Today we are pleased to introduce Richard Shepherd, our Ride Manager. Richard will be on hand tomorrow as we celebrate Roller Coaster day. In preparation for the day we are getting to know our Ride Manager and asking him some questions about his experience and journey here at Drayton Manor Park.
Richard has been an essential cog in the wheel, since 2001. He actually started in the kitchens as a young 13-year-old on work experience, making sandwiches for the Park’s School trips. Once leaving school he joined as a seasonal worker at the age of 16.
Growing up in the local area, Richard visited Drayton Manor Park weekly and says he couldn’t wait for the next season’s brochure to be released, so that he could see what was new and upcoming in the Park. It was also a family affair as all three of his siblings and his father have worked for the business and his sister is still currently employed as a Park Controller.
Since then he has worked his way up the ranks to Ride Manager and says that this is down to his enjoyment of working at Drayton Manor Park over the years, working in a customer facing role. He also finds that it is the pride and sense of achievement that is the most rewarding part of his role, as well as being a part of a successful team. He goes on to say that ‘‘one of the perks of the job, is being able to go on a ride every now and again!”.
One of the biggest challenges for Richard has been learning just how complex some of the attractions are to operate and how much determination and planning it takes to maintain and run a safe operation.
We asked Richard what the best thing was about working at Drayton Manor Park and he said it is without doubt, being part of the family and creating safe, magical days out for guests. Secondly, he enjoys being able to make changes and be influential. He also enjoys being involved in the design element of rides, including the installation, testing and the opening of new rides and attractions.
Some statistics that Richard wanted to share: ‘’We have roughly, 150 ride host seasonal staff per season and in the 16 seasons Richard has worked, it would equate to him having worked with 2,400 ride hosts.
When Richard is away from the park, he likes to watch his favourite football team play, Aston Villa and is also a season ticket holder of the club. He also has a famous friend in the music industry, Mike Skinner from The Streets, so keep your eyes peeled to see if you can spot him in a music video!
If you want to know more about Richard, and our rides at Drayton Manor Park, we will be hosting a live Q & A session on Tuesday 16th August in celebration of Roller Coaster Day, so make sure you look out for the Facebook post on Monday where you can post your question to him. He will be ready and waiting to reply!