Employee Spotlight: Katrina Kalashnikova
To close out the month of March and in honour of Women’s History Month, we would like to showcase one of WhiteWater’s strong and talented women, Katrina Kalashnikova.
The After Sales department has a knack for taking waterslides from dull and lacklustre to shining, shimmering, and splendid. From waterslide and water ride refurbishments and repairs, to a complete AquaPlay theming overhaul, After Sales is often known as the “Extreme Makeover” department of WhiteWater.
Among one of its eight employees, that produce transformative results, is Katrina Kalashnikova, a friendly and confident force often seen zipping around the office. Katrina has worked at WhiteWater for almost three years and is a Senior Project Manager for After Sales.
Since joining WhiteWater, Katrina has managed projects for top clients such as SeaWorld Orlando and Disney Cruise Line. We wanted to share with you a little bit about Katrina and how she became the incredibly-organized Project Manager she is today:
Where are you from?
I was born in Russia and immigrated to Canada when I was 17 years old for my studies. I studied business, engineering, and economics. I then started my own business and worked in many different industries from real estate development to sheet metal manufacturing.
What drew you to WhiteWater?
What drew me to WhiteWater is the international exposure and presence that WhiteWater has. It has been amazing being able to do business in the Bahamas in one week and then in South Africa the next. WhiteWater is a global company with a strong global reach and it allows me to learn and work in different cultures.
But the true beauty of what we do is that regardless of any cultural, religious, or language differences, when people come together at a waterpark, barriers are dropped and people just have fun! I love that about our products and the industry we work in.
Construction of the AquaDuck Slide on the Disney Dream cruise ship
How would you describe your role at WhiteWater and what does a typical day look like for you?
As a project manager, my day-to-day is never the same. On any given day, I can be on a phone call with a waterpark owner discussing a timeline for their waterslides that need refurbishing, to being on site ensuring building codes are met with our structural engineers. My work days are a blend of business development, project management, logistics, and a lot of customer service.
What’s something people might not know about you?
As mentioned, there’s always a dozen things happening at once. People often think project managers must be very stressed out, but I think what makes me excel at my job is that I’m actually quite calm. I’m not affected by the outside noise and I can think outside the box. I think it’s important to have a solution-driven mindset and emotional intelligence to stay calm during high-pressure situations.
Something people might not know about the After Sales department is that our department is basically a self-running business. Our department does its own estimates, proposals, and project management. Not a lot of people know that about us!
Click the image above to watch the video of Waterbom Bali debuting all of the changes and upgrades they’ve made to their waterpark
What is your favourite project you’ve worked on at WhiteWater?
My favourite project that I’ve worked on was on the Disney Cruise Line cruise ship because it really tested my skills as a project manager. With cruises, everything is incredibly time-sensitive because they’re often scheduled to sail only a few weeks from when we can begin work on the ship, so projects must be completed on time. The dry dock project had a lot of moving parts and required specific maintenance. Fortunately, with the hard work of 25 people, we successfully completed the project in just 14 days!
The refurbishments we did at Waterbom Bali were also one of my favourite projects that I’ve worked on. Waterbom Bali is an incredibly popular waterpark in Bali, Indonesia that have some great water slides, but were also starting to show how well-loved they were. We refurbished their slides, as well as added AquaLucent slide sections to them. The added features resulted in an amazing new guest experience.
What is your proudest moment at WhiteWater?
My proudest moment at WhiteWater was probably when we helped create an all-inclusive experience. A local waterpark operator contacted me mentioning they have a water slide that a child with a disability couldn’t enjoy. I feel it’s important to ensure water parks are available to all and can be enjoyed by all, as visible in notable water parks such as Morgan’s Inspiration Island. With the help of the WhiteWater team, we were able to provide guidance to the customer on how to adjust their slide to allow for that child to play amongst his friends and family.
Katrina visiting Waterbom Bali with the WhiteWater team
What’s your favourite part about working at WhiteWater?
I think WhiteWater employees are so incredibly talented. Walking from department to department, I’m always blown away by how incredibly skilled, talented, and dedicated my colleagues are. I think we truly have an appreciation for our product, which shows in the quality of work we produce for our clients.
If you could switch your job with anyone from the company, who would it be?
That’s a tough one! I love my job, but if I were to choose, I think it would be the Product Design team. I love that their job is to stay up-to-date with today’s technology and integrating their learnings into new and interesting features for our products.