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2024 Power 100: Henry Tessman

A man in a red shirt smiles for the camera. Photo | Courtesy of Great Wolf Lodge New England Henry Tessman
Henry Tessman  Title General manager Company Great Wolf Lodge New England, in Fitchburg Employees  750 Residence Auburn College Johnson & Wales University Read all the Power 100 profiles here
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An indoor waterpark destination in Fitchburg may have once sounded like a far-fetched idea, but Great Wolf Lodge New England has proven the concept to be a success. The entertainment destination drew 700,000 visitors in 2023, according to stats data to the WBJ Research Department, making it the third biggest tourist attraction in Central Massachusetts.

Great Wolf is a Chicago-based company operating 21 locations across the U.S., and Henry Tessman has been at the helm of the company’s Fitchburg location since it opened in 2014. In that time he has guided the venue to new growth, leading the charge as it underwent energy-related upgrades and added two new retail stores in 2023.

The lodge has more than 15,000 square feet of outdoor event space, 12,443 square feet of conference and meeting rooms, and 406 guest rooms. More than just a waterpark, Great Wolf features an arcade, climbing walls, rope courses, and other attractions to keep kids of all ages occupied.

As with many entertainment venues, the coronavirus pandemic was extremely difficult for the lodge, and Tessman was tasked with the difficult job of informing the venue’s 700+ employees the lodge would be closing for an unknown period of time. Throughout this period, Tessman worked with management to find opportunities for team members at other locations able to reopen earlier. With routine communication and updates, Tessman was able to convince 70% of the lodge’s original employees to return once the Fitchburg location reopened.

More upgrades are in the works at the lodge, and Tessman has helped the company realize New England is a prime location for its venues, as Great Wolf is opening a location at the Foxwoods Resort in Ledyard, Connecticut. 

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