The Work We Do: Deborah Zak, Splish Splash Water Park

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Hello, my name is Deborah Zak. I am the assistant general manager at Splish Splash Water Park.

I have worked here for 27 years. I came here when I was 16 with a friend who was driving me home from school that day. She had an interview here.

As she was being interviewed I just kind of looked around and said ‘Well, I don’t have a job, so let’s just put in an application and see what happens.’

You’re generally around other 16-, 17-year-olds, you’re 16 or 17 and it’s a ton of fun. That’s what kept me coming back.

After graduating from SUNY/Geneseo with a business management degree, I was offered a management job here. I worked my way up from food and beverage assistant director to my current role.

We’re operating for anywhere between 85 and 90 days. That can fluctuate based on attendance levels, based on the weather. What we do is follow the bubble, so the first area of the park that may see a large influx of our guests coming would be the parking lot.

The next area the guests would go to is ticketing and gates and come into the park that way. So you’re checking on that department, helping where you can.

And then it’s right away, get on the rides.

The park pretty much added an attraction almost every season.

If it wasn’t an attraction, we were adding other capital, like a restaurant location or adding to the parking lot or some other way to make the park grow.

And that’s been a steady pace that we’ve seen each and every year, that we’re adding and making it bigger and better.

I enjoy developing the team.

Every year I get a new set of seasonal managers or leadership team members that are just starting out and kind of just passing along my experiences.

I love when somebody who’s worked at the park summer after summer after summer … maybe they’ve left and gone on to do something in the military, or actually have a career of their own.

Then they come back and you get to speak to them again and they do relate how much working at Splish Splash over a number of seasons has built them to be who they are now and they’re so appreciative, so that’s been a highlight as well.

“The Work We Do” is a News-Review multimedia project profiling workers around Riverhead Town.