Thea Blog

26 February 2019

TEA Thea Case Studies Day celebrates top projects, people and technologies in themed entertainment April 12, 2019 at Disneyland Resort

TEA Summit Day Two - Thea Case Studies Day (April 12, 2019) is a full day of presentations showcasing the current slate of Thea Awards recipients, presented by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), the global association for the creators of compelling places and experiences The place: Disneyland Resort, Anaheim. Presenting Sponsor of the TEA Summit is The Hettema Group.

At TEA Summit Day 2: Thea Case Studies Day
April 12, 2019, creatives and owners present
together in an illuminating showcase of projects
being honored the following day, April 13, at the
25th Annual TEA Thea Awards Gala. Tickets for
the TEA Summit and the Gala are available now.
Read on to learn more about the projects being
showcased and the speakers presenting them.

The annual TEA Summit is a vital, two-day gathering organized by TEA for business networking, professional development and the celebration of excellence. The 2019 Summit takes place April 11-12, followed April 13 by the Thea Awards Gala presented by Chimelong. They are ticketed events, held at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. 

Project owners and creatives share highlights and challenges of creating some of the most compelling and influential visitor attractions and leisure destinations in the world - including theme parks, museums and museum exhibitions, immersive experiences, brand experiences, spectaculars, parades and more. Thea Case Studies Day takes place the day before those projects are honored at the 25th Annual TEA Thea Awards Gala.

Thea Case Studies Day Co-Chairs: Roberta Perry of ETI and Pat MacKay of Ones&ZerosMedia. Moderators: Brian Morrow of BMorrow Productions, Shawn McCoy of JRA, Monty Lunde of Technifex. Thea Award Committee representatives: Lisa Passamonte Green of Visual Terrain, Susan Bonds, Phil Hettema of The Hettema Group and Dave Cobb of Thinkwell. TEA leadership: TEA President Michael Mercadante of Main Street Design, TEA COO Jennie Nevin.

 

2019 TEA Summit Presenting Sponsor

Hashtags: #TEAsummit, #TEAtheas   

Press inquiries: Contact Judith Rubin

 

 

SPEAKERS & PROJECTS:

Thea Case Studies Day, April 12, 2019 at Disneyland Resort

All program information subject to change

Volcano Bay (Water Theme Park)

Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando, FL, USA

Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz, Director, Engineering and Safety,  Universal Creative - Justin Schwartz began his career with Universal in 2004 as an Associate Engineer. His themed entertainment experience includes leading the development of numerous international and domestic attractions, including Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and Universal’s Volcano Bay. Most notably, he served as lead engineer on the Thea Award-honored Hogwarts Express attraction and played a major role in the development of the Thea Award-honored  Interactive Wand Experience at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. At Universal Creative, Justin was also a founding member of the Advanced Technology Interactives team responsible for developing next-generation entertainment experiences, including the Tapu Tapu Virtual line system.

Dale Mason
Volcano Bay

Dale Mason, Vice President, Executive Art Director, Universal Creative - In his 28 years with the company, Dale Mason has worked on many international and domestic projects, most notably as the Conceptual Designer and Creative Director for Universal’s Islands of Adventure, the Creative Director for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, and the Creative Director for Universal’s Volcano Bay. Mr. Mason studied Theatrical Design at California State University, Sacramento and Illustration and Graphic Design at The Academy of Art University, San Francisco. He resides in Seattle with his husband, Larry Taylor.

 

Frank Ming Li

Fantawild Oriental Heritage (Theme Park)

Xiamen, China 

Frank Ming Li, Founder, Fantawild Holdings Inc. - Frank pioneered the model of “integrating culture with technology” in China’s culture industry. As the chief designer of Fantawild theme parks, he has overseen the concept design, master planning, research and development of Fantawild theme parks. He has created more than 10 theme park brands, including Fantawild Adventure, Fantawild Dreamland and Oriental Heritage, and opened more than 20 Fantawild parks in China. With the number of tourists ranking 5th worldwide for two consecutive years, Fantawild parks are well known at home and abroad thanks to their creative design and leading technology.

