IAAPA inducts Tony Baxter, Greg Hale, and Mats Wedin to Hall of Fame
During the IAAPA Expo: Virtual Education Conference, the global association for the attractions industry inducted three industry icons into the prestigous IAAPA Hall of Fame.
The IAAPA Hall of Fame awards program honours those who inspire their peers and colleagues around the world, through their innovative contributions that leave a lasting impact on the global attractions industry. This year, three additional industry pioneers have been inducted into the IAAPA Hall of Fame: Tony Baxter, Greg Hale and Mats Wedin.
“The IAAPA Hall of Fame celebrates industry-changing leaders and we are proud to induct these leading edge innovators into the Hall,” said Michael Collins, 2020 chairman of the IAAPA Hall of Fame and Archives Committee and, senior partner, Leisure Development Partners, LLP. “Tony Baxter, Greg Hale and Mats Wedin are inspiring examples to everyone in the the industry. They embody the ingenuity, creativity, passion, and leadership the attractions industry is known for and their contributions leave a lasting legacy.”
Tony Baxter started his career in 1965 as an ice cream scooper at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. In 1970, he became a Disney Imagineer and assisted in the opening of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Snow White’s Adventure attractions at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Tony led teams that inspired guests through imaginative storytelling on a variety of revolutionary attractions and experiences including Star Tours, based on the Star Wars movie franchise and through the master plan development for Disneyland Paris. He was also creatively involved in several pavilions at EPCOT including Journey Into Imagination, and oversaw Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland, among many other achievements.
In 1988 Greg Hale joined Walt Disney World as manager of electrical and electronics engineering, beginning a three-decade career that has had a lasting impact on amusement ride safety around the world.
In 2002, Greg became the first vice president and chief safety officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and today continues to lead a global team of ride design, operations, and maintenance professionals focused on innovation, safety, and accessibility for guests around the world.
Greg is a prolific inventor, and his name is on more than 80 patents worldwide, including the innovative Disney FASTPASS® service. He also developed designs and devices that have helped improve attraction accessibility for people with disabilities, including assistive captioning technology.
Throughout his career, Greg has devoted countless hours to the continuous improvement of amusement ride safety. He has championed the ongoing refinement of amusement ride safety standards through ASTM International’s F24 Committee and has led IAAPA’s global safety standards harmonization initiatives.
Mats Wedin entered the attractions industry in 1988, while looking for a new professional challenge. The opportunity to join Liseberg amusement park in Gothenburg attracted him, and within five years, he was promoted to CEO. Under his leadership and guidance, the park added innovative rides and attractions that transformed the guest experience. Mats led the team that developed Liseberg’s first Christmas special event that generated an additional 550,000 visits to the park in its first year.
Mats was a global ambassador for IAAPA and the industry, played key roles with the Scandinavian attractions trade associations and became the Swedish delegate to Europarks in 1990. From 1993 to 1998, he chaired the IAAPA International Council and helped lead the evolution of IAAPA Expo Europe (formerly the Euro Attractions Show) and expanding IAAPA’s presence in Europe.