Franceen Gonzales was proud when Great Wolf Lodge opened in Mason, Ohio, in 2006. She was the corporate director of aquatics at Madison, Wis.-based Great Wolf Resorts, overseeing operations and maintenance of the company’s nine waterparks.
But the initial excitement over the new property soon became concern when several guests reported health issues.
It turned out that though the property was diligently maintained and equipment was state of the art, chloramines were affecting guests. Gonzales and her team worked with state and federal officials, and ultimately changes were made to resolve issues.
Today, she oversees the waterparks, engineering, safety, and insurance as vice president of risk management, but those months of research, testing, and modifications at Mason, have stayed with her.
So when the Model Aquatic Health Code project got under way, she was the ideal candidate to lead the Ventilation Technical Committee.
“We’re looking at water chemistry and how that interfaces with the air,” Gonzales explains. “The bather load, how much chlorine is in the pool, and how much surface area is exposed to the air are the drivers in indoor air quality. ” Still, she adds, there’s a lot of opportunity for more research.
The MAHC is a volunteer commitment and Gonzales, who got her start in aquatics working a summer job as a college student, is no stranger to “extracurricular” industry involvement. She served as chair of the World Waterpark Association’s Board of Directors from October 2006 to October 2008 and is the secretary general for ASTM F24, where she helped draft standards for water slides and aquatic play structures. She also serves on the IAAPA Safety Committee and recently joined the IAAPA Board of Directors.
“I’m very strategic when I select volunteer efforts,” Gonzales says. “It has to be something that is core to my business and it has to stand to have a broad impact on safety.”
Ultimately, Gonzales believes the MAHC will accomplish both of those goals.
“MAHC is not going to be a silver bullet solution ... and it’s not going to be a quick process. But it does bring together a blue ribbon panel of experts to develop consistent codes, which impacts everyone,” she adds.