In the spotlight: Iñaki Laucirika
In the waterslide business
Iñaki Laucirika is an alumnus of Leisure & Events and did the Attractions & Theme Parks Management (ATPM) track (2014 – 2017). He currently works at ProSlide Technology Inc. as a Market Intelligence Specialist. How does he look back on his studies in Breda?
Where do you work?
ProSlide is a Canadian water park attraction designer and manufacturer that helps water parks all around the world deliver safe, fun and innovative attractions. I help our sales and internal teams by developing and sharing knowledge about the water park industry. Being able to customise our products to each and every client requires a good understanding of their environment. This helps create immense added value for our partners and clients. My job is to make sure that we understand perfectly why and how a product will fill the clients’ needs.
Designing waterslides, how does that link to your studies at BUas?
During my time at BUas I had the opportunity to learn about all the different factors that influence the design and operation of attractions. The development of the ideas, the concepts behind leisure experiences, the economy of theme parks and the different business models. All this provided an invaluable knowledge base about how the attractions industry works. All the concepts learnt during this time come up in everyday conversations with water park owners, developers and creators. They are directly applicable to the work that we do every day when designing parks and providing advice to our clients.
Are you still in touch with your former lecturers or fellow students on a business level?
Yes, in some cases I have had the opportunity to speak with colleagues who are working in the industry, and while in the past year it has been impossible, in previous years I had the chance to meet a few during some industry trade shows. However, maybe the most rewarding opportunity is being able to help current students with their graduation projects at our company. Since starting with ProSlide I have had the chance to collaborate with two ATPM students with very interesting graduation projects.
How do you stay informed about developments in your business?
There are many industry magazines and trade shows, which are great to keep up to date on new developments. However, lately, I have found LinkedIn to be a very interesting source of knowledge. As you tend to follow people/companies in your own industry, you to get a lot of notifications of articles and news that get shared and are related to your field of work. Often you can learn about new developments in the industry that way.
Is there a big project you are working on now which you would like to mention?
We are working on many projects around the globe, many new water parks, but also bringing new experiences to existing parks. While I cannot mention specifics, we are working on a couple of groundbreaking projects in Europe that we will be testing very soon! Looking forward to sharing the news later this year!
Why and/or how did you decide to start your studies at BUas?
I had always been interested in how theme parks work, what goes behind the logistics, and how they manage to entertain so many guests in an efficient way. I had been looking for some time for education in the theme park industry. Back in 2014 I had the opportunity to visit one of the international open days at the domain of Leisure & Events. Here I learnt all about the Attractions and Theme Parks Management (ATPM) track and the close relationship that it had with the industry. I found the industry-oriented approach, where projects for clients are the centrepiece of education, very attractive. I signed up right there.
Was it what you expected?
Indeed! I think that we had plenty of opportunities to work with real clients and not only learn about the industry, but also work on communication and presentation skills by giving presentations to well-established industry professionals. This helped build confidence and ultimately helped me get to my current position in the industry.
What created impact during your studies?
For me it was the project-focused practical approach. The ability to quickly put what we were learning into practice, trying to help real clients. But also, the ability to use those projects to learn and experiment with concepts that maybe weren’t being taught at school. The project-based approach is perfect for someone proactive who also wants to learn about new concepts beyond those in the curriculum. I believe that figuring out what excites you most should be one of the goals of a study programme. The broad selection of projects, in different fields of business was a great opportunity to do so.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane. What are the best memories of your student years?
The best memories come from my second-year placement at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It was definitely a change in perspective, but also an eye-opener that helped me understand what really goes on in our industry. Beyond that, it was a fantastic opportunity to create many international friendships and connections that still last to this day. In my case it was at Walt Disney World, but I heard the same from people doing their placement in various parts of the world/country.
How is COVID-19 affecting your work?
Currently all the travel restrictions probably have the biggest impact on work. It is quite challenging to work in an international setting without being able to travel freely. In order to actually assist in projects on site, there is a lot of paperwork, testing, etc. involved, but this is quite understandable as it is for a good reason. This has put on hold some personal plans to move house for work-related reasons, however, the future looks bright, and I believe that soon we will be able to slowly return to those plans.