From Stone Mason to Master Designer: MEI Director of Operations Travis Kline
What interested you about working at WhiteWater?
I love the creative water parks industry for both its innovative nature and fast-paced adaptation. Our industry is exceptionally small, with only a few companies specializing in each of the different components that go into a theme or water park. WhiteWater specifically interested me because the company extends beyond fiberglass to encompass innovative elements and unique use of water. I had the privilege of working with WhiteWater in the past as a partner and saw firsthand the power of its culture, projects, and people.
What is your position at WhiteWater and some of your daily responsibilities?
I knew I wanted to be an architect from a very young age when I would construct my older brother’s LEGO® sets so he could play with the completed structures. I entered the industry as head of architecture and planning, but I evolved my role into operations to utilize my combined skillset of design and experience in construction. That brought me to my role as the Regional Director of Operations in Middle East and India. My day-to-day is typically made up of supporting pre-contract sales by building relationships and exhibiting my design experience to improve client deliverables. I focus on the transition from pre-contract to post-contract so that clients have continuity, and the design intent is maintained. This typically involves teamwork and collaboration, working hand in hand with our project managers, site supervisors, and business development managers.
My overarching goal for this position is to help create a regional industry-leading sales, design, and informational “hub” based in Dubai that combines WhiteWater’s philosophy with opportunities to make decisions based on real time situations, efficiencies, and local culture. Our region is unique because we work on pilot programs and strive to brainstorm novel ways to increase WhiteWater’s global opportunities. Because of WhiteWater’s existing industry relationships and geographic proximity to many of our projects, the Middle East office is the ideal location to get creative, roll up our sleeves (literally—it is so hot we have to roll them up!), and develop new initiatives.
What are you looking forward to about living and working in the Middle East?
I am fascinated by the culture, the architecture, and the sustainable smart growth initiatives proposed by countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council. I am excited to highlight the Middle East to the world through our projects and explore the region with my wife and young son.
I accepted this role because I wanted to be at the epicenter of some of the most important and influential projects in the world and be in a position to positively influence the industry—and in my opinion, that location is in the Middle East.
Favourite part about working in our industry?
I am a stone mason by trade and have worked in the construction industry since I was 14. Stone is one of the world’s oldest building materials, and masonry one of its oldest professions, dating back to 10,000 B.C.E. Amusingly, designing and building water parks is a very recent industry—about 40 years old. I have found that the application of my knowledge of an ancient profession towards pushing the boundaries of a new one to be highly successful and intriguing.
I love that our sector is international and requires us to stretch ourselves to accommodate different regions, cultures, and societies. Working in 28 states and seven countries because of my job has changed my mindset in so many positive ways. I believe travel is important for people to expand their viewpoints and for their own personal growth.
What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
Outside of the office, I enjoy going on adventures and traveling with my wife and my 2-year-old son. We are always up for new experiences, anywhere and anytime!
Who would you trade places with for a day?
I would trade places with my son. It is incredible to watch him experience things for the first time. His unbridled enthusiasm to understand and explore is wildly contagious. Plus, I would also thoroughly enjoy getting to race around all day on my Big Wheel again!