Photo: Father & son team Geoff & Paul Chutter shortly after Paul joined WhiteWater
WhiteWater received three awards last week. IAAPA awarded the company for its Smart Blast VFD (Variable Frequency Drive) technology as well as for the Mat Blaster attraction that combines uphill Master Blaster technology with a racing mat coaster. TEA also announced it will honor WhiteWater during its April Thea Awards for its Slideboarding gaming technology. IPM’s Martin Palicki spoke with Paul Chutter, Vice President Sales Development / Corporate Operations, about his role at the company, industry trends and technology at WhiteWater.
IPM: What role will technology play in the future of waterparks?
Paul Chutter: We see technology playing an ever-increasing role in a number of facets, including gamification, light and sound – all in an effort to create that immersive experience for guests. We saw the theme park side move in that direction 15 years ago. Now waterparks are making that shift and really expanding and innovating in that area.
IPM: What is driving that?
Paul Chutter: It is absolutely client driven. The client comes up with a new ride idea and asks us to help partner on developing it. We see a clear trend in the increasing sophistication of the client. The client is demanding elevated ride experiences. It’s up to us to help deliver that, and, like most businesses, we frequently turn to technology to provide solutions.
IPM: How has your perception of the industry changed now that Asia is a major player in new waterparks?
Paul Chutter: Our work in Asia and specifically China has forced us to examine how we approach the world and focus on what is most important. For us, that is (1) client service and support, and (2) client satisfaction through delivering on time and on budget. That sense of timeliness and cost effectiveness is what we hear from our clients to be most important, and so it informs and frames our global approach to business.
We are expanding vertical markets in different countries. Most recently, we opened a new office in Dubai. Having that close proximity to the actual projects makes a huge difference in timeliness. Local teams are critical in that region especially.
IPM: We profiled you when you started at the company almost three years ago. How have you changed during the time.
Paul Chutter: The change has been huge! I had to re-immerse myself in the family business. The folks here are awesome and it has given me a huge appreciation for what my dad has been up to and helped to build. It’s been a rewarding transition. I actually approached it with some nervousness. I thought it was really important to forge my own way and bring some value to the table. I like to think I have done that and I’m pleased and proud of where this company is headed.