Standards Impact

Safer Thrills for Amusement Rides

May 15, 2024 ASTM International Season 2 Episode 4
Safer Thrills for Amusement Rides
Standards Impact
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Standards Impact
Safer Thrills for Amusement Rides
May 15, 2024 Season 2 Episode 4
ASTM International

The roar of a roller coaster. The speed of a zip line. A wave at a water park. All are made safer through standards. On this episode of Standards Impact, host Dave Walsh talks to Franceen Gonzales, chief experience officer with Whitewater West Industries, and Jim Seay, president of Premier Rides.

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Presented by ASTM International

Show Notes Transcript

The roar of a roller coaster. The speed of a zip line. A wave at a water park. All are made safer through standards. On this episode of Standards Impact, host Dave Walsh talks to Franceen Gonzales, chief experience officer with Whitewater West Industries, and Jim Seay, president of Premier Rides.

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Presented by ASTM International

Dave Walsh (00:14):

My own memories of amusement rides and attractions usually revolve around a place called Rye Playland, which is in New York. And I used to go there every summer as a kid, and I would, I would ride the dragon coaster there, which was a really great roller coaster for a kid. But in retrospect, it probably wasn't as big or high tech as some of the modern ones we see today. I don't know. What are your memories, jp?

JP Ervin (00:35):

So I also have formative early memories of roller rollercoasters. Mine is of the Barnstormer, which is a goofy themed rollercoaster at Disney World. And I remember being very frightened by it. And I struggled with rollercoasters many years after. And as an adult, I went to Disney World and Universal Studios recently. And in order to experience all the Star Wars and Harry Potter content, I forced myself kind of against my own instincts to get on the rollercoasters there and found that I really enjoyed them. So I, I think I'm committing as a, uh, 30 something year old to push myself to get over this childhood fear once of all.

Dave Walsh (01:13):

Yeah. Well, both of the memories we just shared revolve around rollercoasters, which I think is probably common among a lot of people. But the field of amusement rides and attractions is about a, a lot more than just rollercoasters, and it's a lot broader. Today I'm joined by industry experts, Jim say, and Francine Gonzalez to talk about the exciting field of amusement rides. Jim is president of Premier Rides and Francine is Chief Experience Officer with Whitewater West Industries. Okay. Well, when many think of amusement rides, they think of the iconic rollercoaster. It's the most famous ride, most likely, but there's much more to the field today than years ago from zip lines to water rides and more. So what are some of the most active areas in this field right now, other than roller coasters, and what types of standards will be needed to support them? And I thought I'd start with you, Francine.

Franceen Gonzales (02:02):

Well, great. Well, thanks, first of all for having me over. And you know, when I, I'd love to talk about standards. I'd love to talk about a ASTM, but I most of all love to talk about rides and attractions. And when I say rides and attractions, they're different. A ride is something that somebody gets into and they don't really have a lot of control, but an attraction is something where they're still doing it for entertainment. They're still probably on a fixed path, but they have a bit more control. And so I like to use those two words. While ASTM F24 is about, uh, rides and devices, we really have to think a little bit more in terms of attraction. So, you know, I, I'd like to say that that in our group is really diverse. So yes, you do see all those wonderful engineers and designers and operators of amusement rides like rollercoasters, but we also see a very diverse group, whether they are go-karts and bumper boats and zip lines, but also things like inflatables and the types of things that people are, are using such as obstacle courses. So we do have a really wide range of activities that happen within our committee, and, and what I really enjoy is that there's a diversity of thought.

Dave Walsh (03:12):

And Jim, what do you, what would you say to the, to the idea that there's more to amusement rides than just the rollercoaster rollercoaster?

Jim Seay (03:18):

Well, I'd say Francine's a hundred percent wrong, but <laugh>, she's actually right, <laugh>.


