TEA News

25 November 2014

Successful week for Themed Entertainment Association at 2014 IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando

Orlando USA -- Steve Birket fielded questions from CCTV and other Chinese media after naming Chimelong Ocean Kingdom and 16 others  to receive Thea Awards from

The TEA booth at IAAPA 2014 was busy with people who
gathered to hear the Thea Awards announcement

the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), in the busy TEA booth on Nov 18, the first day of the IAAPA Attractions Expo. Other headliners among the new Thea Awards recipients announced by Birket - whose company is Birket Engineering, and who has just become TEA president - are Universal Orlando Resort (3 awards related to Diagon Alley, including the new Paragon Award), Disney ("it's a small world" named for the Thea Classic, plus honors for Wilderness Explorers and Bistrot Chez Remy) the National September 11 Memorial Museum, Futuroscope Park (for the new Time Machine 4D experience) and Sentosa Island (for the Wings of Time spectacular). Ron Miziker of Miziker Entertainment was named for the Buzz Price Thea Award for a Lifetime of Outstanding Achievements. All Thea recipients will present case histories at the TEA Summit on March 20, and be formally awarded on March 21 at the 21st annual Thea Awards Gala in Anaheim, Calif.

Garner Holt, last year's Thea Lifetime Achiever, 
congratulates this year's honoree, Ron Miziker

It was a happy start to a busy, activity-filled show. Many people and companies connected to the new Thea Awards recipients were present for the announcement, as well as members of the press, and the TEA booth was busy with people exchanging congratulations, taking photos and networking. The TEA booth space was well appointed thanks to assistance from Booth Sponsors AECOM and Christie, Special Booth Event Sponsor Medialon, Coffee Sponsor ETI, WiFi Sponsor PGAV Destinations, Audio Sponsor Tommy Bridges, ATI, Booth Design Sponsor BaAM Productions, Signage Sponsor Color Reflections, Booth Logistics

Steve Birket answers questions from the press
following the Thea Awards announcement

provider Electrosonic, Graphic Designer Canyon Creative and Booth Installation from  The Nassal Company.

We are also grateful to the TEA Global Sponsors: Walt Disney ImagineeringUniversal CreativeAdirondack StudiosBRC Imagination ArtsElectrosonicFountain PeopleJRA and Technomedia Solutions.

Full house for the TEA International Mixer at Dewey's


The good cheer and networking continued into the evening as a capacity crowd piled into Dewey's Indoor Golf & Sports Grill for the TEA International Mixer. There's always something of a reunion atmosphere as many colleagues are seeing one another again for the first time in a year, since the previous IAAPA Attractions

Tommy Bridges (on keyboard and trumpet) provided a
live jazz band for the TEA International Mixer

Expo. Many thanks to the sponsors of the Mixer: AECOM, Color Reflections, Luce Group, Technomedia Solutions, ThemeWorks, EDL Creative Water, Farmer Attraction Development, and Martin Barratt. Thanks also to Unity Productions Inc. for their special performance, and to Tommy Bridges of ATI and his jazz band for providing great music.

These gatherings are also important for making new connections and getting a snapshot of the current state of the industry, and of our Association. The continued recovery of markets in Europe and the Middle East, the vigor of North American leisure destinations and the rapid growth and evolution of Asian markets were all reflected

Incoming TEA President Steve Birket presents
outgoing President Christine Kerr with award

in the mix of attendance, of exhibition booths, sessions and discussion topics.

They were also evident in TEA's own progress as reported the morning of Nov 19 at the annual TEA Members Meeting. Impressive levels of activity were reported by TEA's newest Division, the Asia Pacific Division headed by Chris Yoshii of AECOM, whose report looked forward to continued collaboration with IAAPA Asia and other trade organizations in

TEA Members Meeting

the region, a possible Hong Kong branch of TEA's SATE conference in collaboration with SCAD, and a professional development excursion to Chimelong Ocean Kingdom. David Willrich of DJ Willrich also impressed with his President's report on the Europe & Middle East Division and its full calendar of mixers and professional development outings that Willrich branded "SATE Academy Days" and that have inspired other Divisions to look at using a similar format. Traci Klainer Polimeni of Luce Group and  the Eastern North America Division have worked tirelessly to grow events and membership beyond Orlando and have met with considerable success, including more than 100 new TEA members. TEA's best established Division is Western North America, and new Board president David Price of Price Leisure Group gave a spirited overview of plans for a full and busy year to come.

