History

International Association of Haunted Attractions (IAHA)
& Haunted Attraction Association (HAA)

HISTORY

In 1990, The Wall Street Journal wrote an article on the haunt business that included the names of Leonard Pickel, Drew Hunter, Joe Jensen, and David Bertolino. After being featured in the article, these individuals wanted to meet one another, so they made contact by phone. They discovered that Pickel, Bertolino and Jensen were going to be at the TransWorld Halloween Show in Chicago in March, so they made arrangements to meet there.
Bertolino, who worked for Rubie’s Costumes, was manning a booth at the TransWorld Show. Because of the article, so many haunters came by the booth that he invited them to meet with him later. That night in his suite, 20 or so haunters gathered to discuss the haunt industry and common problems. During the meeting, Bertolino piped up and said, “you know what we need? We need an association!” recalled Pickel.
There were feelings at the time that an association of haunters would never work. But Pickel stated that one way to start the discussion of such a thing would be through a newsletter. He offered the use of his database and told everyone that if they would send articles for the newsletter, he would put it together. But submissions were few and the association did not get off the ground at that time. The idea of an international industry association lay dormant for several years.
In March of 1998, at the TransWorld Halloween Show in Chicago, Leonard and Jeanne Pickel organized an informal meeting of the proposed association, the first of many that would shape the future of haunting.
When questioned about the founding of the organization, Pickel stated, “My motive for starting a Haunted Association was to simply give something back to the industry that I love. I cannot count the number of haunters that I can call my dear friends.” When David Bertolino suggested the association earlier in 1990, Leonard Pickel had his doubts. But after witnessing the success of TransWorld’s Haunted Attractions Seminars for three years, he became convinced the industry now had the mass and focus for a trade association. Looking around for who was in the best position to start such an organization, Leonard realized that he was one of the few haunters who had a broad reputation in the industry, but did not have a large October event. “I felt like the nay-sayers would accuse someone like David Bertolino or Joe Jensen of only trying to benefit their own shows. But I was the president of a haunt manufacturing company, not an operator.”
With good council from other haunters from around the country, the association was able to get the tires aired up and the engine running. But Pickel never had any desire to be in the driver’s seat. Declining several requests to be on the Board of Directors, Pickel handed over control of the International Association of Haunted Attractions to the Board as soon as was practical.
Drew Hunter and Ernie Romegialli agreed to be co-chairs of the fledgling IAHA during the association’s first year. Together, they identified the common issues that affected all sectors of the haunted attraction industry and set a course for the future.
The organization’s bylaws were passed by the membership during the association’s first annual meeting in Rosemont, Illinois, on March 13th,1999
Fast forward to 2009, President Patrick Konopelski wanted an association that was led by Haunt Owners. The bylaws at the time allowed for anyone regardless of position in the haunt world to be on the board of the association. While this design was all inclusive, it was not representative of haunt owners. Essentially an actor in a haunted house could have held the position of President of the association. For obvious reasons this needed to change. Everyone on the board agreed this change was best for the association and the industry as a whole. The non-haunt owners on the board graciously agreed to step down to make way for new board members that were haunt owners or operators. While haunt owners were the only ones allowed to be on the board, all others in the industry were welcome to participate on the committee level.
Around the same time there was another association that was in existence for a few years that wanted to end their association and merge with IAHA. Patrick Konopelski -Shocktoberfest, Brett Bertolino – Terror Behind the Walls at ESP , Randy Bates – Bates Motel, and Gene Schopf – Field of Screams met in Philadelphia to lay the groundwork to merge the associations. The decision was made to merge the two organizations and change the name to the Haunted Attraction Association. This new name and board structure was more reflective of the current atmosphere of the industry. Led by Patrick Konopelski, an interim board was put into place and this initiative was executed over the next two years. He worked closely with attorney Peter Karlowicz to create the bylaws for the new association. These changes created a stronger and more respected association for the haunt industry for many years to come.

