Amusement Park General Manager: Dave Roemer, Six Flags, St Louis, Missouri

Below is the results of an interview between Ben Haines, an Entertainment Management student at Missouri State University and Dave Roemer, General Manager of Six Flags St. Louis. The interview was conducted in the fall of 2001.

1. What is your position?

I am the Vice President/General Manager of Six Flags St Louis.

2. What is an average week like for you?

During our operating season, my average week ranges from 60-80 hours. This is a lot like a retail operation, you have to be ready when the doors are open. 30% of that time is spent on administrative office work, the balance is out of the office, in the park, observing and adjusting the operation. I look very much forward to November when my week throttles back to 45-50 hours.

3. What is the range of salaries one could expect to make?

Salary ranges vary widely in this industry. I would rather not comment on this area.

4. What attracted you to this job?

I actually grew up near this park, started here in 1972 as the mail clerk and the rest is history. I represent the stereotypical dream of every mail clerk, to some day sit in the top chair.

5. What education do you recommend one to have for this career?

I have a degree in business administration. Finance and Marketing are other good choices for someone aspiring to do this job. You also need to be prepared to need 10-15 years of experience in this type of operation.

The Tidal Wave

6. What skills do you feel have made you successful?

First, I give Jesus credit for my success. My life has been populated with situations where I have been blessed. I think He has provided me with the ability to make quick decisions while at the same time gathering all the facts necessary to make them accurately. My management style is one of steering the boat, not telling everyone how to row. I let my managers manage and just offer suggestions and corrections along the way. It is a cliche, but people skills in this business are critical. You have to have compassion for your guests as well as your employees. You must realize that not everyone has a good day everyday. The old adage of “You may lose the game but you can still be a winner” really applies. To best sum this up, you must be a coach and cheerleader all rolled into one.

7. Is there a personality type that is best suited for this career?

Someone who is upbeat and can find the good in almost any situation. The challenge is not taking everything personally and getting dragged down.

8. What experiences should an applicant have?

Like I stated earlier, you should have 10-15 years in a similar field.

9. What changes have you come across in the last decade?

People as a whole are getting more informed and have less free or discretionary time. That is our challenge. When someone spends a day here, we have to make sure that they do not feel as though they have wasted one of their most valuable commodities, personal time.

10. How did you get your job?

Like I said, I started in the mailroom and worked my way up through the warehouse, purchasing and as National Purchasing Director for this company. Whenever an opportunity to advance came along, I examined my skill sets and if I did not have what would be needed, I obtained those skills so I was ready the next time.

11. How did you get where you are today?

By being blessed, diligent and always doing my best no matter what the job. Sometimes the smallest jobs afford the greatest exposure to the folks making the decisions. You have to approach everything you do as if you are doing it personally for the company president.