Thursday, September 21, 2023

Premier Parks adds Les Hudson and Tom Iven to leadership

Premier Parks, LLC, headed by former Six Flags Chairman and CEO Kieran Burke, added industry veterans Les Hudson and Tom Iven to the entertainment company’s executive team. Les Hudson joins the company as Executive Vice President Design and Planning. Tom Iven joins as Executive Vice President Business Development. The newly created positions support Premier Parks’ current portfolio of owned and managed properties and add leadership for future growth and expansion.

“It was my privilege and pleasure to work with both Les and Tom earlier in our careers,” said Premier Parks President and CEO, Kieran Burke. “Today, I could not be more thrilled to welcome them to our Premier Parks team. With the addition of their experience and expertise, Premier Parks will be able to accelerate our expansion and presence in themed entertainment, lodging and hospitality.”

Les Hudson joins Premier Parks with three decades of design and planning experience. In his career with Six Flags, Hudson led design and planning for new, transformed, and existing theme parks, water parks and lodging resorts. He has overseen design and development of theme parks and water parks, hundreds of rides, slides and attractions, including more than 150 roller coasters, as well as planned parks in China, Dubai, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia. As EVP Design and Planning, Hudson will oversee new capital investment, design and theming for existing and acquired parks, and new product development. 

Tom Iven began his career in the amusement industry as a seasonal grounds keeper at Six Flags St. Louis. In the past four decades, Iven has worked in multiple operating roles, leading his teams to record-setting achievements. As Six Flags’ Senior Vice President of Operations 2006-2020, he helped drive the company’s growth to rank as the top performing regional theme park company in the world. In his new role as EVP Business Development for Premier Parks, Iven will lead the company’s expansion efforts, including spearheading new developments, acquisitions, and property management agreements. 

Hudson and Iven round out a seasoned executive team led by Chief Executive Officer Kieran Burke, Chief Operating Officer Hue Eichelberger, and Chief Marketing Officer Traci Blanks, all former Six Flags executives.

Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park, Denver, CO. Image courtesy of Premier Parks, LLC.

The company’s current portfolio of thirteen diverse properties includes Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier; City Museum in St. Louis; Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park in Denver; Wet ‘n’ Wild  water parks in Hawaii and Toronto; Wild Waves Theme & Water Park in Seattle; Nashville Shores Lakeside Resort; Ocean Breeze Waterpark in Virginia Beach; Hawaiian Falls The Colony and Garland water parks in Dallas; Magic Springs Theme & Water Park in Hot Springs; Island H2O Water Park in Orlando and Rapids Water Park in West Palm Beach. 

“Premier Parks is actively looking to expand both our domestic and international portfolio by way of acquisition and management of properties,” stated Burke. “Our operating skills are wide and diverse and include both theme and water parks, adventure parks, marine life and animal parks, indoor waterpark hotels, campgrounds, resort hotels, marinas, plus rides and attractions of all kinds. We have enjoyed tremendous success with parks of all sizes, small to large, across a variety of market areas. The diversity of our experience and the right combination of talent at Premier Parks is unmatched in the industry today.”

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