Nathan Jones: Continuing a journey of amazing attractions
17th August 2020 –
Following a long track record at both WhiteWater and Vekoma, Nathan Jones recently took the COO role at CAVU Designwerks. CAVU’s specialty is in designing and engineering new immersive ride systems. CEO Peter Schnabel heads up the company, based in British Columbia, Canada.
What led you to this opportunity at CAVU Designwerks?
I have known Peter Schnabel for many years and always had a healthy respect for his contributions to the industry. The introduction of technology into the amusement industry is not something new but integrating technology successfully and in a way that makes sense has been where Peter has consistently delivered and helped shape a generation of rides and attractions. I wanted to be part of the exciting team at CAVU pursuing those same ambitious goals.
Tell us about your new role and what you will be responsible for?
My primary focus will be on the operations of the company. I will ensure we deliver on contracts from signing through commissioning and completion. The complexity and integration of CAVU’s attractions requires a rigorous, process-driven implementation involving contributions from a multidisciplinary team. Our customers expect projects to be on-time and on-budget and I will be working with the team to ensure that.
How has your previous experience prepared you for this position?
I have been fortunate enough to work for two preeminent companies in the industry including WhiteWater and Vekoma. My experience with highly engineered attractions at both organizations laid the foundation for me to come in and really hit the ground running with that foundational knowledge in hand at CAVU. Additionally, participating on the International Board for the TEA has allowed me to interact with industry leaders including operators, suppliers, and specifiers. It has helped me better understand how international leaders conduct business.
Who or what things have inspired you in your career?
Before the ribbon cutting and grand opening of any attraction, there is a hardworking, dedicated team of professionals that come together to turn the seemingly impossible into something that is real. Leading and being part of such diverse teams has defined my passion for the industry. These teams, many of whom have become lifelong friends, have inspired me to continually seek out organizations that have a winning combination of cutting-edge portfolios and passionate employees who love coming to work every day.
What direction is CAVU heading in and how are you planning on helping achieve that vision?
Pushing the boundary of what is possible with dark rides, flying theatres, and other high-tech attractions has CAVU uniquely positioned to deliver on their ever-expanding portfolio of attractions. Ultimately, the goal is to produce an unforgettable, fun experience for the audience. Combining just the right of amount of technology, motion, content, and storytelling into one package is where CAVU really excels and being able to deliver on those experiences is where I will be focusing much of my time.
How are you and CAVU approaching business during the pandemic and how are you planning for the post-pandemic market?
Like most businesses, we have adjusted our business model and reacted to the current global environment. We want to be cognizant of how much change many of our customers and colleagues have had to deal with in such a short time. To alleviate some of those pressures we have rolled out our Bluesky Services as part of our way to remain connected with our clients. We are offering two distinct services: A Creative Charette, which includes a technical brainstorming session on new products or attractions moderated by CAVU. Our Engineering Think Tank is a complimentary engineering consultation and design service for a product or attraction. These services provide the opportunity to engage with our Engineering team to brainstorm technically on a new or existing product/project.