Road Trip!

By , June 9, 2015
Matt Brueckmann

Well, I’m about 5 months into working here, and it’s still surreal to me sometimes that coming to work here has become part of my every day routine. Of course, things around here are never routine, and I still kinda geek out on the inside when I discover something new and interesting at the shop. I was fortunate enough to be asked to continue my internship through the summer, which I accepted of course, so I’m excited to be learning an updating you all on some more happenings in the coming months.

Anyway, back to topic at hand, the title of this post. You may wonder what an intern does on the weekends, especially one not too familiar with this side of the US. I can’t speak for the other interns, but for me, I absolutely love traveling, which is why I’ve loved this adventure of coming all the way out to central Pennsylvania to explore and live in a place completely unfamiliar to me. On top of that, weekends have become my time to take some road trips and take advantage of my time here. Every major Northeast city seems to be within a 3 hour drive from Sunbury, which was an exciting discovery of mine. On top of that, there are theme parks galore here with some rich history, and I’ve been waiting so long for summer to come so these parks can open! I’ve gone a bit crazy trying to study the layout of the parks around here, trying to map out which ones would be nearest each other to do 2 in a weekend, along with figuring out their opening days. A few weeks ago, we actually had Good Friday off of work, so I did a big road trip to Virginia to conquer King’s Dominion on Friday, Busch Gardens Williamsburg on Saturday, and Six Flags America on Sunday. It sufficed to say that after that, I needed a whole recovery weekend after to relax and remember all the new coasters I had just experienced. The least I can say is that I’m really fortunate to be out here just to explore the area alone, let alone working in my dream internship.

Working at GCI has given me some fun road trip opportunities as well. I’ve spent a portion of my time here driving out to our nearby suppliers to pick up and drop off parts for our trains. Some of these places are fascinating, and it’s nice stopping by every once in a while to check out their shop/factory floors and take a peek into what’s going on. One of my favorites is the machining company that does many of our larger orders, in quantity and scale, such as machining/welding the chassis for each car together, on an order for one or more trains. Another is the company that foams the padding on lapbars, seats, restraints, etc. for many rides today. It’s interesting seeing how both of these companies grew to have specialty in amusement rides, yet also have a wide variety of projects they’re involved in.

Perhaps my favorite roadtrip experience of all has to be a mix of personal and professional. A while back, some of our guys were finishing up a repair for the legendary Coney Island Cyclone in Brooklyn, NY. Right when I got to work that day, Bob (our VP of Construction) told me that they need some bolts and hardware at Coney Island ASAP. This was as scary as it was exciting to me, as I had never driven to New York City (3 hours away), but who could say no to something like this? In minutes, the car was loaded, and I was off. Once I got there, I was also given instructions to take some photos of the work, which of course also meant taking some photos of me working. The guys think I spent more time getting the right selfie angle standing on the tracks then taking construction photos, they can believe what they want. Overall though, it was a great experience just getting to see one of our repairs going on in real time, and hearing the different perspective of onsite work.

Lesson 5: Keeping a relationship with effective communication between front line workers (those working onsite, in park, or with guests) and those working with them behind-the-scenes is key to an efficient and successful outcome.

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