Thursday, June 13, 2024

Ten Questions with Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA’s Park President

Kevin Lembke (Busch Gardens)

HISTORIC TRIANGLE — “Ten Questions with” is a series that allows readers to get to know local business leaders, volunteers and community members in the Historic Triangle.

This week, meet Kevin Lembke.

What is your job title and description?

Park President — Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA. I work with a great team of professional park leaders to ensure a safe, fun, and memorable experience at our two parks for all our guests and team members. We are fortunate to work at the world’s most beautiful theme park!

Who do you interact/work with on a regular basis?

I work most closely with my senior leadership team which consists of department leaders representing different disciplines in the park such as marketing, finance, operations, maintenance, etc. But I also get to work with so many great team members across our parks that truly make the difference every day to ensure our guests have a great experience. I learn so much from our in-park teams since they are the ones interacting with our guests every day, so their feedback is extremely valuable in shaping our strategy and mission as an organization.

What is something about your job most people wouldn’t know about?

There are so many aspects to how a theme park operates and much of that is planned way in advance. If we are working on a new event or new attraction, it may be years in advance that we are working on plans. Even within the season, we are always planning well ahead for the launch of major events such as Howl-o-Scream or Christmas Town. It is not uncommon to be doing work on Christmas in February or March getting prepped for the coming year’s event. While you’re operating daily, you’re always many months out in your planning on what’s coming next.

How do you define success?

The success of the team and the individuals is always the true measure of how successful an organization is in my view. Of course, you have all of the financial metrics to measure success in the business but ultimately without a strong, collaborative team, it is difficult to reach any of the business goals. It’s critical to ensure your team has the resources and clear communication needed to be successful in their roles and advance. Ultimately the strong team we have at the parks is what drives our success.

Kevin Lembke speaks at the park. (Busch Gardens)

What is your most successful accomplishment to date?

We have four children and our oldest is graduating high school and is off to VCU in the
fall. We couldn’t be prouder and watching her achieve her goals and all the exciting
things she has ahead in life has been a great experience.

What piece of advice would you give your younger self?

Trust your gut. Sounds simple, but it is almost always your most effective tool in
decision-making in my experience as a leader.

How long have you lived in the greater Williamsburg/York area?

We first moved here in 2013. We lived in Tampa for two years in between, but have
been in the region now for over 10 years.

What is your favorite part of living here?

The sense of community the area has reminds me very much of where I grew up
near Buffalo, New York, and it is great to see our kids have that same experience. Plus the
proximity to so many different experiences … the mountains, the ocean, major cities,
etc. … we love the variety of experiences that are only a short drive away.

What do you do for downtime/to relax?

The family enjoys boating and we’re fortunate to have so many great places in the
area to be able to get on the water. I have played guitar for many years and enjoy
the opportunity to play music whenever I have some free time. And I am a huge
Buffalo sports fan … so if there is a Bills or Sabres game on, I am likely watching.

What is the next step in your journey?

There are so many great things that are happening at our parks with new
attractions, new events, all while working with a great team. Our parks are such an
important part of the area and for now, I’m focused on ensuring our parks are
always a great place to work and visit while remaining a strong community partner.

Visit the Busch Gardens Williamsburg webpage and Water County USA webpage to learn more about the parks.

Do you want to learn more about your community and the people that live and work in the Historic Triangle? We are looking for people with interesting jobs, super volunteers, or community leaders to showcase. Reach out to let us know if you (or someone you know) would like to be considered for Ten Questions.

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