Jim Dunn has seen quite a revolution in waterparks since he started at Aquatic Development Group in 1987.
“In the early days, aquatic attractions were very engineered. Now there’s a lot more architecture, theming and design. It’s been exciting to be a part of that,” says Dunn, now the vice president of design and construction.
Dunn, a New York state registered architect, actually has been in aquatics since childhood. His father owned a residential swimming pool construction company, and he started pitching in on the family business around age 10.
Today, 90 percent of his work involves waterparks. Some of his flagship projects include Six Flags' Great America and Great Adventure. But regardless of what he’s working on, Dunn still gets excited during the run up to opening a new facility or attraction. The satisfaction of pulling it off is quite a rush, he says.
Dunn first became involved in the Model Aquatic Health Code project as a member of the Ventilation and Air Quality Committee. He was later asked to join the Steering Committee to provide representation for the waterpark industry.
“It was a good opportunity to meet people outside of waterparks and hear their thoughts and comments,” he says. “I think the strength of the group is the diversity. We have folks coming from a variety of backgrounds.”
Being able to understand the perspectives of regulators, researchers, operators and others has been eye opening, according to Dunn. It’s his hope the final product will provide a new vision for the industry.
"As a builder and designer, having worked in various states, each has, in some cases, a vastly different code,” he says. “The idea that in the future there could be a consistent code will ensure that final product is better.”