Historical Timeline of Officers

1998 Board of Directors

  • Co-Chairman: Drew Hunter
  • Co-Chairman: Ernie Romegialli
  • Treasurer: Cliff Martin
  • Secretary: Dusty Lewars
  • Directors: Gene Braden, JB Corn, Tim Harkleroad, Oliver Holler, Dan Hornbeck, Michael Jubie, Pete Karlowicz, Ed Marks, Billy Messina, James Shearer, Renee Spahr, Aven Warren, Jim Terebus, Bob Turner

1999 Board of Directors

  • President: Drew Hunter
  • Vice President: D’Ann Dagen
  • Treasurer: Cliff Martin
  • Secretary: Dusti Lewars
  • Directors: Jerry Connor, John Denley, Ricky Dick, Keith Fort, Rex Hamilton, Tim Harkleroad, Oliver Holler, Michael Jubie, Billy Messina, Dwayne Sanburn, James Shearer, Bob Turner, Aven Warren, Randy Young

2000 Board of Directors

  • President: D’Ann Dagen
  • Vice President: Keith Fort
  • Treasurer: Cliff Martin
  • Secretary: Dusti Lewars-Poole
  • Directors: Ben Armstrong, Tracy Brown, JB Corn, John Denley, John Dolan, Rex Hamilton, Tim Harklerroad, Drew Hunter, Kevin McCurdy, Cydney Neil, David Schwend, Bob Turner, Aven Warren, Randy Young

2001 Board of Directors

  • President: D’Ann Dagen
  • Vice President: Bob Turner
  • Treasurer: Cliff Martin
  • Secretary: Liz Foral
  • Directors: Tracy Brown, John Denley, Ricky dick, John Dolan, Jeff Glatzer, Tim Harkleroad, Drew Hunter, Joe Jensen, Ross Karpelman, Stu McIntire, Karen Murphy, David Schwend, Aven Warren, Randy Young

2002 Board of Directors

  • President: Bob Turner
  • Vice President: Liz Foral
  • Treasurer: Cliff Martin
  • Secretary: Steve Smith
  • Directors: Randy Bates, Ed Gannon, Jeff Glatzer, Drew Hunter, Ross Karpelman, Stu McIntire, Karen Murphy, David Schwend, Stuart Smith, Dave Treisch, Jim Upchurch, Randy Young

2003 Board of Directors

  • President: Liz Foral
  • Vice President: Jim Upchurch
  • Treasurer: Cliff Martin
  • Secretary: Karen Murphy
  • Directors: Randy Bates, Ed Gannon, Oliver Holler, Drew Hunter, David Schwend, Dave Treisch, Bob Turner, Randy Young, D’Ann Dagen, Steve Smith, Jeff Glatzer

2004 Board of Directors

  • President: Liz Foral
  • Vice-President: Randy Young
  • Treasurer: Jim Upchurch
  • Secretary: Karen Murphy
  • Directors: Barry Schieferstein,  Larry Kirchner,  Julie Pawlowicz, Leonard Pickel, Larry Pierce, Michael Bruner, Bob Turner, Bobbie Weiner, Jim Smith, Dru Smith, David Schwend, Dan Krumlauf, Drew Hunter, Oliver Holler

2005 Board of Directors

  • President: Larry Kirchner
  • Vice-President: Leonard Pickel
  • Treasurer: Barry Schieferstein
  • Secretary: Julie Pawlowicz
  • Board: Michael Bruner, Leonard Pickel, Larry Pierce, Jim Smith, Dru Smith, Bob Turner, Bobbie Weiner, Randy Young

2006 Board of Directors

  • President: Larry Kirchner
  • Vice President: Randy Young
  • Treasurer: James Smith
  • Secretary: DeAnne Roberts
  • Board: Eddie McLaurin, Rob Koucher (sp), Michael Brunner, Rich Hanf, Ben Armstrong, Rich Strelak, Bobbie Weiner, Dan Faupel, Timothy Gavinski

2007 Board of Directors

  • President: Timothy Gavinski
  • Vice President: Bill Criscione
  • Treasurer: James Smith
  • Secretary: Deanna Roberts
  • Board: Eddie McLaurin, Randy Young, Bobbie Winner, Dan Faupel, Brett Bertolino, Mike Krausert, Chad Savage, Larry Kershner, Tony Wohlgemuth, Rob Kocher, Mike Brunner

2008 Board of Directors

  • President: Timothy Gavinski
  • Vice President: Bill Criscione
  • Treasurer: James Smith
  • Secretary: Deanna Morton
  • Board: Patrick Konopelski, Eddie McLaurin, Dan Faupel, Mike Krausert, Tim Turner, Dan Faupel, Beth Watson, Brett Bertolino

