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Might you be the “next” attraction designer?
Networking and career exploration event returns
We share a special bond here. Most people enjoy visiting parks. But we have an abiding passion for them. That’s one of the reasons I love writing articles and developing content for About Theme Parks. I see myself as something of a curator and pied piper, helping to guide you and the rest of our merry band to (and sometimes away from) experiences.
Today, I have something particularly noteworthy to bring to your attention. As someone who goes gaga over parks, chances are you’ve at least daydreamed about creating coasters, developing attractions, or otherwise seeking a career in the industry. Maybe you have a child or know a young person who wants to make midway magic. But where to begin? SKYnext could provide an entry point.
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The annual weekend-long retreat invites folks who are itching to break into the biz to gather together in the theme park capital of the world and network with industry professionals. After taking a pandemic-induced break for a few years, SKYnext is scheduled to return September 22 to 23 in Orlando. It is presented by Skyline Attractions, which crafts rides (such as the two Kid Fish Cosmic Coasters coming to Six Flags this year) and dabbles in many other park projects.
Past event attendees and speakers have included representatives from Falcon’s Creative Group, Rocky Mountain Construction, and Universal Creative. SKYnext also visits Central Florida parks, sometimes going behind the scenes at attractions and projects under construction or in development. Previous tours have included Mako at SeaWorld Orlando and The Wheel at ICON Park.
The event has grown so popular, Skyline now limits attendance to 60 participants. In order to secure a spot, candidates have to fill out an application and answer essay questions such as “Why do you want to work in the theme park industry?” and “What helps you stand apart from other SKYnext applicants?”
When Jeff Pike, Skyline Attractions’ president and partner, was a teenager, the eager, aspiring ride developer was able to finagle a meeting with legendary coaster creator, Curtis Summers. The engineer took Pike under his wings and helped him find his way into the industry. As a way to pay it forward, Pike, along with Skyline partner and VP, Chris Gray, founded SKYnext in 2015. They wanted to provide a more organized way for young adults to explore careers and pursue their dreams.
While their motivation is largely altruistic, the Skyline execs have a more practical reason to host the event.
“We have found some great talent, including one of our best engineers, through SKYnext,” says Pike.
Applications for the event are due by July 17. What are you waiting for? Should you become the next Jeff Pike, please remember I was the pied piper who alerted you to SKYnext; kindly consider granting me exclusive interviews about your big projects. Deal?
Have you ever thought about seeking a career in the industry? If so, what is it you have dreamed about doing? Do you work in the industry? How did you land a job?