Daisy Shang
Fantawild Oriental Heritage

Daisy Shang, Executive President, Fantawild Holdings Inc. - Daisy Shang is in charge of international market development and Fantawild animation. Daisy has been in the theme parks, film and television industry for more than a decade. She has successfully exported Fantawild theme park design services and attraction equipment to Ukraine, Nigeria, the Middle East, and other regions. Fantawild’s special effects films have been sold to more than 40 countries. She is the Chief Producer of the Boonie Bears animated TV shows and film franchise, and her leadership has built Boonie Bears into China’s #1 animation brand and exported to more than 100 countries worldwide.

Learn more about the projects   Buy TEA Summit tickets

Rob Shenk

Be Washington: It's Your Turn to Lead (Museum Experience, Limited Budget)

George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, VA, USA

Rob Shenk, Senior Vice President for Visitor Engagement at George Washington’s Mount Vernon - Rob Shenk's team welcomes more than 1 million guests at the home of George Washington, and more than 8 million digital visitors each year. Rob served as project lead for the award winning "Be Washington" interactive leadership experience. While at Mount Vernon, Rob has been awarded three Telly Awards for educational video productions, and a Gold W3 Award for top cultural websites. Prior to joining Mount Vernon, Rob held senior leadership positions at the Civil War Trust, E*TRADE Financial, and America Online. 

Matt Briney
Be Washington: It's Your Turn to Lead

Matt Briney, Vice President of New Media at George Washington’s Mount Vernon - Matt Briney oversees the production of digital assets from movie productions, interactive websites, mobile apps and on-site interactives. During his time at Mount Vernon he has managed the launches of the Be Washington interactive theater, the Revolutionary War 4D experience, the Agent 711: Spy Adventure mobile app and the Mount Vernon Augmented Reality tour.

Joseph Cortina

Joseph Cortina, Founding Partner, Cortina Productions - Cortina provides media experience design, visual creative direction and senior level artistic direction for museum projects. His 30+ years of experience have brought him five National Emmy Awards including his work as coordinating director of the 25th Olympiad in Barcelona for NBC Sports, and his museum work has captured numerous CINE, Telly, Thea Awards, and American Association of Museum MUSE awards. Joseph graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Arts in Richmond, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Painting and Printmaking.

 

Bruce Zimmerman

The Evel Knievel Museum (Museum, Limited Budget)

Topeka, KS, USA

Bruce Zimmerman, Executive Director, The Evel Knievel Museum - Bruce has worked at the Harley-Davidson dealership in Topeka for 31 years, providing valuable leadership in the areas of Service, Sales, General Manager and President. Bruce played a major role in developing The Evel Knievel Museum. His meticulous craftsmanship led the way for the museum displays to be built. His latest role with The Evel Knievel Museum utilizes his Anthropology degree, with a minor in English, from Washburn University. 

Amanda Beach
The Evel Knievel Museum

Amanda Beach, Marketing Director for The Evel Knievel Museum and Historic Harley-Davidson - Amanda has been involved with The Evel Knievel Museum since its inception in early 2016. She was part of the development team for every phase of the project from story boards to vignettes detailing specific jumps and events central to Evel’s story. Amanda holds a degree from Washburn University in Corporate Communication and spent a semester studying visual and performing arts at Cambridge University in England.

Michael Patterson

Michael Patterson is a third-generation owner of a 70-year, family owned, Harley-Davidson dealership in Topeka, KS. In 2014, stepping out of the comfort zone of motorcycles, Michael took on a project to restore Evel Knievel’s 63-foot Mack truck and trailer.  This project evolved into the idea of creating an Evel Knievel Museum with Lathan McKay, owner of the truck and the largest Evel Knievel collection in the world.  After two years of planning and building, The Evel Knievel Museum premiered in July of 2017. Michael holds a degree in Business Administration from Kansas University.

