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Meet the maestros of new lands and new attractions

Project Managers (PMs) in the attractions industry lead a very exciting life; responsible for the happiness of millions, all whilst navigating a sea of stakeholders and staff. But for all the twists and turns of cost and risk management, their communication and time management skills are 1st class.
Written by
Jessica Farias
Published on
30th November, 2022

Project Managers (PMs) in the attractions industry lead a very exciting life; responsible for the happiness of millions, all whilst navigating a sea of stakeholders and staff. But for all the twists and turns of cost and risk management, their communication and time management skills are 1st class.

Have you considered what goes on behind the scenes in the development of a new attraction? Be it an exciting new themed zone in a theme park or water park; or a brand-new animal enclosure in a zoo or nature park, having top-notch project managers on board at an early stage is critical to the project's success. We selected three of our Fun-Maker PMs Holly Vermeer, Jack Sellick, and Josh Madrers share their backgrounds and secrets on what makes the finest Project Manager.

Holly Vermeer - PM for 7 years


PICO PLAY:
Why did you choose attractions PM?

HOLLY: Because the projects are so exciting and unique, my creative nature and technical mind complement one another as an Attractions PM. The projects that I am involved in are once in a lifetime projects, how lucky am I to say I have Project Managed them!

PICO PLAY:  How do you prioritize tasks?

HOLLY: I focus on the tasks that are most critical first and that would have the potential to impact the program or halt works progress if not addressed.

PICO PLAY: How would you create an environment of collaboration in your team?

HOLLY: It is important as a Team to listen and learn from one another. I create a positive environment for my Team and always take the time to mentor my peers.

Josh Madrers - PM for 20+ years


PICO PLAY:
 What are the skills needed to become a good PM?

JOSH: The most important element is effective communication. Furthermore; Contract Negotiation, Scheduling and Time Management, Leadership, Technical Expertise, Cost and Risk Management, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving.

PICO PLAY:  How do you structure a team for a project? What do you consider?

JOSH: Structuring a team, I always consider professional approach, expertise and collaborative skills of each individual specific to their role. I then covey a clear understanding of all roles and responsibilities of each team member to ensure the responsibilities and reporting matrix is clear and efficient.

PICO PLAY: What type and size projects have you built?

JOSH: A very large range, from a small custom house extension to my current project of over 4.5 million USD for entire waterpark themed elements.


Jack Sellick - PM for 2 years


PICO PLAY:
In your view what’s the no.1 benefit of engaging a construction project manager?

a. Save time and money.

b. Optimize resources for a more efficient project delivery.

c. Prevent, mitigate, and manage risks in the construction process.

d. Build safe and better-quality infrastructure.

JACK: I think option B is the most important. Optimising resources can significantly impact the time, costs, and profit of a project. All of which contribute to the success of a project.

I focus on improving the efficiency of what happens on-site. I always weigh up cost vs outcome when it comes to resource allocation. For example, spending money on specialist labour, certain tools and equipment can seem expensive if looked at in isolation, but when you weigh it up against time saved, the benefits can outweigh the upfront cost.  Sometimes you need to spend money to make money.

PICO PLAY:  What actions would you take if a project is falling behind schedule or exceeding the project’s budget?

JACK: It always depends on the situation.  Most projects have tight time schedules and budget constraints. That’s the nature of the industry. It’s quite normal for things to get pushed. If the delays/overruns are relatively minor, sometimes it just requires organising a meeting with the team to discover the problems, motivate people to collaborate and drive towards the solution. Other times if the issues are much larger, harsh decisions need to be made to get the project back on track or mitigate the risk of it getting any worse.

PICO PLAY: What motivates you to work creating attractions around the world?

JACK: Definitely the final product and seeing the enjoyment people get from visiting (including myself!). I come from a commercial construction background.  The final products of my previous projects were always great to see but often would become offices or retail space – and let’s face it, that isn’t the most exciting thing in the world!

Pico Play is a global leader in the planning, design, development and construction of world-class themed attractions and entertainment. Specializing in themed attractions and entertainment across theme parks, zoos and animal parks, waterparks, family entertainment centres, surf parks, aquarium and marine parks and public spaces. We have Project Managers located in Australia, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia.

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