If you’re not accustomed to being at a dropzone, there’s a nerve center that makes the whole operation work; that place is known as ‘manifest.’
The job of manifest is to keep the plane flying as efficiently as possible while making everyone happy. Sounds simple enough, but the reality is it’s a really, really hard thing to do! Finding someone who makes this look effortless is hard, but Lisa Dexter is a master at it.
Lisa is often the first person many of our guests meet and she brings it every day. We sat down for a quick interview with a lady that makes this place work – Lisa Dexter!
You’re originally from Perris, California which is the home of Skydive Perris – a huge skydiving center. Was skydiving a big part of your life growing up in the shadow of this dropzone?
I actually didn’t know it existed until my mother took a job there in 1999.
What work did you do before you got into the skydiving industry?
Administrative work, Worked a lot of temp agencies.
Through most of your adult life, you’ve been involved in skydiving in multiple states and have seen it all. What are your favorite aspects of the skydiving community?
The people. I have great friends all over the world.
What do you enjoy doing outside of the DropZone? What are your interests?
Working out and watching movies with my family.
What is something about you that few people know about and would be surprised to learn?
I have never traveled outside the US.
If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you most like to visit?
Of all the places you’ve visited thusfar, what’s your most favorite?
North Shore of Hawaii
Who inspires you?
My husband and Friends
Where did you make your first skydive and what was the motivation that prompted you to make that first jump?
Perris Valley, It was a surprise from my husband, Nathan.
You’ve had the opportunity to spend time with some of the world’s greatest skydivers. In your observation, what tendencies or characteristics do the world’s best tend to exhibit?
They don’t talk about how good they are. They let the flying speak for itself.
You are one of the first people our guests typically meet when arriving at the dropzone and there’s often a lot of nervous energy. What advice can you give to a first time (tandem) jumper to ensure that they have the best possible skydiving experience?
It starts with the energy in the office and sharing your experience with them. You have to know what they are going through.
Of all the guests you’ve checked in, is there a particular customer that stands out (because of fear or sheer excitement or someone that had a remarkable story)?
I remember a woman tandem student last year. She was dying of cancer and had about three months to live. She was a fantastic woman. Those kind of stories are inspiring.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever seen at a dropzone?
Watching the 300 ways in Eloy AZ in 2002
You’ve been in the sport for a long time and your job has you communicating with guests and staff all day, (plus multi-tasking to degrees that few can understand unless they’ve worked manifest). How do you keep fresh from burning out?
Making sure I take my personal time. You have to be a happy person to work in manifest. We are in the business of having fun so let’s have fun at work. The customers see that and get 10 times more excited about their experience.
What’s your manifest pet peeve?
When a staff member walks up to manifest after load 2 and says they were skipped in the rotation.
Your job is critical to the efficiency of the operation. What’s the hardest aspect of your job to keep everything moving?
Trying to keep the staff, fun jumpers and tandem customers all happy.
If you could choose to live any place in the entire world, where would you live?
Favorite movie you’ve ever seen?
Favorite skydiving movie?
The original Point Break
Favorite food that you enjoy that most people would consider disgusting?
Potato Salad and Nacho Cheese Doritos
If you were to write a book, what would be the title?
I would write Nathan’s story. A Skydiver’s Life by Lisa Dexter
Most used app on your smartphone?