Andrew began his career like many other leaders who serve the industry did, wearing a lifeguard suit, and sporting a rescue tube in 1998. After graduating from college, he took on the role of Operations Director at Nashville Shores where
he fell in love with the industry and also where he met and married his wife Kelly. Currently, Andrew is the General Manager of SplashDown Beach in Fishkill, NY. His 15 years of experience lends him knowledge in park management, risk management, ride installation, slide restoration, park renovations, and filtration design. He is licensed as an Ellis and Associates Instructor Trainer, AFO, and a National Swimming Pool Foundation CPO Instructor. Andrew also currently serves on the World Waterpark Association Education committee. While not being soaked in the daily operations of the park, he enjoys spending time with his family and playing golf.
Ashley started working at Roaring Springs in 2006 as a lifeguard and maintenance employee. She worked at the park seasonally as she attended college to pursue her B.A. in Psychology while playing basketball. She became an ILTP
Instructor in 2008. After college she had to pick a career in counseling (Psychosocial Rehabilitation Specialist) or the water park. She chose the water park and hasn’t looked back. Ashley became the Operations Coordinator in 2009 and was the assistant for the Operations Manager. She took over Operations in 2013 and became an Instructor Trainer the same year. Ashley is also the Bar Manager at the Family Entertainment Center Wahooz Family Fun Zone.
Brad White is the Senior Programs Director at the Downtown YMCA in Nashville. Brad started his career with Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation as a lifeguard at 16. He worked his way up to pool manger, and then became the Aquatics
Coordinator at the North Rutherford YMCA in 2007. Upon receiving his degree in recreation administration for Middle Tennessee State University, he was promoted to Aquatics Director. In the summer of 2008 he was named District Aquatics Director for the Rutherford County YMCA’s Brad became an Ellis IT in 2009, and received his CPO in 2010. In 2010 he was promoted to Program Director at the North Rutherford YMCA. Brad is currently the Senior Programs Director at the Downtown YMCA where he is responsible for Aquatics, Child Care, Membership, and Wellness. When Brad’s not at the pool he enjoys recreational sports, long boarding, hunting, and spending time with his family. Brad has a smoking hot wife, Holly that is a first grade teacher. He also has a two beautiful children.
Brandon has over 14 years of experience in the aquatics industry, with much of that time holding various management roles. In his current role, Brandon serves as the Waterpark Director at Evergreen Wings & Waves Waterpark, overseeing
all aspects of the waterpark’s operation. Prior to joining Evergreen, Brandon spent 10 years with Six Flags at waterparks in both California and Maryland. Brandon has been an Ellis and Associates Instructor since 2003 and became an Instructor Trainer in 2014. Brandon is also a licensed Paramedic and Certified Pool Operator, as well as a Medic in the U.S. Army Reserves.
I have been in the Aquatics Industry since January 1999. I began as a Supervisor for two seasons, at Continental Pools and then moved up to the Lead Instructor Position with Ellis Training and now hold the Director Of Training title. My job
I graduated from Longwood University in 1997 with a degree in Physical Education and bounced around in aquatic supervision and facility management up until hired by the the City of Alexandria Recreation Department in 2001. My 13 year
tenure with E&A started in the Winter of 2001 while working with the recreation department in the city of Alexandria Virginia as the Aquatic Supervisor. IASS 2002 was my first introduction to the philosophies and principles of E&A of which now I recognize as the standard in aquatic safety. A massive difference from my first exposure to aquatic lifesaving in 1995. In 2006 I was given an opportunity to become an Instructor Trainer with E&A. After managing the aquatics for six years in Alexandria, I was granted an opportunity to work at Wild Wadi Waterpark in Dubai, UAE. Going international was the best decision I’ve made in the business. Working within the frameworks of a multi cultural company and region has broadened my horizons and made me a better facilitator. I left Wild Wadi in 2013 to help start a training company based in Dubai, Safety Skills Training. We specialize in bringing the E&A philosophies and our five star training delivery to hotels, resorts and theme parks all over the world. Over the last 13 years my career has taken me across the globe. While I still consider myself a Virginia Boy, I am happy to make my home here in Dubai with my wife, Britt and daughter, Charley.
My first exposure to the industry came in 1994 when I was hired as a Lifeguard at Silver Spring’s Wild Waters Waterpark. After that summer, I was hooked. Between the rush from rescuing distressed swimmers in the wave pool to being
selected as a member of the Lifeguard Competition Team, I couldn’t wait to come back for another summer. I was promoted to a Lead Lifeguard once I turned 18 years old and found that I really enjoyed and found a niche in Leading, Managing, and Training/Teaching. My seasonal waterpark career continued on through my college years where I found myself first exposed to E&A and the NPWLTP. These years resulted in further promotion to a Supervisor’s role and in 1999 I received my first Lifeguard Instructor license. Graduating from the University of Florida in 2001, I accepted a management position at the same park that I joined as a 16 year old in 1994. Since then I served in a variety of roles at multiple parks located in Las Vegas, NV; Valdosta, GA; Winter Haven, FL; and Daytona Beach, FL. In that time period, I served on the Steering Committee for regulation review and development for Florida’s Bureau of Fair Rides and Inspections, Served as a member of WWA’s Education Committee, gained my IT license with E&A, and have served as a faculty member at four International Aquatic Safety Schools. In 2012, with the support of my wife, Jamie, I joined the pre-opening team to launch Yas Waterworld, Abu Dhabi. That same year, with the help of other regional IT’s, I conducted the first Middle East Regional Instructor Course. I currently reside in the United Arab Emirates and serve as the Operations Director for Yas Waterworld, Abu Dhabi.
Christina Lamson is the Manager of Wildwater Kingdom at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She began her career in aquatics in1998 ,like many others, as a lifeguard at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.
She held the positions of Team Leader, Supervisor and Instructor while there. She worked for water parks in Indiana, and New York before making Pennsylvania her home. Christina has been involved in the Aquatics Industry for the past 16 years and has been and Ellis and Associates Instructor for 11 years. She became an IT in 2014.
Colleen is the Director of Park Attractions for Cedar Point, located in Sandusky, Ohio. She oversees 71 rides, an indoor waterpark, outdoor waterpark and nine resort pools. Prior to joining the Cedar Point team she was the General Manager of
Wildwater Kingdom in Aurora, Ohio. Colleen has been in the amusement industry since 1995 where she started her career in Admissions. She attended her first Safety School in 2000, where her passion for lifeguarding began. Since then, Colleen has attended 13 Safety Schools, and has enjoyed being on faculty for 5 of those schools. In addition to being an Ellis Instructor Trainer and CPO, Colleen holds a degree in Communications from Hiram College.
Over 14 years I have worked in a variety of facilities and facets of the Aquatics Industry. I began as a lifeguard in a small waterpark during my University summer breaks. I then began to work in a variety of Parks & Recreation
settings,includingalake-front facility.I opened/coordinated a new indoor mixed-used facility in 2006, and then moved on to Great Wolf Lodge, in Grand Mound, WA in 2012, where I am currently the Director of Aquatics. My responsibilities include the oversight of all operations including 3 Managers, 8 Supervisors, 30-40 full-time benefited Lifeguards, and another 60-70 part-time Lifeguards.I have maintained certification over the last 10 years in either AFO, or CPO certification. I was a Water Safety Instructor until the beginning of this year. I am currently a Lifeguard Instructor Trainer and Associate with Jeff Ellis & Associates, and I have been honored to work as faculty for the International Aquatics Safety School.
