Assistant General Manager
The Wave Waterpark
Vista, California - USA
Featured in World Waterpark Magazine
, January 2020
WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE?
I started lifeguarding right out of high school and through college at Nevada State where I studied public administration of law enforcement. During that time, I also trained to become a firefighter, and I still work as a firefighter for the Clark County Fire Department in Nevada. Overall, I have been in the waterpark industry for ten years and a firefighter for five.
WHAT CERTIFICATION OR LICENSING DO YOU HAVE?
I currently am a level 3 instructor with StarGuard ELITE, EMT-certified, AFO-certified and I have my Serve Safe food manager certification.
WHAT HONORS, AWARDS OR SPECIAL RECOGNITION HAVE YOU ACHIEVED?
In 2013, I was one of the recipients of the WWA’s Emerging Leaders Employee of the Year award.
WHAT MADE YOU GO INTO THIS FIELD?
I was a junior guard at The Wave Waterpark when I was growing up. I couldn’t wait until I was able to become a lifeguard. I joined the team at The Wave my senior year of high school and worked every summer when I came home from college. When I finished college, I asked if they need help in the off-season; after that I never left.
WHAT ASPECT OF THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY DO YOU LIKE BEST?
The best aspect of the job for me is working outside and being very active. I worked in an office during college and I couldn’t wait until summer so I could get out and move around. Plus I don’t know of any other job where I can wear a bathing suit and flip flops and still be in uniform.
WHO HAS MOST INSPIRED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
My former manager, Natalie Livingston. I would never have thought of continuing in the waterpark industry without her nudge.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE GREATEST CHALLENGE IN YOUR WATERPARK CAREER?
My greatest challenge has been finding a balance. In the summer months it’s long days, for days on end. So finding a balance to spend time with family and friends during that time really keeps me sane.
HOW DO YOU KEEP FOCUSED AND MOTIVATED?
What keeps me motivated is thinking of ways each year to keep it new and fresh for not only our guests, but also our employees. I enjoy working with my team to come up with a new idea and then the process it goes through to bring that idea to life is amazing to watch.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO IS INTERESTED IN WORKING IN THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY?
Be a duck. Ducks on the surface look like they are swimming with no effort, but under the surface they are paddling like crazy. Even on a crazy busy day, it is important that as a manager or supervisor, externally, we look cool and calm. Internally, I can be running through everything we need to check on, while being prepared to handle the next guest concern that comes through the radio.
WHAT BOOKS OR PUBLICATIONS DO YOU RELY ON MOST FOR INSPIRATION OR MOTIVATION?
For me, a book titled First In, Last Out
by John Salka has really helped me while I moved up the ranks. It uses examples from the fire department and translates it to leadership in any setting. This has been very helpful for me using my knowledge in the fire department and the leadership structure they use to lead my team who are not experienced in the fire department.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB?
I know it’s cheesy but my co-workers. They are some of the funniest people I know and decompressing with them by joking around are some of the best times I have.
WHAT CAREER OR BUSINESS WOULD YOU CONSIDER IF YOU WERE STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN?
Lucky for me I do not need to start all over again. I also work as a firefighter, which was my first passion. I am very grateful that I am able to pursue both my passions at the same time.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH THE WWA?
I first got involved in WWA when I was nominated and won an Emerging Leaders award in 2013. Since then, I have volunteered each year only missing one show in the past six years.
WHAT IS SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOU THAT FEW KNOW OR WOULD GUESS?
I think there are only a few people who actually know that is I have six names in total. Each one is also very unique, and complicated to say. Thanks, Mom and Dad.