Christine Kerr of BaAM Productions formally concluded her two years as TEA president and

TEA Members Meeting

summarized some of the accomplishments effected within her term, including the new TEA website (with assistance from Liz Terry and Leisure Media), formation of the TEA Asia Pacific Division, growth of the TEA NextGen Initiative, implementation of TEA's new logo and graphic design standards (thanks to dedicated work from Dale Sprague and his company Canyon Creative, plus the TEA Marketing & Communications Committee), the transition from retired executive director Gene Jeffers to new COO Jennie Nevin, and the formation of a new Education Committee which Kerr herself has

TEA Founder Monty Lunde

opted to chair. One of Steve Birket's first acts as the new TEA president was to present Kerr with an award for her work on behalf of the Association. Birket was formally handed a new, specially inscribed TEA gavel to symbolize his new authority.

Other changes in leadership include new and departing Board members at the International and the Division levels, and these were also announced, welcomed, congratulated and recognized for their service at the Members Meeting.

The TEA Members Meeting also included a report from Association founder Monty Lunde of Technifex on behalf of the Past Presidents Committee, concerning developing plans for a TEA Hall of Fame. He also announced that the Past Presidents Committee is now ready to hear nominations for the annual TEA Service Award - anyone who wishes to make a nomination should obtain and fill out the appropriate form from the PPC.

TEA COO Jennie Nevin has just completed her first year in the number one TEA staff position, and addressed the group to speak of her whirlwind year of attending events

TEA COO Jennie Nevin has just completed
her first year with the Association

around the world, getting hooked on the themed entertainment industry and the improvements she has made at TEA Headquarters in Burbank. She introduced the TEA staff, including newer hires Jeri Kinney (member services), Tammie Richards (event producer), Linda Hamm (office manager) and established PR, publications and social media specialist, Judith Rubin. Nevin talked up the advantages of the new TEA website, encouraging members to make the most of the enhanced profile options now available, the global calendar of Events and the consolidation of TEA's online media channels including the TEA blog, the newly branded TEA TV, and the return of the TEA Connect newsletter in a new format launched via the website.

Alex Carru of Medialon during the special in-booth
TEA mixer his company hosted

Later on Nov 19 was the annual "Future Legends" panel, addressing the future of the industry and once again moderated by Christian Lachel of BRC Imagination Arts and with speakers John Paul Geurts of Nickelodeon, Clara Rice of JRA (she has also just completed a strong year as TEA's NextGen chair), and Steve Trowbridge of RHETROACTIVE. Discussion was provocative, and ranged over such topics as using interactive technology to create the "anti-queue," to Robots for Humanity to "have we reached maximum 4D?"

The networking continued as on the afternoon of Nov 20, the TEA booth was bustling with some 200 people attended the special in-booth mixer sponsored by Medialon,

The Medialon-sponsored TEA mixer

thanks to whose generosity both the beverages and the conversation were flowing.

A virtual event specially intended to help students and recent grads find their way to being themed entertainment professionals was the publication of TEA's recent webinar on "Personal Branding and the Elevator Pitch," available at this link on TEA TV. 

Finally, TEA members are proud of giving back to the community, and 2014 marked the second consecutive year that TEA's team was the top fundraiser for the annual

The TEA Team at the GKTW 5k. Second from left:
Joanna del Moral. In the center with the red scarf is
TEA President Steve Birket.

Give Kids the World 5k, held during IAAPA. The TEA Team donation was $1,450, as announced by International Board member Joanna del Moral of VOA Associates on Nov 24. Among the participants in the 5k were new president Steve Birket. Give Kids the World (GKTW) is a nonprofit dedicated to fulfilling the wishes of children with serious illnesses. Another GKTW event that saw TEA member participation was a NextGen volunteer session on Nov 22, to help paint new scenic elements as part of the facility's makeover.

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped make TEA's presence at IAAPA a great success. Some of those whom TEA would like to specially acknowledge and thank for great service include TEA Membership Chair David Aion of A&ES, who continues to do a fantastic job in helping maintain and grow the membership; plus Shannon Martin Of Color Reflections, Lynn Allmandinger of OASE GmbH, and Tricia Rodriguez of Mad Systems, for using their great people skills and being on-duty in the TEA booth at IAAPA, and Martin Palicki of InPark Magazine for photography (all photos on this page are to his credit except the GKTW picture at right).

If you're taking a few days off to relax with family and friends after a busy year, TEA wishes you a good holiday.


Posted by Judith Rubin



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