Mark Rose, Busch Gardens Tampa

Ever since going to Tom Sawyer’s Island at Disneyland at the age of nine, I have wanted to work in a theme park. I remember feeling like I had discovered the island. My work lets me recreate that feeling for our visitors every day.

I never get scared of rollercoasters. That’s because designing and engineering the attractions at a Florida amusement park means I know every twist and turn before I even get on.

My work is split between imagining and then building the next generation of rides, animal displays and shows for our jungle-themed park. That makes me the brains behind our famous rollercoasters, which we began building a little over a decade after I joined the company in 1982.

When we added roller coasters, I began drawing up concepts for future rides. Our fastest rollercoaster, SheiKra, goes up to 65 miles an hour and includes a 200-foot, 90-degree drop that begins with a four-second hold at the summit before you are released. It came from thinking how to replicate the feeling of falling off Niagara Falls in a barrel – it took nine years to develop.

The thrill-seeking must run in the family because my son is a highflying trapeze acrobat in the Florida State University circus.

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