Learn more about the projects  Buy TEA Summit tickets

Jesper Vilstrup

LEGO® House A/S (Brand Center)

Billund, Denmark

Jesper Vilstrup, Managing Director, the LEGO® House - Jesper Vilstrup joined the LEGO Group in 2001. Over the years he has worked in various positions as Global Senior Marketing Director, Vice President Digital Games and Vice President LEGO Consumer Marketing Agency. In May 2015, Jesper was appointed to his current position. He has been responsible for building, developing and leading LEGO House to become a world-class attraction offering LEGO fans of all ages the ultimate LEGO experience. The LEGO House opened to the public in September 2017.

Mike Ganderton
LEGO® House A/S

Mike Ganderton, Head of Experience Development, the LEGO House - Mike Ganderton is trained as an Industrial Designer and joined the LEGO Group in 2001. He has worked as Design Manager, Creative Director and Senior Creative Director in the LEGO Product and Marketing Development Department. Mike joined the LEGO House project team in 2012, working to conceptualize, test, develop and implement the various play experiences in the LEGO House. In January 2018 he was appointed to his current position, leading a small internal design team tasked to ensure LEGO House continues to remain the ultimate LEGO Experience. This team is responsible for developing both temporary events and for the creation of completely new LEGO House play experiences.

 

Takashi Kudo

MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM: teamLab Borderless (Connected Immersion - Digital Art)

MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM:
teamLab Borderless, 2018,
Odaiba, Tokyo © teamLab;
teamLab is represented
by Pace Gallery

Tokyo, Japan

Takashi Kudo, Communications Director, teamLab - After Kudo graduated Waseda University in 2001 with a B.A. in Literature and Philosophy, he started working as an editor. He was with IDG Sweden in Stockholm for four years as Editor-in-Chief of a video game magazine. Returning to Japan, he joined teamLab in 2009 as Branding Manager/Communications Director. Kudo now manages teamLab’s entire branding aspects while also focusing on various specific projects.

 

Tamara Ross

Illuminations: human/nature (Connected Immersion, Digital Overlay Experience)

Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Banff National Park, Alberta Canada; and Rouge Urban National Park, Toronto, Canada

Tamara Ross, Director Arts Administration & Illuminations Project Lead - Tamara’s connection with the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity has spanned her entire life having grown up there, literally. Tamara has Commerce and Education degrees from UBC and while in Vancouver was Manager of Artistic Operations with Ballet BC. In 2005, Tamara completed her MBA at HEC Montréal then re-joined Banff Centre in her current role. She is proud to be contributing to the great things Banff Centre does and has seen first-hand the transformative effects this special place has for artists. Tamara was proud to lead the Illuminations project working with such amazing artists and creators.

Sarah Fuller
ILLUMINATIONS: human/nature
Photo: Moment Factory

Sarah Fuller, Co-creator, Illuminations - Sarah Fuller is a Canadian artist who works across the mediums of photography, video and installation. She holds an MFA from the University of Ottawa and a BFA from Emily Carr University. Sarah has been an artist in residence at Laughing Waters, Australia, KIAC in Dawson City, Yukon, Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Italy, and the Association of Visual Artists (SIM), Iceland. Her work is in the collections of the Canada Council for the Arts Art Bank, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Walter Phillips Gallery, and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Simon Garant

Simon Garant, Multimedia Director, Moment Factory - A passionate storyteller, Simon has 10+ years' experience in videography and photography and eight as a creative leader. At Moment Factory, Simon has been charge of creating unique immersive experiences, for a variety of clients, cultures and topics worldwide. From research and conception to final delivery, Simon assures the holistic artistic integrity and leads teams of over 30 creators including designers, scenographers, connected objects designers, 2D/3D artists, UX designers, lighting designers, sound composers, and R&D innovators.  

