November/December 2015

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CEnter ice Q&A with a rink professional 42 / NOVEMBER.DECEMBER.2015 RINKMAGAZINE.COM PHOTOS: COURTESY OF STAR // How did you get into the industry? It was by happenstance actually. The rink opened in December 1995 and I was friends with most of the staff who were tasked with the opening. They needed help and I offered up the assistance. I went from an ice attendant, to a supervisor, to an operations manager in a matter of a couple months. At around one year out I was the general manager of the facility. // What do you like best about your job? There are two aspects. The first is the wide variety of unexpected variables asso- ciated with operating a recreation facility. Each day is different and allows for varia- tion in my daily life. The second (and most important) is the impact this facility has had on peoples' lives. People I used to coach in hockey have grown up, have families and their children now play hockey. I realized it when I had been to the high school graduation of one of my employees and received an invitation to his child's high school graduation this year. I have watched former employees and players go on to open their own businesses, start families, receive college degrees, play hockey at the highest level, become mili- tary officers and so on. It's amazing that most have continued to be involved in ice sports throughout their lives. // Have you been tagged with a nick- name or superhero moniker by any of those people? I used to be called MacGyver. It started with an office manager who needed to get in to a safe. We didn't have batteries so I started rubbing the positive end of a dead one on the carpet. She looked puzzled until I told her the friction from it would provide enough charge to open the safe. It worked and she was dumbfounded. I haven't been called that in years, but I still think outside of the box when solving problems. // What are some of the best tips you have picked up from any of our CRA or CIT training programs? There have been so many ideas it's hard to pin them down. What one needs to real- ize when taking classes from STAR is the connections of industry colleagues made, discussions in class and the education pro- vided are huge assets to your overall orga- nization. The fact that STAR gives you a class list for the ability to contact col- leagues is a great benefit. One might have forgotten something a rink manager said in class, but they have the ability to contact that person for information. // Tell us about the black lights in you facility? After taking the IMPT do you think you might add some black light paints to your floor? We installed super high wattage black lights at center ice, which had a huge ben- efit to our evening public sessions with special effects lights. The customers love it. At the IMPT class in Vegas we discussed Jeff Blair PROFILE Name: Jeff Blair Facility: Gateway Ice Center, Fresno, Calif. Years in the Industry: 10 years STAR Designation: CRA, CIT and CIRM (Nov. 2015) STAR Courses Taken: 1. ORM: 2014 – Las Vegas 2. PMP: 2015 – (NARCE) Columbus, Ohio 3. BR: 2015 – Allen, Texas 4. HRM: 2015 – Boulder, Colo. 5. IMPT: 2015 – Las Vegas CRA, CIT and CIRM Fresno, Calif. EACH DAY IS DIFFERENT & ALLOWS FOR VARIATION IN MY DAILY LIFE.

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