Ice man cometh

The Baltimore Sun

Bob Sorensen

Project coordinator

Rink Management Services, Reisterstown

Salary --$52,000

Age --40

Years on the job --20

How he got started --Originally from New Jersey, Sorensen started off as a skier, eventually landing a job at a ski facility in his home state. He began working with the owner of Rink Management Services, opening and managing ski facilities. About 10 years ago they also began managing ice rinks, then transitioned away from working with ski resorts to just specializing in rinks.

Typical day --Sorensen, who lives in Greenwood Lake, N.Y., opens and operates ice skating facilities up and down the East Coast. In January he started working at the Reisterstown Sportsplex to oversee the last few weeks of construction before it opened in February.

His job entails training personnel, setting up programming and maintaining proper operation of the building and equipment. Sorensen estimates that he works at least 70 hours a week during this initial phase of the ice rink.

His day starts by opening the facility, which can be as early as 6 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. He's also responsible for training the staff of about 45 full- and part-time workers, filling out paperwork and making sure the various programs at the rink run smoothly. Although the Reisterstown Sportsplex includes an indoor athletic field, he only runs the rink operation. His employer is based in Virginia and manages about 30 other rinks nationally. Sorensen oversees about five of those rinks.

Zamboni --Sorensen also drives the Zamboni ice-resurfacing machine regularly during the day to keep a smooth, slush-free ice surface. He has trained about five people who can take his place on the machine once he leaves.

What he stresses to his staff --"Customer service."

The good --"Going home."

The bad --"The hours are tough, but being away from my family is probably the toughest," said Sorensen, who has two children ages 5 and 8.

Off-site --When he's not visiting the ice rinks he manages, Sorensen spends his days working out of a home office checking on clients.

Training replacement --Sorensen is training a general manager to take over many of his responsibilities once he leaves the Reisterstown facility. However, he will continue to visit, making sure the operation is running smoothly. He estimates he'll return once a week for several months.

Grand opening --The week of the grand opening is the toughest part of his job. He must line up dignitaries to attend the ribbon cutting, organize all the programming and make sure the building looks good and is running well.

"This opening went smoothly. It was a lot of work, but it went real smooth. That's what we do."

Philosophy on the job --"Work hard."

Nancy Jones-Bonbrest Special to The Sun

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