Learn more about the projects  Buy TEA Summit tickets

 

Paweł Cebula

Bazyliszek (Attraction, Limited Budget)

Park Legendia, Chorzow, Poland

Paweł Cebula, Director, Legendia - Paweł is associated with the amusement park industry practically from the very beginning of his professional career and it remains one of his greatest passions. He has been director of Legendia (formerly Silesian Amusement Park) for eight years. One of his greatest professional successes was securing the investor, Slovak company Tatry Mountain Resorts, making it possible to modernize this oldest amusement park in Poland. His education in both engineering and business serves Paweł daily in a position that calls for technical knowledge combined with skillful management. Today, Legendia is one of the largest amusement parks in Poland, and its new attractions are appreciated all over the world.

Benoit Cornet
Bazyliszek

Benoit Cornet, Founder and CEO, Alterface - Benoit is dedicated about moving the industry forward. As TEA EME Division Board member and sponsor he supports the community and connects people. During his past 18 years leading Alterface, he pioneered innovative concepts that significantly impact industry dynamics. Alterface currently leads the interactive dark ride market, having launched the world’s first motion based interactive ride, the first interactive rapid river ride, the first interactive theatre and now most recently Erratic ride. For Benoit and his team, technology and creativity are serving one purpose: to Enjoy the Ride with customers and partners.

Learn more about the projects  Buy TEA Summit tickets

 

Les Hudson

JUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle for Metropolis (Attraction)

Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia CA, USA

Les Hudson, Vice President of Design, Six Flags Entertainment - Les is in his 26th year with the company, having led the creative planning and design for more than 40 theme and waterparks around the world, including over 130 roller coasters—many of which are record-breaking attractions. Les currently oversees all aspects of theme park design and new attraction development for Six Flags’ portfolio of 26 parks, and for the last five years has devoted much of his time to the development of the Company’s international expansion as it introduces the Six Flags brand of innovative thrills to a global audience.

Rich Hill
JUSTICE LEAGUE™: Battle for Metropolis

Rich Hill, Creative Director, Sally Corporation - Over the years, Rich has led the design of numerous award-winning attractions that have helped define Sally Corporation as a leader in the next generation of themed entertainment. He oversees development from idea origination through opening day. Rich is also a professional sculptor, fine artist, illustrator, writer and movie-maker. During his 20+ year career in themed entertainment, Rich has worked with Disney, Universal Studios, Cedar Fair, Six Flags Entertainment, Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and many others. Rich holds an Industrial Design degree from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

 

Owen Yoshino

Nemo & Friends SeaRider (Repurposed Attraction)

Tokyo DisneySea, Japan

Owen Yoshino, Senior Creative Director, Walt Disney Imagineering - Owen Yoshino began his Walt Disney Imagineering career in 1993 as an "Imaginations" intern upon graduating from the University of Hawaii. Since then, Owen has contributed to numerous projects including the renewal of Space Mountain at Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disneyland, the Millennium event at Epcot, and Thea award-winning projects such as Mission: Space and Millennium Village at Epcot, and Nemo & Friends SeaRider at Tokyo DisneySea.  Owen recently completed the creative direction of “it’s a small world” at Tokyo Disneyland and is currently working on Soaring: Fantastic Flight at Tokyo DisneySea, which opens July 23.

Roger Gould
Nemo & Friends SeaRider
Photo: courtesy Disney, with permission

Roger Gould, Creative Director of Theme Parks, Pixar Animation Studios - Roger works in collaboration with Walt Disney Imagineering to bring Pixar characters and worlds to life at Disney theme parks, resorts and cruise ships around the world. Partnering with WDI, Gould has worked on projects including Toy Story Mania!, Turtle Talk with Crush, World of Color, Radiator Springs Racers, Ratatouille: The Adventure and Nemo & Friends SeaRider. Most recently, Gould provided creative direction on Pixar Fest at Disneyland Resort, Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure, and the Toy Story Land openings at Shanghai Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

 

SlideWheel (Attraction)

Chimelong Water Park, Guangzhou, China

Chris Ho

Chris Ho, Assistant President of Chimelong Group, GM International Business Affairs - Chris Ho heads Chimelong’s global sourcing of design and production services, amusement rides; show equipment and more. He serves Chimelong’s wide range of business needs, and is also in charge of Chimelong’s IP, show and attraction developments. He was a leader in the development of Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, recognized with a Thea Award in 2014 and played a role on the Chimelong Nighttime Electrical Parade, and 5D Castle Theater, both subsequently honored with Thea Awards. He currently sits on the TEA International Board and works with many organizations in global tourism development.

