Greg Fuller is the General Manager of Anakeesta, a renowned mountaintop park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Greg started in the attractions industry at the age of 16, working in a warehouse at Six Flags. After completing his college education, Greg stayed with Six Flags, progressing through a diverse range of roles, like Park Services Director to eventually General Manager. After working with Six Flags for 32 years, Greg decided to take on a new challenge as the General Manager of Anakeesta, where he now brings spectacular experiences and views to guests of all ages. In this interview, Greg talks about taking care of the team, the Anakeesta experience, and getting out of your comfort zone.
Taking Care of the Team
“If you take care of your team, your team will take care of you.”
Greg knows that there’s a big difference when it comes to being a good manager vs. being a good leader. According to Greg, exceptional leaders prioritize the well-being of their teams and cultivate an environment where employees are enthused about their work, ultimately generating game-changing results.
Greg also emphasizes the importance of soft skills. Throughout his career, Greg has taken leaps into roles where he doesn’t have much technical experience. Yet, by prioritizing the well-being of his team and building a positive culture, Greg discovered that his team was able to impart the technical skills he needed for success and growth.
The Anakeesta Experience
“We want people to walk away feeling they really experienced the Smoky Mountains.”
Anakeesta is a very unique and special location in the Smoky Mountains. Unlike most parks, you can’t just park your car and walk in. Anakeesta requires special transportation up the mountains, and it isn’t until you finish the 18-minute journey that you can see the fantastic views from above.
Anakeesta is an outdoor adventure park, and is surrounded by nature. With incredible views and diverse entertainment offerings, including a brand new mountain coaster, guests will have no struggle finding something that will take their breath away. Greg also shares that the employee experience is incredible, and that it’s fascinating to watch the park change through the seasons, which is something they’ve been marketing to guests to create a truly year-round operation.
Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone
“Don’t be afraid to network. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone.”
With 32 years of experience in many different roles, Greg knows all about getting out of the comfort zone. Greg shares that for people looking to build a career in the attractions industry, getting out of their comfort zone is the best way to break through that wall. The industry is all about relationship building, and Greg shares that going out and finding mentors was a very rewarding experience he had.
By building these relationships and showing your passion for the industry, doors will continue to open. Greg shares that if it weren’t for the people he met and built relationships with, he wouldn’t be where he is today. By putting yourself out there and fostering those important relationships, you’re carving your own path to be an even better attraction pro.
This podcast wouldn’t be possible without the incredible work of our faaaaaantastic team:
- Scheduling and correspondence by Kristen Karaliunas
- A/V editing by Abby Giganan
- Summary written by Mason Nichols