AboutI worked at Six Flags Over Texas (SFOT) from 1982 to 1985, and have since kept up an interest in the theme park industry from both a business and a ride operations standpoint. Now living on Whidbey Island in a region with a dearth of parks and good rides. Married since '88 with a wife and daugther who love good coasters, too! My rides: Chute Out ('82), Runaway Mine Train ('83-'84, 4-train driver), Carousel ('84, foreman), "Oil Derrick" aka "Tower" ('85, foreman), Roaring Rapids ('85, busted to white tag). Also drove Judge Roy Bean...can't remember if I drove Shockwave, but I do remember studying in prep for testing for it.
SFOT gave me the best training for safety around amusement rides. In all the years since I have kept an eye on safety in ride ops. I've seen one carnie owner killed while working on a SuperLoop that was in operation with guests on board! Senseless...these are industrial machines engineered to safely carry riders, but not to be safely worked on while in operation.
This was the best first job I could ever have had. If you or your kid wants to work on amusement rides my advice is stick with professionally run amusement parks with good safety records for guests AND employees. If you know the owners or managers of a smaller amusement operation (portable or single-ride attaction) and trust them, then that is okay, too.
I love hearing from old co-workers. To this day my two best friends, Harold and Brent, are folks I worked with at SFOT...not that we'd want to be that age again!
I work now for T-Mobile on systems reliability and availability, plus training on BEA WebLogic, Java performance tuning, Unix admin and shell scripting.