But because, um, you know, we, myself, my wife is immersed in rollercoasters. I'm one of the geeky guys. She is referencing when she mentioned those engineers and people that focus on rollercoasters. But francine's very correct in that our industry is filled with, really, it's an unlimited amount of new technology attractions, old technology attractions. And that's what's great about our industry is every year there's actually an expectation of the public that we will always be coming up with something new, something exciting, something that creates a lifetime memory and something that you can experience with your family and really have a, a great memorable time on. So, uh, we are a very diverse industry. Um, Francine and I in our positions as chair of the F 24 committee over the years, have seen this incredible growth where it was very narrow focus many years ago, and now you have a diversity of opinion, you have a diversity of participation, and we're very fortunate to have an industry that just has so much, so much going on and so much new and, uh, exciting attractions.

Dave Walsh (04:46):

Well, you, you both mentioned diversity, and that's a good word to use because in addition to having a diversity of rides and a diversity of attractions that a lot of people may not consider when they think about this industry, there's also a diversity of markets. The tendency may be from a Western audience is to think about six flags in Disney, but amusement rides and attractions being big business, they've branched out far beyond the US and Europe. What can you tell us about the emerging markets for amusements and attractions, and how will standards support those markets?

Franceen Gonzales (05:15):

Well, I'll, I'll go ahead and start. I think, uh, what's exciting is that we are seeing emerging markets developing their own semblance of a niche, and it really tends to center around things that are kind of lower barrier to entry. So in a sense, if you are wanting it to invest in developing an attraction or developing a park, you tend to go with things that might be a little bit easier to acquire, maybe something a little bit easier to operate, maybe not as expensive. So what I am seeing is in a lot of these emerging markets is you do see family entertainment centers. These are generally in shopping centers, which tend to be the hub of activity in certain urban settings. But what you also see is that you see small rides, you see arcade games, you see mini golf and, and that sort of thing.


Those are fairly easy to, uh, to be able to, to build and to open. Another area that I do see in emerging markets is waterparks. And, um, everybody loves water, especially in tropical zones, whether it's in Latin America or in Southeast Asia or even in the Mediterranean. These are all areas that are growing and growing populations. The Middle East right now is a hotbed for, for waterpark development. And so what you see is there's that universality of, of water and these attractions. So if you've got a good plot of land and you wanna be able to build something, that one's fairly easy. It's a, it's much more difficult to, to do a really good park that has mechanical rides, something like a Disney like Universal, but I'll say that's what's made them so strong. There's not a lot of places you can go to have that kind of an experience. So that diversity, I think is important. I think that those other emerging markets will eventually develop more and more into these more sophisticated parks. But truly right now it's all about entertainment. It's all about family and water parks and FECs are definitely a place to go to enjoy that.

Jim Seay (07:06):

Yeah, and I'll add onto that. I, I think that feedback is great. The world is a big world, but it's, you know, it's amazing for us. We travel a lot and we're all over the world, and it gets to be, uh, very small in a sense that there's a lot of communication between areas. What, what I see when I travel is that you have areas of the world that will rapidly accelerate acceler up to this ability to build the bigger attractions, the parks, the Middle East is a great example of that, where they're building parks in the Middle East that you could only imagine some of the technologies that are being used and some of the sophistication of the attractions. And, uh, countries like China are a great example. You know, where they had, there were very few parks, you know, maybe two decades ago.


You know, they've opened over 500 theme parks since then where you can make a big difference in the world are these areas where some, uh, growing economy that's a really a developing nation and is focused on, you know, adventure attractions. And they can now have a way of having something that attracts people maybe from North America to go to those places, but also allow an experience that's a safe one. And I think that's a huge opportunity of F 24 is the way we can impact all over the world areas that are maybe getting into this industry, but need desperately do, need a safe pathway to follow, to make sure they're operating these attractions safely.

