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News Articles

New protocols for Ohio's amusement rides rolled out following deadly incident - July 27th, 2018

Last summer, the Fire Ball thrill ride snapped apart at the Ohio State Fair, killing 18-year-old Tyler Jarrell and wounding four other riders.
Investigators ruled the tragedy was caused by corrosion inside one of the Fire Ball's support beams, which ride operators and inspectors could not see.
Lawyer releases photo he says shows crack on Fire Ball moments before it broke
"An accident resulting in injury or loss of life is totally unacceptable," Eric German said in a video produced by the Greater Ohio Showmen's Association, Ohio Fair Managers and Ohio Festivals and Events Association.
The video details four new protocols designed to enhance the ride inspection process.
The new measures call on ride owners to compile more data about when and why inspections are done and by whom. And ride owners are being asked to share service bulletins with state inspectors. The bulletins, which come from a ride's manufacturer, can include information about corroding materials inside a ride.
"These four steps will ensure rides, identified as having possible corrosion problems, will be thoroughly inspected and documented to be in compliance with ride manufacturer's specifications before operating in Ohio this season," German said in the video.
"Fortunately there's many, many more quality carnival operators and show operators than there are the not-so-good ones," Ken Vondriska said.
Vondriska has inspected rides and theme parks for decades. He thinks it would be unfair to assume rides are unsafe, even with what happened to the Fire Ball.
"The quality of ride manufacturing over the last several decades has improved dramatically, dramatically," Vondriska said.
Ohio's Department of Agriculture is in charge of ride inspections. The agency has not made any official changes to the inspection process in the wake of the Fire Ball incident. Officials with the department are waiting on recommendations on ways to better address corrosion inside steel from an organization comprised of experts.

Amanda Adams, Partner - February 3rd, 2018
Amanda Adams has joined Vondriska Leisure Consultants LLC as Partner and Operations Director.  Amanda has over 25 years’ experience in the aquatics and leisure industry beginning at New Heritage USA in Fort Mill, SC as a lifeguard.  She has held several positions with companies such as Fort Wayne Pools, Anthony and Sylvan Pools in Charlotte, NC and Mastin Aquatic Group in No. Wilkesboro, NC.  
Amanda is a graduate of East Carolina University in Greenville, NC
Amanda’s experience in the aquatics and leisure industry brings a new dimension to Vondriska Leisure that will enhance the services provide to Vondriska Leisure Consultants clients. 

June 2016, Fantasilandia response to VLC report - July 2nd, 2016
Dear Ken:
Although I am not in charge of maintenance, I would like to tell you my comments and gratefulness about your report:
1.         It is an extensive and detailed report that gives us many tools to improve our management of the park.
2.         Regarding to the Mine Train, that was the last project implemented, I appreciate your comments and recommendations to improve safety.
3.         Under a general point of view this report is very useful for future projects of installing new rides, site expansions and any other improvement that we are planning to do. As always, it is very welcome receiving good hints of how becoming better year by year.
Finally it was a great opportunity to have shared a time with you, and for sure I would like to continue working together in future projects.

Atentos saludos,
Kind regards,
Marco A. Martínez

Mastin Aquatic Recreation will be exhibiting at the IAAPA trade show in Orlando, FL from November 18 to 21, 2014 - September 24th, 2014
Mastin Aquatic Recreation will be exhibiting at the IAAPA trade show in Orlando, FL from November 18 to 21, 2014.  Buster Mastin, Ken Vondriska and Amanda Mastin will be manning the Mastin Aquatic Recreation booth.  

Buster Mastin and Ken Vondriska form Mastin Aquatic Recreation LLC - May 5th, 2014

James (“Buster”) Mastin of Mastin Recreation LLC (MR) and Ken Vondriska of Vondriska Leisure Consultants LLC (VLC) announce the formation of Mastin Aquatic Recreation LLC, a partnership between Buster Mastin and Ken Vondriska.  The new company will combine the strengths of MR and VLC forming a company that can provide design, development, construction, renovation, policy and procedure development, training and manual development for new projects, additions to an existing attraction or refurbishment of an existing facility. 
Buster and I agreed to keep the Mastin name, which has over 40 years of equity in the aquatics business, said Vondriska.  And by adding “Aquatic” to the name allows prospective clients to know our specialty.   We are suppliers and constructors of all things aquatic.
Vondriska Leisure Consultants LLC will still specialize in loss control, appraisals, policies, procedures and manual development, training and other services for the amusement and leisure industry.  Mastin Recreation LLC will continue on but will specialize in residential swimming pools under the guidance of Amanda Mastin, Vondriska said. 
Mastin Aquatic Recreation LLC will specialize in the commercial market that includes water parks, recreation centers, community centers, city and community parks, collegiate communities, schools, military housing, campgrounds, zoos and family entertainment centers. 

