Discovery Island Waterpark/Greenville County Parks, Recreation & Tourism
Simpsonville, South Carolina - USA
Featured in "World Waterpark Magazine," February 2018
WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE?
I have a bachelor’s degree in business from Furman University. I started coaching summer swim teams and lifeguarding to help pay for college. I swam in college and after college swam United States Masters. After some time away from aquatics, I missed the community involvement in the aquatics industry and reentered the aquatics arena 15 years ago as an Aquatics Program Coordinator for Greenville County Recreation. Since then, I have moved into managing our largest waterpark and overseeing our training program.
WHAT CERTIFICATION OR LICENSING DO YOU HAVE?
I am currently a Starfish and StarGuard Instructor Trainer, and a Certified Pool and Aquatics Facility Operator. In my career I have also been a Red Cross Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor Trainer.
WHAT HONORS, AWARDS OR SPECIAL RECOGNITION HAVE YOU ACHIEVED?
I have recently completed Furman’s Women’s Leadership program. Our agency and waterpark has received numerous awards from WWA and Aquatics International
WHAT MADE YOU GO INTO THIS FIELD?
I wanted to be able to give back to the community. What better way than to have folks visit one of our waterparks and leave with huge smiles on their faces, regardless of what challenges they might be facing?
WHAT ASPECT OF THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY DO YOU LIKE BEST?
I love seeing the lasting connection between our staff and the community. Friendships are forged for a lifetime (and some marriages as well.)
WHO HAS MOST INSPIRED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
Inspiration comes to me in three ways: “to influence” - Ms. Julie VanAmon, the first person to teach me the benefits swimming has to the community and myself; “to encourage” - Mr. David Tyler, my first swimming coach, and Dr. Michael Kriegel, my first mentor to help me stay the path; and “to motivate” - my staff for making every summer an enjoyable one.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE GREATEST CHALLENGE IN YOUR WATERPARK CAREER?
Our waterpark is seasonal; so I think the biggest challenge is answering the question: “What do you do in the off season.”
HOW DO YOU KEEP FOCUSED AND MOTIVATED?
Staying focused is easy. I am very fortunate to work with an organization that gives you opportunities to grow outside of your “box.” I have had many opportunities to learn all aspects of aquatics from design to construction, pump room maintenance, human resources and finances. Motivation comes from knowing that you make a difference for someone every day. Also, knowing your profession has made a happy memory for someone is motivation enough.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO IS INTERESTED IN WORKING IN THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY?
Never stop learning. Aquatics has many doors. Be willing to peek inside each to learn and see what challenges they offer.
WHAT BOOKS OR PUBLICATIONS DO YOU RELY ON MOST FOR INSPIRATION OR MOTIVATION?
I enjoy reading many of the books we were required to read in high school and college now that I have a better appreciation for their message. WWA publications can always be found in my office and are a resource for both inspiration and motivation.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB?
The favorite part of my job is getting to go work every day knowing that no two days are going to be the same and seeing people enjoying themselves at our parks.
WHAT CAREER OR BUSINESS WOULD YOU CONSIDER IF YOU WERE STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN?
I think I would lean toward going into risk management or physical therapy.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH THE WWA?
I got involved with WWA when we were preparing to open our first waterpark and we were searching for other experts to glean information from in our field.
WHAT IS SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOU THAT FEW KNOW OR WOULD GUESS?
I used to play the French horn and I make a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake from scratch.