Rainer Maelzer
SlideWheel, Chimelong Water Park

Rainer Maelzer, Managing Director, wiegand.maelzer GmbH - Rainer Maelzer is an economist and engineer with 20+ years of experience in the waterslide industry. With his extensive expertise, high professional standards and his integrity, Mr. Maelzer has been able to build his business from a regional manufacturer of waterslides to a global player. He has contributed significantly to the development and expansion of some well-known European water parks, such as the Therme Erding. Today, Rainer Maelzer has customers all over the world and his company is known as one of the most innovative companies in the waterpark industry. For him, the slogan "we create emotion" means not just business, it is his passion.

Learn more about the projects  Buy TEA Summit tickets

 

Kerry Lovegrove

Fantastic Journey, Majestic Princess (Live Show Spectacular)

Princess Cruises, Valencia CA, USA

Kerry Lovegrove, Creative Director, Princess Cruises - Kerry Lovegrove has spent her entire career in the entertainment business, 28 years of which have been with Princess Cruises. A native of England, Kerry started performing in London’s West End in various musicals and across all seven continents. With Princess Cruises, Kerry is responsible for creating new production shows and experiences for our global fleet of 17 ships. Kerry is instrumental to the exclusive collaboration and partnership with Stephen Schwartz. Creating Fantastic Journey has been a career highlight for Kerry and on behalf of Princess Cruises, she is thankful to TEA for recognizing this achievement.

Danny Teeson
Fantastic Journey

Danny Teeson, Creator, Director & Choreographer - Danny Teeson has choreographed for Kelly Clarkson, Paula Abdul, Robbie Williams and Tom Jones, winning VH1 Best Video Award for “Sex Bomb.” Acted as Carrie Underwood’s creative director, conceptualizing and directing her Carnival Ride Tour, ACM Awards performance, and Grammy’s performance. Teeson’s LA company, has created, designed, directed, produced and choreographed many productions including American Idol (Live Tour) and Princess Cruises Theatrical presentations. Credits include ‘Get Him To The Greek,’ ‘This is Forty’, ‘The Three Stooges’, ‘Let It Shine’ and resident judge on Oxygen Networks hit show ‘Dance Your Ass Off’. Danny also directs and choreographs for the Disney Channel.

Bob Bonniol

Bob Bonniol, Designer - Bob Bonniol is a Designer of live production, broadcast, and media driven interactive installations. This year he was awarded the Knight of Illumination Award for his Creative Direction of The GM World, at General Motor’s Global Headquarters. He was Production Designer for the Star Wars Celebration segment of ABC’s Disneyland 60th Anniversary Special, designed productions for Blue Man Group, Marvel Universe Live, TED, Paramore, New Kids on the Block, Nickelback, Journey, American Idol, America’s Got Talent, X-factor, The American Country Music Awards, and MTV Music Awards. Bob is thrilled to have worked with Princess Cruises on this award winning production.

 

Legend of Camel Bells (Live Show Spectacular)

Huaxia Cultural Tourism Resort, Xi’an, Shanxi Province, China

Bingo Tso
Legend of Camel Bells

Bingo Tso, Senior Vice President/CTO of ACE International - Mr. Bingo Tso, has been in the pro audio industry for more than 40 years, from building the first professional recording studio in mainland China to contemporary, state-of-the-art pro audio, lighting and video systems currently being installed. He has introduced many new technology and products to this market and trained hundreds of engineers. He has been professionally involved in a great many significant live and theatrical events in China over the years including major commemorative parades at the Beijing Olympics and the Shanghai World Expo among others. 'I have based my profession around my passion, and my work is a source of great satisfaction and happiness," he says.

