About Us | Management Team
June 21, 2013
The Paidia Company is a Louisiana based company that specializes in themed entertainment development. The Paidia Company was created with the mission of creating new, enriching experiences for guests. Paidia, our namesake, was the Greek goddess of fun and amusement, but the word has evolved in the Greek language to take on more of an edutainment type meaning. The Greeks believed that people learned best while at play. With this in mind, we aim to have educational components embedded in everything we do.
Tonya Pope has owned and operated a themed entertainment consulting business for the past eleven years. Ms. Pope started her career in the aerospace industry working at NASA where she helped develop and program simulators used for crew training. She moved on to pursue creative opportunities. She earned several awards for creative work prior to founding her themed entertainment consulting business. Ms. Pope now has over fifteen years of experience in project management, with over ten years of experience working at the executive level. She has been a member of several groups, including IAAPA, Mensa, and the Society of Computer Simulation. Tonya received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Louisiana State University.
Dan Kyle, Ph. D, CPA, CFE, served as Legislative Auditor for the State of Louisiana for over 13 years. Dr. Kyle was unanimously appointed by both houses of the Louisiana Legislature. The Legislative Auditor is a constitutionally created position that serves as fiscal advisor to the Louisiana Legislature and is responsible for auditing state and local government. The scope of audits performed includes financial and compliance audits, performance audits, and investigative audits. Additionally, he served over 20 years as Associate Professor of accounting at Louisiana State University.
Roy Turley has been involved in the theme park, themed entertainment and service industries for over 25 years, having developed, constructed, managed and operated various projects across the country. His career in theme parks began at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri and included assisting with the opening of Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Roy was recruited by Gaylord Entertainment, Opryland USA in Nashville, Tennessee as Operations Supervisor and later became Manager of Operations of Fiesta Texas in San Antonio, Texas. Roy was recruited by Leisure and Recreation Concepts of Dallas, Texas to become the Project and General Manager of Park City Silver Mine Adventure in Park City, Utah. While with Leisure and Recreation Concepts he also was involved with WonderLand Theme Park in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and later became the Vice President/General Manager of Royal Gorge Bridge in Canon City, Colorado. Roy was recruited to be the Director of Guest Experience for the Kansas City Museum and Science City at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri. He is the founder of Crossroads Consulting; a retainer based executive search, operations and training firm specializing in the themed entertainment and hospitality industry. Roy has received the Best Speaker award at the 1994 and 2000 World Waterpark Association Convention and Trade Shows. Turley was also the General Manager of Town Center Plaza in Leawood, Kansas, an up-scale out door shopping center.
Roy took his park experience and applied it to government operated parks as the Parks Division Manager for Travis County, Texas Parks. This includes 34 parks (5000 acres), 6300 acres of nature preserves and construction of two new metropolitan parks and expansion of three existing metropolitan parks and the acquisition and operation of the largest parkland and open space in the county's history.
Most recently Roy was the General Manager of Rawhide Western Town Theme Park in Chandler, Arizona. Rawhide is part of the Gila River Indian Community and was operated and managed by Starwood Resorts and Hotels International. Roy was recruited for this position to turn the operation around and help it see new growth and development. Roy reported to the Wild Horse Development Board and Starwood Resorts and Hotels International. Roy also served as a member of the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa Executive Committee. Turley was responsible for all aspects of the operation including marketing, sales, attractions, entertainment, maintenance, food and beverage, retail, ticketing and security.
Kevin Kopeny is currently the General Manager at Wild Rivers Waterpark in Irvine CA. Kevin began working at Wild Rivers in 1988 and possesses nearly 20 years of experience in the waterpark industry. In 1997, Kevin was promoted to the position of admissions manager at Wild Rivers. He was promoted to operations director in 1998 and to assistant general manager in 2003. During Kevin's tenure as the operations director from 1998 to 2003, attendance rose and the injury rate dropped during the same period. Kevin is a member of the American Red Cross Advisory Committee, helping to develop new aquatic programs. Kevin also serves on the National Advisory Committee for the Red Cross Lifeguard Training Program, a committee that writes and updates the American Red Cross Lifeguard Manual. Kevin is an American Red Cross Lifeguard and a First Aid, CPR, AED and O2 instructor. In 2006, the American Red Cross selected Wild Rivers Waterpark as the primary location to film their new Red Cross training videos under Kevin's direction. Kevin received a Bachelor of Arts from University of Colorado-Boulder.
Kenny Handler has operated and managed California's finest Waterparks for the past 23 years. His road has taken him from the training supervisor for Raging Water, San Jose to the original Park Supervisor of Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, and Raging Waters San Dimas Operations Manager. He has entertained millions of guests throughout the years.
He also excelled as the General Manager of the Wave Waterpark and received acknowledgments through the World Waterpark Association winning countless awards on marketing and programming. His experience, creativity, and strong work ethic have been the foundation for successful consulting and management in municipalities and the entertainment industry.
He has received national recognition for his marketing and success as an operator and General Manager. Awards from the World Waterpark Association include: Best in marketing commercials, radio ads, print media and promotional events. He also has won numerous safety awards through Ellis and Associates and the first ever National Title for Lifeguard Competition. He was honored by The City of Vista with a proclamation by turning The Wave Waterpark from a general funded ($300,000 support) to creating a reserve of over an average of tens of thousands of dollars annually. Kenny as a past General Manager and Community Services Director (Rancho Santa Margarita) has successfully managed large parks such as Raging Waters San Jose (400,000 annual attendance, Hurricane Harbor CA. 400,000 annual attendance, Raging Waters San Dimas 700,000 annual attendance and The Wave Waterpark 150,000 annual attendance).
His current partnerships have him flying across the country to name a few; Chesapeake Beach Waterpark, Gulf Island Waterpark, and NRH2O in Dallas Texas. Plus, the Director of Operations for Backyard Grille at California's largest municipal waterparks Drytown, Splash and The Cove Waterpark.
He has also spoken at National Conference and Regional Conferences for the past decade at: National Parks and Recreation Association, World Waterpark Association, California Parks and Recreation, Illinois Parks and Recreation Association and Minnesota Parks and Recreation Association.
Who to Contact:
- Mayor Mitch Landrieu
- Councilmember-at-Large Stacy Head
- Councilmember-at-Large Jason Williams
- District A Susan Guidry
- District B LaToya Cantrell
- District C Nadine Ramsey
- District D Jared Brossett
- District E James Gray
The Jazzland Proposal
The Paidia Company submitted a proposal to re-open the park as a true celebration of Louisiana by connecting the dots of community, history, identity, and artistry in a living testimonial to our spirit and pride. Additionally, we propose to add a water park and movie back lot to the site.
This proposal for Jazzland includes locally owned businesses and is working with area youth organizations to offer internship programs and art & music education programs at the park.
Why Save Jazzland?
Families of New Orleans would like to be able to bring their children to the park again. The City is trying to attract more tourist by showing them that there is more to the City than Bourbon Street. Jazzland is a perfect fit to add to that campaign and to attract more families to visit.
The infrastructure is already there for it to be a THEME PARK. Historically, the park attracted over 800,000 guests annually while operating seasonally and competing with Astroworld. Today, the closest regional park is over 450 miles away and we plan to operate year-round.