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Meet Former Navy SEAL - Dan McKeon

Kelsey Bailey

Kelsey joined the Valleyfair team in 2017 as PR and Communications Manager. She enjoys eating endless funnel cakes, riding Renegade multiple times a day, and telling all the wonderful stories about the inner workings of Valleyfair. Twitter: @kelseymegard.

Today and every day we are proud to honor the heroes who keep our country safe. We also want to recognize and thank the veterans who work right here at Valleyfair for their service!

Dan McKeon found himself in a similar position as many college graduates the day after receiving his diploma from Old Dominion University in Virginia. Well, what now? With his criminal justice degree in hand, Dan knew he had to start thinking seriously about what he wanted to do for his career. He had always wanted to be a cop but never found the right place to start on that path.  A few friends had joined the military and Dan decided to follow in their footsteps and give it a shot.

Dan served as an intelligence specialist with the Navy SEALs for seven years. He was stationed in Iraq, Kuwait, Somalia, and Panama. He thoroughly enjoyed his time as a Navy Seal but after getting married and having a few children, Dan knew it was time to start looking for a different career. 

After leaving the military, Dan began looking for a career in the private sector. He received an offer with IBM as a supply chain manager where he worked for several years. Dan transferred to Duke Energy where he worked as a security specialist for their nuclear energy power plant before being promoted to their safety team.

Dan's wife accepted a job offer in Minnesota, so their family who had always lived on the warm east coast packed up their bags and moved to the snowy midwest. When Dan started looking for a new job, he never thought he would apply to work at an amusement park. Growing up his family had always visited Carowinds and King's Dominion and he cherishes the memories he created with his family at those parks.

"I loved and still love going to amusement parks," McKeon said, "Our whole family would go to Carowinds every summer and my dad, who was in his seventies, would still be riding all of the major roller coasters."

Dan applied for a posting in Valleyfair's security department and knew that this park would be a good fit after chatting with the interview team. He was quickly promoted to Security and Saftey Manager after starting at the park.

In the few months since Dan started, he has created a new foundation in the department. Dan values structure and planning and he has already brought a new team mentality to the department. "I want our department to have a military-like structure," McKeon said, "It will be less rigid but the team mindset is key to our success."

Dan and his family are still adjusting to the colder weather and he is embracing the Minnesota lifestyle. "I am already a Vikings and Wild fan," McKeon said, "But I am a Yankees fan for life, sorry Twins." He hopes to attend many Minnesota sporting events this winter and thinks that snowmobiling is right up his alley.

There are many skills that Dan attributes to his time in the military with the key trade being organization. He abides by the motto "hope for the best, prepare for the worst." Dan is looking forward to seeing the changes he has already set in motion take place in 2020. 

McKeon (middle) with Lucas, Security (left) and Dan, Safety (right)

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Kelsey Bailey

Kelsey joined the Valleyfair team in 2017 as PR and Communications Manager. She enjoys eating endless funnel cakes, riding Renegade multiple times a day, and telling all the wonderful stories about the inner workings of Valleyfair. Twitter: @kelseymegard.

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