February 9, 2005
05-15

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations, Terrance Calloway Student Assistant, Olena Korchaka, Graduate Assistant (229) 259-5503

Kent Buescher to speak at VSU's Harley Langdale, Jr. College ofBusiness Administration Lecture Series

Valdosta State University's Harley Langdale, Jr. College of Business Administration announces a public invitation to attend the Harley Langdale, Jr. Lecture Series featuring Kent Buescher, President and Chief Executive Officer of Adventure Parks Group, LLC. The event will commence on Feb. 15, at 10 a.m. in the Pound Hall Auditorium located on VSU's Rea & Lillian Steele North Campus. Buescher's lecture is titled, ?You?ve Gotta? Start Someplace ?How I Turned a Petting Zoo into a $75 Million Business.?

Buescher started a small petting zoo with a few animals given to him as birthday presents. Over the years, the zoo has grown into a multi-million dollar amusement park. With its 60 rides, 170 acres of land, and annual attendance averaging close to 1.5 million, Wild Adventures is ranked in the top 50 among North American amusement/theme parks by Amusement Business Magazine.

Buescher recently began a quest to purchase historic Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven, FL, which was built in the 1940s. The park fell behind in maintenance and closed in 2003 when attendance was on the decline. Eventually a deal was reached between Buescher, Polk County, the state of Florida, and the Trust For Public Land. Now under the operation of Buescher, Cypress Gardens has been completely renovated and is on track to become as successful as Wild Adventures.

Buescher also owns Adventure Radio Group, LLC and Adventure Transportation Services, LLC. Prior to becoming involved in the theme park business, Buescher founded Sub Aqua Specialties, a company specializing in sales of scuba equipment via mail order; U.S. Press, a sheet-fed printing company specializing in the production of full-color brochures; and Buescher Communications, an advertising company specializing in video productions.

Buescher is a firm believer in community partnering. Both parks participate in Give Kids the World program, host United Way's Day of Caring event, as well as donate between 100 and 150 tickets monthly to local schools and organizations to assist with fund raising.

The Harley Langdale, Jr. Lecture Series provides Valdosta State University business students and the public an opportunity to hear lectures on a wide range of business-related topics presented by experts in their related fields. This series of lectures is another step in the Langdale College of Business commitment to provide its students with high quality education by broadening their horizons and introducing them to real life experiences.