Waterpark General Manager
The Wave Waterpark
Vista, California - USA
Featured in "World Waterpark Magazine," May 2018
WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE?
I started my professional experience as a lifeguard at Knott’s Soak City in 2002. In my 5 years working there, I was very fortunate to also have an opportunity to work at the hard park. I held many diverse jobs such as a Halloween Haunt Talent Captain and Christmas Lighting Decorator. I was promoted to Waterpark Supervisor for summer operations, and my final position was a Supervisor in the Rides department. In 2007, I was given the opportunity to move to San Diego and start a career in the public sector at The Wave Waterpark. My first job at The Wave Waterpark was the Assistant Waterpark Manager. In that job, I continued to grow and gain knowledge about office operations, hiring, maintenance, marketing and guest relations. In 2017, I was promoted to General Manager and have started a new role and journey in the waterpark world.
WHAT CERTIFICATION OR LICENSING DO YOU HAVE?
My certifications include being a StarGuard ELITE Lifeguard Instructor, an Aquatic Facility Operator and a Food Safety Manager.
WHAT HONORS, AWARDS OR SPECIAL RECOGNITION HAVE YOU ACHIEVED?
I have been nominated for Employee of the Year with the City of Vista.
WHAT MADE YOU GO INTO THIS FIELD?
Similar to most stories, I started in this industry as seasonal summer lifeguard. The job gave me pride in my skills, and the confidence to grow from a lifeguard to a leader.
WHAT ASPECT OF THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY DO YOU LIKE BEST?
I love to develop the young staff members and see their excitement grow for this industry. It is so rewarding to see employees you have hired and trained continue on to build their own career in the waterpark world!
WHO HAS MOST INSPIRED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
Jeanie Buss, owner and president of the Los Angeles Lakers, really inspires me.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE GREATEST CHALLENGE IN YOUR WATERPARK CAREER?
The greatest challenge I have faced is keeping the summers new and fresh. It’s easy to fall into the habits of what we have always done.
HOW DO YOU KEEP FOCUSED AND MOTIVATED?
I keep focused by doing things I love to do with my time off work. That could be relaxing at the beach, snowboarding, camping, anything in nature and hanging out with my family. This helps me clear my head, remember why I work so hard and to keep going.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO IS INTERESTED IN WORKING IN THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY?
The industry has many different aspects and you must be willing to work hard to learn a wide base of knowledge, from water chemistry, to guest service, food service, hosting trainings and media interaction.
WHAT BOOKS OR PUBLICATIONS DO YOU RELY ON MOST FOR INSPIRATION OR MOTIVATION?
I am currently reading Quiet
by Susan Cain. I enjoy reading books that challenge me as a manager and give me tools to help grow the diverse group of employees I lead each summer.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB?
I love that it’s a continuous cycle with different focuses in each season. The off-season gives you time to do maintenance projects, organize your office, attend conferences and start to plan for the summer. Then, hiring and training season starts and this gets you excited for the summer to come. It is great to feel so successful with every completed training. Summer is here before we know it, but we embrace the sunscreen smell, hot days and excited children because this is our time to show how our preparation and off-season work pays off. Closing out a successful summer of enjoyment for the guests is my favorite part and I cannot wait to start the cycle again!
WHAT CAREER OR BUSINESS WOULD YOU CONSIDER IF YOU WERE STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN?
I think the amusement world would have captured me. I enjoy the guests, and the fact that people come to my work to have fun!
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH THE WWA?
The first WWA show I attended was in New Orleans in 2011. I was impressed with the variety of training sessions offered. It is very nice to be a part of WWA, as the organization truly wants to give waterparks the tools to succeed.
WHAT IS SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOU THAT FEW KNOW OR WOULD GUESS?
I witnessed someone being struck by lightning.