Project Engineer Reflects on his Attractions Career Journey
Marco Hartwig is a 29-year-old project manager for roller coasters at Maurer Rides in Kirchheim, Germany, who achieved his position at age 26. Hartwig spoke with Funworld about his love of roller coasters, background, education, goals, and advice that helped land his current role with Maurer Rides.
Was becoming a project manager for roller coasters your lifelong dream?
Ever since childhood I’ve had one dream—becoming a roller coaster engineer. Since my first visit to an amusement park, I’ve had roller coaster fever! Roller coasters are fascinating because they allow ride profiles no other ride can offer. During my studies, I thought about how I could combine my hobby with a job. After my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, I acquired a master’s degree in systems engineering.
What do you do in this role?
As project manager, I’m the key figure for the customer, the company, and our subcontractors. I’m involved from the quotation process to the delivery of the attraction. I’m responsible for the realization of projects within the set limits of time, money, and quality. I manage a multidisciplinary team, and currently, I’m responsible for four Spike coaster projects. Three of the four are cruise ship roller coasters, and the fourth is currently still confidential.
What was the first step you took that led to your current position, and what are the most important things you did along the way?
My path to my dream job began during my mechanical engineering studies. I ambitiously pursued my goals to gain my first practical experience in the amusement industry. This led to several internships at Maurer Rides during my semester breaks. From the beginning, I felt comfortable in the amusement industry, as well as at Maurer Rides. So I aligned my entire studies with that. This is why I spent both my internship semester and my last semester at Maurer Rides. My ambition is to realize the projects in such a way that I would like to ride each roller coaster myself at the end of the project.
What is the most important advice you could give to young people wanting to have a career in attractions?
If you know you want to work in the amusement industry, you should not hesitate, and set the course for entering this industry as early as possible. Use your semester break to gain valuable experience in the amusement industry. Even if there are no vacant positions, it is worth submitting unsolicited applications. Believe in yourself, always keep your goal in mind on the way there, and don’t let yourself be distracted from it. This way, I was able to gain my first experience and make important contacts at the same time.
What were some of the most helpful things offered by parks and/or manufacturers in the attractions industry?
The most helpful thing was definitely the offer from Maurer Rides to complete my internships and my practical semester, as well as to write my the-sis at the company. I’m very grateful to Maurer Rides for the trust placed in me from the very beginning, which has continuously motivated and encouraged me.
What do you think parks and manufacturers/suppliers can do to help young people gain a foothold in the attractions industry?
More parks and manufacturers could periodically host virtual or in-person open houses for young people. Within the framework of these events, interested young people can learn more about the company and the jobs, as well as establish their first important contacts.