Feature Project A
In the beginning of her career, Jennifer Montague was just going where life took her. She had no directional idea of her career path. Montague’s sister’s all graduated high school, found a job and a husband and everything was dandy. “It didn’t work that way for me,” explains Montague. She knew she had to work, but she had never thought of what exactly she wanted to do. She previously had a few administrative jobs, but as for her final career; “I stumbled into it and saw that event planning was my passion,” Montague says.
Today she is the Director of Events and Sales at Fantasy of Flight. Fantasy of Flight is owned by one person, Kermit Weeks. After his location in Miami was torn down by Hurricane Andrew, he moved to Polk City, Fla. and rebuilt his company. He has the world’s largest private collection of vintage aircraft. Montague explains that Fantasy of Flight is unique because, “It’s not just a museum or a place for dusty things that used to be cool. All the aircraft he acquires still fly.” Fantasy of Flight does events of all different magnitudes.
Montague explains that her job titles covers more than just events and sales. “I am the contact for all media relations, community outreach and so many other different things,” Montague says, “If you can’t buy a ticket to come in and see it, it gets filtered through my office.” Basically Montague does a lot of behind the scenes work to put big events and presentations together.
When Montague moved to Florida 19 years ago, she started out at Cypress Gardens. She had never thought about working for a theme park, but after starting part-time there in the risk management department she found herself to really enjoy it. Montague quickly got moved up to a full-time position in the entertainment department as administrative assistant. In that position, she handled pay roll and contract work. She then got a taste of the auditioning talent area when Cypress Gardens moved her to the banding tree area, where she auditioned guitar players and strolling entertainment. Montague’s says, “It was a great introduction into the field because I was a part of the Anheuser Busch family of theme parks.” However, today they are no longer owned by Anheuser Busch.
Montague then moved on to the even better known theme park, Universal Studios. She became a coordinator of their entertainment events department. As a coordinator, she handled many requests. Sales, marketing and promotions teams constantly wanted a celebrity to be present or a certain event to be put on and Montague was the one dealing with such tasks. She had to know every show on the property, every talent, who the best for each event was and what was appropriate for the age of the crowd. “Sounds kind of crazy, but that was my life and that’s what I fell in love with,” Montague says. Those are the doors that opened to lead her to production, entertainment and events.
The variety of events is what Montague loves. She enjoys how her job is always different day to day. It keeps work her exciting and fresh and she learned how to push her boundaries. “I never knew how to call a show, I didn’t even know what that meant,” Montague says. However, after being thrown into the scene and learning all the different areas, language and timing, Montague describes it as, “Magic.”
For Montague, the coolest part of her job in events is working with the celebrities. Montague has met Stephen Spielberg, John Travolta, Steven Tyler and many others. She had drinks with Harrison Ford and got to spend a day with Tom Selleck. “Tom even kissed me on my cheek,” said Montague.
One of Montague’s proudest accomplishments in her career was being the stage manager for the opening of Islands of Adventure. “It was crazy. I called the show and the controls were mine. It was beautiful and flawless.” Although Montague had an amazing team working with her as well, she says it was definitely “the feather in her cap.” Overall, Montague is 100% percent satisfied with her job and truly enjoys going to work each day. For Montague it’s not so much work, but more of a passion she gets to fulfill.