Carowinds Names New Vice President and General Manager
Carowinds has named Manny Gonzalez the new vice president and general manager of the park. He succeeds Pat Jones, who has been promoted to senior vice president, park operations, at Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, Carowinds’ parent company.
Gonzalez brings a wealth of experience to Carowinds, having held leadership roles with a number of recognized companies in the entertainment and leisure industry. These roles include vice president and general manager at Six Flags in Oklahoma City for 17 years, chief operating officer at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio for nearly three years, and a board member of Hawaiian Falls Waterparks in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, from 2015-2017. For the past three years, Gonzalez has served as vice president and general manager at California’s Great America, which is Cedar Fair’s park in Santa Clara.
“Manny is a passionate leader with global experience in the leisure and hospitality industry, including strategic development for theme parks, zoos, cruise lines and live events,” said Tim Fisher, Cedar Fair chief operating officer. “His keen insights and strategic perspective will help enhance Carowinds’ already-strong reputation for providing guests with amazing experiences and memories that last a lifetime.”
“I look forward to joining the Carowinds team,” Gonzalez said. “I’m honored to lead the well-loved park through its next phase of evolution and am committed to continuing to deliver the high-quality experiences its guests expect and enjoy.”
In Jones’ new role as senior vice president, she will have operational oversight for the following parks: California’s Great America, Carowinds, Kings Dominion in Virginia, Knott’s Berry Farm in California, Schlitterbahn parks in New Braunfels and Galveston, Texas, and Valleyfair in Minnesota.
Jones brings more than 40 years of industry experience to her new position. She began her career as a game attendant at Kings Dominion. She later held increasingly responsible roles on her way to managing retail at the park. In the 1990s she moved to Carowinds as vice president of resale, overseeing food, merchandise and games. Jones then returned to Kings Dominion to serve as vice president of resale until 2004 when she was tapped to serve as corporate vice president of resale at Paramount Parks. After Cedar Fair purchased Paramount, she was brought back to lead park operations for both Kings Dominion and Carowinds. In 2016 she relocated to Charlotte to focus solely on Carowinds’ growth.
“I’m excited for the opportunity help lead Cedar Fair’s continued pursuit of excellence at its parks across the country,” Jones said. “It’s a privilege to take on this role at such a pivotal time in the industry.”
A new VP / GM was also named earlier today at Cedar Point, Carowinds’ sister park in Sandusky, Ohio.
Carowinds opens for the 2021 season on Saturday, May 22. Carolina Harbor is scheduled to open on Saturday, May 29. As a reminder, all 2020 Season Passes will be honored during the 2021 season. For more information, visit the official Carowinds website by clicking here.
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