Dave Walsh (08:46):

Yeah. Well, Jim, in your answer, you, you also touched on something that leads into my next question, which was the, the high tech nature of some of the amusements and attractions that we're seeing these days. They're more high tech, they're more thrilling and exciting than ever before. Um, and I mean, even here, I'm based in New Jersey and Six Flags has the El Toro, there's the Millennium Force in Ohio. Um, where is the field of amusements and attractions headed and what types of rides are we going to see in the future? Where are these technological developments taking us? I think a lot of us can't imagine much more than that wooden rollercoaster that used to go up and down. So <laugh>,

Jim Seay (09:20):

They're going, they're going a long way away from that wooden coaster, although you'll see some great new wooden coasters coming out that used very advanced technologies. Some, a lot of times when you look at rides, if you looked at a new wood coaster, you wouldn't realize they have a, you know, advanced non-contact magnetic braking. That's the same type of braking that's used on the new electric aircraft carrier to stop planes from when they land. You know, it's the same technology. It actually comes from our industry and has been applied into a military environment. So we are a hub for innovation. We're a hub for the use of new technologies. My background is aerospace engineering, so I used to work on missiles aircraft, and I, my focus now is on these high tech rides. And they're, we don't think in the sense of, you know, limits when it comes to creativity, we think in the sense of limits when it comes to standards that are being applied to ensure safe design.


But you know, when you look at the rides coming out today, they're faster, they're more dynamic, they're taller, and they will continue to go in that direction. And layered on top of that, what I see is this opportunity to make experiences very immersive as well, whether it's through intellectual property layering or just, uh, you know, new type of products that people can be more interactive with the right experience itself. And we're seeing a lot of that. Uh, we just opened a Guinness World Record attraction down in the Middle East, and later on top of it was incredible, you know, audiovisual projection mapping experience that took what is just a coaster to really the next level made it a themed attraction. And I see a lot of that coming up in the future.

Dave Walsh (11:12):

If you could cite one trend in the industry right now, the, the one hottest trend in rollercoaster specifically, what would you say it is? You, you, you just mentioned height. Is it height? Are they getting taller? Are they getting faster? When I was younger, it was the ability to go in a loop to loop upside down. That was amazing 40 years ago. But what would you say is the one trend now?

Jim Seay (11:30):

Uh, there is a, there is a big push still on height. Um, we're working on some record of record type height attractions. The one we did, I've mentioned in the Middle East, was a record height attraction. And I, I think that's an area that will continue to be followed. Uh, what is different now than when you were going on those rides back then. And the ones you mentioned is there's a great ability because of all the magnetic launch systems, again, what, what you'd find on that same aircraft carrier, the way the planes take off now, there's no steam catapult system. There's a magnetic launch system that lo launches the planes off. So it's not just type, it's really that combination of those tools, tools that allow these thrilling experiences.

Dave Walsh (12:14):

Yeah, my teenagers would love to hear that. That sounds very cool. Francine, in your area, I know, uh, some of your work touches on water rides and, and you many other, uh, sorts of attractions and amusements, but what kind of high tech developments are you seeing? Well,

Franceen Gonzales (12:28):

You know what I we're, what I'm finding is that we are in a bit, in the EST economy, it's tallest, fastest, highest. So it, it's, it's biggest. And so, uh, you find that certain parts of the, of the, of the industry are really kind of centered around that. Now, I think it's a little bit tough. I think Jim Jim said it right. You don't have to be the tallest to be the most thrilling, and you don't have to be the highest somebody. Tomorrow's gonna be one meter higher. So, so how do you create these really amazing experiences? Uh, we've just did the waters slide tower. It's kind of a first in the world in Doha guitar, and, and it is 83 meters tall. It's got 12 water slides built around it. It's got a, an elevator system in the middle, and it is built on a manmade island to look like an oil derrick.


And it is incredible. And when you really look at this structure, you think about what has gone into the structural engineering, what has gone into the ride path engineering and what's really gone into the aesthetic engineering. So looking at it and saying, does this look beautiful? What I would say that what we're seeing is an evolution of the technology where you have to be able to build big and build safe. And at the same time, there's a lot of people that like to say, oh, I can build that, and, and really they can't. And it's really about making sure that the people that are engineering these have the right tools and have the right standards. And what I'll, I'll say about the standards themselves is that at F 24, we take great pride in making sure that there's flexibility in the standard, the standard needs to be able to set some limits for the experience that the human body is experiencing, but at the same time, leaving that flexibility so that those brilliant engineers can come up with many, many different ways that you can experience a ride and still be safe and not be kind of, uh, pigeonholed into this, this very prescriptive nature of saying, well, thou shalt be this high or this fast.