2009 Board of Directors

  • President: Patrick Konopelski
  • Vice President: Mike Krasuert
  • Treasurer: Jim Smith
  • Board: Brett Bertolino, Shawna Blakney, Trey Cottle, Maggie Courtis, Bill Criscione, Mike Hundley, John Lafamboy, Bill Livingston, Eddie McLaurin, Chad Savage, Beth Watson, Kris Werner, Jay Wright, Randy Young

2010 Board of Directors (IAHA becomes HAA)

  • President: Patrick Konopelski
  • Vice President: Gene Schopf
  • Treasurer: Jim Smith
  • Treasurer: Amber Arnett-Bequeaith
  • Board: Brett Bertolino, Mike Krausert, Tim Dunne, Trey Cottle, Allen Bennett, Beth Watson, Dave Flemming

2011 Board of Directors

  • President: Patrick Konopelski
  • Vice President: Gene Schopf
  • Treasurer: Jim Smith
  • Board: Brett Bertolino, Tim Dunne, Dave Fleming, Allan Bennett, Trey Cottle, Mike Krausert, Beth Watson

2012 Board of Directors

  • President: Patrick Konopelski
  • Vice President: Gene Schopf
  • Treasurer: John Eslich
  • Secretary: Brett Bertolino
  • Board: Trey Cottle, Dave Fleming, Mike Krausert, Beth Watson, Phil Miller, Lore Callahan, Sharon Kyle, Kellie Carter, Kris Werner, Brett Hays

2013 Board of Directors

  • President: John Eslich
  • Vice President: Brett Bertolino
  • Treasurer: Kellie Carter
  • Secretary: Kris Werner
  • Board: Dan Hower, Lore Callahan, Trey Cottle, Sharon Kyle, Brett Hays, Brett Molitor, Jim Shackelford, Todd Moore

2014 Board of Directors

  • President: John Eslich
  • Vice President: Brett Bertolino
  • Treasurer: Kellie Carter
  • Secretary: Kris Werner
  • Board: Dan Hower, Lore Callahan, Trey Cottle, Brett Hays, Sharon Kyle

2015 Board of Directors

  • President: John Eslich
  • Vice President: Brett Bertolino
  • Treasurer: Kellie Carter
  • Secretary: Kris Werner
  • Board: Dan Hower, Lore Callahan, Trey Cottle, Brett Hays, Sharon Kyle, Brett Molitor, Todd Moore, Tim Dunne

2016 Board of Directors

  • President: John Eslich
  • Vice President: Brett Bertolino
  • Treasurer: Kellie Carter
  • Secretary: Kris Werner
  • Board: Dan Hower, Trey Cottle, Sharon Kyle, Brett Hays, Lore Callahan, Brett Molitor, Todd Moore, Tim Dunne

2017 Board of Directors

  • President: John Eslich
  • Vice President: Brett Hays
  • Treasurer: Brad Webb
  • Secretary: Dan Hower
  • Board: Billy Groeneveld, Brett Bertolino, Brett Molitor, Eddie McLaurin, Jim Bugos, Mindi Plaisance, Shayne Torrans, Todd Fedyshyn

2018 Board of Directors

  • President: Brett Hays
  • Vice President: Brett Molitor
  • Treasurer: Brad Webb
  • Secretary: Dan Hower
  • Board: Jim Bugos, Sharon Kyle, Todd Fedyshyn, Mindi Plaisance, Eddie McLaurin, Shayne Torrans, Billy Growneveld

2019 Board of Directors

  • President: Brett Molitor
  • Vice President: Billy Groeneveld
  • Treasurer: Mindi Plaisance
  • Secretary: Jim Bugos
  • Board: Eddie McLaurin, Shayne Torrans, Todd Fedyshyn, Robert Garcia, Alex Rodriguez, Spencer Terry, Cody Bailey, Allen Hopps

2020 Board of Directors

  • President: Brett Hays
  • Vice President: Billy Groeneveld
  • Treasurer: Terri Bernstein
  • Secretary: Jim Bugos
  • Board: Eddie McLaurin, Shayne Torrans, Todd Fedyshyn, Robert Garcia, Alex Rodriguez, Spencer Terry, Cody Bailey, Allen Hopps, John Schwartz, Michael Edwards

MISSION

Our mission is to protect, promote, and educate our worldwide network of Haunted Attractions, Vendors, Artists, and Enthusiasts.

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