 

Mike Davis

Universal Spectacle Night Parade (Live Show Spectacular)

Universal Studios Japan, Osaka

Mike Davis, Senior Vice President-International Entertainment at Universal Parks and Resorts in Orlando - Mike Davis provides executive leadership in Osaka and Singapore and leads Entertainment efforts for Universal Beijing Resort (opening 2020) and all other Entertainment activities for future UPR International projects. Before assuming this new post in August 2017, he was SVP and Executive Producer of Entertainment, Universal Studios, Osaka, joining the executive team in 2000 as a member of the original grand opening team. Prior to Universal he spent 20+ years at the Walt Disney Company. He currently serves on the TEA Asia Pacific Division Board.

Matthew Preston Jones
Universal Spectacle Night Parade 
Photo courtesy Universal,
used with permission

Matthew Preston Jones, Project Director at Universal Studios Japan - Over his 20 year career at USJ Matthew has led many diverse projects including the TEA award winning "Space Fantasy the Ride", development of new lands and multiple parades. He is passionate about creating world class experiences for USJ's guests and is honored to have been part of the team that brought to life USJ's "Universal Spectacle Night Parade – The Best of Hollywood." 

Learn more about the projects  Buy TEA Summit tickets

 

Anil Nanduri

Intel® Shooting Star Drone (Outstanding Technical Innovation) 

Anil V. Nanduri, Vice President, Intel, General Manager, Drone Group - Anil V. Nanduri  has led the Intel drone group since its inception. Under his leadership, this group provides solutions for commercial applications and drone light shows which have entertained audiences worldwide. Since joining Intel in 1997, Nanduri has held roles from chip design, platform enabling and marketing. Nanduri received his bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronics engineering from the College of Engineering, Trivandrum, in India; and his master’s degree in electrical engineering from Pennsylvania State University.

Daniel Gurdan
A view of Travis Air Force Base's
Intel Shooting Star light show
wherein Travis families were shown
the choreographed capabilities
of 500 drones during an
Independence Day celebration
July 5, 2018.
(U.S. Air Force photo by
Airman 1st Class Christian Conrad)

Daniel Gurdan, Senior Principal Engineer and Chief Light Show Technologist, Intel - In his role at Intel, Daniel is pushing the boundaries of drone technology, enabling stunning entertainment experiences that have delighted audiences worldwide. Daniel graduated from Technical University of Munich and MIT in 2007. He is a co-founder of Ascending Technologies, a German drone maker acquired by Intel in 2016. Daniel shaped the drone ecosystem with his early work and publications on drone control theory. His expertise lies in drone-related algorithms such as flight control, multi-sensor-fusion, navigation and obstacle avoidance, multi-agent systems and fleet management.

 

Lisa Passamonte Green

SPECIAL SESSION:

How to nominate a project, person or technology for a Thea Award

Lisa Passamonte Green, CEO and Principal-in-Charge of Visual Terrain, Inc.; TEA Thea Awards Committee Chair - Visual Terrain is celebrating 20+ years of lighting design for architecture, attractions and the arts. After launching her lighting design career at Walt Disney Imagineering, Lisa is recognized internationally, with projects on six continents. Lisa has designed lighting for theme park attractions, museums, casinos, municipalities, public art, retail, and restaurants. She has also created park-wide lighting and control systems and standards. Lisa’s work has been recognized with numerous awards. She served as the Chair of this year’s Thea Awards Nominating Committee and has been a committee member since 2013. 

Phil Hettema

Phil Hettema, President and Creative Executive, The Hettema Group - With more than 30 years of standout achievements in themed entertainment, Phil leads THG’s world-class team in the design and production of uniquely compelling guest experiences around the globe. Notable projects include One World Observatory (New York City), High Roller observation wheel (Las Vegas) and Beyond All Boundaries (National World War II Museum, New Orleans). Prior to forming THG, Phil was SVP of Attraction Development for Universal Creative. During his 14 years there, he oversaw attraction planning for all five Universal Studios parks. Accolades include six TEA Thea Awards, including lifetime achievement. TEA welcomes The Hettema Group as Presenting Sponsor of the 2019 TEA Summit.

