As employees put the finishing touches on his new "Anaconda" attraction, Noah's Ark Co-owner, Tim Gantz, says he's keeping up with the twists and turns of his new hiring landscape, noting this year's loss of about 30 foreign summer employees.
"We actually saw that we weren't getting as many this year because of visa situations, and the price of dollar wasn't so enticing for the kids to come over," Gantz explains.
The waterslide wizard says he more than made up for the shortfall following a visit from Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett earlier this year.
"The mayor of Milwaukee came to Wisconsin Dells, met with several business owners, including myself, and wanted to try to get some kids from Milwaukee to get to work here in the Dells." he continues.
Initially, Gantz says he agreed to hire 30 Milwaukee youngsters, but was so impressed during interviews, he ended up hiring more than four dozen.
He says, "It's a desire for us to always hire within the state of Wisconsin. We do pull from the entire state, and to make up for any shortfall within the state, we'd much rather do that than overseas."
"We've been pretty successful with the local kids from Wisconsin," Jeff Morris chimes in. Morris, co-owner of the popular restaurant/nightclub, Marley's, says he hired a lot of foreign employees during his first year of business.
Since then, he explains, he's been jammin' to the beat of a different drummer, with a current summer staff of 110, nearly all of whom are native Wisconsinites.
"A lot of the people that we hire are referred from other employees, soit' works out really great, you know, cuz' now they're workin' with their friends, also, so it's a good, good relationship," he says.
Gantz says, of his 600 summer employees, roughly 150 will typically hail from other countries. This year, the number has dipped to just 120 foreign employees.
Meanwhile...Morris says he expects a healthy summer tourist season for Wisconsin Dells as a whole following last summer's slump, which many attribute to poor weather.