Great Coasters, Great Internships

By , October 12, 2017
Mike Troise

 

Hi! My name is Mike and I am one of the two fall interns at GCII. With the closing of the Florence Kentucky office, I am stationed out here at the main facility in Sunbury, PA. I have been with GCI for about 4 weeks, and have already gotten quite involved and learned a lot. But first, let me more formally introduce myself.

I am a mechanical engineering student at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY and will graduate with BS and ME degrees in December of 2018. While I actually grew up terrified of amusement rides, around the age of 10 or 11, I decided to get over my fear by riding some larger rides, and what do you know, I was hooked instantly!! My love of amusement parks, and specifically roller coasters, grew rapidly and from that moment on I wanted to design these impressive engineering marvels. I thought I was the only one who shared this crazy passion, but I met many others in college, and became a founding member of the RIT Theme Park Enthusiasts. Through this club, I was able to get my start in the industry with Universal Creative through attending design competitions as well as industry events such as ASTM F24 conferences and the IAAPA Expo in Orlando. My first contact with GCI was early on in college when I sent them a resume for an internship. While I was not given an offer, a year or two later I was invited to their FREDx convention where I had the chance to interview. Now here I am today, getting to partake in the internship of my dreams.

While I have only been at GCI for a few weeks I have already learned a lot about their products and what it takes to make these rides come to life. My main tasks thus far have been split between organizing inventory, putting together replacement part shipments, and helping assemble millennium flyer trains for a future project. This has included assembly of the foam seat bottoms and backs, lap bar locking mechanisms, and more. I have seen the importance of organization in a shop, and knowing where your inventory is located can drastically cut down on time to get shipments out the door and components made.

One of the most fun yet challenging aspects of an engineer’s job, is to drastically change a product you already have to meet the needs of a new customer. I have gotten to watch this process during the last few weeks at GCI. While the millennium flyers are perfectly safe trains that meet all safety standards, sometimes parks want additional systems that check lap bar monitoring, others may want a way to quiet the anti-rollback devices, and still others will want all of the above and potentially more. This poses a ton of unique challenges when your chassis is only so big. The engineers and mechanics in our shop have been hard at work tweaking designs to get the proper functionality in our limited space. Time is so much of the essence with projects such as this that myself and the other intern you will hear from (Robert) have taken multiple road trips in company vehicles to pick up necessary parts to complete the project.

Overall this set of trains is coming along well and it has been neat to watch them go from bare chassis weldments to full cars with seats, lap bars and more. It has been a wild ride thus far but I know I still have so much more to learn. Thank you for reading and please check back again soon to get the latest on what is happening at the GCI headquarters in Sunbury!

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