Employee Spotlight: Franceen Gonzales

Message from Franceen on her appointment as Chairperson of ASTM’s F24 Committee:

I’m really happy that the committee has recognized my years and many hours of dedication to ASTM and safety. My dedication to safety is a personal one. I put a lot of time, effort, and energy into it and it takes a particular type of personality to lead a group that’s volunteering their time. I truly appreciate what the members do and try my best to help them get them what they need. That kind of leadership is important for us, and helps us recognize that we can lead by example, so this appointment is really humbling.

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I’ve been in the aquatics industry for over 30 years, starting with my first job as a pool technician and lifeguard. Over the years, I’ve worked as an executive for Great Wolf Resorts, Six Flags, and Golfland Entertainment Centers where I focused on building leadership teams, developing operating protocols, consulting on the design of new water parks and resorts, and directing risk management programs.

What do you do at WhiteWater?

I oversee the sales team covering North and South America and the Caribbean. As a Spanish speaker, I spend a lot of time in Latin America, developing emerging markets to have an affinity for world-class attractions.

What do you love about working at WhiteWater?

I joined WhiteWater because the company impressed me—Geoff Chutter was very much wanting to expand what the company was doing, and I love how much we have an appetite for diversity in what we do. I love that there are so many intelligent and knowledgeable people in the company. I really appreciate the air of professionalism and quality in everything that everyone in this company does, especially our steadfast belief in safety.

What’s your favourite WhiteWater product?

My favourite product is the AquaPlay because the structures have lots of dimensions, lots of different activities and a big splash.

What’s on your bucket list?

A trip to Egypt to explore the ancient civilizations.

Do you have a hidden talent? Tell us about it!

I’m a fairly decent plumber/tiler/carpenter. I can do electrical work too, and if needed, I can double as a handyman! I also enjoy anything related to art. Arts and crafts, creating things on my own—I’d rather make something than buy it.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Definitely older. Probably continuing to be doing what I’m doing in the industry. Enjoying more time with my husband because right now, we both travel a lot. I see us spending more time together in 10 years. I’m hoping that I’m going to be mentoring more young people in the business. Lastly, I will definitely still be in the industry!

What do you do outside of work? What’s your favourite past time?

I volunteer a lot of my time to safety organization such as IAAPA, ASTM, PHTA. I have no kids, no pets, but two indoor plants. Almost all of my spare time is given to other organizations promoting safety.

I love looking at art and my guilty habit is acquiring interesting art. I also enjoy fishing and being on my boat. I also love doing projects around my house with my husband.

Additionally, I love cooking at home and enjoy trying out new recipes.

What is the most interesting place you’ve visited and why?

A water park in Vietnam that was built into a temple. So, visitors can go in and pray. The prayer area is close to a pool/roller coaster, and visitors can actually see the rides from the prayer area. I found it very interesting.

I love going to parks in Germany where everything is so picturesque. They pay a lot of attention to how things look and feel. For them, it’s not always about the rides, but how the setting is like. I had the chance to visit Tripsdril, with was breathtakingly beautiful.

Another interesting place that I’ve visited is Petra, which I travelled to with my husband on the way to Dubai. We drove 3 hours to Petra and went trekking around the area.

Dawn Kirby