What I'd say on the innovative side is I'm seeing a lot of really interesting work on the material side of things. Now, most people look at this ride and say, oh, I wanna see what the technology on the ride. Think about the technology that goes into the ride. Uh, my group works a lot on composites. So many of the things are made out of fiberglass, but the strength of fiberglass can be many, many different things. So how do you look at the, the structure of that fiberglass so you can achieve those, those amazing rides that you want to do? Uh, it's not always just about steel. So we actually rely a lot on the other A STM standards and D 30 and other committees because that's where we're, we're borrowing from that knowledge base in order for us to be able to apply that when we're doing our own rides. And their rides themselves are being designed to F 24. So, um, so that's a really interesting kind of dynamic.

Dave Walsh (15:22):

And you just mentioned a few terms that relate to my next question. You mentioned safety and structural engineering. Um, there's a, a many standards professionals will say that standards come to the public's attention when something goes wrong. And it seems to me that amusement rides can fall into this category at times. Do you think this is true?

Franceen Gonzales (15:40):

Both Jim and I have been on both sides of this. So it's really amazing to be able to celebrate a new attraction, to celebrate a new ride, to celebrate a new park that is being built. That's a great opportunity to celebrate the technology and the know-how, and the standards that have been used to create this amazing thing. If the media could really focus in on celebrating the achievement and the technology achievement and the standards that were utilized for it, I think that's a great way to be able to make people aware that those standards are at work. Unfortunately, sometimes, um, an incident happens and at the same time, then all of a sudden I'm getting a phone call, Jim's getting a phone call, can you go to such and such country because there's been a, a fatality on a ride and they need help. And, and of course, Jim and I are probably the first ones to get on a plane and go and do so.


But to really help governments understand how the standards can be applied, there's some very, very simple standards that we have. We have one called F seven 70, it's five pages long, it's for operations, maintenance and inspection. This is the primer that you give to the operator to say, if you just do follow these five pages, you're already many steps ahead on the safety trajectory. So being able to advocate, and I think it's really important, uh, we do partner quite a bit with IAPA and with other organizations. These are the associations in the industry. So that's one of the things that we can do on the proactive side is work with those associations. We do want the media to go in and celebrate the use of the standards and how we are innovating, uh, but importantly that if something does happen, we're at the ready to go in and support and, and, and be able to help.

Jim Seay (17:23):

Well, I think the perspective has to be an understanding that we have an incredibly safe industry. We're very proud of the safety in our industry, and there's an unbelievable effort that it constantly goes into making us a safe industry. And I say, I'm not just saying we have a safe industry. The National Safety Council actually does reports now globally looking at our particular industry and looking at the amount of incidences that occur versus router ridership and attendance. And when you compare it to so many other activities in this world, we are a very, very, very safe industry. Now what, what Francine is pointing to, which is the strongest point I think, is that globally around the world, you have all these areas that are developing nations that want entertainment. 'cause entertainment is a big part of people's lives and livelihood. And where these places are developing entertainment, these are those areas where they probably don't have standards like we do here in North America, or you have in Europe, or you have in other areas of the world that are more developed.


And I talked about moving the needle before, and, and this is where, when an incident occurs, it's actually the i media creates an, in my mind, creates an opportunity because we are tracking these incidences all over the world, and we do see areas of the world that don't have a focus on standards that do have a higher, higher incident levels. And that allows us an opportunity to, um, contact the governments and make them aware that there is this incredible suite of standards in F24 that can be used. And ASTM, they're amazing from the standpoint they have this memorandum of understanding program, MOU program. And I don't know how many times Francine or myself have been contacted that said that somebody has said, boy, I wish I could use your standards. And it turns out there's a relatively simple process and a very proactive effort on ASTM to get these standards available, especially to developing nations. And what I always hear is, I'm amazed that you offer this. I'm amazed that you have these people that wanna help us and people that wanna share these standards with us at, you know, really, and the reality for developing nations that it's at virtually no cost.

