2 Minute Drill – Michael Browning, Urban Air Adventure Parks
By Janice Witherow
A big kid at heart, Michael Browning is having the time of his life bringing his enthusiasm, curiosity and passion to his position as CEO of Urban Air Adventure Parks. In 2011, Michael founded the full-service FEC company with the help of his dad; today he has 115 locations with another 145 in development. The facilities feature climbing walls, warrior obstacle courses, tube playgrounds, rope courses, trapezes, spinning and flipping bumper cars, trampolines and more. His focus is to be authentic, and he places a huge importance on what mom in the marketplace think. Michael was the 2019 recipient of IAAPA‘s Young Professional of the Year award. Take note,… he’s one to watch!
Title: CEO & Founder
Number of years in the industry: 56 in dog years or something like that. 10 years.
Best thing about the industry: Watching families experience pure joy when they are participating in active play at Urban Air Adventure Parks around the country.
Favorite amusement ride: Hulk at Universal Studios Orlando Resort
If I wasn’t working in the amusement industry, I would be… A lawyer. I enjoy reading John Grisham books. My mom always jokes that I like to argue. One of my good friends is an attorney and he always asks if I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night, because I am acting like I am a licensed lawyer. Google it.
Biggest challenge in our industry: Increasing hourly wages. We are in the people business. We employ tens of millions of people. We need to continue to improve how we hire, who we hire, how we train and how we retain.
The thing I like most about amusement/water park season is… Grand Openings. The excitement and energy start before the doors open from fans in line. The anticipation is hard to replicate. It is like the first kickoff at the Super Bowl!
Favorite childhood TV show: Double-Dare!
If you could learn something new tomorrow and succeed at it for life, what would it be? Storytelling. The world belongs to storytellers. Taking a complex concept and breaking it down into something digestible through the art of an entertaining story. It can rally people around a cause and gives them a vision to join or follow.
It’s March! My favorite springtime activity is… Snow skiing! It’s a rare time that subconsciously allows me to escape, and I love it.
What would you say is a big waste of time? Worrying about things you can’t control. i don’t focus on the “what-ifs”
This always makes me smile: My little girls (ages eight and five) running up to me after a long day of work as if I had been gone for days.
My idea of a good surprise is… I like pranks. And if the prank elicits tears of joy, even better.
The most comfortable place in my home is… The crack between the two pillows on my couch. My head fits perfectly in it and the pressure from the pillows drowns out the noise of everything around me. Don’t tell my kids.
What would you rather give up… your TV or your computer? TV for sure. I occasionally watch sports or Netflix to fall asleep, but I like to read.
Yuckiest thing I have ever eaten: Ant larvae.
Your head or your heart? Heart. I try to validate my emotions with my brain and data.
What topics makes your brain ache? GAAP accounting. I think I would rather watch paint dry.
If you could invent one thing that could make the world a better place what would it be? A cure for cancer. I had a rough 2019 with friends and family battling this awful disease.
What month of the year best describes who you are? January. I am a planner. I like yo achieve and set goals, and this is the month when we typically tackle our business plan.
For me the big adventure is… Worldly travel. Immersing yourself in a new culture.
The last time I went to the beach was… My family goes often. We are fortunate to have a second home in Destin, Florida.
A round of golf with Tiger Woods or shooting hoops with LeBron James: Hoops with Lebron
If I had an extra day in the week, I would spend it… Working. I love my job and the journey.
The first thing I do in the morning is… Check my phone. I know, bad habit.
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