Monty Lunde

Monty Lunde, President & Co-Owner, Technifex; TEA Founder; TEA Past President, Technology Moderator, Thea Case Studies Day - As founder of TEA, Monty inspired, motivated and organized his colleagues to recognize their collective interests and form an association that defines and helps shape the evolving, global attractions industry. Through its programs and activities, TEA fosters better understanding and relations between clients and suppliers, sharing best practices and creating avenues of professional development. A reflection of TEA’s influence is that other industries have adopted such phrases as "themed entertainment," "storytelling," "experience design," and "immersive." Monty continues to help guide the TEA’s development and build upon the original vision, helping develop and launch new initiatives, such as the TEA Masters program.

Susan Bonds

Susan Bonds, CEO, 42 Entertainment; incoming TEA Thea Awards Committee Chair - Helping lead the innovation evolution, from alternate reality games to deeply immersive entertainment experiences Susan has focused 42 on convergence of social, technological, gaming and story to engage millions of people worldwide in The Dark Knight, Halo, The Human Preservation Project, or NIN's Year Zero. A systems engineer by training, she began in aerospace at Lockheed's Advanced Development Projects, then joined Walt Disney Imagineering in 1990 (credits include Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland and Mission: SPACE at Epcot). After two years producing a Massively Multiplayer Online game at Cyan Worlds, she launched 42 Entertainment in 2004.

Dave Cobb

Dave Cobb, Principal of Creative Development, Thinkwell - Dave Cobb guides project development with a focus on story and guest experience, constantly looking for new ways to integrate technology, social interactivity, and theatricality to engage and excite audiences. Dave’s role as Thinkwell’s park-wide creative director for Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi involved supervising development of 20+ world-class attractions. His diverse client roster includes Cirque du Soleil, Nickelodeon, NASCAR, Hershey’s, Six Flags, Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, Paramount, and San Diego Zoo. Prior to Thinkwell, Dave was responsible for the development of Universal Orlando’s groundbreaking Men in Black: Alien Attack.

Co-chairs, moderators and TEA leaders - Thea Case Studies Day (April 12)

Roberta Perry

Roberta Perry – VP Business Development, Edwards Technologies, Inc. (ETI); Thea Case Studies Day Co-Chair and Moderator (Connected Immersion)
Roberta has worked with such global brands as Universal Studios, Universal City Walk, 20th Century Fox, Cirque du Soleil, US Navy, Coca-Cola, Dick Clark American Bandstand Restaurants and Driscoll Berries. She is a past president of the TEA, and has served as chair of the International Nightclub and Bar Association, on the Board of the National Restaurant Association Marketing Executives Group and NFL Sunday Ticket Advisory Board. Business events where she has been a speaker include IAAPA, ULI, Themed Restaurants, Entertainment Retail, Leisure Expo, TiLE, World Gaming Congress, Nightclub & Bar conferences and POPAI (Global Association for Marketing at Retail) which honored her with the 2015 “Andrea Martin Volunteer of the Year Award.”

Pat MacKay

Pat MacKay, Ones&ZerosMedia, Thea Case Studies Day Co-Chair and Moderator (Live Shows) - Pat MacKay was founder of the publishing entity that produced TCI and Lighting Dimensions (now Live Design), and the LDI trade show. She immediately recognized and acted on mutual interests between her group and TEA, upon TEA's founding in 1991. Her activities included organizing workshops and events such as Themed Entertainment Weekends and Women in Technology meetings that helped focus attention on key issues and trends, and foster industry leadership. In the 1990s, she joined the TEA Thea Awards Committee and served almost continuously through 2014. In 2012 she became a co-chair of the annual TEA Summit conference. Pat was elected Fellow of the USITT in 1985, received LDI’s Life in Light award in 2007, was honored in 2015 with the TEA Distinguished Service Award and in 2018 received the Knight of Illumination lifetime honor.