Dave Walsh (20:09):

And now let's take a break for our standard spotlight segment.

Gavin O'Reilly (20:13):

With the summer coming fast, folks of all ages are getting ready to break out their gear to hit the beach near ASTM International's Pennsylvania headquarters. The New Jersey Shore sees hundreds of thousands of visitors each summer to say nothing of the many other beaches around the globe. Any beach goers see the essentials like sandals, chairs and frisbees. But one of them, the beach umbrella might be a potential hazard. Enter standard F 36 81 developed by ASTMs Consumer Products Committee F 15. The standard addresses a decades old problem. If a beach umbrella comes loose in the wind, it can become an unpredictable projectile based on extensive testing. ASTM F 36 81 specifies that a beach umbrella seven and a half feet wide must be anchored with 75 pounds of resistance to remain secure in winds up to 30 miles per hour. Many current beach umbrellas don't include anchoring at all, and if they're simply screwed into the sand, they can present hazards going forward. The use of F 36 81 noted by the A SDM label on compliant products will help beach goers and businesses stay aware of whether the umbrella in front of them will stand up to the most aggressive wind. This way beach umbrellas can help us against another foe sunbird.

Dave Walsh (21:31):

And now back to the interview. You know, you've mentioned safety, and we've already talked about some of the high tech developments that are, that are advancing in the industry right now. And so I thought maybe I'd ask the two of you, what are some of the biggest challenges you face? What is the, what are some of the biggest challenges the industry faces as, uh, in, in terms of where are more standards needed? Where are more specific standards needed? Is it, uh, in relation to the speed of the rides, the height of the rides? What development right now is creating the greatest challenge for, uh, the standards community?

Franceen Gonzales (22:00):

I think one of the challenges, I, I spoke earlier about the diversity of our group. We have mechanical rides where the person is in a, in a vehicle or in a seat, they have a restraint and they don't have a lot of control. They're just there to enjoy the ride. There are other attractions that do have more of the user control. So for instance, on water slides, you might have to get into a certain position when you ride the ride and we're relying on the person to do the right thing. And there's others where it might be something like inflatables, you're going into a space or trampoline courts, or you're going into a space and you're using your own body to control the movements and you're enjoying this space. You wanna be able to do so safely. But we're really relying on the user to do the right thing.


So it's about rules, it's about monitoring and making sure that they are kind of following, uh, the rules in place, but also too to make sure that the design of the space itself is conducive to kind of foreseeable activities and foreseeable things that, that you can expect an individual to do. That diversity, I think, is sometimes hard. You might have the engineers that are very much about the ride and containment and, and all of the traditional things that we see from like clearance envelopes on mechanical rides, and then trying to take that same mindset and how do you apply that to something where the user has a lot of control. And I think it is about keeping an open mind and being able to say, okay, I can handle all of this risk in the design, but there is some part of that risk, that piece that is the safety piece that is in con the control of the user, and how do I make sure that the user does the right thing?


And so what we look at is, uh, risk assessment and we do a risk assessment from the design standpoint, but we also have to do an OURA and operations and use risk assessment. Now I live in the waterpark world. I live in the FEC world, also in the mechanical ride world. The work that my company does is across all three of those kind of regions now we have to always look at what is the user doing. That's just part of our mindset because that's what we did as we were developing water rides and water slides and aquatic play. So how do you help with that diversity of thought within the standards community to be able to say, I wanna make sure that this right is safe, but I also have to understand that the user has some control. So I think that is going to be one of the challenges into the future is how do you get the mindset to make sure that you are, uh, supporting the tenants of safety, but also too being open to the user, having some level of control. And how do you do that safely as well?

