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Saving Lives and Putting Smiles on Faces with JEM

Nashville. The Music City. Home of hot chicken. The Birthplace of bluegrass music. And the bright and energetic background of the Gaylord Opryland

At the beginning of 2021 I realized that only three short months after leaving aquatics, I desperately wanted back in because I missed being able to save lives and put smiles on faces. I was fortunate enough that when I put some feelers out to return to the aquatics industry on LinkedIn that Mr. Jeff Ellis himself told me to send in my resume and the rest is history!

Dallas is my home location now where I work with JEM as an Operations Manager along with Cassandra Samples, Operations Manager, and Kadence Sharp, Assistant Operations Manager.

For almost 2 years now we have done our best to captivate a culture that strives to provide the best in guest safety, but also employee satisfaction which has led to many amazing Team

Outings. Recently this summer we actually hosted our first dodgeball tournament that was catered by Fuzzy’s Tacos provided by JEM upper management. This is one of the best parts about JEM – the camaraderie that flows so organically amongst all JEM locations! The amount of outings and after-work events truly makes all of us feel valued within the company.

I was placed in a very unique situation by being one of the Operation Managers in the Dallas Region at Paradise Springs at the Gaylord Texan because it is a seasonal facility. So what does that mean for me? It means that in the off-season I get to assist in the operations of other facilities whenever Paradise Springs is closed. At first, whenever the opportunity presented itself I was very apprehensive to leave my two cats, dog, and fish at home…I guess my son and my girlfriend too! However, as time has gone on it has enabled me to develop and refine my skills as a leader and a mentor to those around me!

The very first facility that I was able to help out at was Arapahoe Springs at Gaylord Rockies. If you want to guard with a view…seriously, one of the most breathtaking views EVER, then this is the absolute place to be. While you rove back and forth the Rocky Mountains are in the background! This is just while you’re at work too because whenever you’re off there are so many other exciting things to do! Go catch an Avalanche or a Rockies game if you’re a sports fan, or even go hiking on one of the many trails that the area has to offer. My personal favorite while there was going to get flaming sushi at a local food place!

Next up on my list of places that I’ve been able to travel to and assist was Soundwaves at Gaylord Opryland. From the second you walk into this state-of-the-art facility it truly is exciting to see how many different opportunities are provided to guests of all ages! The coolest thing about Soundwaves has to be the FlowRider; an artificial sheet wave surfing simulator that allows you to hang ten with the best of them. While visiting Nashville I had the opportunity to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. If you even remotely listen to any kind of music, this is a MUST-SEE Spot!

Finally on my list of travel locations that I have been so lucky to be a part of is the Gaylord Palms in Florida which has an immaculate action river that brings plenty of excitement and satisfaction to all guests that walk through the gates. Keep in mind that if you are here then there are a few stops close to you such as Disney World, Univeral Studios, CityWalk and so much more. Most recently I was able to go to a stand-up special with George Lopez at the Hard Rock Orlando and it was awesome!

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