Who’s Running This Show, Anyway?

I’m often asked by customers, “Who owns ACE?” and I smile because I remember when I was a customer asking that very same question. Not sure why exactly I wondered, other than I couldn’t believe I was having so much fun each and every time I went down the river.

As I described in an earlier blog, I was very impressed with everything I experienced as a customer. Our guide, Leah, laughed when asked who was the genius that masterminded such a fantastic resort. I was staring at her partly due to some of her previous stories, and that devilish laugh of hers, when she said there were three owners and then called “Forward!”

I wanted to know more about who made all of this stuff happen from the busses to all the activities. Who were these folks?

As a Floridian, I’ve grown up with multiple trips to Disney and all the Florida tourist attractions (thanks to all my WV relatives visiting us through the years). Make no mistake, I love my family and enjoy their company, but my love for Mickey — let’s just say that I began to dread the prospect of another trip. Seriously, I’ve done it so many times I’ve memorized the warning message they broadcast for Space Mountain.

The crowds, the lines, the hot humid weather, not to mention the expense! Ughhh! The lack of crowds and natural beauty of the river just brings one a sense of peace that’s hard to describe. I’ll take the big rolling waves on the river any day over Disney!

As fate would have it, during one of our fall Gauley trips, David and I were introduced to the mysterious trio during lunch at Sweet’s Falls. Don’t laugh, but shaking their hands was a big deal for us. We just wanted to thank them and tell them what a great time we were having.

Understandably, the adrenaline was flowing from our swim at Lost Paddle but what I do remember most was being thanked by them for coming. Wow! We thought we had arrived having met the owners.

Our guide, Leah, got us hooked on the river and all of the other amenities and experiences kept us coming back. We would read and reread our cards from Leah and the other great guides we had as customers, not to mention the customer survey responses from Lee. We knew the bus drivers by name, and now we had met THE OWNERS in person! Touch us!

As an employee now, I can tell you they are not your usual sit-in-an-office bunch. They are hands-on, and can always be found around property at ACE. Each one compliments the other.

An example of this is when I decided to do an ATV ride-along (it was a blast!), and I ran into all three of them up at our maintenance building. Ernie was unpacking a demo raft. Jerry and Lee came over and the three of them proceeded to inspect, inflate, and critique the demo. Yes, a new raft for us is like test driving a new car. It was a learning experience for me to listen to them as they discussed the specs and performance scenarios.

From running the backhoe, to managing the organized chaos of daily activities, to answering all guest surveys and guiding trips, these are just a few of the many hats they wear. I must say they wear them well!

Jerry Cook, Ernie Kincaid, and Lee Fuqua, are the masterminds all the fabulous things that happen at ACE. That’s them cutting up the raft-shaped cake in the photo above (thanks to Mark Morgan for the photo).

Their leadership and work ethic set the standard for the industry. It is the reason why ACE is the No. 1 adventure resort in the country. They are always seeking to improve and provide the customer with the best.

What have your experiences here at ACE been like? How can we improve?

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