Not 70 years ago, but now more than 50, a small tourism marketing company was formed in the center of what would soon become the Tourism Capital of the World - Orlando.
Florida Parkway Information Stations – known as FPIS today - served our industry by the placement of brochures along what is now called the Florida Turnpike. FPIS’ locations and client base and host locations apart from the Turnpike grew and grew and grew until they now are the largest professional brochure distribution company in the South Eastern United States. True to their motto - First Priority Is Service - this family owned and operated business has built a very strong legacy within the tourism industry.
FPIS' owner and Matriach - Betty McPherson Pratt is this year's recipient of the Chairman's Award. Many past and also future industry leaders stand on the shoulders of people like Betty.
While growing her company, she tirelessly served in both Association Board positions and also as a volunteer in many Association public relations and public service efforts. Outside of the FAA, Betty also laid the foundation for many tourism organizations including being a founding Associate Member of the FAA as well as a founding member of the Association of Professional Brochure Distributors, and the International Drive Chamber of Commerce.
And – believe it or not! – Betty also found time to raise three children, helped-out with raising four grandchildren, and still provides more hours to her church, community and neighbors than anyone could count or keep up with.
Anyone who knows Betty, knows that she:
Today, even in her semi-retirement, Betty continues to be active in both FPIS and the greater tourism community; and it is for these reasons that Chairman Rick Cain selected Betty as this year's recipient of the Chairman's Award.
This year, the FAA recognized Josh Liebman of Amusement Advantage; an FAA Associate member who has consistently demonstrated involvement with FAA attraction members with a desire to improve performance and ultimately the guest’s experiences. Everyone should want to be better. The burning question isn’t if, rather how, and that’s where the choice to make Josh Outstanding Associate Member of the Year came in.
There’s a lot of “noise” we hear – from guest letters and emails, to social media posts and online reviews. But it’s a mistake to use the views of the loudest to drive decisions for the direction taken for the vast majority of guests whose voices typically are not heard – until asked.
Measuring the guests’ attitude regarding their experiences and applying analytics to view those results help guide attractions to making better business decisions. That would be an attraction advantage….that would be an Amusement Advantage. That’s how Josh approaches FAA members – with the tools and desire to make the industry better – to make us everyone an attraction pro. And with Josh's help, the FAA can continue the tradition of being Florida Finest Family Attractions.
Reflecting on t he Conference theme Back to the Future, this year, it’s an honor to pay tribute to one of the emerging leaders of our industry: Diana Vega from Zoo Miami.
Her service to Florida attractions has been valued for over a decade through her participation and support of the FAA and its activities.
As a member of the attractions family in southeast Florida, she’s served in past years on the silent auction committee, participated and helped host Attraction Regional Forums, served as a Breakout Session panelist and responds to calls for input and assistance to help move the FAA forward. She’s grown to be a leader ensuring guests to her attraction have a positive experience.
It’s a zoo out there…and some days it’s difficult to determine which side of the enclosure the animals are on. But steadfast determination tames beasts on the outside to enjoy the wonder of nature on the inside. No doubt excellent guest service is a hallmark of Florida attraction’s success.
For her commitment to the FAA, leadership in our industry, and unwavering support for the industry and the association’s ideals, the FAA is proud to award Diana the 2018-2019 Outstanding Attraction Member of the Year!