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Geoffrey Baldwin, part of the leadership group that moved to San Antonio more than a quarter-century ago to open a new SeaWorld park, said one of the places he would take prospective recruits was to the Tower of the Americas, the most iconic legacy of Hemisfair ’68. So it’s only fitting that Baldwin is now moving to Hemisfair to help oversee a major transformation of the former World’s Fair site.

Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corp., the organization tasked with overseeing the transformation of the historic downtown acreage, has tapped Baldwin as its new director of operations.

“I was with SeaWorld for 36 years. I started in the San Diego park with a summer job, with no plans of making it a career,” Baldwin said.

In the early days, Baldwin had a number of tasks, including cleaning restrooms and renting strollers. In 1987, after working his way up the company ladder, Baldwin seized an opportunity to help open a new SeaWorld park in San Antonio, some two-plus hours from coastal waters. He ultimately leveraged that summer job into an operations director position with the Alamo City attraction.

Then the fallout of the controversial film “Blackfish” took a toll on SeaWorld’s image and its business, and the company responded by restructuring operations. Baldwin was among the roughly 300 SeaWorld employees reportedly affected.

Hemisfair officials believe SeaWorld’s loss is their gain. HPARC’s Drew Hicks said Baldwin has already helped identify opportunities to improve the redevelopment project.

“I did some investigation. I saw the vision and the scope of what this project is, and I immediately said to my wife, ‘I want this job,’” Baldwin said. “There is a lot more opportunity to put a little more of me into this.”

Scott Bailey, San Antonio Business Journal