Saturday, April 20, 2024

TEA Announces Speakers for 2016 TEA Summit

ABOVE: Africa Rocks, part of the largest renovation in the history of the San Diego Zoo, celebrating its 100th anniversary as the recipient of the 2016 Thea Classic Award.

Burbank, CA, USA — Speakers and sessions of the 2016 TEA Summit have been announced by the Themed Entertainment Association. The TEA Summit takes place March 31-April 1, with the TEA Thea Awards Gala the following evening, April 2.

The annual TEA Summit & Thea Awards Gala comprise TEA’s most important weekend of events for the attractions industry. They are held at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim and are organized by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).




Hashtags: #TEAsummit, #TEAtheas

TEA Summit & Thea Awards blog



TEA Summit Day One (March 31) addresses business issues and trends, and showcased the headline Thea Award recipients.  Co-chairs: Melissa Townsend of TASC and Joanna del Moral of VOA.
Joanna del Moral and Melissa Townsend
Joanna del Moral and Melissa Townsend


Keynote: Buzz Price lifetime honoree Keith James of JRA

Thea Classic Case Study: with award recipient San Diego Zoo & San Diego Zoo Safari Park

AECOM global market outlook from the core research team of the TEA/AECOM Theme Index

Peer discussion on “elephant in the room” topics led by TEA President Steve Birket and Kile Ozier

Special experience TBA, exclusive to Day One attendees

Roberta Perry & Pat MacKay
Roberta Perry & Pat MacKay

TEA Summit Day Two – Thea Case Studies Day (April 1) is a full day of presentations showcasing the current slate of Thea Awards recipients. Project owners and creatives share highlights and challenges in making some of the most compelling visitor attractions in the world. Case Studies Day is open to a broad industry audience including TEA NextGen members and the press. Co-chairs: Roberta Perry of ETI and Pat MacKay of Ones&ZerosMedia.



Keynote – Keith James, CEO, Jack Rouse Associates
TEA International President Steve Birket of Birket Engineering, with Keith James
TEA International President
Steve Birket of Birket Engineering, with
Keith James

Recipient, 2016 Buzz Price Thea Award for a Lifetime of Distinguished Achievements

Keith James has spent his entire professional career planning, designing and operating a wide range of visitor experiences around the world. Early years were spent at Kings Productions, where he learned all the disciplines involved in designing and constructing a modern theme park.  After overseeing the development for Canada’s Wonderland and managing the operations of both the 1986 World’s Fair (Vancouver) and Australia’s Wonderland, Keith joined Universal Studios Florida, as VP, Show and Ride Production. After the opening of the popular theme park, Keith joined JRA in January of 1992. He is a past president of TEA.

AECOM team
John Robinett, center, with AECOM colleagues Brian Sands, Margreet Papamichael, Kathleen LaClair, Megan Gilbert
John Robinett, center, with
AECOM colleagues Brian Sands,
Margreet Papamichael,
Kathleen LaClair, Megan Gilbert

John Robinett, Senior Vice President  –  AECOM Economics; 2016 recipient, TEA Distinguished Service Award – Based in Los Angeles, John Robinett has had a 30-year career evaluating the economics of leisure, culture, entertainment, and sports facilities. Clients include J. Paul Getty Center, American Museum of Natural History, 9-11 Memorial and Museum, MSI Chicago, Disney, Universal Studios, Anschutz Entertainment Group, and the Oakland Raiders. He has taught entertainment economics at UCLA and USC. Prior to joining AECOM, he worked for the Walt Disney Company in business planning for theme parks and resorts. John has an MBA from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird), and a BA in business from Loyola Marymount University.

Other AECOM team members presenting at the TEA Summit are Brian Sands, Chris Yoshii, Linda Cheu, and Margreet Papamichael.

San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park team

DMyersT09_0455_004Douglas G. Myers, President & CEO, San Diego Zoo Global – Before joining San Diego Zoo Global staff, Doug Myers was employed by Anheuser-Busch and Busch Entertainment Corporation. Myers came to the San Diego Zoo Global in 1982 as General Manager for San Diego Zoo Safari Park. He is a professional Fellow and Board member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. He served as Presidential appointee to the National Museum and Library services Board (IMLS).

