Saturday, February 12 2011
The family that owns Holiday World and Splashin' Safari in Santa Claus has donated $25,000 to the Lincoln Amphitheatre in Spencer County. The gift is in memory of Will Koch, who passed away last year. His mother Pat says the family is encouraging others to donate with the hope of having the contribution double to jump start the amphitheatre’s fund drive.
SANTA CLAUS, IND-----With Abraham Lincoln’s birthday just around the corner, Holiday World’s Koch family today issues a $25,000 challenge gift to Lincoln Amphitheatre in memory of Will Koch.
“My oldest son was such an admirer of our sixteenth president,” says Holiday World matriarch Pat Koch. “Part of Will’s legacy is his dedication to seeing the story of Abraham Lincoln’s Indiana roots shared in Lincoln Amphitheatre.”
Abraham Lincoln grew up what is now Lincoln City, Indiana, from the time he was seven until he was 21. Lincoln City is located four miles west of the town of Santa Claus.
The Koch family and Holiday World are encouraging others to donate to Lincoln Amphitheatre in memory of Will Koch, who passed away last June at the age of 48. Thousands of friends and admirers from around the world who sent their condolences remembered him for his vision, integrity, and sense of humor. Will Koch was president of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari for more than 20 years and also served as president of the Lincoln Boyhood Drama Association. His widow, Lori, now serves on the association’s board.
“We hope our gift will inspire others to make a donation as well,” says Pat Koch. “Our goal is to see today’s contribution double, helping to jump-start the amphitheatre’s upcoming fund drive so that they may continue telling the story of Lincoln’s Indiana years for many seasons to come.”
Lincoln Amphitheatre staff recently announced a planned “re-tooling” of the Lincoln: Upon the Altar of Freedom play, which is expected to return as a more family-friendly musical in 2012. Meanwhile, the amphitheatre will host a variety of outdoor films and theatrical presentations this summer, including a collaborative production of The Wizard of Oz with the Evansville Civic Theatre.
Donations may be made through Lincoln Amphitheatre’s website at LincolnAmphitheatre.com by clicking on the “Donate and Support” button. Lincoln Amphitheatre is located in Lincoln State Park and is operated by the non-profit Lincoln Boyhood Drama Association.
Source: Holiday World and Splashin' Safari & Inside Indiana Business
Friday, June 25 2010
Holiday World & Splashin' Safari in Santa Claus has named a new president and chief executive officer. Dan Koch is taking over following the sudden death of his brother Will last week. Dan Koch is a lawyer in Florida and plans to make regular trips to Santa Claus.
SANTA CLAUS, IND-----Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari will continue to be owned and operated by the Koch family “into perpetuity,” according to the park’s new president and CEO, Dan Koch.
Koch, 46, takes the helm following the sudden death of his brother Will earlier this month.
“Will and I have been business partners for decades and have spoken on the phone daily for more than 30 years,” says Koch. “I consider it an honor to step in as president and continue the expansion plans my brother and I crafted together. In the meantime, Will’s three children will have time to finish their education and learn more about the family business before they decide how they would like to be involved in the future of the park.”
“Our company was reorganized two years ago, when Will promoted two of our park directors to general managers,” says Koch. “These GMs will keep the park running smoothly as we move into the heart of the season and prepare for next year.”
Koch adds he plans to “stay the course” with Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari’s long-range expansion plans, community involvement, and philanthropic efforts.
Koch is a partner in the law firm Koch & Trushin in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He plans regular trips to the Santa Claus park and daily communication with management. He is married and has two young children.
Along with his four siblings, Koch grew up in the town of Santa Claus; his first job was playing a costumed elf at Santa Claus Land, as Holiday World was called prior to 1984. His other seasonal jobs at the park included working in the games department, helping on the parking crew and hauling trash. He graduated from Heritage Hills High School in 1982 and the University of Miami in 1986 with a degree in Business Administration and Finance. Following a year working fulltime at Holiday World, Koch returned to the University of Miami, where he earned a law degree in 1990. He practiced law in Miami for 15 years before opening Koch & Trushin law firm in 2005.
Holiday World & Splashin' Safari are open daily for the season, featuring the new Wildebeest, the world’s longest water coaster. For more information, visit www.holidayworld.com or call 1-877-Go-Family.
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Source: Holiday World & Splashin' Safari & Inside INdiana Business
Tuesday, June 15 2010
The president of Holiday World and Splashin' Safari is being remembered as a business visionary, caring boss and strong community supporter. Will Koch died suddenly Sunday of what his family believes to be complications from diabetes. Holiday World Spokeswoman Paula Werne says under Koch's leadership, the park went from annual attendance of 300,000 to more than one million.
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari owner and president, Will Koch, passed away Sunday evening at his home.
“Will was not only our leader, he was our dear friend,” says park spokesperson Paula Werne. “Our park family is in mourning for this sweet man who worked tirelessly to bring fun and happiness to so many families in the 20 years he ran the park.”
Koch died at home of what the family believes to be complications from diabetes. He was 48.
“The Koch family wants to assure the public that Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari will be open today and will continue to be owned and operated by his family,” says Werne. “We know that’s what Will would have wanted.”
Born and raised in the town of Santa Claus, Koch attended Heritage Hills High School in Lincoln City, and was Valedictorian of his graduating class in 1979. He graduated with honors from the University of Notre Dame in 1984 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. In 1986, he received a Master's degree in Computer Science from the University of Southern California.
Koch was Chief Executive Officer of Koch Development Corporation, the parent company of Holiday World Theme Park and Splashin' Safari Water Park. Under his direction, the theme park followed an aggressive growth program including the addition of Splashin' Safari Water Park in 1993, The Raven and The Legend wooden roller coasters in 1995 and 2000, plus The Voyage wooden coaster in 2006, for which he was a designer. In 2004, Koch received the international Applause Award from the amusement industry; the criteria for the coveted award include foresight, originality and creativity, plus sound business development and profitability. Each year since 2006, annual seasonal attendance at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari has topped one million visitors. This year, the park premiered Wildebeest, the world’s longest water coaster.
Koch served as president of the Lincoln Boyhood Drama Association, which worked with the State of Indiana to reopen the Lincoln Amphitheatre in 2009 with a new drama honoring the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. He was also a past member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions; and he served on the Administrative Council of the Santa Claus United Methodist Church.
Koch is survived by his wife, Lori, and three children: Lauren, Leah, and William. He is also survived by his mother, Pat, and siblings Dan, Kristi, Philip and Natalie.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made to the Lincoln Boyhood Drama Association or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Source: Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari & Inside INdiana Business http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=42149
Wednesday, May 19 2010
SANTA CLAUS, Ind. — A Los Angeles couple came through, helping Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari raise $12,000 for Nashville, Tenn.-area flood relief.
Last week the theme park put its management team (15 people) on the auction block, with the highest online bidders winning various tickets, perks and free time with theme park officials, from park President Will Koch on down.
Nine of the 15 auctions were won by Robb and Elissa Alvey, who run the Web site ThemeParkReview along with a coaster enthusiast group called Club TPR.
The West Coast couple plan to bring a group of roller coaster enthusiasts to Holiday World in August, taking advantage of free tickets, behind-the-scene tours, front-of-the-line access to rides and other special offerings.
Proceeds from the online bidding, which ended Monday, will be donated to the American Red Cross for Nashville area relief efforts.
The online auction raised just over $6,000, which was matched by Holiday World, according to park spokeswoman Paula Werne.