Richard Sharnsky Jr., CPRP
Bahama Beach Waterpark/City of Dallas
Dallas, Texas - USA
Featured in "World Waterpark Magazine," September 2019
WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE?
I have a bachelor’s degree from the United States Sports Academy in sports science. Currently, I am the General Manager at Bahama Beach Waterpark, which in owned and operated by the City of Dallas. I have worked as a lifeguard, swim instructor, swim coach, manager and even a water fitness instructor.
WHAT CERTIFICATION OR LICENSING DO YOU HAVE?
My certifications include: American Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor, Certified Pool Operator, Certified Park and Recreation Professional from the National Recreation and Park Association and Certified Professional Food Manager.
WHAT HONORS, AWARDS OR SPECIAL RECOGNITION HAVE YOU ACHIEVED?
Under my tenure at Bahama Beach Waterpark, we’ve won WWA Wave Review Awards for Best Brochure and Best TV Commercial. I also served as the president for the Employee Advisory Counsel for the park and recreation department within the City of Dallas.
WHAT MADE YOU GO INTO THIS FIELD?
My passion for the water started with swimming lessons at the local YMCA. Then, swimming on my high school swim team led to my interest in the aquatics field.
WHAT ASPECT OF THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY DO YOU LIKE BEST?
The guests are my favorite aspect of the industry. Seeing the smiling faces of our guests at the end of their day at the waterpark makes all the work worth it.
WHO HAS MOST INSPIRED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
I have been very fortunate to have had many influential leaders in my career. From my first job as a lifeguard to my current role at Bahama Beach Waterpark, I’ve had many great mentors who’ve taught me a lot. Thank you to Jeanne Wunderle, Kurt Carmen, John Gloyd and my current manager, Robin Steinshnider, for all the great advice and inspiration.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE GREATEST CHALLENGE IN YOUR WATERPARK CAREER?
The greatest challenge in my career has been managing the only inner-city waterpark in the United States. Each day can have unique challenges that are often not faced at a waterpark but this has been the most rewarding aspect of the job.
HOW DO YOU KEEP FOCUSED AND MOTIVATED?
Any opportunities that I’ve faced during the prior season keep me motivated through the off-season. I spend time thinking about what we could’ve done better and determine root cause. It helps us continue to evolve with today’s aquatic industry.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO IS INTERESTED IN WORKING IN THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY?
Always remember that you can’t do it alone; your team is your most valuable asset.
WHAT BOOKS OR PUBLICATIONS DO YOU RELY ON MOST FOR INSPIRATION OR MOTIVATION?
I often refer to Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
by Richard Carlson. It reminds me how to keep from letting the little things in life drive me crazy.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB?
My favorite part of the job is interacting with our returning guests. Seeing our guests have a great time at the park and hearing them say what a great time they are having make the long and hot days worth it. Some of guests are not able to take trips to larger destination-type facilities, and sometimes we may be the only vacation they have. So we strive to make the experience they have the best possible.
WHAT CAREER OR BUSINESS WOULD YOU CONSIDER IF YOU WERE STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN?
If I was to start my career over, I would be a physical therapist. I would enjoy helping my clients through the recovery progression and seeing the end result.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH THE WWA?
When I moved from Ohio to Texas is when I first became involved with WWA. I’ve attended several conferences and found them to be an excellent resource for information and great for networking.
WHAT IS SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOU THAT FEW KNOW OR WOULD GUESS?
I am a certified scuba diver and I’ve gone swimming with sharks.