MMusella_T08_0094_014Mick Musella, Chief Operating Officer, San Diego Zoo Global – Before joining the San Diego Zoo organization in 1991, Mick Musella was employed by Anheuser-Busch and the Busch Entertainment Corporation for 19 years. At Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida, he served as a director of park services, which also involved the general management of satellite attractions. As Chief Operating Officer of San Diego Zoo Global, Mr. Musella serves with the CEO/Executive Director in overseeing all aspects of San Diego Zoo Global.

DavidRiceSDZoo_cropDavid E. Rice, FAIA, Director of Architecture and Planning, San Diego Zoo Global – Serving San Diego Zoo Global, initiating and overseeing development of new projects, David Rice is responsible for multi-million dollar annual budgets involving the design and construction of zoological exhibits, visitor facilities and administrative spaces. Rice came to the Society in 1975 as project manager.  In his new role, he participated in the planning and development of new projects and coordinated their construction. In 1979, he was named director of architecture and planning and was recently elected to the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows.

Ethics, Ethos…and the Elephant in the Room

Steve Birket PE, VP Birket Engineering – TEA International Board President – Starting in Walt Disney World Entertainment three months after his 16th birthday, Steve Birket has worked as a performer, engineer, and manager for the Walt Disney Company and Universal Creative, and in the themed entertainment industry ever since. Steve holds an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Central Florida and a MBA from Rollins College, and is a life-long central Florida resident.

Kile_OzierKile Ozier – Itinerant Creative Guy – Director, Creative Producer and Writer, Ozier has the ability to tell a story with powerful emotional connection, consistently delivering shows that resonate in the memories of his audiences. From producing Visits of Heads of State, Fleet Weeks, Inaugurals and Civic Ceremonies to massive spectacle at the National level; Ozier has built a body of work in stadiums, theme parks & theaters on several continents. Projects include 2012 Dubai National Day, Yas Waterworld Opening (2013) and, for BRC Imagination Arts, a portfolio of work in Dubai. His iBook, “IMHO: Creating Compelling Experience” is free via iTunes.


(organized by project)

One World Observatory

John_UrbanJohn Urban, Vice President/General Manager, Legends Attractions/One World Observatory – With 30+ years’ experience in sports, entertainment and venue management, John Urban has overall responsibility for the successful launch and day-to-day business operations of One World Observatory, open atop the World Trade Center since May 2015. His career began in 1999 at Madison Square Garden, where he held various positions over 16 years. Next joining Radio City Music Hall, he oversaw its restoration and was GM for 7 years. Immediately prior to joining Legends, Urban was EVP, Events & Booking at the Scottrade Center complex in St. Louis, helping oversee the restoration and re-launch of Peabody Opera House.

Hettema 2014 crop(1)Phil Hettema, President, The Hettema Group – Over 40+ years, Phil Hettema has directed the design and production of numerous theme park rides and shows, cultural attractions and museum exhibits. The Hettema Group, led by Phil’s vision and experience, is known for creating attractions that focus on maximizing the guest experience. Prior to forming his own company, Phil was SVP, Attraction Development for Universal Studios Theme Parks Worldwide for 14 years. Phil holds four patents for entertainment technology solutions and has been on the creative team of numerous projects honored with TEA Thea Awards – including One World Observatory.

SpongeBob SubPants Adventure, Moody Gardens

JohnZendt_cropJohn A. Zendt, President and CEO, Moody Gardens – At Moody Gardens on Galveston Island, Texas, John Zendt oversees all operations of hotel, spa, convention center, golf course and attractions. His career highlights include the opening of the hotel and Aquarium Pyramid, a $25 million Rainforest Pyramid enhancement, complete renovation of the hotel, and introduction of the world’s first 4K 6-Primary Laser Projection System at the MG 3D Theater. John created the highly acclaimed ICE LAND: Ice Sculptures with SpongeBob SquarePants attraction, and his most recent endeavor, SpongeBob SubPants Adventure. John is currently overseeing a $39 million aquarium renovation.

