January/February 2019

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54 / JANUARY.FEBRUARY.2019 USICERINKS.COM CEnter ice Q&A with a rink professional PHOTOS: ANDY MUKA // How did you get into the rink business? After graduating with a bachelor's degree in sports management, I was looking to break into the sports industry. I accepted a position as a concession manager at the local rink and rapidly grew into larger roles. I have been around rinks and hockey my entire life, so it made sense. // You made the jump from work- ing in a facility every day to solving facility problems every day—is it what you expected? Totally! As a rink employee/manager, I came across a wide range of problems. And what I didn't see in my own buildings, I saw in other facilities as a consultant. Helping staff with issues is sometimes challenging, but it comes with the territory. // What's the biggest challenge you face each day? It's sometimes difficult to diagnose cus- tomer problems remotely, specifically with ice resurfacers. I typically need to ask the customer for multiple pictures before we can get to the root of the issue. Additionally, many ice resurfacers have cannibalized components, so finding the correct part(s) for the customers can be challenging at times. // What's the best part of your job? I genuinely enjoy assisting customers and troubleshooting issues. I pride myself on going above and beyond to help our customers. I truly wish I would have had someone like myself to lean on while I was still working in rinks. // What's your 10-year plan professionally? Within the next 10 years I would like to be involved in the business on the national and international level. I would love to be a part of some of the NHL outdoor games, as well as the Winter Olympics. I see myself owning a company down the road that assists rinks in some capacity. Potentially in the same realm that I am currently working in, or something a little different. Time will only tell if that's in the cards within the next 10 years. // Craziest experience in the indus- try to date? A few years ago, I managed a seasonal outdoor rink in downtown Baltimore. The proximity of the rink to the harbor forced us to use 6,000 square-feet of white textile instead of traditional white ice paint. After taking a break from seal- ing in the textile, I noticed that someone came and dripped food coloring all over the perimeter of the ice sheet. The ice was too thin to cut it out, and I couldn't hose it off. So, the only other solution was to scrape it off with the edge of skates and use a chipper to gather the multi-colored snow into a bucket. Needless to say, it was a very long night! // Any advice for other rink profes- sionals out there? First and foremost, be a sponge. Learn every position in the building and every aspect of the business. Continue your education and never think you know it all. Second and equally important, outwork everyone next to you and be the "glue" that holds the place together. These two keys will not only allow one to grow as a professional but will also gain the respect of everyone in the building. However, this must be done with grace and humility. J PROFILE Name: Andy Muka Job Title: Business Manager, All-Star Arenas U.S. Ice Rinks Professional Designations Achieved: CIRM Years in the Ice Rink Industry: 8 Andy Muka Tampa, Fla. "AS A RINK EMPLOYEE/MANAGER, I CAME ACROSS A WIDE RANGE OF PROBLEMS. AND WHAT I DIDN'T SEE IN MY OWN BUILDINGS, I SAW IN OTHER FACILITIES AS A CONSULTANT."

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