Learn more about the projects  Buy TEA Summit tickets

Brian Morrow

Brian Morrow, Founder, BMorrow Productions, Co-Owner, Infinite Kingdoms; Thea Case Studies Day Moderator (Theme Parks and Attractions) – Brian Morrow’s entertainment design experience spans 22+ years and 1.2Billion in projects. Before founding BMP in 2018, Brian was Vice President Attraction Development for SeaWorld and Busch Garden theme parks. BMP serves clients with its unique boutique team of designers, artists, live entertainment and producers.  From show-set design to world-building, Brian’s project successes include work at Europa-Park, Baha Mar Resort, Weta Workshop, Sally Corporation, Kennedy Space Center, SeaWorld and more. As co-owner of Infinite Kingdoms, Brian helps create new experience platforms that merge attraction settings, retail and wearables.

Shawn McCoy

Shawn McCoy, Vice President • JRA; Thea Case Studies Day Moderator (Museums) - JRA is a studio that plans, designs and realizes theme parks, attractions, museums and branded projects worldwide. With 20+ years' experience in project development, Shawn McCoy regularly presents on industry trends, intellectual property, branded attractions, emerging technologies and immersive storytelling. For the past eight years, he has presented the session “Emerging Trends in Immersive Design” at the annual IAAPA Expo. He is a regularly featured contributor for numerous industry publications and webinars, and has been interviewed as a trends expert by mainstream publications and media such as Forbes, USA Today and CNN.

TEA leadership

Michael Mercadante

Michael Mercadante, Main Street Design; TEA International Board President - A registered architect in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Michael directs all dimensional aspects of work at his company, Main Street Design. He earned his degree in architecture from the University of Notre Dame, where his studies included a year abroad at the University’s architecture program in Rome, Italy. Since 1983 he has worked exclusively in the field of interpretive exhibit design. Michael has been energetic and thorough in his efforts to ensure that TEA - a growing, international membership association founded in 1991 - would thrive financially and fiscally and continue to operate in the black.In addition to his service with TEA, Michael has served on the Program Committee of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Jennie Nevin at the
TEA Thea Awards Gala

Jennie Nevin, Chief Operating Officer, TEA - Now in her fifth year at the executive helm of TEA, Jennie Nevin has become a familiar face in the attractions industry while stepping up as an effective leader. She has helped the Association reach new milestones on many levels including membership growth, member services, brand identity, financial stability, internal organization, staffing and global awareness. Previously, Jennie served as Director of Operations and Development and Deputy Executive Director for the Hollywood Radio & Television Society in Los Angeles. Based in TEA’s Burbank headquarters, Jennie’s dedication to TEA also takes her into the field to know and represent the industry first-hand.

 

Many thanks to our TEA annual sponsors!

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Posted by Judy Rubin

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14 February 2019.
Universal's Mark Woodbury, 2019 Thea lifetime honoree, to keynote TEA Summit April 11

Mark Woodbury, Vice Chairman of Universal Parks & Resorts and President of Universal Creative, is receiving a high industry honor in 2019: the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) Buzz Price Thea Award for a Lifetime of Distinguished Achievements. Mr. Woodbury will be a celebrated, featured presence at TEA's big industry weekend in Anaheim April 11-13. He will keynote the TEA Summit on April 11, and formally accept his Thea trophy at the 25th Annual TEA Thea Awards Gala on April 13.

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14 February 2019.
Dollywood to receive TEA Thea Classic Award and be spotlighted in key session at TEA Summit, April 2019

Dollywood park is receiving a top industry honor in 2019: the Thea Classic Award, from the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). Dollywood will be celebrated at TEA's big industry weekend in Anaheim April 11-13. At the TEA Summit (Day One, April 11) Pete Owens (Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, The Dollywood Company) will be featured speaker in a session moderated by Christine Kerr . Two days later (April 13) at the 25th Annual TEA Thea Awards Gala presented by Chimelong, the Thea Classic trophy will be formally bestowed with Craig Ross (President, The Dollywood Company) present to accept the award. 

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