I had the chance to meet Will at Holiwood Nights, and I was immediately impressed with how genuine and warm he was. He was a true theme park enthusiast, and it was clear from the way he ran the park that he cared so much about giving the guests the best possible experience and making Holiday World one of the best parks in the country. When other parks were charging more and more for drinks, Will gave them away for free. While other parks have starting charging $15+ for parking, Will kept that free. While other parks were focusing on smaller and cheaper rides, Will made sure that Holiday world always had the longest, the tallest, and the best. He was a true icon in the industry and a great man, and he will be sorely missed.
It's sad to see someone who was so full of life taken away from us so soon, but Holiday World will always be his legacy. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Koch family, as well as to the entire Holiday World team.
Will's death should also be a reminder that being in water with no one around is dangerous no matter how old or how good of a swimmer you are. I had a friend who drowned and have others who have had close calls, and all of them were strong swimmers. Hopefully the publicity surrounding Will Koch can help people remember that pool safety isn't just for children.
DISCLAIMER: Any information about rides presented here as fact has been taken from publicly available sources. The author readily admits that the rides may have been implemented differently than stated in the such sources. Any opinion statements are based on the author’s experience as a mechanical engineer and are not based on any insider knowledge or the wish to contradict those with such knowledge.
Dan Koch has been officially named as the new president of Holiday World. He is not the brother who has been running the campground for the last several years. He is a partner at a law firm in Florida.
SANTA CLAUS, Ind. — The Koch family announced this morning it will continue to own and operate Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari “into perpetuity” and that Dan Koch is the new president.
Dan Koch, 46, takes the helm following the sudden death of his brother, Will, earlier this month.
“Will and I have been business partners for decades and have spoken on the phone daily for more than 30 years,” Koch said in a press release. “I consider it an honor to step in as president and continue the expansion plans my brother and I crafted together. In the meantime, Will’s three children will have time to finish their education and learn more about the family business before they decide how they would like to be involved in the future of the park.”
Koch said his mother, Pat, will continue as the park’s director of values, greeting guests at the front gate and providing motivation and guidance to the management and staff.
“Our company was reorganized two years ago when Will promoted two of our park directors to general managers,” Koch noted. “These GMs will keep the park running smoothly as we move into the heart of the season and prepare for next year.”
Koch said he will “stay the course” with the park’s long-range growth plans, community involvement and philanthropic efforts.
Koch is a partner in the law firm Koch & Trushin in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and said he plans regular trips to the Santa Claus park and daily communication with management. He is married and has two young children.
Along with his four siblings, Koch grew up in the town of Santa Claus and worked various jobs at the theme park started by his father and grandfather in 1946, including working games and hauling trash.
Not begrudging at all, actually. Dan and Will have been business partners for years and spoke daily. Dan grew up here and loves the park and his family. He never would have chosen this set of circumstances, but he's chosen good-heartedly to step in where he is needed. He's a good guy.
I'm sure Dan is a great guy, and I wish Holiday World only the best. I love the park, and I especially love the way it's run. The idea that he'll be running it from Florida is the primary reason for my cynicism. But it is, of course, ultimately, none of my business anyway.
Truly sad about Will. He will be missed--even by those of us who only met him once or twice.
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