I am a Michigan native, born and raised in Muskegon, MI. I graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies – Human Resources. I lifeguarded my way through college at various waterparks, starting as a
17 y/o lifeguard at Pleasure Island Waterpark in Muskegon, 1 summer at Cedar Point’s Soak City, Walt Disney World’s College Program (Port Orleans Resort), and as a Aquatics Supervisor for Michigan’s Adventure. After graduating, I spent the next 8 years working for Great Wolf Resorts, beginning as an Aquatics Manager and progressively getting promoted to Aquatics Director. I also held the Operations Manager position at Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark for 2 seasons, and have been the Aquatics Director for Wilderness at the Smokies Waterpark Resort since January 2013. I was first certified as an E&A Lifeguard Instructor in 2003 and became an E&A Instructor Trainer in 2009. I have been certified as an EMT-B, and have maintained a CPO or AFO certification since 2002.
David Bywater started his aquatic career in 1984 working as a subdivision lifeguard under the American Red Cross training program and was introduce to Ellis & Associates in 1986 when he became a wave pool lifeguard for the new Fame City
Waterworks waterpark in Houston, TX. In 1989 David took the Manager of Aquatics position for Splashtown USA in Spring, TX and started as an instructor for Ellis & Associates by attending a regional NPWLTP instructor course in Dallas. David was awarded Instructor of Year in 1990 by Ellis & Associates and attended his first National Aquatic Safety School in 1993 in Springfield, OR. In 1994, Oceans of Fun in Kansas City, MO recruited David to become the manager of the 60 acre waterpark and in 1998 was promoted by Cedar Fair to Director of Park Operations for Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun. Also in 1998 David was asked to be on Faculty for the IASS program which he accepted for several years. David has also taught a regional Instructor ILTP class for over 15 years servicing clients from Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska. In 2005, David was promoted by Ellis and Associates to “Associate”. He has held certifications and attended training programs from AIMS, WWA, IAAPA including the Amusement Industry Institute Program held at Cornell University, NAARSO, IRT and NSPF certified CPO. David currently servers on the Missouri Amusement Ride Safety Board as a board member. He is a graduate from the University of Houston and enjoys SUBA diving when time permits. David is a strong advocate of the “Make it Work” philosophy and is honored to a part of a group that continually strives to make the world of aquatics a safer and progressively growing industry.
Denise Beckson is an experienced Waterpark / Theme Park / Resort professional with over 25 years of related experience. Denise is currently a senior member of the management team at Morey’s Piers, Beachfront Waterparks & Resorts
responsible for the operation, consisting of four amusement piers and two beachfront waterparks entertaining over 3M guests annually. Recently, both Amusement Today and TripAdvisor have ranked Morey’s Piers and Beachfront Waterparks in the “Top-5″ amusement facilities worldwide. Currently, Denise’s specific responsibilities include overseeing the entire waterpark division consisting of two waterparks in addition to directing the Human Resources department for the Company. Denise is a frequent presenter at industry conferences and contributes articles for trade magazines on various topics. She is an IAAPA Certified Attractions Executive; A Certified Pool Operator, member of the IAAPA Education and Safety and Advocacy Committees and past member and chair of the IAAPA Waterpark Committee. Since 2005, Denise has served as a Director for the annual Ellis and Associates International Aquatic Safety School. Denise is also a PADI advanced open water diver.
Diana started her aquatics career as a lifeguard and swim instructor for the Shoreview Community Center (Shoreview, MN) in 1998. Where she was able to develop her lifeguard skills. She attended St. Cloud State University (St. Cloud, MN)
where she swam at a collegiate level from 2000-2004. In 2004, Diana had an internship with the St. Paul Red Cross where she started her teaching career by teaching CPR and first aid classes for the lay person along with assisting in developing new safety programs. In 2005, she received her EMT-B licenses from the State of Minnesota. She graduated in 2005, with a B.S. Community Health, B.A. Athletic Training, and a coaching minor. After graduating Diana returned to the Shoreview Community Center (Shoreview, MN) as an Aquatics Coordinator in 2005. In 2006, Diana received the Distinguished Service Award from the City of Shoreview for responding and providing CPR on a guest at their facility. In 2010 she was promoted to Aquatic Supervisor, and in 2013 she was made Aquatics Manager. Over the years at the Shoreview Community Center, Diana has shown great attention to detail for guests and employees safety. She has developed a teaching style that is fun and creative allowing lifeguarding candidates and veteran lifeguards a remembered experience so the skills they have been taught are easily recalled and mastered. Through her time here she has been able to successfully have her organization receive the Silver International Aquatic Safety Award from Jeff Ellis & Associates for the past 4 consecutive years (2010-2013).
Erik began his professional aquatics career in 2007 as an Aquatics Coordinator at the Harding Place YMCA in Nashville, TN. He continued to serve the South Nashville community as a Program Director overseeing Youth
Programs and Aquatics at Harding Place before moving to the YMCA’s association offices in 2010. Working for the YMCA of Middle Tennessee’s corporate office Erik oversees one of the state’s largest direct impact outreach initiatives; Learn to Swim (LTS). Providing free swim lessons and aquatics education to Metro Nashville Public School children during their school day, LTS has served nearly 10,000 of Middle Tennessee’s most vulnerable children. In 2013 he was tasked with oversight of Aquatics for the YMCA of Middle Tennessee as the Association Aquatics Director. With nearly 800 Lifeguards across 31 facilities and 300 program sites in Tennessee and Southern Kentucky, the YMCA of Middle Tennessee is a major partner in the statewide conversation around aquatic safety. Erik Currently serves as a member of the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital Safe Kids Commission providing community leadership and guidance on aquatics related incidents and prevention. In addition to his YMCA responsibilities, Erik travels the country as an Ellis ILTP Instructor Trainer. He lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife and daughter and enjoys hunting, playing music and reading.
Frank Perez is the operations coordinator for NRH2O Family Water Park located in North Richland Hills, Texas. He has been with NRH2O since the park’s opening in 1995. NRH2O is the first municipally owned and operated water park
in the state of Texas and has an annual attendance of approximately 260,000. Prior to this Frank worked at Noah’s Ark Water Park in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin for eight years. Frank has been a lifeguard, lifeguard instructor, and instructor trainer for Ellis and Associates since 1986.
I started as a lifeguard in May 2000 at a community pool and became a lifeguard at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in 2001. I became an E&A Instructor in 2004 and an E&A IT in 2011. I have taught Lifeguard and Instructor
classes within Pennsylvania, Delaware, Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia. I was the Manager of Wildwater Kingdom Operations at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom from April 2005 through January 2009 when I became the Manager of Aquatics & Entertainment at Carowinds in Charlotte, North Carolina. My most recent title is Manager of Aquatics which occurred at the beginning of 2012. I graduated with a BS from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in Electronic Media and Minored in Journalism, PR and Speech communication. I also maintain a Master Certificate in Business Intelligence from Villanova University.
