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Brother of late CEO takes helm at Holiday World

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Dan Koch has been named president and CEO of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari amusement park in southern Indiana, taking over after the unexpected 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,” Koch, 46, said in a prepared statement released Tuesday. “I consider it an honor to step in as president and continue the expansion plans my brother and I crafted together.”

Will Koch, 48, drowned in the family swimming pool on June 13. His diabetes was believed to be a contributing factor in his death.

The elder Koch led the amusement park in Santa Claus for 20 years, during which time it added a water park and several world-class roller coasters. The park set an attendance record in 2009 as it drew more than 1 million visitors for the fourth straight year.

Dan Koch is a partner in the law firm Koch & Trushin in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He said he plans regular trips to Indiana and daily communication with management. His mother, Pat, will continue as the park’s “director of values,” greeting guests at the front gate and providing guidance to management and staff, he said.

The new CEO said he plans to “stay the course” with long-range expansion plans, community involvement and philanthropic efforts.

“Our company was reorganized two years ago, when Will promoted two of our park directors to general managers,” Dan Koch said. “These GMs will keep the park running smoothly as we move into the heart of the season and prepare for next year.”

Dan Koch grew up in Santa Claus and graduated from nearby Heritage Hills High School. He has an undergraduate degree in business administration and finance, and a  law degree, both from the University of Miami.

Holiday World will continue to be owned by the Koch family “into perpetuity,” Dan Koch said.

“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,” the statement said.
 

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  1. What became of this project? Anyone know?

  2. Scott, could you post an enlarged photo of the exterior of the building? This will be a great addition to Walnut Street. This area will only continue to develop with additions like this. Also, please give us more updates on the "Cultural Trail light" expansion. Also a great move for the city, as long as there is maintenance money set aside.

  3. Great story IBJ! Citizens don't have a real sense of the financial magnitude of supporting Indy's sports and tourism sector. The CIB was a brilliant idea for creating a highly integrated public-private partnership to support this sector from the economic activity it generates. Unfortunately, most folks think the benefits of that economic activity accrue directly to the City budget, and it doesn't. So though the CIB is facing lean times (covering its costs while maintaining minimally acceptable reserves), the City is operating with deficit - less tax revenue than expenses each year - with a very fragile reserve balance. That's why it's so challenging for the City to fund basic needs or new intitatives (e.g. pre-k education; new jail), and some credit rating agencies have downgraded Indy from it's past stellar AAA status. More reporting on City finances would be welcomed.

  4. Sure, I'll admit that it bugs me to see that the IBJ.COM censors it's blog posts almost as much as the D of I does when someone points out the falsehoods and fabrications. _____But I think it bothers me almost as much that Captain/Defender/Disciple get his yanked too. You see, those of us with a sense of integrity, humanity, compassion, and a need for fact based opinion WANT to see all of his screeds posted. It makes our point so much better than we can do it ourselves.

  5. We're conflating two very different topics. Voter fraud is a myth and excessive gun violence is all too real. I just hope rational gunowners decide to stop being shouted down by the, well, let's call them "less rational" ones.

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