Farewell to Florence

By , December 23, 2016
Tyler Mullins

Farewell Florence

It’s now been four months to the day that I started my internship with Great Coasters International and what a roller coaster ride it’s been (pun intended). These four months have been filled with so many incredible opportunities – I had the chance to learn new software while modeling Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s InvadR, fly to Arizona to make connections at a technical conference, visit Mystic Timbers’ construction site at Kings Island, and so much more. It’s hard to believe that today is the last day here in Florence, as it still feels like only yesterday that it was my first day in the office and I came in without realizing that I was wearing my polo inside-out (yeah… let’s not talk about that part though).

For my final post I thought I would share a few final things I’ve learned as a GCI intern that I haven’t blogged about yet. It’s cool to have worked on some upcoming roller coasters and to get a behind-the-scenes look at how parts of the industry operate, but some of the most valuable things I’ve learned are lessons that I’ll still be able to apply outside of a company that makes roller coasters (although a career in the industry, whether for a park or a manufacturer, is still the end goal). These lessons include…


…It’s Okay Not to Know Things

There is a lot that goes into a roller coaster. Like, I’ve loved roller coasters and theme parks since I was a little kid and thought I had a pretty good understanding and knowledge of all things coasters. Turns out there’s a lot I didn’t account for or even consider.

On my first day I was given the owner/operator’s manual for one of GCII’s recent projects and told to start reading. Every page had terminology, diagrams, and descriptions that just went straight over my head. I have a much better understanding four months later, but up until this last day I’m still being introduced to new things daily and am continually learning more about how the rides are built and operated.

It’s okay not to know something. Everyone starts there, and it’s only through lack of knowledge that you then have the opportunity to learn.


…Mistakes Will Happen. Use Them to Your Advantage

I’m a sucker for inspirational quotes. One of my new-found favorites, typically accredited to Henry Ford, is “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”

In the process of learning all these new things at Great Coasters, I’ve definitely made some mistakes along the way. I’ve had to remake models and update drawings after learning I goofed small things up. And while I could let these mistakes frustrate me, it’s better to instead focus on what I learned in the process and apply it to my work in the future.


…Expect the Unexpected

Great Coasters is opening four new roller coasters in 2017, more than the company has ever built in one year. That means four massive construction projects that each consist of thousands of parts, dozens of workers, and seemingly endless hours. There is a lot that needs to be done before any of these rides can open to the public and I had the chance to work on different components of each of them. Walking into work each day though I rarely knew which project I would be focused on that day. And, in the midst of doing something for one project, I would often get a phone call or email instructing me to switch to something different.

I learned the importance of being flexible and expecting the unexpected. It was important to adapt quickly, as one moment I could be working on bents for Kings Island and a minute later I’m searching for a drawing for Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s transfer table. I sometimes felt thrown-in to these situations, but I’ve discovered that is one of the quickest ways to learn something new.


So, now that my internship is just about wrapped-up, what’s next? I’ll be returning to Ohio State University in January for my penultimate semester. I’ll be president of the school’s Theme Park Engineering Group (shameless plug – check out our website at tpegosu.com), working for Residence Life, and taking a variety of classes. Come summer I’m hoping to return to the industry for another internship and have already begun applying for positions. Then, after graduating next December, my goal is to begin a career in the industry.

I am extremely grateful for my time at Great Coasters and for all the amazing opportunities I’ve been given. I’ve learned so much, met some fantastic people, and reaffirmed my passion for the industry. Big thank you to the amazing team behind Great Coasters for everything. It’s been an incredible four months and I can’t wait to see what’s next!

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