Wayne Ford has joined Garmendale Theme Park Engineering as the Technical Project Manager. He has joined the business from Stage One UK, having been at WGH Transportation for over 21 years before that.

Wayne, who is married with three young children is 43 and lives in Doncaster. He grew up with a father in the army so travelled much of the far east and world before returning to the UK to study for his GCSE’s.

Having studied for an OND in Engineering and an HNC in CAD/CAM, he joined WGH on an initial six-month placement. His brief was to establish digital design standards in a drawing office that had always worked with traditional drawing boards.

WGH grew out of the mining industry when the previous business Giro Mining Transport saw that with the decline of the mining industry, their technology for moving vehicles below ground, could be transferred to vehicles above ground. With the addition of theming to these vehicles, WGH, went on to become one of the UK’s largest ride manufacturers.

During his time with WGH, Wayne worked on roller coasters and rides across the UK and beyond. The Balloon School and Dragon’s Apprentice at Legoland Windsor. Backed up by The Jellikins and Rhombus Rocket at Fantasy Island – amongst many, many others were all projects he worked on both the design and build.

So, when the WGH directors retired (at 77 years old!), Wayne joined Stage One UK – One of the leading theatrical staging companies in the world. They specialise in performance machinery for stadiums, theatres and live events. The business designs, manufactures and install traps, lifts and all sorts of clever engineering solutions to support performances. Wayne believed (and went on to prove) that his engineering and design skills would be transferable into a different but related industry.

Going back to my roots

Joining Garmendale gets him back into working with the theme park industry to lead the design and manufacturing teams on theme park ride design and refurbishments in their UK headquarters.

Speaking about his appointment, Wayne said

“I’ve known the Garmendale team for many years as they maintained quite a few of our (WGH) rides, so when the chance to join them came up, I jumped at it. My time at Stage One was great and the work was incredibly fast-paced. No sooner had it come off the ‘drawing board’ it was in the workshop being fabricated. There was literally no time to breathe.

I’m looking forward to getting back to somewhere that is every bit as dynamic, but gives the team time to stop, consider, revise and refine. We will know that by the time a ride leaves us, it will be beautifully engineered, designed and manufactured by our in-house team. We’re designing rides to last a lifetime, with minimal maintenance.

Looking at the standards that the Garmendale team work to, I know I’ve come to the right place.

At WGH, I led the design office, managed some of the sales, as well as led the build projects. This experience will really help bring some new experience and ideas to the Garmendale design team.”

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