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 email@example.com so that we may consider your suggestion for our next installment of Meet a Roadrunner.
Through the month of February, the UTSA community is invited to join student organizations, colleges and departments at events that commemorate the African American people, places and events that have paved the way for racial equality.Various locations
Representatives from companies across the nation will discuss potential full-time job and/or internship opportunities available to all majors.Convocation Center, Main Campus
The UTSA Department of English hosts the Brackenridge Distinguished Visiting Lecturer, Lawrence Venuti. Venuti is a professor of English at Temple University.Business Building University Room (BB 2.06.04), Main Campus
The student organization MuTe (Music Technology) will be hosting a recital that's open to the public.Arts Building Recital Hall (ART 2.03.02), Main Campus
The UTSA Department of English presents this year's Brackenridge Distinguished Visiting Lecturer, Lawrence Venuti. Venuti is a professor of English at Temple University.Business Building University Room (BB 2.06.04), Main Campus
Diploma Dash is a fast, certified 5k course for runners and a scenic route around Main Campus for walkers, strollers and dogs! There are individual and team prizes. Benefits UTSA students through the UTSA Alumni Association scholarship program.UTSA Main Campus
Enjoy music, food and socializing during this fundraising event benefiting the San Antonio Symphony League for the Youth Concert Series and the ITC for its ongoing educational mission.UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
UTSA Libraries will host Robert Rico, M.P.A., Department of Criminal Justice, for his presentation "Restorative Justice: A Relational Approach to Civic Discourse." Pizza will be provided to students while supplies last.Buena Vista Street Building (BVB 2.309), Downtown Campus