Reflecting On 19 'Sweet' Years
“Through the years, I have found that every day is different, every day is challenging, but every day is extremely enjoyable.” Mark Panassow spoke these words just three short years ago when discussing his role during the Hersheypark Camping Resort (HPCR) re-brand media event. Now, as he prepares to retire at the end of May, Mark reflects fondly on his 19 years as General Manager.
“The past 19 years I have enjoyed working side by side with many wonderful staff members here at HPCR and company-wide,” Mark comments. He has especially enjoyed working with past and present team members to bring HPCR to where it is today. Due to Mark’s leadership and dedication, the facility has become a top-rated, well respected family Camping Resort.
There has been no typical day for Mark—his time here has been filled with variety and excitement. He states, “I love the variety in my position. Every day is different. I have the opportunity to be a part of the office, store, maintenance, security, housekeeping and recreation. There is always something exciting going on! If by chance I am having a challenging day (maybe I have had one) I can jump in the golf cart and tour the property!”
While his position as General Manager has offered variety, Mark’s mission has remained the same: “Families want to come here to enjoy nature and the great outdoors while spending quality family time together. Every day we have the opportunity to help our guests make lasting memories. What better place is there to work?”
One of Mark’s favorite parts about working at HPCR has been having the opportunity to lead and work with a very dedicated team of employees who are committed to providing an exceptional experience for guests of the Camping Resort. “The goal of our team is simple…we want to provide our camping families and guests with the best service possible while they enjoy HPCR, Hersheypark and all our other Hershey attractions. Helping families make memories is an awesome opportunity to have,” said Mark. Just as Mark and his employees have worked hard to create the ultimate experience for guests, he has also created exceptional experiences for his employees over the years.
“Mark is a wonderful person, he is thoughtful and caring. He has always made me feel that I make a difference. Mark has always had an open door policy and you could go in and talk to him about whatever was on your mind. We have been though a lot together over the years: floods, snow storms, sink holes, etc. and he is there when you need him. I wish him well in his upcoming adventures, but will miss him every day. He is one of the best bosses I have ever had the pleasure to work with,” said Marcie Zeiders.
“About six years ago, my wife and I were workampers here at the Camping Resort. We worked the summer here, and in the fall we headed south. That winter we got a phone call from Mark to wish us a Merry Christmas and to see how we were doing. He then asked me if we ever thought of getting off the road. I said no not really, why? He said that his Assistant Maintenance Manager was thinking about retiring and asked if I might be interested in applying for the position. I asked him how soon he needed to know and that we were coming back to the Resort the following spring. He said that would be OK and to let him know then. We came back, I applied, and the rest is history. I am STILL very glad we got that phone call. Mark has been a real inspiration to me and my wife and has been more than a boss to me. I have managed campgrounds in the past, but I wish I would have known some of the things Mark has taught me so I could have used them back then. Probably the one thing I will miss the most is our morning meetings. Not only did we cover things that happen the day before and what I was going to do that day, but Mark would say, ‘Let’s solve the world’s problems.’ I wish Mark the BEST in his future and hope our paths cross again,” offered Stephen Shirk.
Doug Winter noted, “In the time I spent working at Hersheypark Camping Resort, thirteen years alongside Mark, it was rare that Mark’s door wasn’t open to the team or the guest. His interest to be the very best HE&R and the camping industry had to offer is what kept the guests satisfied and returning. Mark, thanks for all I learned from you.”
“Although I have only had the pleasure of working with Mark for a year, I am forever grateful that he took a chance on me and opened my world to the wonderful experience of working at the Camping Resort. He is truly an inspiration. I have learned a great deal from him, as his pool of knowledge is endless. His departure is definitely bittersweet, he will be missed, but I am excited for him and whatever adventures he is embarking on in the future,” offered Edward Arnold.
From his happy moments and best memories to the kind words from his team members, Mark clearly has made an impact on the HE&R community. Thank you, Mark, for your 19 years of dedicated service to HPCR. Your charismatic spirit and love for the company will be missed, and we at HE&R wish you the best in your future endeavors. May each day be “different,” “challenging,” and “enjoyable.”