Zane_Jensch_headshotZane Jensch, Director – Attractions & Exhibits, Nickelodeon – For Nickelodeon, Zane oversees creative for theme parks and exhibits worldwide. In 2015, Zane led teams that opened seven major projects, including Nickelodeon Play Lab at the Amazeum, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secrets of the Sewer traveling exhibit, the all-new Nickelodeon Land at Sea World Australia, and the interactive, branching-narrative, 4D SpongeBob SubPants Adventure.  Over the last 15 years, Zane served as writer, director and producer on dozens of rides, shows, exhibits, world expo pavilions, and more.  Zane is recipient of the Walt Disney Dreamer and Doer Award, and connected to four projects honored with Thea Awards.

MarkCornell_TEA_PanelMark Cornell, Senior VP, Attractions Development, SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment – Joining SimEx-Iwerks in 2001, Mark is responsible for all aspects of the Attraction Development Division, including business development, film development, partnership sales, marketing strategy, and co-ventures. He previously held a senior position at IMAX Corp. SimEx-Iwerks specializes in 4-D cinematic experiences and is a leader in the distribution of 3D/4D attraction films, with some 125 titles in more than 40 countries. Its successful collaboration with Nickelodeon Recreation has produced SpongeBob Square Pants 4-D: The Great Jelly Rescue, and Dora & Diego’s 4-D Adventure, both distributed worldwide, and their most recent partnership, SpongeBob SubPants Adventure at Moody Gardens.

Les Amoureux de Verdun, Puy du Fou

Thierry Retif

Foresta Lumina, Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook

CarolineSage_cropCaroline Sage, General Manager, Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook– With more than 15 years’ experience operating in the tourism industry, since 2007 Caroline Sage has been with the Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook. Her peers recognize her for her leadership, innovative spirit and boldness. Her motto: “Creativity is to accept change and especially to have the courage to dare more than others! ” Applied to the Park, this philosophy has enabled different management and innovative activities that focus on the customer experience. The formula is a winner, because since 2007, sales have more than tripled and transformed the Park into a major destination.

AnneElisabethThibault_cropAnne Elisabeth Thibault, Producer, Moment Factory – Having worked with American giants like Digikey, Allianz, Capco and SECU to name a few, Anne Elisabeth Thibault brings extensive experience to the Moment Factory team. Her efficiency, rigorous work and listening skills have consistently won her the appreciation of clients and peers. She has conducted several multimedia endeavors, focusing on immersive and interactive environments in the entertainment, educational and corporate fields. Most recent projects include the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the Grand Palais in Paris, a multimedia show at the Pointe-à-Callière museum in Montreal and Foresta Lumina in Coaticook.

Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Mary_Brinegar_2014_For_AllMary Brinegar, President & CEO, Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society, Inc. – At the Arboretum, Brinegar manages a full time staff of 154 with an annual operating budget of $20.5 million. She has held her position since joining in 1996, bringing 20+ years’ experience. During her leadership, over $90 million additional dollars has been raised by the staff and Board for 25 capital improvements to the 66 acres. The most significant of these was the $64 million dollar Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden.

Andy_Rolleri_cropAndrea A. Rolleri, Founding Principal, Van Sickle & Rolleri, LLC – For 35+ years, Andy Rolleri has successfully planned, designed and implemented outstanding interpretive exhibition and visitor experiences. Andy earned a BS in Industrial Design from the University of Bridgeport, College of Engineering, in Connecticut. Her career in exhibition design started at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Later she served for over a decade as design director for a nationally recognized exhibit design and fabrication firm. Seeking greater creative challenges, in 1984 she co-founded Van Sickle & Rolleri to focus on the innovative planning and design of unique visitor experiences, interpretive exhibits and environments.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, Victoria and Albert Museum

TimReeveTim Reeve, Deputy Director & Chief Operating Officer, Victoria & Albert Museum – Since 2003 Tim Reeve has been Deputy Director and COO of the V&A, one of the world’s most celebrated museums of art and design. Tim has overall responsibility for the operation of the Museum, including commercial and digital activities, exhibitions, FuturePlan and delivery of a world-class visitor experience. He is leading the V&A’s support of China Merchant’s Group to create a new design museum in Shenzhen, China and is closely involved in establishing V&A East, a dynamic new museum in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London.Previously, Tim was Director of Historic Properties at English Heritage.

