- The Washington Times - Monday, July 9, 2007

Pat Jones‘ career started with a summer job in high school. Last week she was promoted to vice president and general manager of Kings Dominion in Doswell, Va., about an hour south of the District, having started with the theme park in 1979 as a seasonal employee working as a games attendant.

She has worked in various other positions within the company through the years, most recently as director of resale for the park, where she oversaw the park’s food, beverage, merchandise and games business.

At a time when many employees switch jobs frequently, Ms. Jones‘ career loyalty stands out.

“It’s a very intoxicating place, when you start to do things you really like,” the Richmond resident said of Kings Dominion.

Ms. Jones grew up about 45 minutes from Kings Dominion in Petersburg and remembers visiting the park as a child when it was an animal preserve. Ms. Jones is the park’s fifth general manager since it opened as Kings Dominion in 1975.

In her new position as general manager, Ms. Jones directs all aspects of the park’s business and planning. She will head more than 3,000 employees throughout the year and up to 1,500 in a single day.

Ms. Jones is replacing Richard Zimmerman, who has been promoted to regional vice president of Kings Dominion’s new owner, Cedar Fair Entertainment Co.

Mr. Zimmerman, who has worked with Ms. Jones since 1993, said her tenacious and aggressive personality will help her fulfill his former responsibilities.

Pat is outstanding,” he said. “She understands what our business needs to be successful not only now, but also in the future.”

Ms. Jones said one of the most difficult things about her job will be preserving the traditions of the park, while keeping it new and exciting.

“Any time you grow, you want to make sure that you don’t lose any of your traditions, but you don’t want to stay exactly the same either,” she said.

Another challenge for the park is to remain relevant, Mr. Zimmerman said.

“Our customers are very busy people,” he said. “Sometimes it’s difficult to be on people’s radar scope.”

Former owner Paramount Parks sold Kings Dominion and its four other theme parks to Cedar Fair Entertainment in June 2006 for $1.24 billion. Ohio’s Cedar Fair owns and operates 12 amusement parks, six water parks and six hotels, including its flagship Cedar Point in Ohio and Southern California’s Knott’s Berry Farm.

Melanie Hicken

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