It’s not every day that a person is granted the opportunity to witness history — unless you’re Danny Girton, Jr., that is. As an adjudicator for Guinness World Records, the Fishkill resident has seen hundreds of records broken over his four-and-a-half-year career, and will hopefully soon see another when the Walkway Over the Hudson takes a crack at record-setting this month (click here for more information).
How did you end up in the Hudson Valley?
I spent most of my life in Dutchess County. I really appreciate the life-work balance it allows me to enjoy with my commute into New York.
What exactly do you do for Guinness World Records?
I manage client services, and work with both individuals and large conglomerates to find record solutions that help them celebrate the objectives they would like to achieve. It’s really about ordinary people being recognized as extraordinary. I take pride in helping people find what they’re the best at doing.
Did you have to go through training when first hired?
To earn this position, I underwent a series of general knowledge assessments, like foreign language components and ethics. I spent time in our London headquarters, where I learned crisis and risk management and media training.
Where has this job sent you?
I’ll never forget my first adjudication was in Dubai. I went to China leading up to the 2008 Olympics. I’ve also spent some time in Uruguay and Peru.
What’s one of your best memories of the job?
One of the most iconic experiences for me was awarding someone a record for holding the most current world record titles. At the time it was 100. That record is now 138.
Can anyone register to break a record?
Anyone who has a desire to be the best can have a go.
What does Guinness World Records look for in a proposal before it accepts one?
It needs to be measurable, breakable, verifiable, and of international interest to our global community of readers.
What sort of records do you judge most often?
We monitor nearly 50,000 record categories. Some of the most popular are mass-participation attempts, like what the Walkway is doing. It’s about having fun and people coming together to do something exceptional. It’s always a real pleasure to be at the center of something like that.
How will you judge the Walkway’s attempt?
Everyone will need to be fully participating for at least five minutes. I’ll be at one of the entry points to personally count participants. I’ll need to have stewards in place to serve as my eyes and ears to see that everyone is performing the dance. That way we ensure the greatest level of accuracy and can visually verify what’s taking place.
Have there been any other Valley records?
I was scheduled to adjudicate an attempt at Stewart Airport last year for the fastest solar-powered vehicle. Hurricane Irene passed through at that time, so the event organizers had to cancel. At the Cake Bin [formerly of Newburgh, now located in Beacon] there is a record for the largest cannoli — around 123 pounds — as of 2010. It’s really important for people to see that records are set and broken every day, and it doesn’t need to be in some far-flung location; it can be right in our backyard.