DrKateBethuneV_AMuseum_cropDr Kate Bethune, Senior Researcher, Victoria & Albert Museum – Joining the V&A in 2011, having completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge, as Assistant Curator Kate Bethune has worked on a range of V&A fashion exhibitions, including Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s (2013). She then became Senior Research Assistant for the critically acclaimed Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, which remains a career highlight. Kate has contributed to the publications Alexander McQueen (V&A 2015), The V&A Gallery of Fashion (V&A 2013) and is author of A-Z of Wedding Style (V&A 2014). She lectures on fashion curation at leading UK universities.

Inspector Training Course, Discovery Cube LA

JanetYamaguchi_cropJanet Yamaguchi, VP Education, Discovery Science Foundation – Under Janet Yamaguchi’s leadership, the number of students participating in Discovery Cube’s onsite and offsite educational programs has surpassed 290,000 annually. The Foundation’s outreach program to schools is now the third largest among science centers in the Nation for number of students served. Janet has morethan 30 years’ experience in teaching, educational program design, curriculum development and teacher training.  She served on the Science Expert Panel for the California Department of Education and is on the Strategic Leadership Team to create the plan for implementing the Next Generation Science Standards in California public schools.

DavidBeaudryDavid Beaudry, Principal, Beaudry Interactive, LLC – Straddling the worlds of live performance, design, and technology for much of his life, over the years David Beaudry has played the roles of sound designer, clarinetist, installation artist, software developer and teacher. In 2006 David founded Beaudry Interactive, a small innovative design company based in Los Angeles that quickly became known for its ability to bridge design and performance through creative applications of technology. David’s expertise is dealing with both the creative and technical aspects of real-time show control and interactive design in the worlds of live performance, entertainment, museum exhibition and experiential design.

Fountain of Dreams, Wuyishan, China

Headshot_Chunhui_XUChunhui XU, Mayor of Wuyishan – Born in China in May 1969, in Quanzhou, Jinjiang City of Fujian Province, Mr. XU Chunhui began hiscareer in August 1991 after earning a Masters in Public Administration from Tsinghua University. Since June 2011, he was entrusted as Vice Party Secretary and Mayor of Wuyishan, which ranks as the 23rd Cultural and Natural Double Heritage city in the world (the fourth such in China). He worked with consistent dedication to bring the show “Fountain of Dreams” forward until its successful opening in Wuyishan.

JEAN_CHRISTOPHE_CANIZARES_smallerJean-Christophe Canizares, Chairman & CEO – Show Producer, ECA2 – With 20 years at ECA2, “Cani” leads a team spanning design, engineering, logistics, project management and production, perpetuating a unique blend of creativity, technical and operational know-how and innovation. He first worked with ECA2 in 1992 on the opening of Euro Disney. He has produced one-off spectaculars for such clients as Athens Paralympics Games 2004, Shanghai World Expo 2010 and King Abdullah Stadium (2014). Permanent shows include “BraviSEAmo©” (Tokyo Disney Sea, 2004), the Big-O Show for Yeosu Expo 2012, “Wings of Time” (Sentosa, 2014) as well as Fountain of Dreams – the latter 3 honored with TEA Thea Awards.

Disney Paint the Night, Hong Kong Disneyland & Disneyland
  • Speakers TBA
Gantom Torch Technology

QuanGan_cropQuan Gan, President, Gantom Lighting & Controls – In times past, Quan Gan left his corporate engineering position to own and operate the first haunted house in mainland China. As a side effect he developed a line of LED lighting products designed for low ambient light applications, and this evolved into Gantom Lighting and Controls. He still loves nothing more than spending quality time with his computer and electrical measuring equipment, banging out new, ground breaking technologies with no more visible strain than most people would show making breakfast.

LandinFusman_cropLandin Fusman, Gantom Lighting & Controls – To describe Landin Fusman is to portray an engineer whose unusual way of viewing the world sometimes leads to useful solutions. If you need something designed, and you don’t want to incorporate the constraints of reality, Landin may be just disconnected enough to tackle the challenge. He is also Marketing Director at Gantom.


