The GM of Desert Falls Water & Adventure Park, Hilton Salwa Beach Resort & Villas
How did you become involved in leisure industry management?
It’s quite an unusual career goal. I grew up going to amusement parks with my family at an early age. When I got to college, I began lifeguarding as a way to pay for school. I studied at Central Michigan University and went on to receive my Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Northampton in the United States. I have a passion for aquatics which is why I spent my summers working at a large waterpark. I slowly moved up into management and felt like I could really make a difference. I still feel that I make a difference with my team here at Desert Falls Water & Adventure Park.
What first brought you to the Middle East?
I first moved to the Middle East in 2012 to be part of the opening of Yas Waterworld, Abu Dhabi. After positions across the region managing major water and theme parks, I was at Ferrari World, the world’s largest indoor theme park. I have stayed to work at one of the largest theme parks in the Middle East, Desert Falls Water & Adventure Park. We have a diversity of rides and slides that are jaw dropping!
What’s the best part of your job at Desert Falls?
The best part of my job is training skills that will last our team members a lifetime. Whether it’s CPR, computer skills or teamwork, this is knowledge they can take anywhere. Teamwork is imperative and continuously encourages a fun and engaging environment for everyone on my team. Desert Falls Water & Adventure Park is one of the largest theme parks in the Middle East, which attracts guests from all over and we train our lifeguards to keep our guests safe.
After 20 years in the industry, do you still get a thrill from going on the rides sometimes and which are the ones everyone should try at Desert Falls?
There are certain rides that never fail to provide the excitement and thrills, no matter how many times you ride them. My favourites at the park are the Family Abyss and Whizzard Mat Racer. The Abyss is different each time depending on where you are positioned within the tube. It also stays a thrill because you can ride the slides with different people each time and the looks of excitement, nerves and sometimes fear, get me every time. The Whizzard is always a thrilling slide due to the experience of travelling head first down the slide while competing against your friends. Although those are my favourites, I would highly recommend guests to also try our canyoning experience. The canyoning attraction at Desert Falls is the first manmade canyoning structure in the Middle East. Therefore, many of our guests have never experienced anything like it. It is not only a thrill to take guests but truly inspiring to see how they conquer the fear and jump into the pools from various heights. Everyone should experience this when visiting Desert Falls Water & Adventure Park.
What do you like to do in Qatar when you’re not working?
Qatar has a lot to offer and tourism has a big role within the country and more and more attractions and facilities are available for people to explore. Personally, I have really enjoyed exploring this country from sinkholes to heritage sites, to museums, there is always something new and exciting to discover. ✤