Issue 198, September 24, 2023

I’m so happy to see a such a great turnout at this past week’s meeting when we heard John Wood, CEO of Sally Dark Rides make his presentation. Wood was informative and engaging.

He and a few friends started 45 years ago in his garage in Venetia. His idea was to make moving and talking figures. His first major project was during the Star Wars era in 1977. At this time, he made five moving and talking figures.

Business took off and over the years, he did projects for the Oldest Schoolhouse in St. Augustine, and with the influence of Chuckie Cheese on the West Coast, he revamped the company as an animated musical company.

In China, his company did the animation for Penguins on Parade, and in 1983, Chuckie Cheese reorganized their company making the animation business go dry. Wood saw the writing on the wall and changed the focus of his company.

Dark Rides became the new direction and allowed the company to purchase a large facility off Forsyth Street. Since that time, they have created themed adventures for Paramount, Six Flags, MOSH, our downtown library, the Haunted Hotel in Maine, Spongebob’s Crazy Ride in Vegas, and so much more.

Wood was proud to share that all of his employees have been with him for a long time. One even over 40 years. With a business of this nature, the projects are engaging and moving.

We, also, have had some major excitement. This week, Mary Fisher of Fisher Design, hosted an awesome Meet-A-Member where our members got to see her new facility, and network with about 50 members, clients and friends. In addition, Patrick Heatherington and Erin Eiras chaired an amazing Clay Shoot engaging members and community teams, raising funds for our ROTC Scholarship.

Join us this week when we host Toney Sleiman, Sleiman Enterprises, to speak on the activities of his company. Have a great week, and please remember to bring a potential member to some of our many activities. See you Wednesday.

Jeanne Maron
2023 President

President Message Archive