WhiteWater is made up of people from all walks of life—world travellers, adventurers, and just like Canada, we’re made up of a significant number of immigrants. They hail from all over the world: from China and Hong Kong to Australia and Italy. In this spotlight, we’ll introduce you to Hamid Babaki, our Senior Designer, Play Structures who left his native Iran more than two decades ago to be part of the Canadian story.
Please tell us a bit about yourself
I was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. During my school years, I spent my free time playing football (better known as soccer here) and volleyball with my friends. In the summer, we would visit a village called Damavand, which was the birth place of my parents. Some of the best memories of my life are from that village: running through farmland and cattle, climbing up trees and swimming in the river. After high school, I entered the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Tehran to study architecture. I worked in several architectural firms in Tehran until my wife and I decided to immigrate to Canada in the early nineties. My wife and I, along with our two children, arrived in Vancouver in October 1995 and have made this beautiful city our home since then. A year after arriving here, I was hired at WhiteWater as a draftsperson. After a few years with the company and following the introduction of the AquaPlay product line, I was assigned to the product development team.
What do you do at WhiteWater?
As a senior designer of play structures, I am the main contact person for wet play structures (AquaPlay, AquaCourse, AquaSpray, and AquaForms) on the pre-contract team. My responsibility is to ensure that we offer the best and most interesting play structures to clients on time and within budget. I coordinate closely with the sales, estimation, and engineering teams.
What’s your favourite WhiteWater product?
Although I have not had the opportunity to experience all the WhiteWater products, I have a particular interest in AquaPlay structures as I have been involved in hundreds of AquaPlay projects. My favourite play structure is the FusionFortress 17. Utilizing a large number of features and a variety of slides, this model is like a standalone water park. Aside from that, I personally love high thrill water slides too—especially freefall slides and AquaLoop.
Do you have a hidden talent? Tell us about it!
A not-so-hidden talent or interest of mine is translation. Many years ago, I translated documents and books on science, the environment, and global warming from English to Farsi, which is my mother tongue.
What do you do outside of work? What’s your favourite past time?
Besides spending time with family, I love nature and outdoor activities. In the summer, this includes hiking and camping, and in the winter cross country skiing and snow shoeing. During my first and second years at university, the wonderful and fun overnight hiking trips that we organized sparked my interested in exploring the outdoors. On the other hand, reading is my favourite indoor hobby.
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited and why?
I have been lucky to visit a lot of amazing places, but Amsterdam interested me the most. I have travelled to the city a couple of times, but the longest visit was in September 2017. My wife and I rented a cozy suite in an authentic 17th century apartment building beside the central canal. Beautiful buildings, amazing views, waves of cyclists, and extremely friendly people are among the main things that we love about this unique city.
What do you love about working at WhiteWater?
During my 20 years at WhiteWater, I have been either involved in or witness to so many exciting events and moments in this company. What never ceases to amaze me is the multicultural environment. As an immigrant, I’ve never felt like a stranger here, and have always enjoyed the respectful and friendly atmosphere in the office. This multicultural aspect aligns with the international nature of the business and the reputation of our company as one of the leaders in the water parks industry.