posted on January 17, 2012 11:11
After a tumultuous summer in 2011, which included the death of a patron on a park roller-coaster, Darien Lake Theme Park and parent company Herschend Entertainment have announced a change at the top of the park's administration.
Bob Montgomery has taken the lead at Darien Lake as the new vice-president and General Manager. Montgomery takes the reins from former park manager Christopher Thorpe, who now moves to Assistant General Manager, in charge of employee relations.
New manager Montgomery has worked in the administration of Herschend Entertainment for 10 years, according to today's news release. He also formerly worked for Legoland Theme Park and Canada's Wonderland Theme Park. Montgomery most recently as General Manager of Herschend's Wild Adventures Theme Park in Valdosta, Georgia.
Montgomery takes over at a difficult time for Darien Lake, following arguably the park's worst year ever. In July 2011, the park suffered a giant blow to its public image after former Army Sgt. James Hackemer fell to his death from the Ride of Steel roller-coaster. Though no criminal charges were filed, a State Labor Department commission found the park at fault for improperly training its employees and ride operators.
Less than a month after the death, Ride of Steel suffered a broken chain that stranded riders on the roller-coaster's largest hill. The ride shut down for the rest of the season, several days later.
Herschend Entertainment has also hired a new marketing director for Darien Lake. Steve Hallowell, former consumer experience director for Kodak of Rochester, takes over marketing efforts effective immediately.