As we look back on another World Waterpark Association show WhiteWater had plenty of reasons to celebrate the busy week. The Richmond water park and attractions manufacturer won Leading Edge Awards for their work at Wanda’s Changbaishan Water Park in China and ultra-accessible Morgan’s Inspiration Island splash park in Texas, USA.
In addition, WhiteWater’s Executive Vice President of The Americas, Franceen Gonzales, was inducted into the World Waterpark Association’s Hall of Fame and Typhoon Texas received an Executive Board Award at the show’s general session on October 17th, both being recognized for excellence in leadership, safety, innovation, and training.
The World Waterpark Association’s Leading Edge Awards are awarded to individuals and parks for creativity in the development of new themes, facilities, programs, services, or products and operational concepts in the water attractions industry. Changbaishan fits these criteria perfectly with help from WhiteWater, who provided 14 attractions, ranging from kids’ slides to a high thrill AquaLoop and Abyss 55 to make the park ready for every play type.
Since its opening on August 1st, 2016, this year-round waterpark has seen tremendous growth. The latest project from Wanda Group is located at their Changbaishan International Resort, and covers 20,000 square meters, featuring unique treehouse theming, including a custom-themed AquaPlay interactive water play attraction. WhiteWater is delighted that Changbaishan has been awarded with such recognition and we are pleased to have been able to play a part by being involved from concept design through to complete slide supply.
Over the last six years WhiteWater has provided rides in every single Wanda waterpark, with two more currently under construction, featuring custom-designed WhiteWater rides, set to open next year. Doug Smith, Regional Vice President for Asia Pacific, said, “Changbaishan is a fantastic indoor park and a great example of the collaborative relationship we enjoy with Wanda. They are a great client to be able to work with.”
Of all the projects WhiteWater completed this year there isn’t one which is more unique and closer to their hearts than Morgan’s Inspiration Island. They are very deserving of the Leading Edge award by leading the waterpark industry in showing how inclusivity for all abilities to enjoy water play together can be achieved. The park is organized around six areas, each with a tropical theme, much of which came from WhiteWater, and features five custom-themed, fully-inclusive Splash Pads and an ADA accessible Water Transportation System, all from WhiteWater.
“No detail has been too big or too small, from adding a specially-designed spiral graphic to tipping buckets so that hearing-impaired guests will know when to wait for the downpour of water to creating waterproof wheelchairs for guests, it’s been inspiring to see how much care and consideration the people at Morgan’s have put into this park,” commented Paul Chutter, WhiteWater’s Chief Business Development Officer. Chutter concluded by saying, “when you talk to the folks here at WhiteWater who have worked on Morgan’s, they all talk about how honoured and fortunate they feel to be a part of something so worthy and special. I think it’s a feeling shared by our entire organization.”
While we love to celebrate our clients’ successes it is particularly special for WhiteWater when the talent of our people is recognized. We believe we have the best team of experts and having Franceen recognized as a true industry leader by being inducted into the WWA Hall of fame makes us very proud.
Franceen has dedicated her career to making waterparks safer places to have fun—she is a member of the IAAPA Safety Committee (among many she has supported). She also sits on the ASTM International board and is currently serving on the board of directors of AIMS and NSPF. Her passion for operations stems from her in-park management experience, having previously been the Vice President, Risk Management and Waterparks, for Great Wolf Resorts where she held responsibility for the company’s 12 waterpark resorts in North America. Prior to joining Great Wolf Resorts, Franceen was Park Director for Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags Great Adventure.
Franceen is an inspiration to many in the industry as female leader and expert who continues to give back to others everyday—at WhiteWater she leads the America’s team and the guidance she provides to employees and clients alike is unparalleled.
“We are honoured to count Franceen as one of us at WhiteWater. She represents much of what makes us great to work with, she is dedicated and passionate, and a true expert,” says Paul Chutter. The sentiment was echoed by Geoff Chutter, CEO and Founder of WhiteWater when commenting on the most recent Leading Edge Awards, “having our valued clients and employees recognized for their outstanding work is truly an honour for WhiteWater. This recognition is a true affirmation of the dedication and diligence WhiteWater strives for every day.”