Patrick Spieldiener’s journey as CEO of Intamin has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. Patrick’s father, Reinhold, founded the company in 1967, along with his brother Robert and business partner Ali Saiko. Patrick has worked hard to nurture the company and launch it into emerging markets, all the while upholding Intamin’s reputation for trustworthiness and innovation.

The CEO Magazine: Please tell us a little about your professional background leading up to your current role.

Patrick: I went to university in Zurich to study as a mechanical engineer. After graduating, I worked for a year and a half in a factory in the French part of Switzerland. The company I worked for was already a partner of Intamin, building tracks and prototypes for amusement rides.

After that, I was in Korea for nine months, where Intamin was contracted to execute about 15 rides for the biggest indoor amusement park in the world. I went there to help them install the rides, and act as a project coordinator. From there, I gradually moved up to project engineer, technical director, and eventually to the position of CEO.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced since becoming CEO of Intamin in 1995?

The biggest challenge occurred when I was first appointed as CEO. After I was chosen to fill the role over another of the company’s directors, the said director quit, leaving me to take over a lot of work. I had to jump in the deep end to get it all done.

Of course, I had help from the founders from time to time, but I was pretty much left to figure out how to get these jobs done. We ran into technical problems and teething issues with some of them, which was stressful for me and bad for the company from a financial perspective. It cost us many, many millions, and that loss was a big learning curve for me.