Carl Lum Has Left the Building

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Zachary

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So, as GeoUSA shared in this thread which I just moved over to the SeaWorld Parks Company News board, Carl Lum is heading to Texas.

For anyone who doesn't know, Carl Lum has acted as the Busch Gardens Williamsburg & Water Country USA park president since October of 2010. When he arrived, the park was suffering from plummeting attendance, a disenfranchised pass holder base, and other systemic problems. In all probability, neither he nor his contemporary Scott Gasparitch who left almost a year ago, ever managed to overcome the stigma associated with the problems with the park at that time, which tarnished their reputations with the park's fan base. Regardless, over the last twelve months, I think we can all agree that we have seen dramatic improvements across the board at the park. Hopefully, this course will continue under the next leader.

We wish Carl Lum all the best moving forward at SeaWorld San Antonio. Like Busch Gardens Williamsburg, SWSA seems to be in a state of dramatic change. I look forward to seeing how Carl Lum steers the Texas-based SeaWorld properties through this time of revision.

Source: USA Today

USA Today said:
— San Antonio park President Dan Becker is leaving the company and will be succeeded by Carl Lum, who was serving as the company's Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA park president.
 
Sep 29, 2009
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I have grown quite accustomed to having him at BGW and I will miss him. I hope he has a bright new start in San Antonio, for himself and the park.

The good news is, he will have some time to research the park before everything takes off for the 2016 season. I believe he is the right person to manage their money situation, and I wish him and SWSA the best of luck!
 

horsesboy

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I had a few conversation with Carl when u have seen him in the park a nice guy who seemed care deeply for the place. I Remer seeing him stop to clean up litter as he was walking pass big Ben during the end of Christmas town this year. I wish him all the best.

Any idea if his replacement will be from inside the park or an outsider and when it will take place? I kind of would like to see him around for one more opening day.
 

Zimmy

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Edited for clarity:

I wish Carl the best, but I will not lie, I won't miss him any more then I miss Scott.  

Don't get me wrong, I think he cared about the park itself but I do not think he performed well.  Carl came to BGW from the finance world.  He started his career in the accounts receivable department at Johnson & Johnson.  He came to SEAS as the VP of finance at BGT.  He did not come from the theme or amusement park industry nor a related field and it showed.

As I say, I think he took a certain pride in the park, but from the conversations some my friends and I had with him over the years I never got the feeling that he every really understood the industry or frankly cared.  Certainly the parks history and reputation were never of much concern.

Asking him questions about the parks' future or current events was always a exercise in frustration.  He rarely gave a straight answer, and when he did it would often turn out to be a bold faced lie.  (Tempesto anyone?)  While I enjoyed speaking with him, early on I learned to not believe a word he said.  Frankly his answers were usually more about expedience and less about honestly and transparency.

Frankly what I found most frustrating was how he managed (or didn't) his subordinates and budgets.  You just have to look at the Scott era to see the problem.  For many years it seemed that the park would submit to Scott's every glitter infused whim.  This was exceptionally expensive and frankly often with out taste.  Maintenance budgets were destroyed to pay for Scott's productions and the costs always out weighed the returns.  Engineering was just as bad, consider the cost of Verbolten.  As a person from a finance background he should have been able to control costs better than he did, unfortunately it seems that he would just let his underlings do whatever they wanted.

Now you can say, all of the things I have identified are the fault of some department or individual not Carl himself, but the fact remains, when you take on his position you also assume responsibility for your subordinates.
 

MAZ

Jan 30, 2014
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Well....I guess my few conversations with the Lum were not enough to convince him that he should stay and work harder on BGW improvements. I don't think he liked me anyway. I wish the best of luck for Carl while he's 'messin' with Texas.
 
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Zimmy

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In all seriousness, I do wonder if Carl even liked his job. I truly think he wanted to do right by the park, but the more I think about it the more I wonder if his heart was really in it. I suppose there is only one person who can answer that question, and he is on his way to San Antonio.
 
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Carl managed Busch by the numbers. He was a financial guy. His coaster addition was cheap. His events were underfunded. Perhaps he took hold of the park at a poor time, but either way I don't think that he really did much for the park worth a hoot. On the plus side, he only oversaw the bulldozing of a few dozen trees. Could have been much worse.
 

Zimmy

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I wish I could agree that he managed by the numbers but I just see it. If he did I would have a great deal more respect for him. Consider the unbelievable over spending he let Scott get away with. The costs for Germany were insane and not worth the end product. His ticketing model was horrible and didn't spend money where he should, notably on maintenance.

Also in the Tick/Tock model BGW/ WCUSA seems to follow with small to big rides, I truly believe that the Pasta flat is jus that, a cheap flat ride.
 
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Octoberfest was under John Reilly. Just like 2017 will be Lum's beast. As far as Scott goes, I don't really know what to say about that.
 
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Nobody could control Scott. John Reilly tried to do a balancing act with everybody under him, but too many departments didn't meet eye-to-eye. Instead of firing or revising job positions, they moved John to the park that needed help in his favorite areas such as landscaping (SWSD).

Meanwhile, what else could the do for BGW? They needed someone with a knack for making money, but likewise they needed someone with no prior knowledge of BGW, so as not to create more strife. They were hoping Carl could bring everyone together. It's sad, but I think more drastic measures might have been needed.

I do believe he pulled through in the end, but maybe a bit too late. In SWSA, Carl will probably have a better chance to learn about the park before assuming his new role. With what he learned from Williamsburg, he might now have what it takes to help the SWSA. I still think he can do it.

Now where does this leave BGW? I guess time will tell.
 
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Shane

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I don't really know if this is the right place to discuss this, but John Reilly had great ideas and a vision for the park but experienced a lot of resistance from certain people in the park that decided to circumvent him and do things behind his back.
 
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