Geppetto Animation Control System

BrentYoung_cropBrent Young, President & Creative Director, Super 78 – Super 78 is a design and production studio in Los Angeles that creates award-winning entertainment and educational experiences for destinations around the world, including Universal Studios Singapore, Busch Gardens, Movie Park Germany, and China’s OCT Parks, with leadership from Brent Young. He also leads the development of groundbreaking digital and virtual reality technology for powerful new creative tools and unforgettable guest experiences. Young has served as the creative director for many attractions, including: The SpongeBob SubPants Adventure; The Forbidden Caves; Madagascar: A Crate Adventure; Donkey Live!; Typhoon 360°; Dora And Diego 4D; and Flying Over America.

JohnKokum_cropJohn Kokum, Senior Producer, Super 78 – With more than 20 years’ experience in animation, visual effects and themed entertainment projects at all levels of production, John Kokum has gained an intimate understanding of the creative and production processes. His credits as a Producers Guild of America member include the animated feature films CuriousGeorge, Over the Hedge and The Bee Movie, visual effects on Tron:Legacy, Thor, and 2Pac for Coachella and the themed entertainment attractions Flight of the Dragon, Flying Over America, Journey to Madagascar, Donkey Live!, Dora and Diego Catch that Robot Butterfly, The Lost Temple, the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure, and The Forbidden Caves.

Manufacturing Innovation, Ford Rouge Factory Tour, The Henry Ford

Cynthia_Jones_cropCynthia Jones, General Manager Ford Rouge Factory Tour – Cynthia is a passionate storyteller who loves sharing the constantly evolving innovation story of Ford Motor Company’s Rouge Complex. The Rouge is home to iconic vehicles including the Thunderbird, Mustang and today’s game-changing aluminum body F-150 truck. For over a decade, Cynthia has focused on the partner relationship between the independent, non-profit museum, The Henry Ford and Ford Motor Company, sharing the core values of each with over 1.2 million guests to date. American manufacturing is alive and thriving at the Rouge.

Lachel_cropChristian Lachel, Executive Creative Director and VP, BRC Imagination Arts– A world-renowned expert at turning brands into destinations, Christian Lachel is an accomplished creative director and storyteller who brings creativity, design expertise, business acumen and strategic direction to his work. Christian creates emotional experiences that help guests gain a deeper appreciation of themselves and the world. He has done this for some of the top destinations in the world, including The Heineken Experience, The Guinness Storehouse, The Ford Rouge Factory Tour, The World of Coca-Cola and Story Garden by AMOREPACIFIC. Christian’s cultural attraction work includes The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, The Henry Ford, and The Museum of Liverpool.

Moments of Happiness at World of Coca-Cola

CraigLovin_cropCraig Lovin, Creative Director, World of Coca-Cola – In 2015, World of Coca-Cola celebrated its 25th anniversary as an Atlanta attraction, during which time it has welcomed more than 23 million guests from around the world. As Creative Director, Craig is responsible for designing and producing the content for the World of Coca-Cola, including exhibits, audio-visual media and interactive experiences. With a background in film and video production, Craig has been with The Coca-Cola Company since 2002. Craig lived in Beijing, China for a year, where he led the design and development of the Coca-Cola Showcasing Center for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Christian Lachel, Executive Creative Director and VP, BRC Imagination Arts – (see above)

Integrated Environmental Media System at Tom Bradley International Terminal, LAX

mikedoucette_cropMichael Doucette, Deputy Executive Director at Los Angeles World Airports– A licensed architect, Michael Doucette has nearly 30 years of experience exclusively in the field of airport master planning, Terminal planning, design and construction. He recently managed the design and construction of the $2.0 billion expansion of the Tom Bradley International Terminal including the development of the IEMS system. Prior to joining LAWA he had experience at over 30 airports through the US as well as projects in Europe, Asia, and Australia.


StephanVillet_cropStephan Villet, Co-Founder, Smart Monkeys Inc. – A leading expert in Show Control entertainment systems, Stephan Villet is renowned in the industry for his system and design expertise, and his extensive experience in major projects such as the Walt Disney Studios in Paris and the LAX Integrated Environmental Media System. In 2006, his work was the basis for the LDI symposium “The Essence of Show Control.” Since then Villet has been a presenter at numerous trade events such as the SEGD conference, LDI master class and TEA presentations. In 2013, Villet presented a series of “Advanced Show Control” seminars in cities across the US and Europe.

Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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