Final Lessons

By , May 12, 2014
Manny Esteves

What just happened? I swear it was January last week and now it’s freaking May?! What gives? Well, sadly this will be my final post for Great Coasters International as an intern. I can’t even fathom the amount of information I learned about roller coasters, the amusement industry and even myself in the past 5 months. I transitioned from that nervous kid who had Dan watching over his shoulder to taking the initiative to get things done independently and surprise, the more time I spent here the less hiccups that occurred. I felt like I’ve grown as an engineer and I’m looking to take the knowledge and experience I have with me to the next level, whatever that may be. So here’s my wrap up and my final lessons.

Last August I decided to quit my job as a ride-op, drove out to Conneaut Lake Park to go help out with a TV show with a group of people I had barely known. I made a great impression, which turned into a professional connection and eventually a position with Great Coasters.

So Lesson 9: take those risks, it’s what this industry is built on.

I wouldn’t have gotten that opportunity had it not been for the Penn State Theme Park Engineering Group (TPEG), the connections the older members made allowed the younger members to get their foot in the door and pick up where they left off. Also, I was elected President this semester, so hopefully I can continue the great work we’ve done.

Lesson 10: There’s strength in numbers, and it’s a lot easier to engage professionals when there’s a group behind you.

You never know who will end up associating with what project and will have a need for a someone with your skills and passion. So put yourself out there, go to conferences, get that job in your local park, network!

Lesson 11: Any experience is better than no experience in this industry.

Lesson 12: Go to IAAPA (plain and simple).

And my final observation is, this industry is tough. It’s a field that has a lot of prospects and not many spots. You’re going to have some periods of doubt along the way, so you have to really ask yourself “how badly do I want this? Am I willing to risk putting all my effort in with a chance of getting no result?” I’ve asked myself this question every day at work, and the answer is always the same. I’ve wanted this more than I’ve wanted anything in my life and I’m going to give it everything I have to make it. So…

Lesson 13: Don’t follow your dreams, chase them.

Thanks to everyone at Great Coasters International for making this amazing opportunity an awesome experience and a special thanks to Chris for giving me the chance to achieve one of my dreams. I couldn’t have dreamt of a better company to start out with.


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