George E. Rohman
George is currently a Senior Operations Manager for Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Waterparks located in Wildwood, New Jersey, and has been with Morey’s Piers since 1997. Morey’s Piers is the largest seaside family owned amusement
complex in the world operating over 100 rides and attractions on four Amusement Piers and two Beachfront Waterparks (Raging Waters & Ocean Oasis) located on the Jersey Shore. Morey’s Piers was one of E&A’s first clients in the 1980′s. In addition to George’s waterpark operational responsibilities, he also oversees the waterpark division maintenance program, the company’s employee housing program and corporate security and loss prevention. George began his career in the amusement / waterpark industry in 1991 at Splish Splash Waterpark located on Long Island, New York. Throughout his career, George has held management positions at Splash Down Waterpark in Manassas, Virginia and Raging Waters Waterpark in Salt Lake City, Utah. Additionally, George has spoken at industry conferences and written articles in trade magazines about topics ranging from water quality, supervisor training and amusement ride safety. George graduated from the University of Mary Washington in Virginia in 1997 with degrees in Business Administration & Psychology. He is a long time member of ASTM F-24, WWA and IAAPA and is also an active member of the IAAPA Waterpark Committee. Additionally, George is Certified Pool Operator, and an Associate, Instructor Trainer and has been a National Faculty member for E&A since 2001. Recently married, George enjoys aviation, scuba diving, golf, sailing and tennis.
I joined the E&A family in 1992 when we added a waterpark to our hard park environment. Without previous lifeguarding experience, I found the E&A program to be specifically targeted to the waterpark environment, and the skills easy to
learn. I became a member of the Faculty in 1995, and continued in this role until I served as the Director of the School in 1999 at Indianapolis. I continue to relish the opportunity to reconnect with old colleauges and new at Safety School and refresh and update skills and topics. I have met many memorable and colourful characters over the years and I am a better instructor and person for those relationships! My other love of water involves sailing which my family has been a part of since I was a child and I cherish the limited opportunities that I get to do that now.
Jason has 22 years experience in the Aquatics Industry. A native of Indiana, Jason began his career as a lifeguard at Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana. After one season, he was promoted to Asst. Manager and
obtained his Instructor License from Ellis and Associates. After leaving Holiday World in 1996, Jason moved to Kentucky to manage Venture River Waterpark. In 1998, he moved to St. Louis as a Regional Director for Midwest Pool Management. While in St. Louis, Jason received his license as an Instructor – Trainer for Ellis & Associates. In 2000, Jason joined a park owned by Six Flags as the Operations Department Head overseeing the Waterpark , Dry Rides, and various other Departments within the park. After 5 seasons, he was given the opportunity to join the Great Wolf Lodge team in Sandusky, OH. In August of 2006, Jason moved to the Cincinnati area to open the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, OH. Jason is currently serving as the Director of Aquatics at this location. In addition, he is the Regional Director of Aquatics for Great Wolf Resorts which tasks him with the responsibility of overseeing multiple waterparks throughout the brand. Throughout his career, Jason has been an active member in both the World Waterpark Association and IAAPA serving on various committees and speaking at several Symposiums throughout the past 22 years. Jason currently resides in the Cincinnati area with his wife Michelle and their 2 sons, Brayden & Ian and daughter Hailey.
I began my lifeguard career at the young age of 15 years old. The first facility I worked at was Splash Country Water Park and then went on to work at Phillips Park Family Aquatic Center, both located in Aurora, IL and co-owned by the City
of Aurora and the Fox Valley Park District. During the ages from 15-18 years, I was a lifeguard, swim instructor and program coordinator/supervisor. In 2005, I became the aquatics manager of Phillips Park Family Aquatic Center, where I managed for four consecutive summer. Eventually I went on to manage the Vaughan Athletic Center (VAC) and was promoted in 2011 to the Operations Manager for the VAC. Later that year, I became the JEM-IL Area Manager for JEM, overseeing all of Illinois operations. In February 2014, I received a title change and am now the Director of Illinois Operations. I graduated in 2008 from the University of Iowa, with a BS in political science and minor in sociology. I graduated from the Jeff Ellis Management Academy in 2011. I am so grateful to be apart of the Jeff Ellis Management (JEM) team/E&A team. I have a career in aquatics risk management, which has always been a passion of mine; I am a firm believer in this company and all that we stand for.
Jessica currently works for Palace Entertainment as the Director of Operations at Raging Waters, San Jose. She began as a lifeguard 16 years ago with the Red Cross in Hawaii and 14 years ago with Ellis & Associates. Her career
began much like it has for many others; a fun summer job that evolved into something greater. Graduating from USC in 2005, Jessica earned degrees in both Biochemistry and Neuroscience and planned to become a physician, all the while maintaining seasonal employment at Raging Waters, San Dimas. In 2010, she was offered a full-time position with Palace Entertainment and attended IASS for the first time that next year. After her first Safety School, she seemed to have found her niche within the E&A family and has never looked back. Jessica hopes to continue inspiring passion for the industry as her mentors, instructors and colleagues have done for her. Jessica’s favorite part of the Ellis & Associates Program is the VanGUARD Leadership Training and challenging our ILTP Instructors to incorporate creative activities into their course curriculum.Jessica is an NSPF Instructor (CPO Certification and additional courses), American Heart Association Instructor, and is certificated as an Aquatic Facility Operator (AFO), LA County Water Technician, is head of her park’s Safety Team and In-House First Responder Instructor of several Family Entertainment Centers within Palace Entertainment. Jessica has been an Instructor with Ellis and Associates for 12 years and an Instructor Trainer with E&A since 2013. Jessica has received various academic awards and was an E&A Golden Guard in 2001. Jessica’s ambition is empowering individuals to prevent the loss of life by utilizing a proactive approach and comprehensive training in both aquatic and non-aquatics environments. Jessica feels the passion found within the E&A culture is exclusive to its program; the program promotes inspiration, life-long learning, and the continuous challenge to achieve the mission of zero drownings amongst its community.
Jody Kneupper has been the General Manager at Wet’n’Wild Splashtown Waterpark in Houston, Texas since 2009. Jody began his career in the waterpark industry in 1989 as a lifeguard at Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, Texas. He
continued working there for the next several years through high school and college. After graduating from the University of Texas with a bachelor’s in finance, Jody went to work at Raging Waters- San Dimas as the Aquatics Manager. For the next thirteen years, he moved around the country working many various positions in revenue and operations at many great parks such as Wet ‘n Wild Emerald Pointe in Greensboro, N.C., Wet ‘n Wild in Las Vegas and Mountain Creek in Vernon, N.J., before ending up back in New Braunfels at Schlitterbahn as the Director of Operations for a few years just prior to moving to Wet’n’Wild SplashTown.
I became an ELLIS lifeguard in 1990 at age 15 for a long gone waterpark called Atlantis in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. When the waterpark closed I had to take Red Cross training to work for Broward County. Broward went to ELLIS 2 years later, that
was 1995 and I was called on to take the instructor course for the county. I was lucky enough to work directly with Jeff Ellis and he interviewed me with the possibility to leave the county and become an ELLIS auditor. “Make it Work” is exactly what I did, I became and ELLIS auditor and worked for the ELLIS tEAm until Jeff Ellis Management was formed in 2004. I am currently the Director of Operations and Risk Management for JEM. I studied Criminal Justice at UCF and finished my BS degree in 2000. I was able to get a USA Patent on the VAT doll and humbly signed all rights over to the company that has given so much to me. I am forever grateful to have a spot on the ELLIS team and I strive to make a difference in saving lives throughout the world with the ELLIS program.
