The New York Wheel, a 60-story observation wheel set to become the world’s tallest at 630 feet above New York Harbour when it opens in 2018, announces Joel Ward as its general manager.
Tasked with leading the charge to transform Staten Island into New York City’s next “big tourism destination,” Ward brings over 25 years of experience in the tourism and attraction industry, overseeing large scale projects both at home and abroad.
Ward will take on new responsibilities in his role as general manager of the New York Wheel for ProFun Management Group, the New York Wheel operations management company.
Previously, he oversaw ProFun’s business operations in Asia as senior vice president of operations, with a focus on operations planning and strategies for attractions and tourism projects based in China, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.
Those projects included: Twentieth Century Fox World Malaysia, a new tourist complex at the Great Wall of China in Badaling, China, Monkey King
Theme Park in Beijing, China, Tianzishan Cultural Park in Hunan Province, China and more.
“We are thrilled to have a seasoned professional with a worldwide perspective on growing new destinations and attracting constituencies across the globe,” said Rich Marin, president, New York Wheel.
“Ward’s breadth of experience will help to ensure Staten Island’s North Shore is a global hot spot for years to come.”
Ward began his career with an 18-year tenure at Universal Studios in Hollywood, California, where he spearheaded the transformation of the studio theme park from tourist attraction to world-class destination, a transition Ward hopes to replicate on Staten Island.
He significantly expanded the park’s operations through the creation of these new attractions and new ticketing programs which helped lead to large increases in annual company revenue.
“When I look at Staten Island and the New York Wheel project, only one word comes to mind - potential,” said New York Wheel general manger Joel Ward.
“This is such an exciting time for Staten Island, which is rife with new development, new attractions and all the pieces to turn the North Shore into the next big destination.
“I’m honoured to be the Wheel’s General Manager and lend my experience to ensure the project’s success.”
When the New York Wheel opens in 2018, the attraction will create an experience the city and its millions of tourists have never seen.
Accommodating up to 1,440 people per ride, the Wheel will feature a 38-minute ride in one of its 36 capsules.
The Wheel’s five-acre green roof will be one of the largest in North America and will host large events including concerts, food festivals, and corporate gatherings.
The Wheel will also be equipped with LED lighting facing Manhattan, creating the most vibrant canvas on the New York skyline.
Pieces of the New York Wheel have already started to arrive in New York Harbour, including the Wheel’s four, 500-ton legs which arrived at South Brooklyn Marine Terminal for processing in early October.
The legs will be floated over to Staten Island and the Wheel’s construction site later this year.
In addition, the four, 100-ton pedestals (base) of the New York Wheel arrived at the construction site via barge from Montreal, Canada in late fall 2016 and were installed during a brief ceremony in mid-December.