Jim Seay (24:44):

I think on the the challenge side, we're always dealing with the pace of technology, with the pace of these new attractions that are opening, as I mentioned, every year, that expectation level that there will be something new that they've never seen before. And there is this natural situation that you've got a bit of catch up always when a new technology comes out. And we do have to be careful that, you know, we're applying standards in a reasonable manner and we're developing standards or improving an existing standard in a manner that's conducive for not only the brain, the newest attractions that come out, but making sure that it doesn't affect, uh, existing attractions that have a proven safety record and that you want to still be able for the rest of the world to still appreciate those types of experiences as well. Our industry is unique and it's a highly inspected industry.


Uh, if you think about all the parks and attractions you go to, even down to FBCs, uh, that you'll find that there are many levels of inspection, which the guests never see. There's internal inspections going on by the operator themselves. Often manufacturers like ourselves, we do inspections every year on our attractions. Uh, you have the state authorities are doing inspections, the insurance authorities are doing inspections. One of the things we always have as a challenge is making sure that we have enough diversity of participation in the standards to support having standards that are usable by the inspection authorities. Because one of the things you can do is you can complicate a standard to the point that an inspection authority will have challenges implementing a inspection program associated with a standard. And that, you know, so it's something about dealing in the real world with a standard when you got an environment of standards development with this big diverse group and the diversity is good, and what's the most important thing is you have enough of those people on all sides contributing and giving input to make sure the standard that comes out is effective.

Dave Walsh (27:06):

Well, again, you've given me a perfect lead into my next question because when you mentioned diversity and you mentioned stakeholders, um, I think of the A STM consensus process, and this is an A STM podcast, so I'd be remiss if I didn't bring it up. Uh, and you're two of our leaders in this area. So how important do you think that consensus process is to the development of amusement ride and attraction standards? Um, you've both been involved in it for many years, so I, I'd be interested to hear your opinions.

Franceen Gonzales (27:35):

I remember when I first started with A STM and I went to my first meeting and it was a little intimidating 'cause I didn't understand the process, but as I had some very good mentors and helped me to understand that really my voice as the general manager of a local waterpark was really the same strength as the head of safety for, for Disney, that gave me a lot of, uh, a realization that I could actually bring my expertise forward, that it did matter, and that my perspective was also important and that I needed to take the time to read through the ballots, make sure I could actually formulate a response if I needed to. Uh, but I, it, it gave me a lot of understanding that the diversity of thought was important and that everybody's voice was important, that consensus was important, especially as we, we were developing the water slide standard many years ago ago, and I was wanting to make sure that people that actually operated those, maintained those inspected, those those rides, or actually participating in the development of that standard.


So that was very, very important to me. And I think that's one of the things that hooked me into, into A STM was that I felt like I could actually make a difference in the world, that I was gonna be making the world better by participating in this. And that that consensus process was important. And I remember having many, many discussions with Disney because they had their perspective. They were operating many, many rides worldwide, and I needed to learn that perspective too. And that was a great dialogue for me and an education for me to be able to be more open-minded and that, and to be willing to attain that consensus. So the consensus process is absolutely important, uh, especially in our industry, especially because we're so diverse. You have small parks and big parks, you have, uh, big manufacturers, you have small manufacturers, you have emerging markets, and you have well established markets, and yet we want these A-S-T-M-F 24 standards to be portable and usable and applicable, uh, very quickly that that consensus process is critical to that.

Jim Seay (29:49):

I'm in full agreement on that, that the consensus process is especially important for what I would call the, you know, the family park element of our industry or even this emerging element of the industry where, you know, there are countries that are now, they're participating in F 24 and frankly, they're, they're surprised that, you know, someone who might not even have a great understanding of our language, and it's hard for them to present themselves. There is a way that they can go through the voting process and they can actually give their opinion. And the hardest opinion is always one that is not a mainstream opinion. And we have a very strong emphasis that everybody's voice counts at A STM, especially at 24 that we participate in. And it makes a difference. It does make a difference. I, I, I recently myself, I had put in a negative on a vote and turned out I was the only negative, but I was surprised.


