Making the Rounds
LaFleur Chats About Issues Facing Operators and How AMOA is Helping
Q: We know you’ve just wrapped up the AMOA Mid-Year meeting, but what are your thoughts as the summer state association meeting season winds down?
A: We know you’ve just wrapped up the AMOA Mid-Year meeting, but what are your thoughts as the summer state association meeting season winds down?
I’ve enjoyed my end-of-summer trips visiting with the state organizations in Michigan, Missouri and Georgia. It’s invigorating to attend the annual meetings and witness first-hand the positive engagement taking place regardless of the size of the organization. While each state has its own set of issues, they all have one thing in common and that is a passion for this industry. Each of these trips also provides the opportunity to personally engage with AMOA members at the grass-roots level to make sure AMOA’s mission continues on the proper course.
With summer’s end here, can you give us an update on how plans are moving along for the AAMA/AMOA Amusement Expo?
AMOA has been hard at work with our show partner AAMA and we’re quite excited about the 2018 AAMA/AMOA Amusement Expo International (AEI). Very soon, the 2018 AEI website will be launched offering a new experience for both our exhibitors and attendees. The website will include not only a new look and feel, but will have interactive capabilities as well. Leaders from both AMOA and AAMA sat
down with show management immediately after our Dallas show to identify available technology we can embrace moving forward. We’re excited about the new experience we’ll be sharing in 2018.
Has a theme been set for next year’s show?
In late July, our joint AAMA/AMOA Show Committee set the 2018 theme to “Back in Action…Vegas!” Las Vegas has been the home of Amusement Expo International for many years, and there’s a definite buzz in the air about being back. Things kick off on Feb. 27 for the convention’s “Education Day,” followed by two-days where attendees can visit the busy trade show floor on Feb. 28-March 1.
How is this year’s educational program shaping up?
The AAMA/AMOA Expo Education Committee is enthusiastically at work in the development of the 2018 AEI educational program. While I can’t spill all the details quite yet, I can tell you Amusement Expo will offer more educational opportunities than ever before. What I can share is that our education team is excited about recently locking in the keynote speaker, Meagan Johnson, who will kick off our event on Tuesday morning, Feb. 27.
For those not familiar with Meagan, she’s a bright, funny (and slightly obnoxious!) generational humorist and expert. Throughout my travels, there is always at least one conversation pertaining to Millennials, whether it be hiring them, managing them or even doing business with them. Meagan provides a humorous approach on how to make the most with ALL generations. I really believe this is a not-to-be-missed presentation!
Is there anything else you’d like to add about plans for Expo?
You will definitely discover a “new” energy at our 2018 three-day event. Attendee registration is slated to open early this month and we encourage everyone to check out what’s lined up by visiting the dedicates show website at www.amusementexpo.org.
Any final comments you’d like to share about the happenings at AMOA?
It might be a cliché that “knowledge is power,” but I believe it and would like to remind everyone it’s not too late to register for AMOA’s Fall Educational Program in Denver. We’ve got a great lineup of sessions for both our day-and-a-half On the Road Program on Oct. 28 and 29, and for Class XVIII of AMOA’s On Campus Management Program, which will conduct its first weekend together Oct. 28-30.
Anyone interested can learn details by visiting www.amoa.com or by phoning the association headquarters at 800-937-2662.
Rick LaFleur brings a wealth of experience to his term as AMOA president from running the I.F. LaFleur and Sons multi-generational operating company in Devils Lake, North Dakota. Seeing the job as an opportunity to give back, the genuine and likable LaFleur has a tremendous amount of optimism for the industry as it embraces opportunities and navigates challenges ahead.
Rick sees collaboration within the industry as a key way to ensure success, whether that be with technology, products or growth in new directions.
“It’s fun to see the brilliance that’s out there and the solutions people come up with,” says Rick. “I like to think every problem has a right road to take. The key is finding it! Not every turn will be a perfect one, but if you make as many good turns as you can, you’ll be okay.”
LaFleur credits his father for a lot of what he learned about the industry and life, saying he was a goodhearted man who had the foresight to provide his two sons with the room to grow into success. He hopes to emulate that as he takes over the new role at AMOA…and if you’ve ever spent any time with Rick, you’ll know he’ll be successful at it.