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AALARA welcomes two new board members

AALARA welcomes two new board members
June 18, 2012

The Australian Amusement, Leisure and Recreation Association (AALARA) welcomed two new board members at its recent AGM.

Shane McGrath and Paul Sexton replaced former AALARA President Greg O'Neill and longstanding board member Gary Wachter.

Wachter and O'Neill have both been honoured by AALARA with service awards.

Shane McGrath
Shane McGrath is the Exhibitions and Concessions Manager for the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Completing a Business degree in 2001 he travelled to the United States gaining experience at ski resorts in Colorado.

McGrath commenced working for the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW in 2002 within Sydney Showground event and venue management division. Working closely with clients on a diverse range of events from banquets and trade shows to music festivals and mining exhibitions his passion for the event industry quickly developed.

The opportunity to work on Australia's largest annual event presented in 2004 and with strong childhood memories of the Easter Show he jumped at the opportunity and hasn't looked back.

Managing a diverse portfolio and working hand in hand with over 400 commercial licensees across carnival, catering, showbags and exhibitions, McGrath is responsible for strategy development, planning, operations and revenue within these areas.

His work within the carnival division has resulted in the development of an Xtreme Rider Club that boosts 20,000 online members. McGrath also implemented pre-sales and print at home carnival e-vouchers which resulted in $2.09 million sales at the 2012 Show while formulating a strategic pricing strategy that has driven per capita spend over the last five years.

Paul Sexton
Sexton has been working in the attractions industry for over 20 years and has been an AALARA past board representative.

Sexton was part of the opening team at Australia's Wonderland in Sydney with initial duties in setting up the retail and games divisions. This involved working closely with the Hanna Barbera group and King Entertainment, later Paramount Parks to develop new ranges for the Australian market.

Sexton's roles developed into Director of Park Operations and during his tenure became heavily involved in establishing the Australian Wildlife Park, again establishing new tourism product for the state of the art animal facility and later creating an Australian Outback Woolshed show and themed restaurant. The show was translated and delivered in four different languages.

After 10 years at the park Paul moved to Fox Studios, as General Manager, working with Twentieth Century Fox executives and talent on the delivery of show content, sets and gags for several attractions along with the set up of all opening and operating policies and procedures.

After Fox Studios, Sexton moved to establish what became the Sydney Skytour business. Completed in 2000, the challenge was to assist in the design of an attraction to be retro fitted into the Sydney Tower. The show elements included aboriginal paintings, a rotating peppers ghost theatre and a large screen Showscan moving seat experience that included wind, water and sound effects.

Over the last few years Sexton has been a partner in a marketing company while his current role is as General Manager of Grollo Leisure and Tourism, managing the Medibank Icehouse in the Melbourne Docklands. This dual rink, ice skating facility is breaking new ground in the delivery of value entertainment to the recreational skater in Victoria. This facility, whilst being home to the Australian Winter Olympic Committee, has delivered circus acts, The Simpsons, Ice Age and will soon have a Special Day with Mickey Mouse.

As well as being Australia's best skate arena, the venue is also the home Australian ice hockey and a family entertainment destination as a core part of a growing skate culture.

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