Joseph M. Minninger
I have been in the Aquatic field for over 50 years. I Started as a Red Cross Lifeguard in 1960 and became a Red Cross Instructor in Lifeguarding, CPR and First Aid by 1966. After graduating from the University of Maryland in 1968 I started
teaching Aquatics, Coaching men’s and women’s Swimming and Diving on the secondary level for 13 years. In 1985 I became Director of Dorney Park’s Wildwater Kingdom and a Ellis and Associates Instructor in 1986. At that point in the E&A history we did not have any IT’s because there were only about 10 of us doing all the training in the US. I became a Senior Associate with Ellis and Associates and in 1987 was on Faculty at the first Safety School in Palm Springs, California. After that school I instructed at over 15 Safety Schools. I retired from Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in 2005 as Director of Operations. I have continued working and teaching for Ellis and Associates to the present and will continue as long as I am physically able. The highlight of my career was receiving the Ellis and Associates Lifetime Achievement Award.
Kari Tjader began in the industry as a lifeguard in 2005 where she worked for Six Flags Hurricane Harbor- Gurnee, IL and moved up the ranks into a Training Supervisor. In 2008 she was hired as the Corporate Training Manager for Coco Key
Water Resorts where she has helped develop standard operating procedures, assisted with planning and facilitating hiring events, four grand openings and provided assistance in many management positions. In her current role as the Director of Water Resort Operations for Coco Key Water Resort-Orlando, FL she is responsible for recruiting, hiring, training, staffing, and managing day to day operations as well as the Safety Committee Chair and Wellness Champion for her hotel staff. Tjader became an Instructor Trainer for Ellis & Associates in 2010 and has been certified as a Jeff Ellis Swimming Program Coordinator and current CPO. She also serves as the Water Resort Committee Secretary for the World Waterpark Association where she was recently a speaker at their annual convention and is a mentor for their Emerging Leaders program. She hopes to one day have a community donation based swim program to help support safe swimming in her community and looks forward to hosting the World’s Largest Swim Lesson year after year.
Keith has been with Schlitterbahn Waterparks for the past 20 years. Keith has worked for Schlitterbahn in numerous capacities, beginning as a lifeguard in 1994. Keith primarily worked in the New Braunfels location, moving up through the
ranks to become Director of Operations where he stayed until 2006. On the way up, Keith was able to assist with the construction of two Schlitterbahn water parks; helping to construct and open the South Padre Island location in 2001, as well as aiding in the development and construction of the facility in Galveston which opened in 2006. In 2006, Keith transferred over to the Schlitterbahn Development Group, where he served as the Operations Specialist, overseeing water park design from the Operations perspective. Keith supported the design team by organizing the programming effort for the Kansas City water park development. During the summer of 2008, Keith served as General Manager of the South Padre Island park while continuing to juggle Schlitterbahn Development Group responsibilities. Keith and his family relocated to Kansas City in November 2008. Keith remained in Kansas City for the next couple of years as the remaining phases of the facilty are completed, and left at the end of the 2013 season, to move to his current role with Schlitterbahn. Currently, Keith works in the Schlitterbahn Corporate Office, where he is the Executive Director of Operations and Brand Execution. Keith’s current duties include overseeing the daily operation of the four current parks, along with helping with the construction efforts on the fifth Schlitterbahn park to come on board in the summer of 2015, in Corpus Christi, TX. Keith is a certified EMT, an Associate with E&A, and a member of the WWA, he has served on the IAAPA Waterpark Committee, the Ellis and Associates Advisory Board, and other industry groups.
I BEGAN MY CAREER IN THE AMUSEMENT INDUSTRY AS A RIDE OPERATOR AT VALLEYFAIR IN 1993. I BECAME THE FULL TIME RIDES MANAGER IN 2001.I TOOK ON DIFFERENT RESPONSIBILITIES (ADMISSIONS & PARK SERVICES) UNTIL I BECAME THE AQUATICS
MANAGER IN 2007. I’M CURRENTLY THE PARK OPERATION MANAGER DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR AQUATICS & PARK SERVICES. WITH MY VARIOUS ROLES AT VALLEYFAIR, I’VE BEEN A SKYCOASTER SITE CONTROLLER (2004-2009), NAARSO MEMBER (2009), & I’M CURRENTLY A CPO (3/24/18). ON A PERSONAL LEVEL, MY GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT WAS FINISHING THE 2010 & 2011 TWIN CITIES MARATHONS. I PLAN TO BEGIN TRAINING AND RUN THE PHOENIX MARATHON ONE YEAR AFTER SAFETY SCHOOL.
Kim has been a lifeguard since 1990. She started her career at Disney in 1992 as a College Program lifeguard and became an Ellis Instructor in 2000. Finally in 2009, she took a full-time Instructor position for Jeff Ellis Management at Walt Disney
World in Orlando, FL. Presently, she is the WDW Lifeguard Training Manager in charge of all lifeguard, professional rescuer, lake patrol, and in-service trainer classes, while still conducting audits for all of the Walt Disney properties. Kim has trained upwards of 1900 guards a year since 2009. She has huge passion for the role and wants to change lives, one lifeguard at a time!
1992 was my first year as a lifeguard with the Jeff Ellis and Assoc. family. I worked my way up through the ranks with different agencies, to where I work currently as an Aquatic Specialist for the City of Thornton. Since 1999 as an Aquatic
Specialist with the City of Thornton, I have been responsible for day to day operations of a 15,000 square foot multi-use indoor aquatics area, two outdoor seasonal pools, spray pad and paddle boat operations. I have only recently been an Instructor Trainer with E&A, but have been an Instructor since 2001. Additionally, I have been certifying Pool Operators as a CPO Instructor since 2007 to various groups around the state of Colorado. I have 22 years of Aquatic experience from Lifeguard/CPR/First Aid training, to program coordination of Learn-to-Swim and Age Group/Master Swim Teams. I have received numerous employee recognitions with the City of Thornton, with the most recent award for a Team of the Year recognition for completion of a multi-use park with lake and paddle boat usage.
Kristie Moses – Kristie is currently the Assistant General Manager for CoCo Key Hotel and Water Resort in Orlando, FL. Moses moved into hotel operations from her previous position as Global Director of Water Resort Operations for CoCo
Key Water Resorts and Sage Hospitality Resources, a hospitality management company based in Denver, CO in which she oversaw operations for 10 Hotel/Water Resort properties. Prior to accepting her position with CoCo Key, Moses opened and operated Six Flags’ Hurricane Harbor Waterpark at Great America in Gurnee, IL, which opened in 2005 and served more than one million guests in its first season. She has been in the aquatics industry for more than 20 years from her start in the early days as a lifeguard at her local park district. She has also previously held management positions with Jeff Ellis & Associates and LifeTime Fitness. Moses serves as the Chair of the World Waterpark Association’s Waterpark Resort Committee and was the recipient of the WWA’s Al Turner Memorial Commitment to Excellence Award in 2013.