Mastin Recreation exhibits at IAAPA trade show in Orlando, FL - November 27th, 2013
Mastin Recreation exhibited for the first time at the IAAPA trade show in Orlando, FL from November 19 to 22, 2013.  Buster Mastin, Ken Vondriska and Amanda Mastin manned the Mastin Recreation booth along with Kathy Watson.  According to Buster the show has exceeded his expectations.  Traffic was brisk and the quality of the potential business is outstanding.  We look forward to next years trade show.  

Salitre Magico and CiCi Aqua park, Bogota, Colombia - September 26th, 2013
September 2013: Vondriska Leisure Consultants, LLC provided an on-site inspection and a written report of the Amusement Rides at Salitre Magico, Bogotá, Colombia.   The inspection included all amusement rides and water rides at Salitre Magico and CiCi Aqua park.  The on-site safety inspection of the amusement and water rides and attractions included a 5 day inspection of all ride related equipment, a detailed written report of findings, recommendations to improve or enhance the equipment.  VLC also made a Safety Presentation to all maintenance and operations personnel prior to departing Bogota. 

the Zoo, Louisville, KY - September 1st, 2013
Vondriska Leisure Consultants, LLC (“VLC”) has entered into an agreement with the City of Louisville, KY to provide written Maintenance and Operations Manuals and Training Guidelines for the new Ropes Couse, the existing Carousel, in park Trams and 4-D Theater at the Louisville Zoo.  This will include manual development, preparation and delivery of the finished manuals, training guidelines as well as on-site training and operator certification.  This comes after successfully completing a similar agreement and opening of the new Zoo Train.

Severn Lamb article, reprint from InterPark, July 27, 2013 - July 27th, 2013

Severn Lamb completes new US installation
Severn Lamb, the specialist UK transport engineering systems manufacturer, has announced the delivery of two new Texan rail trains to Louisville Zoo in the US. 
The new trains are replacements for those previously in operation at the zoo and were ordered after an accident in 2009 when one of the old trains was derailed.
Historically, an open-air train ride has been a central part of the zoo experience, but no such rides have been available since the accident.
Severn Lamb subsequently won the tender to design and build two new trains for Louisville Zoo to begin operation in the summer of this year and it's now 'full steam ahead'.
The two Texan trains operate on a 24-inch gauge track and are made up of 4-4-0 locomotives and eight-wheel diesel hydraulic tenders, each pulling three open style coaches.
Each coach can accommodate up to 21 seated passengers in a forward facing configuration, providing an excellent overall capacity per train of 63.
Wheelchair accessibility has also been incorporated into one of the carriages on each train meaning all visitors to the zoo are able to enjoy the experience.
The trains run continuously on a 1.2 mile oval track around the zoo's perimeter and each ride take approximately 17 minutes.
The venue has employed more than a dozen workers to operate the train service, all of whom are trained as engineers, conductors and station managers.
The three positions are regularly rotated and all the members of the team who will work on the trains have been trained by amusement industry consultant Ken Vondriska.
"We are delighted to announce the delivery of these two new trains to Louisville Zoo," said Severn Lamb managing director, Patrick Lamb.
"The resumption of the train rides comes four years after a derailment of one of the zoo's previous trains so not surprisingly they looked long and hard at which supplier to choose when looking for replacements.
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Staff Writer
July 26 2013 

Zoo Train, Louisville, KY - July 16th, 2013
Vondriska Leisure Consultants, LLC (VLC) has just completed the maintenance and operations manuals, on-site training of the operations and maintenance staffs and training guidelines for the new Severn-Lamb trains at the Louisville Zoo.  The training guidelines included classroom and on-site training.  VLC also developed written tests for all operator positions.  Also included was the development of  train policies and procedures for both departments.  The Zoo Train successfully opened to the public on Tuesday,  July 2, 2013.