Thea Blog

08 January 2015

AECOM to lead economics discussion on global attractions industry at TEA Summit March 19, Anaheim

Themed Entertainment: The industry by the numbers - at TEA Summit Day One, March 19, 2015

  • The big picture: John RobinettLinda Cheu, Ben Martin, Brian Sands, Chris Yoshii and Margreet Papamichael of AECOM will discuss global economic trends in the attractions industry March 19 on Day One of the TEA Summit, the annual business conference of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). TEA and AECOM collaborate every year to produce the TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index, reporting on the world's top-attended visitor attractions, and AECOM's economics presentation at the TEA Summit is a highlight of the meeting.
  • Global trends, local impacts: Following the AECOM presentation, Robinett will moderate a panel of economics experts in the leisure industry, to analyze the significance of emerging trends in light of opportunities for attractions and experience development worldwide. Speakers: Mike Oswald, EVP Profun Management, Mark Dvorchak, Managing Partner, Pro Forma Advisors, and Matthew Earnest, Founding Principal, Entertainment + Culture Advisors (ECA).

(Scroll down to see speaker information)

Christine Kerr

The annual TEA Summit (March 19-20) is followed by the annual Thea Awards Gala (March 21) at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, Calif. Summit Day One is chaired by TEA immediate past president Christine Kerr of BaAM Productions, and Ann Hathaway.

"The curriculum for Day One of the TEA Summit will be focused on numbers, insights and trends that will give experience creators and owner operators the tools and understanding they need to make the right decisions for the future," says Kerr. "Topics will include a look at global trends presented by AECOM, a panel discussion of what the emerging trends mean to the future of the industry, a survey by members of the media on projects to watch around the world, and a report on how owner operators are employing visitor data to improve guest experiences."

Ann Hathaway

The second day of the TEA Summit (March 20) is Thea Case Studies Day, showcasing some 15 projects and people set to be officially honored with Thea Awards at the Gala the following evening.

Tickets for each day of the TEA Summit (March 19 & 20) and for the Thea Awards Gala (March 21) can be purchased at

Hashtags: #TEAsummit, #TEAtheas

John Robinett

John Robinett, AECOM Senior Vice President - Economics,

John Robinett has had a 30-year career in leisure, entertainment, and real estate. His responsibilities include oversight of AECOM's Economics practice in the Americas, and management of a variety of global assignments in attractions, resorts, cultural, and entertainment retail. He has consulted to many of the leisure industry's leading companies, U.S. and foreign governments, major cultural and financial institutions, and golf, hotel, and real estate developers. He has directed assignments for The Walt Disney Company, Universal Studios, Warner Bros., LEGO, J. Paul Getty Trust, American Museum of Natural History and NASA, among others.

Linda Cheu

Linda Cheu is a leader in AECOM's cultural facilities practice group, advising non-profits and government clients on development, expansion, and operations of museums, art centers, multi-tenant cultural facilities, and performing arts centers. Services include business planning, developing operational and governance plans, earned income strategies, market-based concept development, attendance and audience analysis; facility usage projections, physical planning parameters and revenue projections. She frequently teams with sub-consultants such as cost estimators, exhibit designers, and/or architects. 

Ben Martin

Ben Martin, AECOM Managing Director – Economics has over 20 years of experience, during which time he has overseen numerous assignments of leisure and tourism-related real estate development, including destination resorts/hotels, retail-dining-entertainment, attractions, residential, and associated amenities, such as golf, equestrian, and marinas. He has undertaken extensive market research and completed many project appraisals for developments in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in the Caribbean and Latin America. His clients have included government organizations, leisure and entertainment providers, property development companies, financial institutions, development corporations and local authorities. He leads the Economics practice at AECOM in the EMEA region.

Margreet Papamichael

Margreet Papamichael, AECOM Director – Economics has over 18 years of consulting experience in attractions, hotel, leisure, and tourism  sector, with experience in areas such as theme parks, water parks, commercial and cultural attractions, resort hotels, urban hotels, mixed use developments, restaurants, tourism strategy, conference venues, golf resorts, racecourses, and leisure real estate. The majority of her clients are private sector companies, which require close cooperation with the various large operating companies, major banks, and operating companies.  She also leads the EMEA effort for the annual Theme Index and Museum Index – Global Attractions Attendance Report, prepared by AECOM and TEA.

Brian Sands

Brian Sands, AICP, AECOM Vice President – Economics has over 20 years of experience covering a wide range of culture/leisure and real estate development projects, focused on estimating demand and financial performance of the project via the evaluation of the concept, site, markets, and comparables, economic and fiscal impact analyses of such projects, as well as project management. He also coordinates global production of the annual Theme Index and Museum Index - Global Attractions Attendance Report, prepared by AECOM and the TEA, and is primarily responsible for the figures for the Americas.  He is on the TEA Eastern Board of Directors and on the Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) Board of Directors.

Chris Yoshii

Chris Yoshii, AECOM Vice President, Global Director of Economics, Design Planning+Economics Asia, has over the past 25 years, overseen and spearheaded studies that encompass Destination Resort Development, Hospitality, Leisure & Tourism Planning, New Town & District Planning, Urban Regeneration, Industrial Analysis, Business Planning, Investment Consulting and the Economics and Financial Feasibility of mixed-used urban projects.  These projects often entail market analysis, programming, financial analysis, economic impact analysis, management planning and investment analysis. He leads the Asian effort for the annual Theme Index and Museum Index – Global Attractions Attendance Report, prepared by AECOM and TEA. He is on the TEA International Board of Directors and is President of the TEA Asia Pacific Board of Directors.  

Mike Oswald

Mike Oswald - Executive Vice President, ProFun Management Group; Principal, Management Resources

Mike Oswald has more than 20 years' experience in amusement and water parks, starting in 1992 as a lifeguard at Raging Waters. In 2003, he joined Southland Entertainment and worked his way up to General Manager. With ProFun in 2008, he helped open Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. In 2009, named General Manager for Yas Waterworld, he led the team through feasibility, design and construction to successful grand opening. In 2013, also named General Manager of Ferrari World, he helped increase operational synergies and global marketing. Mike returned to ProFun in 2014 to oversee projects and expand into new markets.

Mark Dvorchak

Mark E. Dvorchak - Managing Partner, Pro Forma Advisors LLC

Mark is an experienced land-use economist, specializing in analysis of integrated and unique projects combining traditional real estate with entertainment land uses such as theme parks, casinos, and resorts. Prior to founding Pro Forma, Mark was a VP at Economics Research Associates (ERA) where he was a principal in the Recreation Practice. He also was a Product Manager at Iwerks Entertainment working in Location Based Entertainment. Mark has an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, and a Bachelor’s in Computer Science. He is a frequent presenter at industry events such as the Global Gaming Expo (G2E), TEA Summit, and G2E Asia. 

Matthew Earnest

Matthew Earnest – Founding Principal, Entertainment + Culture Advisors (ECA)

With ECA, Matthew Earnest specializes in market and financial analysis of large scale entertainment developments. Prior to forming ECA, Mr. Earnest was a senior member of the Entertainment Practice at Economics Research Associates (now Economics at AECOM) and Regional Director, managing the Los Angeles and San Francisco offices. Clients and project sponsors include media and consumer product companies focused on location based entertainment, attraction operators, real estate developers, private investors, financial institutions, and non-profits. Project work has included assignments in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, United Arab Emirates, Czech Republic, Mexico, and across the US.

MORE DETAILS - Click here for 2015 TEA Summit & Thea Awards overview

Posted by Judith Rubin



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