Kristin Started her career in 1994 where she was a Lifeguard for Adventure World in Largo MD, which later became Six Flags America. After spending 6 summers working at Six Flags America she moved to Six Flags New England where she
worked in Ride Operations, Front Gate Operations, Waterpark Operations and Park Services as the Operations Manager. While at Six Flags Kristin helped create the companies waterpark signage, waterpark policies, and forms, received Ellis Platinum award for 10years, received the presidents award for three years and was awarded waterpark of the year twice. Kristin also worked as an EMT in her spare time and worked very close with the safety team.Kristin Graduated from Old Dominion University with a BS in Political Science and Business Administration.Kristin left Six Flags in 2010 to work for Great Wolf Lodge in the Pocono Mountains, where she is the Safety Manager and Assistant Director for Aquatics.
I have been a member of the aquatics community since 1986, all as a member of the Grand Junction Parks and Recreation Department. Among my many duties with the department I oversee three aquatics facilities, many adult sports programs,
special events, and a alcohol for a municipal sports facility. We have been a member of Ellis and Associates family since 1996. I have also been a certified SCUBA instructor for PADI and taught many classes with them. I have held the office President, twice, and many other offices for the Colorado Parks and Recreation Association. Finally I have a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration.
Liz serves as the Natatorium Director for Fort Wayne Community Schools where she has been since 2001. The Natatorium has a wide variety of programs and users which includes 8 high school swim and dive teams, 3 club swim teams, and a club
dive team. As part of the school system, the Natatorium staff provides swimming lessons for about 4500 students throughout the school year. Through community programming, the Natatorium offers lessons, lifeguard training and water exercise classes.Liz has coached high school swimming, and owned/coached a summer swim team that provided chances for a more urban population to participate on a swim team. In her career, Liz has also been recognized as Aquatic Fitness Instructor of the Year.Liz has been in the Aquatics industry since 1989. She is a licensed E&A Instructor Trainer, certified Water Safety Instructor, certified Water Exercise Instructor and certified CPO. She has been on the faculty of Ellis’ International Aquatic Safety School since 2005 and a Co-Director of the school since 2013. Liz has a B.S. in Psychology from Purdue University
Lori Gogel is the Director of Splashin’ Safari Attractions at Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana. Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari is a theme park and waterpark located in hilly southern Indiana, which is home to
the Raven, Legend, and Voyage wooden roller coasters and the famous Wildebeest and Mammoth water coasters. Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari is the recipient of multiple Golden Ticket Awards from Amusement Today for being the friendliest and cleanest parks. Lori graduated from Vincennes University in 1991 with an Associate’s Degree, and then graduated from Indiana University in 1994 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. She started her career at Splashin’ Safari in 1994 as a lifeguard when the waterpark was a mere 1 year old. Lori was promoted to Director of Splashin’ Safari in 1997. Gogel is a Certified Pool Operator (CPO), Aquatic Facility Operator (AFO), a former Indiana Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and received a certificate of educational achievement from IAAPA’s Institute for Executive Education at San Diego State University in 2011. Lori is also a member of the IAAPA Waterpark Committee.
Aquatic Supervisor Responsible for 1.4 million dollar budget for both cost management and revenue collection. Managed pools, beaches, boating facilities, day camp and responsible for opening/closing facilities, training staff, and overseeing
operation of all aquatic facilities in the City of St Paul. Led aquatic facilities renovation projects to convert three large aquatic facilities into three waterparks, indoor and outdoor. EDUCATION: 1988-1989 – Revenue Sources Management School, Wheeling, West Virginia 1980-1982 – University of Minnesota, Parks & Recreation Administration 1975-1979 – College of Visual Arts, Saint Paul, MN WORK AFFILIATED MEMBERSHIPS AND EXPERIENCE Governors Award 2011, St Paul Parks and Recreation, water cleaning enhancement.Top 10 trends for 2010 in Public Works Magazine, working with private sector with new environmentally safe commercial water enhancement product.Co-Author and primary assembler of Beach and Waterfront Water Safety Manual for Ellis and Associates, published in 1999. Author of original on-line lifeguard training program Ellis and Associates.Minnesota Recreation and Parks Association (MRPA) Member First Aquatic Section, (developed section for MRPA) Chair of yearly state conference, Conference Speaker,Conference Participant, Tommy Johnson Award.Jeff Ellis and Associates – Ron Rhinehart International Aquatic Safety School (IASS) Faculty Member.Jeff Ellis and Associates Auditor.Introduced Jeff Ellis Lifeguard Training Program into Minnesota 1995/ Worked with Edina Parks , Ramsey County Parks, Shoreview Parks, Valley Fair lifeguard programs change over to Ellis training Programs 1993 MRPA Meritorious Service Award, Aquatics.
I left South Africa 2002 to start my aquatics career with Wild Wadi in as a lifeguard. Representing Wild Wadi in the international lifeguard competition in Soak City Water Park, Los Angeles during 2003. After this I was hooked, became an E&A
Lifeguard Instructor in 2004 and worked my way up to Operations Manager. Been to IASS in 2008, 2011 and 2014. Certified AFO and PADI open water diver.
My love for water began as far back as I can remember. Most of my summers were spent in Lake Shafer, Monticello, Indiana or in Fall Creek in Pendleton Indiana. I became a lifeguard at 15 and have never stopped “watching the water”. After
graduating from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, my career has taken me through many walks of life. I always came back to my love for swimming and water safety and was blessed to find my career path at the YMCA. I am or have been a Red Cross Instructor, Red Cross WSI, YMCA Lifeguard IT, YMCA Swim Instructor IT, YMCA POOL certified, CPO, ASHI IT, ECSI IT and OSHA instructor. When I first experienced the Jeff Ellis & Associates ILTP, I was impressed, amazed, overwhelmed and hooked! All my years of lifeguarding never taught me the thoroughness and yet simplistic approach that is used by the ILTP. “Watching the Water” is the most important job of any lifeguard but no program I had ever participated in put it quite like that.In 2008, the YMCA of Middle Tennessee suffered a tremendous loss, the life of a child. The professional training that we received from the E & A trainers inspired me to become an IT. Since 2009, I have been using a new philosophy and professionalism when I train lifeguards and lifeguard instructors in the Ellis & Associates International Lifeguard Training Program. I am privileged to be able to share my passion and enthusiasm for safety at the Ellis level.
I began my aquatics career in my teenage years as a lifeguard for Oakland County Parks and Recreation at Red Oaks Waterpark in Madison Heights, Michigan. I worked as a lifeguard for three summers at Red Oaks, and then was
promoted to Head Lifeguard for two summers. This is when I became an Ellis lifeguard instructor. During this time, as a Student at Central Michigan University, I also worked as a Red Cross lifeguard at the Student Activity Center as well as a rock climbing instructor at CMU’s indoor rock wall and high ropes course. In 2006, I was promoted to the position of Waterpark Manager at Red Oaks. I was a Manager for three summers. During that time, to finish my Bachelor’s degree in Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Services Administration, I also completed an internship with Oakland County Parks. After graduating college I returned to Central Michigan University to begin work on a Master’s Degree. I worked at CMU for two years as a Graduate Assistant, teaching classes and doing research for the Recreation Department. In 2009 I was hired full time by Oakland County Parks as a Recreation Specialist to assist in the supervision of both Oakland County waterparks: Red Oaks and Waterford Oaks Waterpark. I became the direct supervisor of Red Oaks Waterpark in 2011. I was promoted to Parks Supervisor in 2013 and have been in the role since. Currently I am the Supervisor of Red Oaks Waterpark, along with a new facility to Oakland County Parks, the Red Oaks Nature Center. Additional credentials, experiences, and awards: -ECSI Instructor Trainer -National Recreation and Parks Association Aquatic Facility Operator (AFO) certified -National Restaurant Association ServSafe Food Safety certified -Michigan Recreation and Parks Association (MRPA) Excellence Scholarship recipient 2007 & 2008 -Member of MRPA Aquatics Committee 2007-2012 -MRPA Annual Conference committee member for 2011 and 2012 conferences -Attended Ellis & Associates International Aquatic Safety School 2014.
