Longtime company executive led significant growth of Delaware North Companies Sportservice
BUFFALO, N.Y. (Oct. 16, 2012)Delaware North Companies, a global leader in hospitality and food service, today named longtime company executive and sports and hospitality industry veteran Rick Abramson to lead its parks and resorts business in North America and Australia, as well as its other Australia and New Zealand operations and new business efforts in Asia.
Abramson, currently president of Delaware North Companies Sportservice, will become president of Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, which has operations in national and state parks, operates the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, and manages hotels and luxury resorts in the United States, Canada and Australia.  
In the additional new role of executive chairman of Delaware North Companies Australia and Asia, Abramson will also lead the company’s extensive sports venue and travel hospitality business in Australia and New Zealand – and pursue opportunities for growth in Asia, including India.
After more than 35 years of working in various capacities for Delaware North, Abramson returned to his roots in July 2004 as president of Delaware North Companies Sportservice, bringing full circle his beginnings as a vendor for the company. Since becoming president, Abramson has led its growth into a more than $750 million food service and retail business by adding major professional sports clients at venues such as MetLife Stadium, Lambeau Field, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Target Field, and Bank of America Stadium.
Prior to being named president of Sportservice, Abramson led the company’s acquisition of the historic Delta Queen Steamboat Company and was instrumental in saving the landmark boats and restoring them to the waterways of America’s heartland.
In addition, Abramson’s career has included key roles with Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts as vice president and prior to that as president and chief operating officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, managed by Delaware North Companies. During his six-year tenure, he turned Kennedy Space Center into one of the most visited attractions in Central Florida. He successfully guided a $130 million redevelopment initiative that included opening the world-renowned Apollo/Saturn V Center, International Space Station Center and Launch Complex 39 Observation Gantry. Additionally, he managed the opening of several visitor complex educational programs and exhibits, such as Astronaut Encounter, Mad Mission to Mars 2025, Early Space Exploration, Exploration in the New Millennium, and the Dr. Kurt H. Debus Conference Facility.
Under his management, Delaware North Companies received two Themed Entertainment Association awards for the Apollo/Saturn V Center and Exploration in the New Millennium attractions. Abramson also was awarded a NASA Public Service Medal, NASA’s highest achievement award for non-government employees. In 2002, Abramson joined the ranks of some of the most respected members of the space program when he earned the Dr. Kurt H. Debus Award from the National Space Club Florida Committee for his role in educating and inspiring the visitor complex’s millions of guests.
Prior to his position at Kennedy Space Center, Abramson served as Delaware North Companies’ chief executive officer of Australian Venue Services (AVS) in Melbourne, Australia. There, he worked with AVS Catering clients such as Melbourne Showgrounds, Sydney Entertainment Center and Royal Exhibition Buildings, the Melbourne Cup Race Australian Grand Prix and the Australian Tennis Open.
Before moving to Australia, Abramson served in various managerial positions for the company’s Sportservice operations – which took him far and wide from the Olympic Games to the World’s Fair.
Abramson’s appointment and other strategic leadership changes were announced by Delaware North Companies President and Chief Operating Officer Charles E. Moran as part of the company’s overall strategy for growth in North America and around the world. The changes take effect Jan. 1, 2013.
“Rick has been a key part of Delaware North’s incredible success and growth. He understands and appreciates the importance of our customers and clients and is one of the most innovative leaders in our company. I am excited to be able to share his talent and expertise with other important parts of our global enterprise,” Moran said.
Abramson will be joined in the Parks & Resorts leadership team by Jim Houser, currently vice president of administration for Delaware North Companies. Houser who will take on a new leadership role for Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts as chief operating officer and will also play a pivotal role in the company’s initiatives for growth in Asia and India.
Houser brings a strong leadership record from his recent roles at Delaware North overseeing key enterprise-level areas such as construction, supply management, retail and food and beverage, as well as extensive operations experience from serving as chief operating officer for Sportservice.
Kevin Kelly, currently president of Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, will move into a newly created role for Delaware North as vice president of shared services for the company’s global operations.
John Wentzell, currently president of Delaware North Companies Boston and Delaware North Companies International, will take the helm as president of Sportservice. The longtime president of the Delaware North-owned and -operated TD Garden will also spearhead the company’s operations in the United Kingdom and additional growth opportunities throughout Europe.
About Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts
Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts is an industry leader, providing Stewardship and Hospitality in Special Places SM with hotel, retail, food service, recreation and transportation operations at historic and scenic properties in North America and Australia. The company operates Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida; in Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Sequoia, Olympic, Shenandoah and Yosemite national parks, including The Ahwahnee and other Yosemite lodges; The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake in Ohio; Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa in British Columbia; Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; and in Niagara Falls State Park. The company also owns and operates Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite; the Park Gate Lodges at Yellowstone, which are the West Yellowstone Holiday Inn, Gray Wolf Inn and Suites and Yellowstone Park Hotel, all in West Yellowstone, Mont.; and five luxury resorts in Australia: Lizard Island Resort, Heron Island Resort, Wilson Island Resort, Kings Canyon Resort and El Questro Homestead and Wilderness Park. To learn more about Delaware North Companies’ hospitality management expertise, visit http://www.delawarenorth.com/parks-and-resorts-home.aspx.
About Delaware North Companies
Delaware North Companies is one of the largest and most admired privately held hospitality companies in the world. Founded and owned by the Jacobs family for nearly 100 years, it is a global leader in hospitality and food service. Its family of companies includes Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment, Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services, Delaware North Companies Sportservice, Delaware North Companies International and Delaware North Companies Boston, owner of TD Garden. Delaware North Companies has revenue exceeding $2.6 billion annually and 55,000 associates serving half a billion customers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. For more information, visit www.DelawareNorth.com.
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Glen White
Director-Corp. Comm
Email: GAWhite@delawarenorth.com
Phone: 716-858-5753
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