By , August 9, 2013
Eric Wilcox

To all GCII enthusiasts,

Today is my last day at GCII so I thought I would give one final blog post. Most of the shelving racks that I designed have been fabricated, built and stood as of today. The only remaining shelving units to be made are ones designed specifically for our crates used to hold brackets for job sites (batter straps, ledger clips, etc.). Once the shelves are completed there will be over 150 spaces for crates & pallets! Talk about a dramatic increase in storage capacity!

The past couple days I’ve been assisting Dan with a top secret project that GCII has been working on for a major amusement park. I can’t really share any details but be on the lookout for an announcement from GCII in the coming months!

My seven and half months here at GCII have been really exciting and I’ve learned so much about the amusement & roller coaster industry. Since I’ve already wrote a “farewell” blog earlier,  I’ll focus on some tips for those interested in getting involved in the industry. First, watch GCII’s Facebook for when the next FREDxGCII event will be held.  It’s a great event to not only network with GCII but to meet individuals who are equally as interested in the industry. Next, if you are able, I highly recommend traveling to the IAAPA trade show down in Orlando, FL. All of the ride manufacturers will be present there and it’s an excellent opportunity to meet industry leaders and network. You never know, you could find a company looking for an intern or even wishing to fill a full-time position.

Finally, my last piece of advice is to never give up on your dream of being a part of the industry. Always keep your options open and be persistent. The industry is a very specialized field and it can take time to obtain a career in this industry but it is a very rewarding one.

With my internship at GCII at an end, I’m looking forward to my next adventure in the amusement industry. I recently accepted an offer to work in maintenance at Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO. I’ll be working on Wildfire, the B&M sit-down looper I’m super excited about my new job, and all the new parks I’ll be able to visit out in the Midwest!

This is Eric Wilcox, signing off!

By , June 28, 2013
Eric Wilcox

Surprise! Turns out my last post was not going to be my last day at GCII. Clair has asked me to stay on for a couple weeks to assist with the preparation of the new shelving units that I designed. Dan and I have been consolidating inventory and rearranging the shop to make space for where the new shelving units will be placed. One of the shelving units has been built (not put in place yet) and more should be made next week. Once completed, I believe the new shelving will help increase efficiency for managing inventory and sending out hardware for repair jobs

Stay tuned!

By , June 14, 2013
Eric Wilcox

Hello everyone,

Today is my last day at Great Coasters International. While I am sad that my internship with the company is finished, I am extremely grateful that I was given the opportunity to work inside the company. I have learned so much in the close to six months that I have been here and there is so much still to learn!

Since my last post, I have had the opportunity to visit the work site for White Lightning down in Orlando, FL. Dan and I traveled down to Florida the week before Memorial Day and assisted in the final steps to opening the ride. Having put in a lot of hours  in the shop fabricating all the structural components, it was great to see the entire coaster standing. Dan and I also got the chance to ride the coaster before it opened to the public which was extremely cool! Orlando residents should be proud that they have a great wooden coaster in their city. But the best part of the experience was getting the chance to watch the first guests enjoy the coaster that I had a part in making. It will be an experience I will never forget.

After returning from Fun Spot, Dan and I started taking inventory of all the hardware & parts that returned from the work sites in Florida & California. Every part had to be inventoried so we knew exactly how much was used on site. One might think this is an easy task but when multiple truckloads come back to shop all filled with brackets, bolts and more, it can become a time-consuming task.

Finally, Clair asked me to design higher load capactiy shelves for our pallets of hardware, track bolts and coil nails than the shelves currently used at the shop. It was a great opportunity to apply my engineering knowledge to something that will allow the company to be more efficient in day-to-day activities. Leftover steel structure from White Lightning will be used to construct my designs so if you ever visit our office in Sunbury, look for the white pallet racks!

I would like to thank Clair, Chris Gray, Jerry Long & everyone at GCII for providing the internship program to young individuals interested in the entering the amusement industry I have learned a lot about the industry through this experience and I know, now more than ever, that this is the industry I want to be a part of. It was a great experience and I will never forget it.

This is Eric Wilcox, signing off!

By , May 8, 2013
Eric Wilcox

It’s hard to believe that almost two months have passed since my last blog post. Time sure does fly by when you are working at GCII!

Since my last post, many things have happened here in Sunbury, PA. First and foremost, all the steel fabrication for White Lightning has been completed. All of the steel structure is standing down in Orlando and the ride looks incredible!  It can’t wait to ride the coaster in the near future.

