Meet a Roadrunner: UTSA alumnus Ron McKenzie promotes the ultimate theme park experience
(May 31, 2017) -- Meet Ron McKenzie '89. This UTSA alumnus is creating thrilling experiences for the young and young at heart as the director of marketing at Six Flags Fiesta Texas.
Born and raised in San Antonio, McKenzie grew up on the northeast side of town and graduated from Judson High School. As a high school student, part-time jobs helped him learn the value of a college education and hard work. He was determined to earn his college degree at a top-tier university.
He enrolled at UTSA in 1984. While he attended, he commuted 45 minutes each day from Universal City. When he wasn't taking classes, he worked as a cashier at H-E-B, where he met his wife, who is also a UTSA alumna.
He fondly recalls taking many marketing and business courses that not only taught him to be successful academically, but to think outside the box. The projects he worked on during his time at UTSA required a huge amount of creativity and innovation – two things that he's carried with him throughout his career.
"UTSA was a great opportunity for me. It let me start my education while continuing to work. It was the right place for me at that time in my life."
McKenzie received his Bachelor's of Business in Management with a concentration in Marketing in 1989. Shortly after graduating, he landed a sales position at Fiesta Texas, then a newly opened theme park just "down the road" from the UTSA Main Campus. With a background mostly in the grocery business, he leaned on his UTSA courses to learn the theme park business from the ground up.
Since McKenzie's hire by Six Flags, he's worked his way up through the company. He spent two years at Six Flags AstroWorld in Houston and 17 years at Six Flags St. Louis before finding his way back to his hometown last October.
"I'm thrilled to be back home in San Antonio at the park where my whole career started," he said.
As the director of marketing, McKenzie oversees the advertising, promotions, public relations, sales and media strategy for the park.
"I truly love my job. Every day when we open the gates, we have the opportunity to create meaningful memories for families. There's no greater feeling."
He's also impressed by the growth of UTSA.
"The growth of the city and the university is amazing," McKenzie said. "Back in the day, the commute to campus looked a lot different. Seeing UTSA with a vibrant campus life, dorms and a collegiate football team – it's super awesome."
He added, "It's very exciting for me to drive by campus and see those huge UTSA signs out front. It makes me proud to be a Roadrunner."
Do you know a Roadrunner who is achieving great things? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we may consider your suggestion for our next installment of Meet a Roadrunner.
Roadrunner Nation! Show off your UTSA pride by sporting blue and orange UTSA swag to celebrate the start of the fall semester. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and Roadrunner families on and off-campus are encouraged to participate.Everywhere
The UTSA Involvement Ambassadors invite students to stop by the Paseo and take a picture celebrating the first day of classes. Share with friends and family via social media using #UTSARRDays.Theywill also be passing out 1st Day of Classes goodie bags and telling students about ways to get involved.Student Union Paseo, Main Campus
The Roadrunner Life Hacks is a series promotes ways to utilize campus resources, solve problems and make the most of what UTSA offers to all students. These workshops provide information about common issues and questions students have as they navigate university life.H-E-B Student Union Harris Room (HSU 2.212) or Travis Room (HSU 2.202), Main Campus
The UTSA community is invited to attend a series of Community Networking Socials hosted by the Student Center for Community Engagement and Inclusion during Roadrunner Days. Various opportunities will be available that will focus on our diverse population in a come and go setting.H-E-B Student Union Harris Room (HSU 2.212) and Travis Room (HSU 2.202), Main Campus
This open house features fun activities, refreshments and information on student services including tutoring and academic success coaching.Durango Building Tomás Rivera Center (DB 2.114), Downtown Campus
Calling all COEHD undergraduate and graduate students! Joinan interactice scavenger hunt, learn about the many resources available in the college and meet faculty and staff. Participants will receive food and prizes (while supplies last) and have the chance to win 1 of 5 iPad Minis!Main Building (MB 3.308), Main Campus
Students and families are encouraged to come learn more about the programs and resources offered at the First-Generation and Transfer Student Center.H-E-B Student Union Harris Room (HSU 2.212) and Travis Room (HSU 2.202), Main Campus
Stop by Bill Miller Plaza and join us as we kick off the school year with music, food, paletas, games and giveaways and say hi to President Eighmy.Bill Miller Plaza, Downtown Campus