Vice Chairman of the Board, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment; Chair, Finance Committee
James D. Atchison is Vice Chairman of the Board at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc. He began his career in 1985 at Busch Gardens Tampa. Atchison has held leadership positions in park operations, finance, business analysis and marketing and has worked at six BEC parks.
Atchison served as Executive Vice President and General Manager of SeaWorld Orlando and Discovery Cove.
Atchison holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of South Florida and an MBA from the University of Central Florida.
A strong supporter of the Orlando community, Atchison is active in civic projects and serves on the boards of Special Olympics, Boys & Girls Clubs, United Arts, Orlando/Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Florida Chamber of Commerce, the UCF/Rosen College of Hospitality Management and the UCF College of Business – Dean’s Executive Council. Florida Governor Jeb Bush reappointed him to a second term on the Florida Commission on Tourism, the agency that oversees Florida’s tourism effort.
A former soccer standout from the University of South Florida, he also enjoys sailing and basketball. Atchison and his wife Elli have two sons and a daughter.
SPECIFIC CAREER BACKGROUND: Atchison at 19 started as an Operations Host at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fla. Atchison was promoted to Park Operations Supervisor and then Business Analyst. In 1992, shortly after the Anheuser Busch acquisition of the SeaWorld parks, Atchison moved to SeaWorld San Antonio as Manager of Business Analysis. He was promoted to Finance Director two years later and then transferred to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in 1996 as Finance Director.
He was promoted to Finance Vice President two years later. In February 2002 Atchison transferred to SeaWorld Orlando as Marketing Vice President, serving in that role until February 2003 when he was promoted to Executive Vice President and General Manager for SeaWorld Orlando, Discovery Cove and Aquatica.