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Steve Lomas

Director of Park Operations

Drayton Manor

Drayton Manor

Steve Lomas has been working in the attractions industry on and off since 1990. He started his career as park presentation manager at Alton Towers and, after a stint working at the Food Standards Agency, now works as the director of Park Operations at Drayton Manor.

Tell us about your career?

I started my career in agriculture and trained at Harper Adams University, until a seasonal role, running a new farm exhibition at Alton Towers, appeared on the college noticeboard. This was in 1990. I got the job and very quickly fell in love with the theme park industry. In the same year, Alton Towers was sold by John Broome and family to the Tussauds Group. This cemented my migration from agriculture to leisure. After that the 'growing of crops' became the 'production of magical guest memories'. I stayed in the leisure indsutry for 10 years, in early 2000 and for the next 15 years I worked outside the industry, taking roles in operational management with the Whitbread Beer Company and the Food Standards Agency. In 2015, I was delighted to rejoin the industry as the director of Park Operations at Drayton Manor. Since then I've been working with the park owners, the Bryan family, to develop and enhance the operation of the rides and zoo platforms at the business.

What are your favourite/least favourite things about your job?

I'm always motivated by the excited response from our guests, particularly our younger guests, who can't contain their excitement when they first see Thomas the Tank Enging on the turntable when they enter Thomas Land, for them its the real Island of Sodor. Those reactions are when you know you've got it right. It brightens up the dullest of operational days.

Least favourite for me is any negative guest feedback and when you've done all that you can and more, but a guest is still unsatisfied. That hurts, expecially as you know just how much time and energy goes into preparing your product and your team, and how hard your team work, in all weathers. It's a real juggling act. I have, however, learned with time and experience that not all guests can be satisfied. It's becoming increasingly difficult to balance guest expectaction, product quality, safety and cost to serve. Without a doubt guest's expectation for high-quality, immersive experiences at budget prices is ever growing and forms an ever-increasing challenge.

Careers advice

Chase your passion, not your pension. If you do something you really love, then success in all measures will naturally follow and your career parth will have a more natural progression. Equally so, never lose sight of your own family and keep them as your priority, even when the 24/7 nature of the leisure industry competes against your personal time and space.

Guests' expectations for high-quality experiences are ever growing

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