Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark/American Resort Management
Grand Prairie, Texas- USA
Featured in "World Waterpark Magazine," July/August 2019
WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE?
I graduated from Southwest Texas State University with a bachelor’s degree in sports science. I have been working in the aquatics industry for 24 years.
WHAT CERTIFICATION OR LICENSING DO YOU HAVE?
I am an E&A Lifeguard Instructor and Certified Pool Operator.
WHAT HONORS, AWARDS OR SPECIAL RECOGNITION HAVE YOU ACHIEVED?
Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark received a Leading Edge Award from the WWA’s Board of Directors in 2018.
WHAT MADE YOU GO INTO THIS FIELD?
I have always had a passion for the service industry. We make memories on a daily basis and I enjoy being a part of that.
WHAT ASPECT OF THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY DO YOU LIKE BEST?
I love that the industry is collaborative. No matter what you are able to reach out to other parks across the country and even the world and learn about new and exciting practices that you can take back to your own facility.
WHO HAS MOST INSPIRED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
There are 2 individuals that pushed me to continue to grow in this industry. Scott Deisely was the first to see the potential in me. He gave me great advice whenever I needed it and was influential in me choosing this career. The other is Diana Hindi. As a mentor and leader at JW Marriott Hill Country and Resort in San Antonio, Texas, she really took me under her wing in learning more of the hospitality/resort side of operating a facility. She gave great advice and provided timely feedback to keep me going in the right direction.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE GREATEST CHALLENGE IN YOUR WATERPARK CAREER?
There are some inherent challenges operating waterparks in rural areas. I opened H2Oasis Indoor Waterpark in 2001 in Anchorage, Alaska and operated Jay Peak Pump House in 2015 in Jay, Vermont. The number of applicants that you have in those areas can be challenging at times. You have to be inventive to bring in new applicants where outdoor jobs are more the norm.
HOW DO YOU KEEP FOCUSED AND MOTIVATED?
Each day is a new day. There is a cadence I start with every day: setting up my checklists, walking the park, performing safety checks, checking support operations, etc. But knowing each day brings forth a new set of challenges makes the job fresh. I take pride being able to troubleshoot issues that come up and overcome unforeseen circumstances.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO IS INTERESTED IN WORKING IN THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY?
Be patient, listen and take a chance. Early in my career I worked hard and learned as much as I could about the waterpark industry. My time at two Schlitterbahn Waterpark locations gave me much-need experience to do what I have done in the industry. I was blessed to learn from great leaders in the waterpark industry working for Schlitterbahn. If this is the career you choose, look to the individuals working with you and learn from their experience.
WHAT BOOKS OR PUBLICATIONS DO YOU RELY ON MOST FOR INSPIRATION OR MOTIVATION?
Disney Institute: Be Our Guest
. This book is what we base all of our service strategies on at Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark. It is the standard and is a great read.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB?
When our guest’s leave the facility with a smile on their face, that is everything to me.
WHAT CAREER OR BUSINESS WOULD YOU CONSIDER IF YOU WERE STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN?
There was a time early in my life that I was researching going into the Fire Academy and became a fire fighter.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH THE WWA?
I first got involved in 2001 when I was opening H2Oasis Indoor Waterpark and I was trying to find best practices for opening a waterpark where waterparks are an afterthought. I reached out for recruiting efforts and EAP support.
WHAT IS SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOU THAT FEW KNOW OR WOULD GUESS?
As a 5 year old, I swallowed a 3” nail on the first day we moved into our new apartment in Mannheim, Germany fresh from the United States. I still have the Oscar the Grouch stuffed animal that was awarded to me for my troubles.