Most of the jobs that we apply for and work in high school are part time and very low earning. The jobs that we take are usually not something that we plan on doing for the rest of our lives. This was not the case for a man who is working at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. According to the Daily Press, Todd Dawkins just celebrated his 30th year at the park as an employee, and according to many, doing a job that most would despise doing day in and day out. Dawkins works at the Trappers Smokehouse, one of the most popular eateries in the park.
Dawkins started out in 1983 working for the park to earn some money to do things he wanted to do in high school. He earned minimum wage which was a mere $3 at that time. He reported to work and was supposed to work in the England territory but was told help was needed in the smokehouse in New France. Dawkins worked the grill as he would turn out the park’s famous beef brisket, BBQ chicken, and pork ribs. The following year, he wanted to be moved to ride operator, but found himself back at the smokehouse. Dawkins wanted to go to college to work on computers but his dad passed away and was unable to afford it so he continued to work at the smokehouse. He has worked himself up through the ranks from grill master to now being the supervisor for the smokehouse.
Dawkins stated that people always ask why he still wants to work in the smokehouse in a theme park and his answer was clear. "It's about the people. There are a lot of people who have worked here for years. It's really a family atmosphere." According to the park’s VP of Human Resources John Harris, there have been many employees who have worked at the park for over 30 years since 1975. "Encouraging people to want to come back is important to us," he says. "We want to create an atmosphere where people enjoy what they're doing or who they're doing it with."