Back L-R Don Marshall, Allen Weisberg, Howard McAuliffe, Justin Michaels , Al Kress, Paula Rinker, Jon W. Brady,
Front L-R Frank Cosentino, Jonathan Durst, Bryan Aune, Joe Camarota, Rick Kirby, Rich Babich, Holly Hampton

Joe Camarota was also awarded the AAMA Rising Star Award. This special award is voted upon weeks before the Gala.  Pictured (l-r) Pete Gustafson, Tina Schwartz, Joe Camarota, and Alex Ritschdorff. Note that AAMA Staff are sometimes referred to as ‘PTA’ – Pete, Tina, Alex

The AAMA Annual Meeting & Gala took place last week (Sept 9-13) at the Westin Chicago Lombard Hotel with more than 250 of the industry’s top leaders attending committee meetings, seminars, and new game/attraction previews.  Among the big news of the gathering was the election of Joe Camarota as the new AAMA President (2-year term).

RePlay will be reporting on the highlights of each day.  Below are the key achievements:

  • $100,000 was awarded by the American Amusement Machine Charitable Foundation (David Cohen Chair) – Childrens Hospital (CMN), KEEN, Camp Sunrise, Ronald McDonald House Philadelphia.
  • Ralph Cappola – 2019 AAMA Lifetime Achievement Award – largest ad journal ever 156 pages-more than 200 ads. Son Joe gave a tremendous testimonial for the Cappola family.
  • An additional $30,000 in charity donations was raised at the Gala reception-highest ever.
  • Howard Kahn, CEO Pivot Point, gave an excellent Keynote on role that investment bankers and roll-ups play in our industry. Howard started out at Astroland Amusement Park in Coney Island, NY.
  • Ed Rensi, previous CEO of McDonalds taught us what is needed to grow a business. One take-a-way: “Do not believe what people say they like, only what they do.”

    Newly elected AAMA President Joe Camarota starts his term with his acceptance speech at the AAMA Gala

What this could mean? With Joe Camrota as President, there is no doubt that AAMA will grow as Joe and his hard-working AAMA Board and Committee members continue to follow the lead of Immediate Past President Holly Hampton.  I am so proud of how hard Joe has worked for our industry, having now worked with him for the past 46 years. Over the past few years, Joe has been involved in all of the AAMA Committees either as Chair or Co-Chair and each one has exceeded all expectations.

With a new 12-year agreement in place with Amusement Expo International partner AMOA, look for the AEI to grow as well.  Joe is a true leader and motivator.  He is one of the few people I have ever met who always does what he says he will do. Yes, with Joe leading the way, our industry’s immediate future looks bright!!!!!

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