TEA Connect Blog

11 May 2015

TEA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Anthony Van Dam, Executive VP and Principal, FORREC

Anthony Van Dam, FORREC

"Know how stuff gets built"

We posed some questions to Anthony Van Dam, Executive VP and Principal of FORREC Ltd., to learn more about him and his company. He serves on the Board of the Asia Pacific Division of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).

Tell us about what you and your company specialize in, and what markets you serve.

FORREC is a planning and design firm that specializes in the creation of entertainment and leisure environments worldwide. With built projects in over 20 countries, we have mastered the art of making memorable experiences by building big ideas. We have earned the trust of some of the world's most successful leisure and entertainment companies, including: Universal Studios, Six Flags, LEGOLAND Development Corporation, Wanda group and Chimelong Group. I have a thoroughly engaging job as the head of global business development, where I coordinate the efforts of the company’s business development teams.

Tell us about a current or recent project.

At the moment, we’re working on some exciting things with Chimelong Group In China. They’re developing several incredible projects to complement their existing array of successful attractions.These new projects include multiple "world's largest" indoor and outdoor entertainment parks, a retail and dining entertainment hub, and new large-scale master planned resort destinations. It’s such a privilege to work with ambitious, visionary owners.

How did you get your start in the industry? 

In 1986, while studying Landscape Architecture, I heard a lecture by industry pioneer Steve Moorhead. I thought this "new" industry of themed entertainment sounded much more interesting than my chosen field. Two years later I was working for Steve at FORREC. I then spent two years cutting my teeth working on Universal Studios, Florida, which opened in 1990. It was a dream come true. Today Steve is retired and a gentleman farmer working his vineyards.

What do you find is unique about working in our industry? What’s special about Themed Entertainment?

I can't imagine another industry that provides such artistic and creative freedom. It’s such a pleasure to work with open-minded and enthusiastic talent on a daily basis (that’s true of both our clients and our team at FORREC). I think we’re always raising the bar for each other. That makes this job interesting.

What advice would you give to others about working in this industry?

When I speak with young people coming into the industry I tell them this:

  • Have a story to tell. Keep it simple... and wave your arms a lot!
  • Offer solutions, not prices. It's okay to share your knowledge.
  • Know how stuff gets built.
  • Be a generalist, but also be really, really good at just one thing.

How did you find out about TEA - and why do you find it valuable to be a member?

FORREC is a long standing member of TEA because it’s an organization that represents some of the best people in the industry. There have been occasions where we’ve needed partners on a project and we’ve looked to TEA as a resource for finding the best people for the job. I’m also a board member of the TEA Asia Pacific chapter. Being a part of the TEA community has been a wonderful opportunity to interact with other like-minded people and firms, and a way to stay current on industry trends and developments.

Posted by Judith Rubin

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