Southern Illinois University



HTEM Alumni Spotlight - Zachary Sims 

  • Current Job Title: Marketing Sales Manager
  • Company Name: Silver Dollar City
  • City and State of your job location: Branson, Missouri
  • Graduated from the HTEM program in 2012

What steps did you take to secure your first job after graduation, and what was your title?

Leading up to graduation I completed two internships with the company I currently work for.  After graduation I was offered a year-round position as Guest Service Team Lead at our Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee where I completed my internships.

Looking back, what part of your education in the HTEM program at SIU did you feel was the most valuable?

Looking back the HTEM program was very instrumental in my career. Learning not only from my internship but the experiences others had was valuable in shaping how I lead a team. Just the broad knowledge of the industry I gained has also been a very big asset in my career. I literally use what I learned during my time at SIU every single day!

What are your long-term career goals?

My long term career goal is to stay with Herschend Family Entertainment, the parent company of Silver Dollar City, and earn a Sr. Leadership role as a Regional President overseeing a group of properties.

What advice can you offer to HTEM students that would aid them in their education and career?

I think the one piece of advice I could offer HTEM students that would help them more than anything is, "Soak it all up!" Do not take a single experience you have at SIU for granted. Make connections, push yourself to go for the internships of your dreams and most importantly stay involved and enjoy your time as a Saluki - you only get to do it once! 

Additional Comments or Advice for HTEM students?

My only additional advice is to keep the Quatro's cups. They make for a great table setting in your first after college apartment or home!