In 1993 Megan was a part of the Walt Disney World College Program where she started her Ellis aquatic career at Typhoon Lagoon as a lifeguard. She then returned to finish her degree in education at Texas Tech University…
Get Your Guns Up!… and graduated in 1995….GO RED RAIDERS! After teaching 3rd and 4th grade for five years and working seasonally as a supervisor at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, Arlington, she “retired” from teaching to dive into water park life full-time. In 2000, Megan became the Operations Manager and later added the Security and Park SERVICES departments to her resume. Megan holds a CPO and AFO license among other non-aquatic related certifications that are needed to successfully manage a water park. Megan became an Instructor Trainer in 2003 and has loved focusing on the Texas Region and getting to travel and teach Instructors from many of the great states. Megan’s true loves are her husband, Donald, and two crazy kids Will and Betsy.
I am currently the Aquatics and Admissions Manager at Darien Lake Theme and Waterpark located just outside of Buffalo New York. I started my career as a Lifeguard in 2002 when Darien Lake was a Six Flags property. In 2005 I was
promoted to a Supervisor and became an Ellis and Associates Instructor. A few years later CNL bought our property and I have had the pleasure of working with PARC management and currently Herschend Family Entertainment. From 2008 until present I have held roles as Training Manager, Aquatics Operations Supervisor, and Aquatics and Rides Area Manager. This will be my first year as an Instructor Trainer and a Certified Pool Operator (CPO). I graduated from D’Youville College with degrees in Biology and Sociology.
Michael McDonald is currently the Operations Manager of Aquatics & Family Entertainment Center for Golfland Entertainment Centers Inc, better known as Golfland SunSplash, in Roseville, CA. He started as a seasonal
lifeguard in the summer of 2002. Working through the ranks of lead lifeguard, Supervisor and Trainer he quickly became the Director of Aquatics for Golfland SunSplash in the summer of 2004. Working for a year round Family Entertainment Center has given him the opportunity to attend every WWA and IAAPA trade show since 2004. McDonald is a Certified Pool Operator a decision maker for number of different departments at Golfland SunSplash, including: Arcades, Mini-Golf, Laser-tag, Go-carts, Food & Beverage, and of course the Waterpark.
Mike Bengtson is currently the General Manager of Splish Splash Waterpark. Splish Splash is a 96 acre waterpark located on the east end of Long Island, New York. Mike began his waterpark career at Wet’n Wild Emerald Pointe in
Greensboro, North Carolina. He began as a Lifeguard in 1994, became a Lifeguard Instructor in 1999 and has been an Instructor trainer since 2004. Mike earned his degree in Political Science from North Carolina State University. Mike is a certified EMT, Pool and Spa Operator, and PADI open water diver. Mike is a past member of the IAAPA Waterpark Committee, Chairman of the New York State Hospitality and Tourism Association.
Mindy is the Assistant Director of Operations at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom located in Allentown, PA. She oversees, Park Operations, Waterpark Operations, Park Services, Live Entertainment, and Halloween Haunt. Mindy
has been involved in the amusement industry for for over 20 years. Mindy became a lifeguard in 1999, instructor in 2000 and an Instructor Trainer in 2004. Mindy earned her Bachelor degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Hartford in Connecticut. She has been a Pennsylvania Level 2 Ride Inspector since 1998.
Nate Thorne has been the Deputy Director for Plainfield Parks and Recreation, Plainfield, Indiana since 2004. Nate’s diverse and well-rounded management responsibilities include assisting in departmental marketing, budgeting and
leadership system wide. Specifically, Nate also serves as the General Manager of the 133,000 square foot Plainfield Recreation and Aquatic Center. The center includes multiple gymnasiums, an indoor play structure, an elaborate fitness center and indoor track and a variety of programming and banquet rooms. The over 25 acre campus is also home to the 4.5 acre municipal waterpark, Splash Island and a 20,000 square foot indoor aquatic center. Prior to working for Plainfield, Nate served in multiple aquatics leadership roles with the City of Indianapolis after starting as a lifeguard in 1993.Nate is active in advocacy for parks and recreation initiatives and in leadership development. He is the Past-President of the Indiana Park and Recreation Association and continues to serve on the Board of Directors. He is a member of the Board of Trustees and a program instructor for the Indiana University Executive Development Program. This annual program provides industry leadership training for parks and recreation professionals throughout the mid-west. Nate is a regular speaker and guest lecturer throughout state-wide training workshops, university courses and community agencies; especially those with a focus on leadership and youth development. Nate has been an Associate Instructor Trainer with Ellis and Associates since 2007, lifeguard instructor since 1998 and lifeguard since 1993. Nate has also been a rotating member of the faculty at the Ellis and Associates’ International Aquatic Safety School.As for his educational background, he is a graduate of Indiana University, Kelley School of Business at IUPUI earning a Bachelor’s Degree; in Business Management and Human Resource Management. He also received a Graduate Certificate in Public Management from Indiana University, School Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at IUPUI and most recently completed a Masters Degree from SPEA-IUPUI also in Public Management. In addition to being an IT for Ellis, He also holds numerous certifications including, AFO, CPO, CPRP, WSI, JES and PADI Scuba Diver to name a few.Nate has been honored to receive a number of awards throughout his career including most recently being named “2013 Professional of the Year” by the Indiana Park and Recreation Association.Nate lives in Plainfield with his wife Bridget and three children, Gabriel, Abigail and Madeline.
Nick currently serves as the Director of Aquatics at Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte/Concord, NC. After beginning his career as a lifeguard in 1999 for a pool management company, Nick became an instructor in 2002, an instructor
trainer in 2008, and has served on the IASS faculty since 2010. Before joining the Great Wolf “pack,” Nick’s career path brought him from Geauga Lake near his hometown of Cleveland, OH, to another Cedar Fair park, Kings Island, in Cincinnati, OH. Nick earned his undergraduate degree from Miami University (Oxford, OH) with a major in English Literature. Nick completed the professional MBA program at Xavier University (Cincinnati, OH) in 2012.Professionally, Nick has supported teams that earned eleven platinum awards in the last eleven years. He has opened two new water parks at two separate facilities (Wildwater Kingdom at Geauga Lake and Soak City at Kings Island). Grateful for the opportunity to work with so many exceptional and dedicated people, Nick takes every opportunity to engage in and support personnel development, as evidenced by his passion for the vanGUARD program from Ellis & Associates. He also began to develop and facilitate the Franklin Covey goal orientation program “4 Disciplines of Execution” at his property this past year. Nick received the “Leader of the Quarter” award from his property for Q1 in 2013. He maintains an active CPO certification.Personally, Nick is a proud husband (to Katie), father (to Liam), and dog spoiler (to Ella).
