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Reflecting On 30 Years with Past Employees


Entech is still proudly celebrating our 30 Year Anniversary by looking at how we were able to reach this massive milestone. One of the biggest contributors to achieving 30 Years of Innovation is the people that got us here! Our employees over the last three decades have helped us push the limits and build Entech Innovative into the engineering powerhouse we are today.

As part of celebrating their contribution to our success, we decided to invite a few of our past employees who worked under owner John Marhoefer to reflect on their time at Entech and speak about what they learned here. This was an exciting opportunity to hear an inside perspective on past projects we were involved in as well as see how Entech positively affected their career trajectory. We hope you enjoy reading these interviews as much as we did!

 

The Diebold Mechanism to secure the Hope Diamond

Oksana Wall P.E. – Vice President, Strategic Engineering AOA



How did working at Entech contribute to your professional growth and development?

“My first full time job out of College was at Entech. As a fresh out of school Civil Engineer graduate, my dream of entering the Entertainment Industry started at Entech. I will forever be grateful to John and Anne for the opportunity they provided me. What I learned at Entech in those first 4 years of my career was the equivalent of 10-15 years in other places. Most importantly, the professional connections and friendships is the one constant these many years later that lace us together through all the different experiences and projects since.”


Can you share a project or experience that you worked on here that you are particularly proud of?


“I loved all the projects I was part of because they each offered me such a tremendous experience. My first project was working on the Diebold mechanism to secure the Hope Diamond, wow. Then I got to work on the iconic FAO Schwarz floor pianos and animated towers (RIP). However, my favorites were the “room gag” at Poseidon’s fury (even though we worked straight for 40 hours to put deliverables together LOL), and the Interactives at Popeye’s Boat at Islands of Adventure.”


 

Michael Weinbaum P.E. - Senior Engineer, Martin Aquatic Design & Engineering


What did you enjoy most about working at Entech?


"I enjoyed the variety of things that came with each new assignment. In a different firm, I might have spent a whole career on wire rope, or on fiberglass, for instance. At Entech I had to quickly learn the details of those design elements, and then on the next project, maybe use that knowledge again, maybe not. I enjoy learning new things so it was good to be in an environment that allowed that."


How would you describe the company culture and working environment?


"The company had a fun culture with people who were all committed to “knocking it out” efficiently and step by step. Entech sometimes attracted workers who just wanted to work on the most visible and highest budget projects, who had obsessed over Orlando area theme parks their whole lives, and yes, working at Entech can scratch that itch, but if that’s all you’ve got, it’ll burn you out. The people who did best at Entech enjoyed helping every client, whether they were the largest and best known theme park or a small regional fun center, or a childrens’ museum."

What do you feel sets our company apart from others in the engineering industry?


“John Marhoefer takes the approach of breaking big, complicated asks from show and set designers into many discrete, simple design choices with very high factors of safety. This might not produce the lightest or sexiest design, but it will produce a reliable and timely design. My instinct was to simply build the brand new thing that was in the mockup from scratch, but John taught me to first break it down into off the shelf parts, then work with the scenic shop to make the result look like the mockup.”



 

Steven Lansrud P.E.


What made you choose to work for Entech?


“Working in the themed entertainment industry was never something I thought I wanted to do. But upon my first interview and tour of the Entech facility, I knew that this was somewhere I could see myself. The ability to design big and different things while being able to build them (and sometimes play with them) in house was very appealing. That is why I kept calling and bugging John over and over again until he gave me a chance.”


How did working at Entech contribute to your professional growth and development?


“It gave me the skill for planning and critical thinking when it comes to design engineering. Anything can be designed, but not easily manufactured. In addition, I learned how to analyze or test the designs to prove they work and have sufficient strength. This is a one of the greatest skills I learned while working at Entech. This skill linked my creative and logistical thinking in order to plan simpler fabricated designs that could be installed efficiently. This skill has continued to grow with me as I have grown professionally. It has allowed me to think logistically and creatively for other tasks such as developing and leading my own team of engineers.”


Can you share a project or experience that you worked on here that you are particularly proud of?

“The Heavenly Flyer Zipline retrieval system at Heavenly Ski Resort at Lake Tahoe. Ziplines and ski resorts were a new field for Entech and I. But we all worked together to learn the industries and design the cable system and towers. We learned new fabrication techniques to install and protect the equipment that is isolated on a mountain. We also had to combine our knowledge of ASTM F24 standards with the various ski lifts standards in order to comply. Overall, it was a large and exhausting project but very fulfilling to see complete.”


 

Bill's kids in front of Mission:SPACE marquee

Bill Barto - Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) Leader, Holcim Building Envelope


How did working at Entech contribute to your professional growth and development?


“I cannot understate how important being responsible for an entire project’s lifecycle (from the first meeting with the Creatives to installation to training the operators and maintainers) was to helping me make good engineering decisions in every job I’ve had since then. I remember a few times where I put off making a key or difficult decision only to find out that it didn’t get any easier later and there was no one that was going to make that decision for me. I find a lot of value in having difficult decisions as early as possible and encourage others to never put off something they can decide today.”


What do you feel sets our company apart from others in the engineering industry?


“I think being led by a true engineer (John) made us feel much more capable than the “scenic shops” that we usually were competing against. We also did everything in-house which was a huge advantage”


Can you share a project or experience that you worked on here that you are particularly proud of?

"I always loved the work I did for Mission:SPACE at Epcot. It was one of a couple marquees that I got to work on and it turned out really great. That, coupled with the Gravity Wheel in the queue and the planets in the courtyard, made it a very memorable project and I still tell stories about it. Plus, my kids always thought it was very cool to see it when we visited Epcot."


How has working at Entech helped you in your current role and future career goals?


“John was a great mentor to me and I took many lessons from my time there. I wish I could remember all the quotes and advise he gave me, but know that working for Entech when I was a young engineer under his guidance taught me almost everything and I bet a week doesn’t go by that I’m not helped by something I learned during my time with Entech.”

 

It was great to be able to reflect with some of the employees that helped us through the last thirty years and look back on some of the projects that contributed to our success. It's always great to hear that Entech has a lasting impact on its employees, and how we contributed to their professional development. Thank you again to all the participants – we loved hearing your perspective on your chapter in Entech’s story! Reaching this milestone was no easy feat, and we are excited to continue to celebrate throughout the year and give even more inside looks and project insights.

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