Hidden Heroes of Loggerhead Marinelife Center
If you’ve been to Loggerhead Marinelife Center, you know how much fun it is to visit with our sea turtle patients, learn about our local ecosystems, and maybe even spend a day in the park behind the center or at the beach after visiting LMC. But did you know that one of the reasons it’s so enjoyable at LMC is because of the team that runs it?
We’re talking about the nautical ninjas who make LMC a great place to be — the unsung heroes. That’s why we invite you to meet our operations team. They make sure LMC runs smoothly, they paint the walls, power wash the breezeway, hang up signs, assist with pier sea turtle rescues and so much more.
Take Tim Hannon, director of operations, for example. He worked in the magazine distribution industry for years before coming to LMC last month, ready for a career change.
“I was very familiar with Loggerhead, and had been coming here, bringing my kids before the new facility had even opened,” says Hannon. “I thought it would be great, so I applied. And even though I was in the magazine business, it was planning and operations. The position I applied for at LMC was something I was familiar with and was in, so it was a great opportunity.”
So, to stay on top of everything, how exactly does Hannon organize?
“With my calendar app,” he smiles. “I get reminders in Outlook. I’ll take the email and drop it into a task, so it definitely keeps me organized.”
And at just one month on the job, Hannon’s been exposed to a wide variety of tasks – like fixing doors, air, waterline, pumps, locks and more.
“Ops are important because we provide everything behind the scenes so that guests can enjoy their visit and have a good time, and walk away with a good experience. We want the same thing for LMC staff.”
Campus Operations Manager Bill Parker agrees. Before joining LMC, Parker worked as a lawyer in the Northeast for more than 20 years.
“Being able to do things well and take care of everything so that everyone else can do their job well is so important,” says Parker. “I also really enjoy doing the sea turtle releases, because it’s a huge part of we do what we do.”
“I love being able to get up and around,” says Hannon. “Part of the job is coordinating everything via email, but it’s also going outside and looking around and making sure that everything is going well.”
As for the nitty gritty tasks? “You gotta be able to know how to do them yourself if necessary,” says Hannon. “And more importantly, you need to be able to know how to do some of these tasks so that you know what to expect from others. I don’t mind getting dirty. Everyone is talented and they’re hard workers. They can do many of the tasks, which helps us save a few bucks. And no one is afraid of hard work.”
Maintenance technician Kenny Cendejas says the staff and the spontaneity each day brings is one of the perks of working at LMC.
“It’s a really great place,” he says. “All the people are fun and friendly so it makes working a lot more fun and easier. Everybody seems to be able to get along with everybody.
Before joining LMC in 2014, Cendejas worked and lived in Oklahoma. Now that he’s traded seas of cornfields for sunshine and surf, his responsibilities include anything and everything that helps maintain the property, like cleaning, painting and weeding.
“I like that we never do the same thing; there’s something different all the time,” Cendejas says. “It keeps things interesting.”
The only drawback to working in ops at a sea turtle hospital?
“Once when we were doing a pier rescue, I got my tooth knocked out by a turtle,” Cendejas laughs. “We were rescuing a turtle on the pier, and the line broke, so the fishing weight came over the railing and hit me in the mouth and busted my teeth out. I was okay though. I took one for the turtles.”
Maintenance technician Brian Robertson volunteered for two years in the rehabilitation department and started working full-time last July.
“It’s amazing to wake up in the morning and come to a place that makes you happy, to enjoy life and beautiful scenery,” he says. “It’s an awesome place.”