My name is Nick Mostardo and I started in the Industry as an E&A licensed lifeguard in 2002 with the Bartlett Park District (IL). I continued to work for the Park District throughout my adolescence, becoming an ILTP Instructor in
2006. In college, I became a National Staff Auditor with Jeff Ellis and Associates, a position that I held for five seasons as I completed my undergraduate and graduate education. When I was done with school, I took a full-time position with the Bartlett Park District as their Aquatics Manger, overseeing the transition from a flat-water pool to a large municipal water park. I held that position for two years and then in late 2013, made the transition to my educationally-related career field of Public Administration/Political Science. I now hold a position with the Village of Winnetka (IL), working as the Fire Support Specialist for the Fire Department. My long term career goal is to one day become a Village/City Manager. While I am no longer an active operator in the Industry, teaching lifeguard and instructor classes is still a passion. I enjoy teaching because it gives me the opportunity to both share and acquire new knowledge from my students. I look forward to continuing to be involved in the on-going growth of the ILTP. Education: Master of Arts, 2011, University of South Carolina (SC), Political Science Bachelor of Arts, 2009, Benedictine University (IL), Political Science Credentials: E&A ILTP Instructor Trainer Authorization, 2011 E&A ILTP Instructor License, 2006 E&A ILTP Lifeguard License, 2002.
Olivia began her career 16 years ago with her first job ever as a lifeguard at Wet’n Wild Emerald Pointe Waterpark. Over the course of many summers to follow, Olivia worked her way up from Shallow Water Lifeguard to Special Facilities
Lifeguard and then onto the Leadership Team as an Aquatics Supervisor, eventually becoming head supervisor shortly after. She was then promoted to full time Aquatics Manager in 2005. In 2009 Olivia made the move to Great Wolf Lodge and was part of the pre-opening team for the Concord, NC location, also taking on the role of Aquatics Training Manager. Through her management role at Great Wolf, Olivia began to not only continue her passion for managing waterparks, but was introduced to resort operations as well. In October of 2009, Olivia was offered a life changing opportunity and found herself moving to Dubai to become an Operations Manager for Atlantis The Palm’s Aquaventure Waterpark. As a manager she oversaw the operation of not only the waterpark, but of the resort’s 2 main pools and beaches as well as manages a multi-cultural staff of over 350 unique individuals from all across the globe. She became involved with resort operations as well, playing a large part in the risk management and guest service relationship between the waterpark and resort itself. She has currently been promoted to Director of Operations in February of 2014, taking on more of the financial and business aspects of the waterpark as a whole, while still being active in the operation itself. Her involvement with Ellis and Associates began in 2001 when she became one of the first Instructors at her facility when they made the switch over to Ellis and Associate’s CARMP. Olivia attended NASS the following year in 2002, as well as IASS in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2012. She began her IT career in 2011 co-teaching an Instructor class at Atlantis The Palm, followed by co-teaching at the first ever Middle East Regional Course in Abu Dhabi, and then back in Dubai for another regional class. Olivia traveled to Malaysia in late 2013, where she conducted an Instructor course and 2 lifeguard classes for the newly opened LEGOLand Malaysia, establishing the E&A Culture within the LEGOLand Waterpark brand. In January of 2014, Olivia served on faculty for the first at the 28th annual Ron Rhinehart International Aquatic Safety School in Phoenix, AZ. She was also promoted to associate of E&A in part to being an Instructor Trainer.
In 2004 at the age of 16 I started working as a lifeguard at Nrh2o Family Waterpark for the City of North Richland Hills Texas. I spend the next 6 years working as a special facilities lifeguard, aquatics lead, and aquatics trainer /
internal auditor. I became an instructor in 2008 and taught classes from April until August at Nrh2o. I assisted full time management staff in completing monthly zone validations and daily VAT requirements. During my time at Nrh2o, I was part of a team who repeatedly received Platinum recognition from E&A. I participated in the International Lifeguard Challenge until it was eliminated. I also have participated and judged the Texas Superguard Competition’s in College Station, Texas for 6 years. In 2010 I resigned from my position at Nrh2o to take on a role as a National Staff Auditor for E&A, in my two years with E&A I traveled the over have of the states in the Continental United States. In 2012 I became an IT in the southwest region teaching courses in Texas and Louisiana. In March 2012 I accepted a position as an Aquatics Manager with Great Wolf Resorts in Grapevine Texas a 90,000sqft indoor and outdoor waterpark. My direct role was over Waterpark Quality Assurance pertaining to guest satisfaction and maintenance as well as serving as the manager on duty of the waterpark. I served as a corporate trainer for a guest service initiative on property. After 1 year a reduction in force was presented and my position was eliminated. In April 2013 I was offered a position as the Operations coordinator for the City of Dallas’ family waterpark, Bahama Beach Waterpark where I currently manage daily operations. Bahama Beach Waterpark is a 4 acre waterpark with 3 full size body slides, 2 tube slides, 4 lane mat racer, Rain fortress, and a 400,000 gallon endless river. In my first season we have seen an dramatic increase in lifeguard vigilance evaluated by both E&A and NASCO, and have recently made the transition from an ILTP Training Center to a CARMP Client. I am currently certified by NSPF as CPO. I have attended several aquatics leadership training’s and seminars to include WWA Leadership, NASCO Top Gun (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009) I am a member of the North Texas Aquatics Association, WWA, and Texas Public Pool Council.
I have been in the Aquatics industry since 1994 where I became an E&A lifeguard at Canada’s Wonderland in Toronto, Canada. In 2004 I became the Aquatics Manager overseeing the operation of Splash Works, the water park
located inside Canada’s Wonderland. In 2007 I started the process of becoming an Instructor Trainer, running our annual Instructor Course at our park each February. In 2010 I completed the Instructor Trainer Candidate program, becoming certified as as an Instructor Trainer. The following year I was chosen to be a member of the International Aquatic Safety School Faculty and have remained on the faculty every year since. From 2000 through 2005 I was an Instructor Trainer with the National Aquatic Safety Company (NASCO) and in 2003 I became an Instructor with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, certified to teach all levels of CPR and AED training within Canada. Most recently in February 2014 I attended the International Ride Operator Certification (iROC) school in Las Vegas, becoming certified as an iROC Instructor. In 2001 I received my Bachelor of Education with a degree in Applied Arts for Early Childhood Education. I was a teacher for three years, teaching Kindergarten, Grade 2 and Grade 3, before taking on my full-time position at Canada’s Wonderland.
Ryan is an Ohio native and graduate of the Ohio State University with a B.A. in Strategic Communication. While in college Ryan spent his free time working as the Assistant Director of Operations for Sage Hospitality Resources at
Cherry Valley Lodge as well as an Aquatics Supervisor and Instructor at Zoombezi Bay at the Columbus Zoo. In 2009 after gaining operation and instructing experience, Ryan became a National Staff Auditor for E&A, which he continued to do until 2013. Ryan spent 2013 and the beginning of 2014 working for the Parks & Recreation Department of the City of Coral Gables in South Florida. Ryan was on staff in 2013 and served on faculty for the 2014 International Aquatic Safety School. Ryan has recently taken on a new role with Safety Skills Training located in Dubai.
