Manny Gonzalez has only been at California’s Great America for a few weeks, but he already has exciting plans for the future of the Bay Area’s favorite amusement park. As our new vice president and general manager, Manny knows the importance of the role he’s stepping into.
“Being GM is a key position with huge responsibilities,” he says. “I need to create a safe, fun, innovative environment for guests and employees. And I also feel responsible for playing a positive role in the community as a whole.”
Balancing all of these different interests while simultaneously launching Great America into the next phase of its master plan buildout is a challenge that Manny is eager to tackle.
“It’s so important to create the right environment in the park for the local community,” Manny says. “In the near term, we are focusing investment in areas that the community has been vocal about wanting.”
Pleasing All Five Senses
Manny says that he thinks carefully about the way different generations use and experience a space—and then uses that insight to determine what a community needs most.
“New generations have new wants, new needs and new desires,” he says. “The community is looking for more than just a thrill ride when they come to Great America. They are looking for spaces to spend time comfortably. We need to ensure we are fulfilling all five senses of our guests every time they visit by providing appealing visuals, great smells, delicious foods, pleasing music, and more. The perfect amusement park delivers them all in a comfortable, beautiful setting.”
Even in Manny’s free time, he says he’s constantly gathering ideas for ways to better the park. Whether on an international vacation or dinner at a local restaurant just down the street, he says he is on the hunt for information he can bring back to Great America and apply at the park.
Success in the South Bay
One key, he says, to success in the Bay Area is in a well-rounded, polished experience.
“This is already a beautiful park,” Manny adds. “We’re in a great space now with the freedom to invest in Great America more than we have ever been able to before. In 2019, we’re focusing our investments on infrastructure—in beautifying what we already have. We’re setting ourselves up for success.”
What Comes Next?
After focusing on the foundation for our bright future, Manny says rapid expansion is the next step.
“My favorite attraction anywhere is always a wooden roller coaster,” he says with a smile. “Then all other roller coasters. And then all other rides.”
At the end of the day, Manny thinks that taking the helm at Great America perfectly complements his philosophy on life.
“Working in this industry, at this park, allows me to go to sleep every night knowing that I made a difference. This business makes people happy, and that’s what keeps me going.”