Get to know the Asphalt Green staff better! We think our employees are amazing—and we think you’ll agree! Learn about our top-notch team in the Staff Spotlight series on the Asphalt Green blog.


Name: Michael Ann Dobbs

Job Title: Swim Instructor

Asphalt Green Department: Aquatics

Asphalt Green Campus: Battery Park City


Q: How long have you been working at Asphalt Green?

A: I officially started working for Asphalt Green in June 2013, when the Battery Park City location had its grand opening.  


Q: What is your role?

A: I'm a swim instructor. I teach the majority of our baby and under-5 classes.


Q: What is your favorite aspect of working at Asphalt Green?

A: I love the community! It's great not only seeing my fabulous coworkers every day but also seeing the kids grow and learn more over the years. I've gotten to know members and parents as well as the kids I teach. I have kids who run up to me and hug me on the street outside the building (if they recognize me without a swim cap!).  


Q: What is one of your fondest memories of working at Asphalt Green so far?

A: I definitely remember the smile on a swimmers’ faces when they overcome their fears. There are many kids every year who come in really scared but manage to overcome their fear and become swimmers. The kids may be different, but it's always the same smile!


Q: How did you get into the aquatics industry?

A: I started taking swimming lessons when I was 6 months old, participated on a swim team for eight years, and have been working with kids since I was 12. I was looking for a more flexible job that would allow me to go to grad school and spend more time writing, and it just made sense to teach kids to swim. Plus, it turns out doing something physical helps me keep my life in balance.


Q: What is the best swim tip you’ve received?

A: Do your thing. It’s natural for young kids to compare themselves among each other, but that just makes them anxious. As an instructor and a role model, I try my best to help them focus on the small steps in front of them. If you concentrate on your thing, you can make something even as complex as swimming achievable. It's good advice outside of the pool too! 


Q: Who inspires you?

A: Believe it or not, it's the babies! They are not capable at all yet, but that doesn't stop them. It may take 30 tries to grab a toy or a 100 tries to blow a bubble, but they will get there. I wish I could be that persistent!  


Q: What is your favorite quote?

A: I love words, so this one is tough. Right now it's probably a quote by Terry Pratchett. "Human beings make life so interesting. Do you know, that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to invent boredom?"


Q: What is a fun fact about yourself?

A: Grown-ups seem to think it's interesting that I'm a writer and work part time as a children's book editor. Kids also think it's funny that I'm really, really clumsy on land!