Why You Need To Know George Millay
By John Seeker, a George Millay Veteran, now with MARC Advertising, Dallas.
As a young college graduate in 1970, I landed a job as staff photographer for Sea World San Diego. I found out one thing real fast. Nothing they teach in school prepares you to work for such a dynamic and unusual personality as George Millay, the founder and president of SeaWorld.
I heard hundreds of stories about George during my first several weeks there, but had not met him. Then it happened.
One afternoon, there he was in the flesh, this 220-pound, redheaded Irishman. He stopped me and asked, “What’s your name?” I said, “I am John Seeker, the new photographer.” He said “Nice to meet you. Now get back to work.”
He liked me because I fit the SeaWorld mold. I had a Military-style haircut and I had shaved my mustache. I worked hard and long, I had fresh ideas, and I drove an American car.
I ended up working for George Millay longer than anyone else, for more than 25 years. My initial fear of the man turned to respect and admiration. I soon found that behind the rough and brash exterior, there was a deep and thoughtful man that truly cared about people.
He knew how to get the most out of his employees and always seemed to know just how far he could push without us breaking. George was manipulative, but he felt it was for the better of the individual and ultimately the company.
George also knew that to be successful, he needed to surround himself with talented people that he trusted. Lie to him and you might as well kiss your ass goodbye. Tell the truth and you might get a good verbal whipping, but through it all, once you had his trust, you usually kept it.
George was fiercely loyal. If you were honest and hard working, George would do anything for you. To George, you were part of the family. To many of us, George was a father figure.
George was a hard driving entrepreneur who through the years gave back much more than he ever took. He always saw things differently than the rest of us. He saw the big picture. He was living as much in the future as in the present. Yes, I would call him a visionary.
People always ask me how I could have worked and put up with George for 25 years. The answer is simple. They didn’t know the same George as I did. He’s like a turtle – hard shell with a tender and vulnerable underside. Penetrate the shell and see the real George.
That’s what this book is all about. For the first time ever, a book has penetrated the outer shell and shows the side of George Millay that few of us have been honored to know. Everyday I thank God that I was lucky enough to work for and learn from him. I am a better person because of him. He is one in a million! Thanks Chief!