But I explained my position and there was some merit to it. So the ended up, the language came out, uh, different. And I think part of the reason that I was the only person was we, we need to even focus more on diversity because, uh, what what you do see is there's a great access available to everyone. And our hardest thing is promoting that that access exists. Uh, F 24 is incredibly successful because it's a 365 day a year environment because of the tools A STM offers. So you can do online work, and we do have a lot of efforts right now where we can be multilingual. Uh, the standards themselves are multilingual, which is great. Um, but from that consensus standpoint, it is so, so important that everybody understands one, one voice can make a difference and one voice does make a difference in our industry.

Dave Walsh (31:58):

Well, we've been talking for a while and I I have one more question, but, uh, we've, we've talked about everything I could think of, uh, in the amusement rides industry, and, and so I kind of wanted to open it up to the two of you. What's a question I should have asked, and what's an answer you would've liked to give? What other information would you like our audience to know?

Franceen Gonzales (32:16):

Um, I think I, I'd like to talk a bit about, uh, the future of a STM future of F 24 in particular. I think that we were recognizing over time that we had some very large companies that were participating in F 24. They're big brands, they are well funded, their people can travel and participate in our meetings. We're actually so big, our meetings happen, uh, twice a year and they're not part of a committee week because we're just too big. We'll have 400, 450 people show up and we'll do well over 50 meetings. So there is a lot of activity. I will have to say that Jim, as the, the chair did a great job about making it social and creating those interactions and creating those connections, that is what's been become the fabric of F 24 is that people wanna go to these meetings. They wanna participate not only for making the standards better, uh, and having their voices heard, but being able to make those really valuable connections.


One of those connections that we found also was that we were, we wanted to make sure that we had a future for F 24. And that future is really built about around young people, young professionals that were coming into the business. There was not always the funding to have that kind of entry level person that's working at a park or working at a manufacturer with a manufacturer coming to A-S-T-M-F 24 meetings. But we wanted to give them a pathway. We also were encouraging engineering students to come, and I think it started off with one, uh, theme park engineering group, I wanna say, out of Ohio. And they showed up and they showed up in force, and then the next year we had another university and another university, and now we probably have representation of about 10 universities that show up to every one of our meetings. And we've given them a safe place where they feel like they can contribute in our working groups. And so really what we've seen is some of these young, uh, students have grown within A STM and, and what we're seeing is that those same people are now working as young professionals in our industry. I think we're gonna be paying those dividends well into the future and, and, uh, some, some really smart people and some really great leaders have really contributed to making sure that happens.

Jim Seay (34:35):

Yeah, I think those are great points. I have probably a couple areas, if I think about the future of F 24, there's a few areas that I, I think there needs to be a concentration on, and there is already quite a bit of it going on, is that, you know, we, we are, as Francine talked about, we've got these larger companies that are a big part of our meetings and we work so hard to get the underrepresented at our, our meetings. The other challenge I see with the future of F 24 is, is just the ability to get it adopted worldwide. Francine and I can get on airplanes as much as we possibly can, and we're still going to have challenges where going around the world where there are other stakeholders in other element, other forms of standards that would like their standard maybe to be the preeminent one. We do 450 to 500 people at a over a thousand people that are members. There's nowhere else in the world that you get that type of participation, but you do get other places in the world that make a concerted effort for being, you know, pushing standards that, that are, that are somewhat equivalent to ours. And there's a lot of harmonization going on right now. Francine's leading a global harmonization effort on that. But we, we do need to get the F 24 standards promoted as much as possible out there. Well,

Dave Walsh (36:11):

We've been talking for quite a while, but this has been such an interesting conversation. It feels like just a few minutes. I just wanted to thank you both for being here, Francine and Jim, thanks for taking the time. I think our audience is gonna find this very informative, so thank you.

Franceen Gonzales and Jim Seay (36:23):

Thank you. Thanks for having us.

Dave Walsh (36:26):

If you wanna learn more about any of the standards discussed in this episode, visit for all the latest. And if you enjoyed the show, remember to like and subscribe so you never miss an episode. I'm Dave Walsh, and this has been Standards Impact presented by A STM International.