BURBANK, Calif., June 4, 2002 – Greg Hale, Vice President of Design & Engineering and Regulatory Compliance for the WALT DISNEY WORLD Resort®, has been named the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts first Chief Safety Officer, Paul Pressler, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, announced today. In his new position, Hale will report directly to Pressler and provide global oversight for all aspects of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts attraction safety programs – including systems performance (ride design, engineering, manufacturing and maintenance), operational excellence (training and operations programs), guest communication (signage, audio messages and ground markings), and quality assurance (internal audits, internal and external inspections, and incident and accident investigations). As Vice President of Safety, Accessibility & Strategic Technology, Hale will also orchestrate the design, development and implementation of new technologies that have the potential to increase safety and improve accessibility at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts properties worldwide.

            “Greg is an extremely talented individual who has been making important contributions to safety efforts at the Walt Disney World Resort for nearly 14 years,” Pressler said. “He has precisely the combination of engineering expertise, theme park experience and personal commitment required for this important leadership position, and I look forward to working with him to keep Walt Disney Parks and Resorts at the forefront of theme park safety.”

After several decades as the recognized leader in theme park operations and safety and opening its 10th theme park this year, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts created the position of Chief Safety Officer to promote consistency and drive continuous improvement in its attraction safety program. Key elements of the new role include:

·          Facilitating the exchange of safety-related information and promoting consistent standards across all of the division’s Parks;

·          Integrating theme park best practices, as well as new ideas from related industries and scientific disciplines, into safety protocols;

·          Developing and evaluating new safety technologies;

·          Conducting internal audits and supporting state inspection efforts to monitor compliance with regulations and internal standards;

·          Analyzing trends and anticipating safety challenges;

·          Reinforcing the division’s Cast-wide commitment to safety; and

·          Building constructive relationships with government agencies involved in regulating theme parks.

     A respected member of the engineering and safety community, Hale currently serves on the board of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Amusement Ride Safety Standards Committee and is the chairman of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Safety and Maintenance Committee.

He is also responsible for numerous innovations and inventions that have significantly advanced theme park accessibility for persons with disabilities, including ride vehicles that can safely accommodate Guests utilizing wheelchairs and hand-held captioning that, for the first time, provides synchronized captions for Guests with hearing disabilities on moving rides and attractions. In addition, Hale is a co-inventor and patent holder for Disney’s FASTPASS, a queuing system that has virtually eliminated long wait times at the company’s most popular attractions.

Since joining Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in 1988, Hale has held several positions related to attraction design, operation and safety, including Manager of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Director of Facilities and Attractions Regulatory Compliance, and Director of Ride and Show Engineering. In addition to his most recent position as Vice President of Design, Engineering and Regulatory Compliance at the WALT DISNEY WORLD Resort®,   Hale has also been responsible for operational safety at Disney parks worldwide for the past year.

Born in Oxford, Mississippi, Hale received his BSEE from the University of Mississippi in 1976 and is a licensed engineer for the state of Florida.   In the mid-70s and 80’s, Hale worked as an electrical engineer for PPG Industries and as a design engineer and Manager of Power, Controls and Automation for Olin Corporation’s Winchester Division, where he led the design of safety and control systems for the manufacturing of gunpowder and nitroglycerine.

PHOTO: Greg Hale, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts first Chief Safety Officer