Sarah Vetter has been involved with Jeff Ellis & Associates, Inc. as a National Staff Auditor and Instructor Trainer since 1999. She primarily engages in both these positions in support of E & A clients near her home in Chicago, Illinois,
where she initially began as a lifeguard and aquatic supervisor within the parks and recreation community. From 1999 – 2002, Sarah had the pleasure of working with Jeff Ellis & Associates, Inc. within operations and program development in Houston, Texas. Nonetheless, she eventually returned to her original undergraduate field of study, receiving her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Boston University in 2004. Currently, Sarah is employed as a Senior Speech-Language Pathologist at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. There, she predominately participates on a multidisciplinary team in the care of children born with cleft lip and palate as well as other craniofacial anomalies; she additionally assists with the training of health care professionals as a CPR Instructor for the American Heart Association. Although her adult career has consisted of two distinct and unique disciplines, Speech-Language Pathology and Aquatic Risk Management, the two fields share a commonality: Over the years, her participation in both areas has encompassed opportunities to train and mentor others as well as develop and modify educational programming for adult learners of all ages. Sarah has enjoyed these opportunities and, thus, is currently pursuing further graduate study in the field of Adult Education at DePaul University in Chicago. Sarah greatly enjoys traveling and exploring new cultures, for which her involvement in auditing and training has reinforced. Sarah is close to her family and is grateful for many friends across multiple life disciplines.
Scott is a 28 year veteran of the waterpark industry. He started his career as a Lifeguard and odd jobs expert at Raging Waters in Wildwood, NJ. Scott is now Vice President of Waterpark Operations and Resort Activities at Atlantis
the Palm in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In between these two positions, he has worked at; Fame City Waterworks in Houston, TX, Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort in New Braunfels, TX, Wild Wadi Waterpark in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, NBGS International in New Braunfels, TX, and Mountain Creek Waterpark in Vernon, NJ. Scott has been a Licensed Lifeguard since 1987, an Instructor since 1990, was Auditor trained in 1991, was promoted to Associate and Instructor Trainer in 1994, and was subsequently promoted to Senior Associate. Scott has been appointed to numerous committees through the years including Basic Leadership Training, Aquatic Excellence, and served as a member of the Textbook Review Committee. He has attended Safety School many times since 1991 as a Student, a Member of Faculty and later as School Director. Scott was a part of the first two waterpark teams to ever achieve ISO Certifications, Wild Wadi Waterpark and Aquaventure at Atlantis the Palm. Scott has opened several “World’s First Attractions.” The Skypond Journey at Raging Waters, the Master Blaster (including the first ever prototype of the technology) and Family Master Blaster at Schlitterbahn, the Torrent Action River at Schlitterbahn, the first purpose built Transportainment waterpark at Wild Wadi, the Tornado at Mountain Creek Waterpark, the Anaconda and the first slide suspended within a slide attraction at Aquaventure/Atlantis the Palm. “I am in love with the water and always have been. When I found out I could actually make a career out of the waterpark industry, I couldn’t have been happier. It’s a beautiful thing to have a job that allows you to make such a profound difference in the lives of so many people. People I have trained, and the people they have subsequently trained (and so on and so on), have ensured the safety of literally millions of people. How many professions allow you to touch so many people in such a meaningful way? It’s pretty important stuff.” Scott is the proud father of two amazing people; daughter Tyler and son Dylan. in 2013 Tyler received her first E&A License! We’re just waiting for Dylan to be old enough to join the club!
I received my first lifeguard course in 1996. I began lifeguarding, seasonally; at Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH as an E&A lifeguard in 1998.Since departing Cedar Point:– 2001- 2004 Wet n’ Wild Las Vegas, Nevada– 2005 – 2006
Daytona Lagoon – Daytona Beach, Florida– 2006 – Wild Waters – Ocala, Florida– 2007 – Ellis and Associates – National Staff Auditor– 2007 – 2012 – Raging Waves – Yorkville, Illinois– 2012 – Current – Yas Waterworld and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates I was fortunate early in my career to have Managers and Directors that had very high standards and expectations. The principles that were instilled in me early on have carried me to where I am today. I have had great mentors along the way. People that saw my passion and desire, and help direct it. My education has been on the ground, in the trenches, and on pool decks. I enjoy using my knowledge and experience to help mentor and guide those that are willing to learn.I am currently hold the following professional credentials:Instructor Trainer for Ellis and Associates AFO CPO
Stacey started as a lead lifeguard in May of 1999 at Michigan’s Adventure. She became an E & A instructor in 2002 and in 2013 became an IT. She has been a manager at Michigan’s Adventure since 2001. Stacey has attended
Safety School since 2009, and in 2013 was nominated as MVP of her group. In 2012, she earned her EMT licensure. When not working Stacey enjoys going on adventures with her 2 beautiful daughters MaKayla and Abbigail, as well as taking care of her 2 dogs, 2 cats, and many fish!
Steve is currently the Aquatic Program Supervisor for the Arlington Heights Park District where he has been employed for 16 years. Prior to that, he worked at the Park Ridge Recreation and Park District. He has been a certified
lifeguard since 1988. He has been associated with Ellis for 16 years. He has been an instructor-trainer for 13 years and teaches a large regional instructor class annually. In 2005 he was promoted within the Ellis family to an Associate. He had the pleasure to attend his first safety school in 2012 as a faculty member and then return as a faculty member in 2014. In his current position he oversees the hiring and training of 300 lifeguards and 100 swim lesson staff. Included in this number are 45 part time aquatic managers. He manages the operations and swim programs for six aquatic facilities – one is open year round and five are open in the summer months. He is responsible for all the public swim operations and swim lesson programs at those facilities. He is a certified Aquatic Facility Operator. Professionally he has been recognized as the Illinois Park and Recreation Association’s (IPRA) Facility Management Section’s (FMS) Aquatic Manager of the Year in 2002. In 2007 he was recognized as the IPRA FMS Professional of the Year, and in 2008 he received the IPRA’s FMS Director’s Award for service above and beyond. He is also a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional, and a graduate of IPRA’s Professional Development School, and the National Recreation and Park Association’s Aquatic Management School. He has been training new lifeguards for 22 years. Teaching a new lifeguard class is still one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling parts of his job. He encourages teamwork and respect in his classes by instilling his three C’s – confidence in both yourself and your team, clear team communication, and an environment that encourages cooperation. He is the proud father of two, a 8 year old boy and a 4 year old girl. Many of the best moments and memories of his life can be traced back to aquatics is some way, shape, or form. In his free time he enjoys reading, gardening, and spending time with his family. Steve is heavily involved in his son’s school community. He is a Den Leader for Cub Scouts and helps coordinate all the Pack activities for all the different grade level Dens. He volunteers at many school special events. One of the most rewarding experiences is watching his children enjoy their activities. His son enjoys soccer, swim team, and scouts. His daughter enjoys soccer and dance, and she can’t wait to be on swim team.
Vera Vowell Solis
Vera started lifeguarding in Douglas Wyoming in 1983. She then moved to College Station, Texas to attend Texas A&M University. Vera is a graduate of Texas A&M University in Kinesiology with a Biology minor. She has worked in College
Station for the last 30 years. Vera enjoys “working” and spending precious time with her family and friends. Her most valuable experience in Aquatics was to have been invited and to have been able to teach for Scott Deisley at Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah Dubai, UAE. Her greatest accomplishments thus far are her children and to have received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Jeff Ellis and Associates for Aquatic Excellence. Her goals are to provide quality education to front line aquatic supervisors and to provide opportunities for education throughout the Aquatic Industry.