Gurnee Employees

Share your memories of working at Marriott's GREAT AMERICA in Gurnee
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JW65
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Gurnee Employees

Post by JW65 » Wed Jul 20, 2005 11:20 am

Steven, This new forum is a "great" way for us to share information and ask questions. You'll probably know the answer to this one since you worked in Gurnee for several years.

I had heard that some, if not most of the employees who worked at GA during the summers, were from other countries. The teens/young adults would work during the day and then stayed at hotels during the nights. Marriott paid for their transportation/room and board, so that they could employ so many young people during the summer. The remainder of the employees would be locals. Can you confirm this?

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BrianPlencner
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Re: Gurnee Employees

Post by BrianPlencner » Wed Jul 20, 2005 9:05 pm

I'm not sure if they did that in the Marriott days, but when I worked at the park (1988-1993) they did have a lot of foreign exchange students employed at the park. They lived in dorms at local college in the area. One of them was in Kenosha, (UW Parkside I believe), and the other was in Lake Forest. The park provided busses for transportation between the dorms and the park.
===========================================
Mr. Brian Plencner
SFGAm Employee: 1988-1992

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steven
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Post by steven » Wed Jul 20, 2005 10:50 pm

I believe that the international workers were brought in during later, non-Marriott years. When I was there, the vast majority of the employees were from the surrounding region, including a large number from Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Steven

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coasterboy
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Forign Employees

Post by coasterboy » Sat Aug 27, 2005 9:18 pm

Lots of parks do this now.
Almost all the restaurants at Cedar Point are run by "imported labor".
There are just not enough locals willing to work for the low wages to keep things going.

I talked to one employee, from south America, and she said that they get to work for 120 days, then get 2 weeks off for travel before they have to go back to their home country.
Mark

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redfishpaw
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Post by redfishpaw » Mon Aug 29, 2005 9:11 am

steven wrote:I believe that the international workers were brought in during later, non-Marriott years. When I was there, the vast majority of the employees were from the surrounding region, including a large number from Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Steven
I knew several employees who were from Racine also. We had an imported employee in my office once. She was from Michigan and stayed in the Parkside dorms.

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Shockwavegirl
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Post by Shockwavegirl » Wed Aug 31, 2005 3:56 pm

Well, I worked there during the '96, '97 seasons and there were international employees there at that time....in fact in '96 when I worked at Rapids nearly half the crew on my shift were from Madrid. I came from Milwaukee, and a friend of mine came from as far north as West Bend. So apparently it's not as easy as it used to be to find employees locally.

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JW65
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Post by JW65 » Thu Sep 01, 2005 7:13 am

It would be interesting to know the hourly wage a starting employee made to operate rides, work the park. I would guess minimum wage. Am I correct?

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redfishpaw
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Post by redfishpaw » Thu Sep 01, 2005 7:39 am

That was true for me back in 1985. which was one reason why I only spent my 1st year (of eight w/ SFGA) in rides.

Also, one staffing problem the park had was with people going back to school near the end of the season. One year, around mid august, they everybody a .25 cent/ hour raise to stay on.

Another way they counter staffing problems was bringing in the vending machines, which I had mentioned in another thread.

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Shockwavegirl
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Post by Shockwavegirl » Thu Sep 01, 2005 3:00 pm

Well when I started in '96 I was paid 5.25...which was a dollar above minimum wage, and I got raises pretty often putting me at like 7 before I topped out during my first season.

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SFGAmLover
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Post by SFGAmLover » Thu Sep 01, 2005 3:48 pm

$7 doesn't seem too bad for 1996.
WARNING: This message was composed on a computer in a household where peanuts and peanut products are served.

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twixmix0303
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Post by twixmix0303 » Thu Sep 01, 2005 6:40 pm

Wow, it's still only $7/hr (at least at Gurnee). You would think that 9 years later, and with new lifeguards making at least $8/hr, they would raise the rest of seasonal pay rates (rides, food service, admissions, park services, etc.) to at least $8/hr as well.

http://www.sixflags.com/parks/greatamer ... /index.asp

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Shockwavegirl
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Post by Shockwavegirl » Thu Sep 22, 2005 12:12 pm

SFGAmLover wrote:$7 doesn't seem too bad for 1996.
Yeah, what can I say, I was a suck-up.

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NotBill
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Post by NotBill » Fri Jan 20, 2006 11:32 pm

When I was there the foreign workers were prevalent (I remember some great friends from Germany and Ireland) but the bulk of the staff was still local college and high school students. In my years visiting the park since it appears the staff (on rides anyway) has been cut way back and is mostly foreign.

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nedge32
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Post by nedge32 » Wed Feb 08, 2006 3:13 pm

hey all,

new to this forum so i thought i would add my .02. i am really glad that i stumbled upon this forum - it is good stuff. :D

here is my story -- i worked in rides for SFGA from 1995-1997 and had lots of fun doing it. i started out working nights on the American Eagle (aka the big white woody) but soon realized that working nights with that enomorous queue house really sucked so i changed to days my second year. Expect for the long walks to and from the break area and cafe, i really enjoyed working on the eagle. i just loved riding rollercoasters so i knew when i decided to work there that i would have to work on a coaster. ever since they assigned me to the big, white, woody - i knew that i would only be happy working on AE. it was my home, my happy place - if you will. and to this day, i still call her "my baby"!

i was one of the fortunate soles on my ride to get cross-trained early in the season. although, i got certified at Raceway (the old time cars), it was nice to have a change of pace. i didn't have to spend much time there throughtout my first season so that was good.

my second summer (1996) started out just as my first one did - at unit 045, the American Eagle. i obviously had to return to "my baby" and the really cool part was that a bunch of the same crew member were back and that made it a great atmosphere. so, now i am working days and let me tell ya, that was so much better than nights. i am not much of a morning person but somehow i managed to make it work every morning on time. the 045 crew was great to work with and we all got along very well - good times!

around midseason, i ended up getting PLUSed and transfered over to Raceway to become the new Day Lead. granted, i wanted to stay with all of my friends and my baby, but i also knew that if i wanted to get a promotion, i would have to sacrifice. so, i spend the later part of the year working on my farmer tan and telling kids not to bump cars for 8 hours. it wasn't the best atmosphere but it was nice to get a little sun for once!

i also got cross-trained at Splash which was cool since it was right next to raceway. i really enjoyed worked on Splash as well. seeing everyone's face when they got back was priceless!!!

my third year (1997) was the grand daddy of them all. why, you ask? well, i got "my baby" back and i couldn't have been happier. i was really hoping to get the American Eagle since i paid my dues at Raceway and it paid off. i spent the entire season at 045 and managed to get cross trained most of South side (Demon, Iron Wolf, AGR, Fling) . it was pretty neat to be able to work numerous rides and over the course of the year, i did just that.

I came back in 1998 and attending the orientaion and training seminars but i didn't last very long. i found an summer internship that was in my major so i had to take it. the sups told me that i would have been a South side training lead which would have been a cool experience.

i still try to make it back to GA at least once a summer but it is not always possible. the rides there are still some of the best you can find in one spot.

hope you all have enjoyed my story and you will hear from me again :)

nedge32
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Post by nedge32 » Wed Feb 08, 2006 3:20 pm

regarding this post --

during my tenure, there was a decent amount of foreign students who worked in rides. most of them spoke pretty good english and had accents that were pretty cool.

i commuted from racine with my girlfriend everyday and it wasn't too long of a drive. i knew some people who were from milwaukee, kenosha and various suburbs in IL.
Six Flags Great America Operations Employee
1995-1997, 045 American Eagle

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