pacific region, reports the trade association, with several large new resorts, theme parks, water parks and other attractions in development. As the industry grows, Asian Attractions Expo is growing with it, declared the group. More than 3,500 buyers from 60 countries will explore the trade show floor for new, state-of-the-art products and services, including amusement and theme park development and design, rides, motion simulators, water attractions, video and skill games, theming, technology and food and beverage.

“The record amount of floor space sold at Asian Attractions Expo 2014 is a sign of the unprecedented growth in the region,” said IAAPA President and CEO Paul Noland. “As new attractions continue to launch in China, India, southeast Asia, and throughout the region, Asian Attractions Expo has become a can’t-miss international event for industry professionals. IAAPA is proud to be a partner in the development of the attractions industry in Asia Pacific.”

Asian Attractions Expo 2014 organizers boast that the event will also offer attendees top-notch education sessions in both English and Mandarin Chinese, as well as opportunities for participants to visit some of Beijing’s premier attractions. Session topics include safety, employee engagement and retention, improving the guest experience, marketing trends, what’s new in Asia, and more. Attendees will experience guided tours of Happy Valley theme park, The Great Wall of China, and The Forbidden City, including Tiananmen Square.

Additional information about Asian Attractions Expo 2014 is available at www.IAAPA.org/AsianAttractionsExpo.

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Digital Centre Offers New Panther Photo Booth

Photo Booth maker Digital Centre will debut its new Panther unit, part of the firm’s New Generation line-up.

Panther incorporates the company’s Blinking Photo Booth feature, which they say has helped increase income on location. The photo booth blinks to the people as they walk by or stay around the booth.

The booth also comes equipped with DC’s SmartPrint. “We are within a new era in photography where people take more photos than ever via phones and tablets, but no one prints them,” explained factory topper Josep Tarres. “Our photo booths are ready to print them with ease.”

This feature, says Tarres, allows users to print photos directly from their smartphone to a DC photo booth. Most photos taken with phones are never printed, only stored in the phone’s memory. SmartPrint provides the option to not only print but make as many copies as patrons want.

Finally, Panther incorporates advertising capability, providing yet another potential avenue for generating revenue.

In addition to showing Panther at the Amusement Expo, DC was also planning on displaying its MegaCombo, vending a 6 x 16” strip, and The Strip, which they describe as a “streamlined unit perfect for parties.”

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VidPoker Cheats Used Light Wand

The head of a criminal ring that defrauded legalized video poker games was sentenced to three years in prison by a federal judge in Michigan. The case was reported by the Grand Rapids-based website www.mlive.com.

“Joe Michael Koster cheated Kewadin Casino Hotel & Resort in Sault Ste. Marie by using a “‘light wand’ to blind sensors in the video-poker machines and cause payouts far higher than actually won,” the website reported. “The scheme began in July 2009 and ended June 25, 2011, authorities said. The government said Koster used the wand, which contained a tiny light and camera battery, while others blocked the view of casino security, or acted as lookouts.”

Six people, including Koster, were convicted and sentenced in connection with the crime. To read more, log on to www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2014/03/six_sent_to_prison_in_300000_v.html.

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Illinois Considering Gaming Blacklist

Illinois lawmakers are considering the creation of a player black list that would exclude certain individuals from playing video gaming machines, according to a report by the Associated Press. The measure has already passed the state senate.

“Under the legislation, the gaming board would be allowed to place someone on an exclusion list if the board or a court finds their conduct unsuitable,” the AP reported. “That could include people with a criminal history or an association with organized crime. Illinois’ Riverboat Gambling Act allows the gaming board to exclude people from casinos, but the state’s Video Gaming Act does not.”

Gaming regulators say such a measure would remind people that playing video gaming machines represents a privilege, like driving, not a right. However, some opponents of the move argue that it might deny a citizen’s due process rights.

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Waterpark, Aquarium Adopt Core Cashless

A waterpark in Connecticut and an aquarium in New Jersey both announced plans to install payment technology from Kansas-based Core Cashless.

When it opens its doors for the season, Quassy Amusement & Waterpark’s substantial redemption arcade (pictured at right), as well as midway games will incorporate the Core system, allowing guests to use coded swipe cards to play games. The new system will encourage customers to purchase swipe cards from service kiosks in the arcade. Guests may select any denomination they would like added to a card when they make their purchase.

“We are enthused about our new partnership with Core Cashless,” said Eric Anderson, president of Middlebury, Conn.-based Quassy. “We are currently taking the first steps in transitioning our operations to be cashless, starting this season with the redemption arcade and midway games.”

Quassy’s arcade will have more than 100 of its most popular games ramped up on the cashless system. In addition, the park’s midway and group games will also honor the cards.

“We now have the fiber optic infrastructure in place that will allow us to eventually interface our food operations and other point of sales locations with the Core swipe card set-up,” Anderson added. “The bottom line is that we will be able to provide better guest services and at the same time streamline our overall park operations.”

The first step in going cashless at Quassy will be complemented by new Wi-Fi networking services being launched at the park. Guests will also be able to take advantage of Wi-Fi while enjoying a day at the park.

Quassy Amusement Park & Waterpark is in its 106th year and features more than two dozen rides and attractions.

Core will also be supplying its Paydia technology for both the Jenkinson’s Aquarium and Jenkinson’s Pavilion at Pleasant Beach, N.J. This will allow the park owners to unify all the separate areas of the boardwalk with one piece of software.

Core will be providing both online and on-site cashless solutions, including print-at-home ticketing, access control and data reporting. Guests will be able to purchase tickets to the Aquarium online and use their Jenkinson’s Fun Card at even more places around the boardwalk.

“Jenkinson’s is a milestone for us as a company,” said Core Sales Pro Tom Dring. “This will be one of the largest installations on the Paydia platform and it will provide a whole new level of technology to the park.”

