Admissions & Operations Manager
Wild Island Family Adventure Park
Sparks, Nevada - USA
Featured in "World Waterpark Magazine," April 2017
WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE?
I received an associate’s degree in biology from a local community college and have 12 years of waterpark experience under my belt, all at Wild Island. I have worked in almost every department: operations, group sales and currently in admissions. I have a one page resume and couldn’t be more pleased about it.
WHAT CERTIFICATION OR LICENSING DO YOU HAVE?
I am a Lifeguard Instructor certified through Ellis & Associates and a Certified Food Safety Manager.
WHAT MADE YOU GO INTO THIS FIELD?
Really, it’s what made me STAY in this field. I got into the field totally by chance. I showed up to a Wild Island job fair when I was 14 looking for a summer job. I think what really inspired me to stay in the field was when I attended my first Ellis & Associates safety school. I met all these passionate people and realized there was so much more to the industry than just managing a waterpark. After that I attended my first IAAPA and WWA events where I fell even more in love with the industry and all it has to offer. I haven’t looked back since.
WHAT ASPECT OF THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY DO YOU LIKE BEST?
How fast paced it is. I like feeling busy and accomplishing tasks quickly. When you only have about 100 days to operate, you get a lot done in a short period of time. I also love how the industry is always changing. There is always something new and unique to see!
WHO HAS MOST INSPIRED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
My general manager Scott Carothers. I have been fortunate enough to work for him since I started at Wild Island. He is an excellent leader, an even better motivator and someone I aspire to be like. There are so many others: Craig Buster, Barrett Byers, Joe Stefanyak, Scott Deisley and Frank Perez. This industry is truly full of amazing people.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE GREATEST CHALLENGE IN YOUR WATERPARK CAREER?
It’s never really been challenging but the one thing that has changed the most is how my career affects my social life. Growing up going to school, you learn to look forward to your summer vacations. When you work at a waterpark, it’s the opposite. You don’t get to take the boat out as often as you used to or go camping every weekend with your friends. Instead you look forward to snow shoe trips or winter vacations to the beach. It’s a different mindset to get into.
HOW DO YOU KEEP FOCUSED AND MOTIVATED?
I am a runner. I’ve run 4 half marathons so far. I am able to clear my mind and really focus on what it is I want/need to accomplish. Running allows me the time to reflect on my goals, both personal and professional. LOTS of time…I’m pretty slow.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO IS INTERESTED IN WORKING IN THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY?
Do it! It is an amazing industry filled with incredible people and opportunities. The possibilities are endless. Also, educate yourself. Go to the trade shows. Sit through the seminars. See the exciting things the industry has to offer. There are so many great resources available to advance, so use them!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB?
I love my kids (my staff). It’s amazing and rewarding to watch them grow and mature over the years. I have kids that I hired at 14 years old in nursing and law schools now. I couldn’t be prouder of the amazing individuals they have become.
WHAT CAREER OR BUSINESS WOULD YOU CONSIDER IF YOU WERE STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN?
I would be a social media professional. I think the power of social media is fascinating. I would love to just manage a dozen or so social media pages for various companies.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH THE WWA?
I attended the WWA Show for the first time in 2014 to go through a Waterslide Dispatch Operator course offered by Ellis & Associates. In 2016, I had the pleasure of being a speaker for the WWA University: In-Park Revenue School. I look forward to hopefully speaking again in 2017.
WHAT IS SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOU THAT FEW KNOW OR WOULD GUESS?
I love trivia. I record every episode of “Jeopardy” and binge watch them during my free time. Music trivia is my favorite. I’ve won music trivia “competitions” in the U.S., Mexico and Antigua. So, I guess you could say I’m an international music trivia champion.