Joe Stefanyak

Jeff Ellis and Associates, Inc.

Director of Operations

Joe Stefanyak is the Senior Director with Jeff Ellis & Associates, Inc. Stefanyak began his career in the theme park/waterpark industry in 1985, more than 30 years ago, as a 16 year old high school student. He worked for the Kennywood Entertainment Company as a seasonal Games/Rides attendant at Kennywood Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He subsequently spent 15 years as the Waterpark Manager at Sandcastle Waterpark (also in Pittsburgh) having started during the facility’s construction, and later moved to Idlewild & SoakZone in Ligonier, Penn., where he spent 5 years as the Director of Operations. Stefanyak’s current responsibilities with E&A include working closely with more than 650 municipalities, corporate and private waterparks and water resorts throughout the U.S. and in various countries abroad, in the evaluation and implementation of standard operating procedure relating to the Comprehensive Aquatic Risk Management Program, and serving as Director of the Ron Rhinehart International Aquatic Safety School held annually by Ellis & Associates, overseeing curriculum for the school and contributing to ILTP course curriculum. He has thousands of hours of contact time with E&A clients, which includes inspections, unannounced operational aquatic safety audits, evaluation of facility Emergency Action Plans and related services. Stefanyak has contributed to the International Lifeguard Training Program (ILTP) course curriculum development and has led or assisted with conducting and administering countless ILTP courses and instructor courses throughout his career. Stefanyak is also involved in Ellis Education Services and the development, implementation and oversight of E&A’s learning initiatives and IACET accreditation. He led the development of vanGUARD; an Aquatic Supervisor Training Program designed to increase the industries bench-strength and provide client’s with a resource for developing their staff. He has contributed to several textbooks published by Jeff Ellis & Associates, Inc. and has provided articles for a variety of industry publications and conducted many webinars on a wide range of topics. He currently serves on WWA’s Safety Committee. Stefanyak is also an active participant in IAAPA, WWA, AOAP, CDPC, NDPA, PAPA and various state and regional committees, and is a participating member of ASTM. Stefanyak was a part of the original MAHC Operator Training Technical Committee, and is currently a member of both the CMAHC Technical Review Committee and the CMAHC Annex Review Committee. He has done numerous presentation on the Model Aquatic Health Code, industry trends, aquatic safety, lifeguarding issues, leadership and a variety of other topics. Stefanyak was recognized in 2014 with the WWA’s Kelly Ogle Memorial Safety Award. Most recently, Stefanyak was named to the 2020 – POWER 10 by Aquatics International as some one “who has had, or will have, an incalculable impact on the direction of this industry.”