With profound sadness, we commemorate the life of William “Bill” Avery, a trailblazer in safety and security who has left an indelible legacy through his lifelong dedication to ensuring safety and promoting health in the amusement ride and device, and entertainment industry. Bill was a stalwart in the field for over four decades, advocating for safety and setting standards that would change the industry forever.
Bill’s illustrious career began in 1976 as the inaugural Safety Manager at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida, ever had. During his tenure, he implemented one of the leading safety programs in the United States. His exceptional work led to his promotion to Anheuser Busch Companies, Inc. in St. Louis, Missouri, where he spearheaded safety and health for the Busch Entertainment Corporation’s national amusement parks and tours and Wholesale Operations Division.
In 1986, Bill returned to his beloved Florida to join SeaWorld Parks, Inc., a Harcourt, Brace & Jovanovich (H.B.J.) division, serving as the Safety Director. Nine months later, he was promoted to Vice President of Safety, Security, Rides, and General Maintenance for Boardwalk & Baseball, Inc. There; he was pivotal in ensuring safety for all guests, employees, and the Kansas City Royals during their spring training seasons.
Undeniably, Bill’s most significant contribution emerged in 1990 when he channeled his vast experience into his venture, Avery Safety Consulting, Inc. Offering expert witness services alongside safety consulting, Bill served clients not only across 46 states, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Canada, Turkey, Hong Kong, and England but also within a variety of industries and for a myriad of clients from Universal Studios (working on E.T., Jaws, & Jurassic Park) to West Gate Resorts, and during major events like the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, and World Cup Soccer. He also contributed to the safety protocols for renowned film and T.V. productions like Paper, Cowboy Way, Law & Order, Marley and Me. This extensive and varied work has left an enduring and global mark on the safety landscape of the amusement industry.
Before embarking on his specialized career, Bill served in the United States Air Force from 1968-1972 as a Medic. This experience laid the groundwork for his lifelong commitment to safety and health.
Throughout his career, Bill was deeply involved with industry standards. He was an original member of the ASTM International on Amusement Rides and Devices Committee F 24, helping to shape the scope of the standards from its inception.
Bill’s dedication and contributions to safety in the amusement industry were widely recognized. At just 37, he received the American Recreational Equipment Association (A.R.E.A.), later the Amusement Industry Manufacturer’s & Suppliers (AIMS) organization, Outstanding Dedication to Continuing Safety in the Amusement Industry Safety Award. Additionally, he received the National Safety Council’s Award of Merit for his extraordinary safety program at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida.
We honor the life and legacy of William “Bill” Avery. His significant contributions to amusement safety and security have created safer and more enjoyable environments for countless individuals. His passion and dedication will inspire industry professionals and influence future safety standards. Rest in peace, Bill. Your legacy of safety and health in the amusement industry lives on.