Alcorn McBride experienced one of its busiest shows ever at IAAPA 2018 where it debuted a new product, forged new partnerships and strengthened its ties to the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).
IAAPA 2018 marked the 25th year of Alcorn McBride’s participation. “IAAPA is a relationship show for us,” says Alcorn McBride COO Loren Barrows. “It’s always an opportunity to show new products and features, but it’s also a show about people – spending time with people we don’t often get to see and taking part in a number of events with the TEA.”
This year Alcorn McBride’s V16X synchronized show controller made its IAAPA debut; the latest-generation show controller now features a faster processor and new hardware design. The company also displayed its RideAmp, VPage and VCom products in its booth.
In addition, Crafted Design showcased two Alcorn McBride products in a fun demonstration in Alcorn’s booth. “They used our RidePlayer and RideAmp audio playback system and speakers to run content in a mock up of ride vehicle seats,” explains Chief Innovation Officer Scott Harkless. “Visitors could sit in the seats and hear how good the audio system really sounds.”
At the show Alcorn McBride and Birket Engineering jointly received a Thea nomination for Technological Innovation for their AR smart glasses running Birket’s Android-based InThrall app. The glasses are a new solution for delivering Augmented Reality captions to theme park guests with hearing disabilities or foreign-language needs.
Alcorn McBride was active in a number of TEA activities at IAAPA 2018, including the annual GKTW 5K run and walk (pictured at top). The event is held in the Give Kids The World Village, where children with critical illnesses spend cost-free vacations. “It’s one of our traditions to run or walk the 5K,” says Barrows. “Up to a dozen of our employees participate in the morning then we enjoy a team-building breakfast afterward.”
The company also took part in events for TEA’s NextGen initiative, which encourages the next generation of designers and engineers to consider careers in themed entertainment. Alcorn McBride sponsored TEA’s Annual NextGen Ice Cream Social spearheaded by Justin Ruka, a TEA NextGen committee member.
“The industry is growing so fast that there’s a huge labor vacuum for AV and show control engineers,” notes Harkless. “Through NextGen we reach out to groups and clubs formed around theme park engineering and introduce them to some aspects of the industry they might not have thought of. We connected with the University of Central Florida and the University of Florida/Gainesville to raise student awareness and get them excited about careers in this industry.”
Outside IAAPA Alcorn McBride also participated in the NextGen GibGab mixer in which dozens of NextGen members do speed interviews with themed entertainment companies to explore internship opportunities.