Episode 338: Deborah Eicher talks about building unique rides, mentoring young talent, and future-proofing

Manufacturing, Podcast, Women of Influence

Deborah Eicher is the International Sales and Marketing Director for RES Rides, a Swiss-based rides manufacturer known for creating unique experiences.  Deborah began her career in the fashion industry after getting a business degree from the University of Iowa and later moved into banking and finance.  When Deborah moved to Orlando to be closer to family, she was hired as Operations Manager for Flight Avionics (now Pulseworks), where she operated flight simulators on aircraft carriers and museums.  During that time, Deborah was quickly promoted to Vice President and then President and COO, and grew the operation from one location to twenty.  Ten years later, she was offered the opportunity to join the photo retail provider Picsolve (now owned by Pomvom) as President and COO, where she achieved stellar results, specifically for photo sales at Merlin’s midway locations.  In 2014, Deborah moved to the UK and focused on RFP development for manufacturers and suppliers, where she connected with RES Rides which led to her role today.  In this interview, Deborah discussed building unique rides, mentoring young talent, and future-proofing.

Building unique rides

“Globally, everybody is looking for a new experience.”

RES Rides was formed in 2015 by Willy Walser and Roman Rothe.  The founders had extensive experience installing rides around the world and determined that an opportunity existed to introduce new ride types to the marketplace.  This led to the development of rides like Rollerball which takes up a small footprint with a vertical lift hill, and Canyon Slide Rapids with the highest drop on a raft ride in the Western Hemisphere.

Most recently, RES Rides won a Brass Ring Award in 2023 for Crazy Professor, a vertical dark ride, at Conny-Land in Switzerland.  The attraction features a multimedia experience that includes immersive theming and a pre-show that explains the backstory.  Upon boarding the tower in a 10-seat gondola, the story unfolds through sensory elements including back jabbers, fog, and tilting seats, and by the time they get to the top of the tower, the experiment goes wrong and riders drop into a 20-meter freefall.

Mentoring young talent

“If you ask someone to be a mentor, it’s very complimentary for that person.”

Deborah stresses the importance of finding mentors to help guide you throughout your career.  For more than 10 years, Deborah sat on the board of the IAAPA Foundation, where they launched a scholarship program to help young professionals gain an education that will grow their careers in the industry.

Additionally, this interview is personal to Josh, because in 2011, Deborah hired Josh as Site Manager for Picsolve’s operation at LEGOLAND Florida.  Deborah shares stories that she recalls from Josh’s time as a young leader, and Josh shares lessons he recalls from his time working with her.


“Hire people that are better than yourself.”

When Deborah worked in fashion retail, she was required to set up an operation and then expected to leave it in a short period of time to move on to the next.  This required her to replicate herself in order to future-proof the operation.  This way, when she left, whether it was within the company or moving on to something else, she left it better than when she started.

Future-proofing involves delegation, understanding the metrics, and creating systems that will allow the operation to thrive.  It requires setting best practices and continually fine-tuning them for success, and relying on the process, rather than an individual in particular, so that leaders can duplicate the success.

To learn more about RES Rides, visit their website or their YouTube channel.  More incredible and unique concepts are coming in the pipeline, so be sure to stay tuned!

This podcast wouldn’t be possible without the incredible work of our faaaaaantastic team:

  • Scheduling and correspondence by Kristen Karaliunas
  • Video and audio editing by Abby Giganan

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