David Andrews Jr.
Wet'n'Wild Palm Springs
Palm Springs, California - USA
Featured in "World Waterpark Magazine," June 2018
WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE?
I have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and I am 6 credits shy of an MBA. I have worked in the industry for more than 20 years having started out as a lifeguard.
WHAT CERTIFICATION OR LICENSING DO YOU HAVE?
I have been an E&A Instructor for the majority of my career, as well as a CPO. I also have a COMP TIA+ computer repair certification, California Security Guard, Riverside County Food Handler, Fork Lift training and Low Angle Ropes certification.
WHAT HONORS, AWARDS OR SPECIAL RECOGNITION HAVE YOU ACHIEVED?
I have been a part of several award-winning life- guard staffs over the years that have won Platinum, Gold and Silver awards from Ellis & Associates. Back in the ‘old days’ of lifeguard competition, I received several medals for competition include a silver at the national level. Here in California we were awarded an Innovation Award for an event we put on with the American Cancer Society. That was a special event and I was truly honored because of it.
WHAT MADE YOU GO INTO THIS FIELD?
The waterpark near my home growing up was always such fun and I dreamed of lifeguarding there one day. Eventually I did, and I guess I just could not shake it out of my system. When I was offered the opportunity to work year round, I jumped on it.
WHAT ASPECT OF THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY DO YOU LIKE BEST?
This is an atmosphere of fun and family. That is truly the best part of the industry. It relates to the park guests, but it goes beyond that to the employees as well. It’s hard to beat the camaraderie and friendships built in this industry.
WHO HAS MOST INSPIRED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
The front line employees, especially the young ones, have always inspired me. The growth that they experience working in the park is visible.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE GREATEST CHALLENGE IN YOUR WATERPARK CAREER?
Moving across the country and taking on a role at a new park with a team I had never worked with was my greatest challenge. Before coming to California, I had assisted in other parks, but I was always based at the same park. I grew up with a team I put together over the years and under the guidance of the same boss. It was very difficult to move states because I had to understand new state guidelines, different employment laws and I had to earn and build the trust of a team that did not know me. It’s been a great experience and positively helped my growth.
HOW DO YOU KEEP FOCUSED AND MOTIVATED?
The seasonal nature of our business gives everyone a moment to breath at some point. It is a real blessing to be able to step back and evaluate how everything works. Then you can make adjustments and implement for the new season. How many businesses essentially shut down and then reopen? It really is a great time to be able to prepare, change, update, grow, etc.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO IS INTERESTED IN WORKING IN THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY?
I would tell them to wear many hats. That is how I was able to succeed. The business requires a team effort from every manager and supervisor. Anyone who has ever worked during the shoulder season knows exactly what I mean.
WHAT BOOKS OR PUBLICATIONS DO YOU RELY ON MOST FOR INSPIRATION OR MOTIVATION?
The Bible, but I rely on that for motivation and inspiration inside and out of work. I would also suggest any trade publication related to our industry. Articles and advice come from peers who know and understand the business the same way. I would also suggest The Mentor Leader
by Tony Dungy. It is a great book on leading by way of building up others.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB?
Working with so many great young people. I love to share what I have learned and I enjoy mentoring and educating.
WHAT CAREER OR BUSINESS WOULD YOU CONSIDER IF YOU WERE STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN?
I would be a school teacher. The rewards of working with young folks to mentor and educate are similar to those of our industry.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH THE WWA?
I first attended a WWA show back in 2002.
WHAT IS SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOU THAT FEW KNOW OR WOULD GUESS?
I was born in Wales and share a birthday with my father.