WhiteWater has announced the appointment of Franceen Gonzales, executive vice president, Americas, as chairperson of ASTM’s F24 committee – Amusement Rides and Devices.

Gonzales is the first woman to hold this position, symbolic of her ongoing commitment during the last 35 years to making parks safer for everyone.

Throughout her career, Franceen Gonzales has been dedicated to developing operating protocols, building leadership teams, consulting on the design of new waterparks and resorts, and working on aquatic risk management.

ASTM’s F24 committee’s new chairperson also holds leadership roles in a number of amusement industry groups, including International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) World Waterpark Association (WWA), Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (CMAHC), Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), and AIMS International.

Talking about the importance of safety, Franceen Gonzales commented: “Safety in our industry is personal for me. Having been an operator of parks for 30 years and as a design/manufacturer with WhiteWater, I see every day why safety is so important. It’s fundamental to making sure park guests are enjoying places they will come back to and is a core driver of business success.”

“Today, we are seeing more recognition of the talents of women. I’m inspired by others in this business, especially by those who lead and those in technical roles. It’s exciting to know that this is an industry in which women can succeed,” Franceen Gonzales continued.



During this year’s Golden Ticket Awards, which took place on September 7 at Silverwood Theme Park in Athol, Idaho, AIMS International presented prestigious safety awards to two celebrated figures in the amusement safety industry.

Ronald Burback was presented with the 2019 AIMS International Safety Award, and Gary Slade, founder and publisher of Amusement Today, was presented with The AIMS Lifetime Contribution Award, in recognition of an individual or organisation with outstanding dedication and service to AIMS International.

The 2019 International Safety Award was presented to Burback by AIMS’ executive director, Mary Jane Brewer and AIMS board member, Roger Berry.

The prestigious award recognises a person or organisation that has made a significant impact or contribution in improving safety in the amusement industry by demonstrating leadership, innovation, and foresight.

When presented the award, Berry commented how Burback, owner of Funtastic Shows with his wife and business partner Beverley, has had an illustrious career with many honours and recognition for his work in the amusement industry and in his communities.

Burback’s credible career in the portable industry has seen him lead the Showman’s League of America, OABA, the Carnival Guild, Northwestern Showman’s Club, IAFE and AIMS.

Burback has 35 years’ experience operating amusement parks in Portland, Oregon and has more than 50 years’ experience operating carnival attractions at fairs, centennials, world fairs and festivals.

In his accepting speech at the awards, Ronald Burback said he was honored to receive the award from AIMS.

Harold Hudson, the first winner of the AIMS Safety Award, announced the recipient of the AIMS Lifetime Contribution Award. The award was founded in 2018, to recognise an individual or organisation with outstanding dedication and service to AIMS International.

Amusement Today’s founder and former AIMS board member, Gary Slade was presented with the Lifetime Contribution Award.

Slade started career at Six Flags Over Texas in 1978. In 1997, he founded Amusements Today, and has, over the years, provided timely news on current events, safety, and positive developments in the industry.

Slade was a surprise recipient of the award. On receiving the accolade, Gary Slade thanked his staff at Amusement Today for their support and the AIMS board members for presenting him with the illustrious award.