VP/New Business Development of Herschend Family Entertainment
Herschend Family Entertainment is considered the largest family-owned theme park corporation in the United States that operates entertainment, tourism and hospitality properties with more than 10,000 employees spanning 26 locations in ten states. In September 2012, Greg Charbeneau was appointed to New Business Development/Aquarium & Zoo Strategies corporate role to identify new business opportunities to grow the company’s portfolio by acquiring additional public aquariums/zoos; as well as support company shared leadership services.
Greg Charbeneau was appointed the VP/General Manager of Wild Adventures Theme Park (WA) in Valdosta, GA September 2011. Charbeneau has been employed by Herschend Family Entertainment (HFE), the parent company of WA, since 2008 and is responsible for the operation and continual growth of this complex theme park. In this venture, he is responsible for the 170-acre theme park, water park, and animal park. The park features one of the largest ride collections in the South, hundreds of exotic animals, Splash Island Water Park, the region’s largest water park, live shows, festivals and an outdoor concert venue showcasing nationally recognized artists.
In his position as VP & Executive Director of Adventure Aquarium, Greg Charbeneau led the charge to create an entirely new business which included hiring all new directors, managers and front line cast; as well as a new guest experience program and the way Adventure Aquarium conducts business. He oversees the day-to-day operations of the 200,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art attraction, focusing on creating a highly entertaining and engaging experience for guests; as well as corporate responsibilities and oversight of strategic husbandry operations at Adventure Aquarium, Newport Aquarium in Newport, KY and Wild Adventures in Valdosta, GA (sister attractions).
Charbeneau has dedicated his career to the aquarium industry, working at nationally acclaimed theme parks and aquariums for 24 years. He most recently held the position of Vice President of Husbandry at the New Jersey State Aquarium, where his major duties included development and implementation of animal care. Prior to coming to New Jersey, Charbeneau worked at the Mystic Aquarium Institute for Exploration as Curator of Fishes and Invertebrates. He began his career at Sea World with positions at both Sea World of Ohio and Sea World of Florida covering 8.5 years. He also worked for the Walt Disney World Company and EPCOT Living Seas as a Marine Biologist for 1.5 years. Throughout his career, Charbeneau has been involved with both new construction and renovation projects; ranging in scale from 100K – 50MM. His work has been featured in numerous industry publications and he has conducted multiple research projects.
Charbeneau earned his bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University in 1987, with a specialization in Marine Biology and a minor in Comprehensive Science. He is an active participant in conservation and education initiatives, a member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums and sits on several AZA steering committees.
Charbeneau resides in Valdosta, GA with his wife and two daughters. In his spare time, he enjoys both watching his daughters excel in school and sports, as well as training for and competing in Ironman competitions.