Jenkinson’s Aquarium is a privately owned facility located on the boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach. Opening in June of 1991, the aquarium is dedicated to educating the public on all aspects of marine life and conservation. Each exhibit is designed to promote awareness of the animals, their habitats and conservation.

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Bay Tek Bows Beach Bounce Kiddie Game

Bay Tek Games has released a new game, Beach Bounce, designed for younger players. The game features a bright and colorful playfield along with the fun, beach-themed attract sounds. Players use their skill to simply toss balls into the targets, including a large sand castle, to earn tickets and an extra bonus ball.

Beach Bounce also uses a low ball sensor. When there are less than five balls left, a LED will subtlely light up in the corner of the ball counter. To deter cheaters, there is a sensor under the bounce pad, which warns players that they are leaning too close to the playfield.

To learn more, log on to www.baytekgames.com.

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GameTime Debuts New Website; More Features Coming

Florida FEC chain GameTime has relaunched its website at GameTimePlayers .com. Due to customer response, the redesign began as a way to provide the content and information most requested by guests. Developed by QuinnCom, the new website offers a list of featured games at each venue, along with a complete menu for the family restaurant and sports bar.

Within the next few months, a party reservation system will be added. Guests will be able to easily customize and book their own birthday or corporate party online. In partnership with Sacoa, the Party Reservation pages will remove the hassle of booking a party in-person.

Director of Marketing Dan Christensen said, “We listened to our guests, what they wanted to see, and how they wanted the site to function. We received multiple messages each week asking us to include more information on our games and menu. We understood, above all else, if our guests weren’t happy with our website, it had to change.”

GameTime operates video game arcades located across Florida. The signature locations, in Miami and Tampa feature a family restaurant and sports bar. GameTime entertains guests with video games, attractions, prizes and live sporting events.

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People on the Move

Scott Avery has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer at Apple Industries. In his new post, Avery will be responsible for overseeing daily and long-term operational performance for the award-winning manufacturer of Face Place photo booths. Avery will also have greater input and responsibilities in the areas of sales, marketing and the company’s ongoing global expansion into new and emerging markets.

In his previous post as Apple’s Director of Operations, Avery focused on overseeing key business procedures including supply chain management and manufacturing processes. He also had important roles in product development and marketing, and supervised the company’s 30-person customer support and technical service teams.

“As Apple has grown larger in size, sales volume and global market penetration, our operations have grown considerably more complex and demanding,” said company CEO Allen Weisberg. “Thanks to Scott’s superb organizational abilities and strategic thinking, this multi-lateral expansion has not been the cause of growing pains and disruptions. Instead, Scott has consistently leveraged Apple’s growth as a series of opportunities for greater efficiency and market impact. He has continually improved the quality of our components, logistics and manufacturing. Scott has also been instrumental in helping develop and market some of our most exciting new products, including the NGX Face Place Photo Juke (a joint effort between Apple and AMI Entertainment) and our outdoor Face Place photo booth.”

Avery joined Apple in 2011 following a globetrotting career in government and hi-tech defense manufacturing. Apple says his expertise in advanced technologies, supply chain management, and international markets have all proved highly valuable as the company continues to increase the technological sophistication of its products and to expand its sales around the world.

• • •

Embed has added two well-known industry veterans to its staff: Lisa Chapman and Ann Krull. As sales executives, Lisa and Ann will support Embed’s growth by working with new accounts and identifying new opportunities with existing accounts.

Lisa (below) is an accomplished industry veteran with over 20 years working at recognized companies Bay Tek, Skee- Ball and, most recently, Family Fun Companies. “I am very excited to be a part of the great team at Embed. Technology has changed our industry and to be part of the leading supplier is incredible,” said Lisa.

Prior to joining Embed, Ann (above) worked as an account executive for 13 years with prize supplier Redemption Plus. By working closely with hundreds of new start-ups and established family entertainment centers, she said she has developed a unique understanding of her customers’ businesses, specifically their redemption software. “This well-rounded industry knowledge will be a valuable asset to our Embed clients,” said Ann.

“I am extremely excited to be working with such a mature sales team with such a depth of experience in our industry,” said Ted Parsons, Embed GM. “Lisa and Ann, together with our Senior Sales Executive Phil Showler, bring to the table integrity, an expertise in customer service, and desire to deliver products and applications that truly help people run successful businesses. With this team we will continue to provide both new and current customers the ability to make the right choices for their business and provide a positive experience before, during and after the sale.”

Ann and Lisa can reached by calling 866/440-1212 or emailing them directly: Lisa Chapman, lisac@embedcard.com; Ann Krull, annk@embedcard.com.

• • •

QubicaAMF Worldwide, maker of bowling and amusement products, reports that John Walker has resigned as the company’s CEO.

“Managing QubicaAMF has been exciting and at times challenging. I’m proud of the progress and accomplishments we’ve made during my years of service and the product leadership position we’ve taken,” said Walker. “This is an appropriate time for me to pursue other opportunities, so I can move forward and the company can build on what we have already accomplished.”

In response, the board has appointed David Roys as CEO of the company. He has a strong track record with over 20 years of extensive experience in management and financial responsibility in manufacturing operations and high tech product design organizations, reports the firm.

Early in his career at Leon Plastics, Roys led the company’s Injection Molding Operation and was responsible for setting up a manufacturing system modeled after the Toyota. He later moved to Key Plastics, where he rose to the position of president and COO, responsible for directing all North American activities consisting of nine manufacturing facilities, the design and engineering center and corporate offices with over 2,100 employees. In 2007, Roys joined the Cerberus Capital Management group, broadening his management experience.

Broys has a BA in Finance and Business Administration from Grand Valley State University.

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