With the fabrication completed, I transferred over to work with Dan on the trains for Fun Spot. A lot of my work focused around installing many of the smaller assemblies onto the coaches such as seat belts, control cables & lap bar can covers. Later on, I even had the chance to build one coach from the ground up (with the help of Dan and his expertise). While our Millennium Flyer trains may look complex to put together at first glance, our engineers have made the assembly procedure a quick & pain-free process. As of now both 6-coach trains are now either at the work site or in route.

I have also been taking advantage of the early park seasons to visit a few amusement parks including Knoebels, Dorney Park, King’s Dominion & Six Flags America. KD & SFA were new parks for me this year and I was excited to try out Roar which was the second coaster designed and built by GCII. I had a great time at all of these parks and I’m planning on visiting Hershey (my “home” park) real soon

Stay tuned for another blog entry and thanks for reading!

White Lightning Status Update

By , March 13, 2013
Eric Wilcox

To all,

Things have been extremely busy at GCII so I thought it would be a good time to give an update on White Lightning. Work is going well on the Fun Spot project both here at the shop and down on site. I believe that White Lightning will be a fantastic ride for Fun Spot and the Orlando area once completed.

For White Lightning, the first drop has been completed and some tracking has been started. Our guys sure know how to build a roller coaster in a short amount of time. For photos of the ride, be sure to check out GCII’s Facebook page.

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to give my family a tour of GCII, to show them some of my work and the progress being made on the Gold Striker trains. It was great to be able to show my family what I do everyday and show them how the machines I use are operated.  Fortunately, the weather was perfect that weekend and we all had a great time

Check back soon for another blog post!


By , February 5, 2013
Eric Wilcox

To all of the GCII enthusiasts out there,

Things are extremely busy here at GCII and there are so many things to talk about.

First, I had the opportunity to visit a company that provides the powder coating for all the steel structural components for White Lightning. The plant manager, Rex, showed me around the facility, explaining the powder coating process that our parts were going through from beginning to end. It was a neat experience to see another step in the process that our parts make before being shipped down to Orlando. The ovens used to cure the parts are extremely hot which is nice in the winter months but brutal in the summer. During my visit, Rex and I talked about how this particular shipment was to be packaged so the parts arrived in pristine condition (things can get shuffled on a large truck/trailer setup).

Back at GCII, more posts, diagonals, and some kickbacks have been cut into length and are awaiting the addition of holes needed for assembly purposes. Every piece must be checked to be sure it is the correct length, square and properly tagged with its appropriate part number. Once all the secondary operations are completed they’ll be sent to the powder coater and then to the job site. If you ever want a good upper body work out, be sure to apply for an internship at GCII! You’ll feel muscles ache you didn’t even know you had!

Chris, Colin and I had the opportunity to go to East Coaster 2013, an ACE event held near Allentown, PA. Representatives from parks such as Dollywood, Knoebels, Cedar Point and others were present to present what they were doing for the 2013 season. Usually this means announcing new rides but it can also be updates to infrastructure around the park. Ride manufacturers such as own Chris Gray and PTC also presented their projects. During the breaks in the presentations, auctions are held and some members bring memorabilia to sell so there is always something going on. It was a great experience for me and I had the pleasure of meeting Pete Owens from Dollywood and Jeffrey Siebert from Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Stay tuned for another blog posting in the near future!

By , January 20, 2013
Eric Wilcox

Hello GCII Fans!

My name is Eric Wilcox and I am GCII’s newest intern. I graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, NY. I was selected for an internship from the FREDxGCII event last July. The event is not only a great way to meet individuals in the industry but also those who share the same passion for roller coasters and amusement rides.

I spent my first day at GCII working with Dan and Colin unloading train parts and consolidating hardware into boxes for inventory. Any materials that are left over from rehab projects (such as Sky Princess at Dutch Wonderland) are sent back to Sunbury. Often times, the leftovers are pretty unorganized so it takes some times to sort all of the different bolts, nuts and other parts.

Not to long after, I was sent over to Jerry who oversees the Steel Structure department. My first task was to punch holes into Slab Anchor Angles which will be galvanized and sent down to Fun Spot in Orlando, FL. This task gave me the opportunity to use a Scotchman machine that I did not have experience using before. Josh, another employee who works with Jerry, showed me the basics on how to run the machine safely and efficiently. After only a few days, over 1000 units were ready to be galvanized (which is critical for White Lightning’s steel structure and its location in Florida).

Jerry also brought me along to help in the installation of a transfer table at Knoebels for their Flying Turns attraction. For those who do not know, the Flying Turns is an attempt at bringing back the Norman Bartlett Flying Turns from the 1920s-1930s. These intense rides were wooden bobsled style coasters (predating the steel varieties from Mack Rides and Intamin), where riders navigated helixs and tight turns. I am extremely excited about this ride and hope I will be able to ride it later this year.

Stay tuned for more of my experiences at GCII!

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