Alex Laughlin Senior Park Supervisor at Waterfront Park
Alex Laughlin is a valued 15 year veteran of the Waterfront Park staff. He started as a part time employee of a seasonal program called the Waterfront Park Clean Team. Alex was quickly invited to join staff as a full time maintenance employee following that first season. Today, he oversees many details of day to day operations and maintenance. Alex has a particular talent for diagnosing and repairing motors and machinery as well as maintaining the complex lighting systems in the park. Alex helped to implement the conversion of the entire Waterfront Park lighting system to LED as a cost and energy savings measure. He and fellow team member Brian McKiernan are responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the LED lighting system on the Big Four Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge. Alex is married to Bonnie, and they are proud parents of 3 young children.
Q: What is your favorite feature of the park?
A: My favorite feature of the park is the Big Four Bridge. It is the main attraction of the park and it is unique to our city. There is so much history surrounding the Big Four Bridge and I have a lot of pride in maintaining it for the community. When I meet new people and tell them where I work, they are always interested in learning more about the Bridge. It’s really cool to be able to climb down into the manholes to inspect the data enablers on the Bridge and make sure all the colored lights and the system that controls them are functioning. Most people don’t know or understand all the technology involved in the lighting system, and I really like sharing information about the system to new people I meet.
Q: What is your favorite event in the park?
A: My favorite event would be Thunder Over Louisville. The size of the crowd and the energy it brings is astounding! It’s the most energetic and powerful event. In terms of events overall, I really enjoy our recurring events and the relationships we share with all of the event promoters in our park.
Q: What do you love most about your job?
A: The laughter we have working as a team together.
Q: What is your favorite way to spend a day in the park with your family and friends?
A: Having a picnic with the family then walking the bridge.
Q: In your time with Waterfront Park, how have you seen the park grow?
A: The park size has grown so much and our team dynamics have grown stronger as well. The square footage is over 2 x what it was when I started. Over the years, the size of our maintenance staff has not grown in pace with the size of the area we are maintaining, but I’m proud of the way that our team’s process has matured. We each bring different and important skills to our jobs so that we can efficiently work together to accomplish so much. People who see our team in action are always surprised at how much responsibility and how few people are involved in caring for such a large space that is so heavily utilized. It’s possible because of the ways in which we’ve learned to work together. We have so much knowledge and talent in our team. In order to preserve that knowledge for the park, we’ve started a park succession plan in preparation for retirements that will eventually happen.
Q: What is one thing you want people to know about Waterfront Park?
A: As we are moving into our spring and summer season, the park is really busy on days with beautiful weather. We love seeing people use and enjoy the park and we work really hard to make sure you always visit a clean park. With so many visitors and such a small staff, you can really help us out by keeping the park clean from your own visit and encouraging your friends to keep it clean. The park has been really important for everyone during this pandemic and we’re proud of how much it has helped people. When you clean up after your visit, have volunteered to clean up after a flood, or even just a normal day, we thank you. You are paying it forward and making a big difference for the community.