SAN JOSE, Calif., March 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — KidZania announced it has expanded its U.S. management team with three new hires steeped in youth, entertainment and technology experience as it prepares to bring its successful family entertainment parks to the United States and refine its global web presence.
Already a globally recognized brand in countries around the world, KidZania, under the guidance of recently appointed U.S. President and Global Chief Marketing Officer Cammie Dunaway, is focused first on building the team to successfully launch the North American endeavor. The recent team additions include: Jason Hovey, general manager, interactive; Tom Delaney, general manager, merchandising; and J. Andreas Hjelming, chief technology officer.
“KidZania is at the intersection of family entertainment, technology and education. We bring real-world experiences and excitement to life for children of all ages,” says Dunaway. “But, we won’t succeed here without the right foundation and team in place. With the energy and innovative spirit of Silicon Valley, coupled with the breadth of experience of Jason, Tom and Andreas, we have the building blocks in place to successfully introduce the KidZania experience to families in the U.S. and beyond.”
Jason Hovey joins KidZania with extensive experience in online, youth, and education. Most recently, Hovey headed business development for alternative payment company Rixty Inc., where he created the online payment industry’s first and only certified COPPA compliant payment platform for kids. Prior to that he served as V.P. of Product Marketing for Fluid Entertainment, a kids online game development company; V.P. of Business Development for Kaboose; and General Manager for Yahooligans! and Yahoo! Education. He began his career as an elementary school teacher. Hovey is responsible for extending the KidZania experience to the web, mobile, and other relevant platforms through educational content, gaming, and social applications.
Tom Delaney‘s background is infused with toys, merchandising and youth marketing. He most recently served as Senior V.P. of Marketing for Jakks Pacific/Play Along Toys, the third largest toy manufacturer and distributor in the U.S. Prior to that he was President and Founder of his own award-winning toy company, Homegrown Kids; Director of Toys for Disney Consumer Products; and Director of Marketing for Mattel. A graduate of Illinois State University, he also has an MBA from Arizona State. Delaney will be responsible for providing world class product to KidZania’s locations, as well as for delivering enriched shopping experiences.
J. Andreas Hjelming brings a wealth of technology architecture and engineering experience to the team. He served as CTO and Chief Architect for myverse.com, a social network for a millennial high school and college audience. He has also held top technology positions with Sportelligence, Inc./FanIQ; Piczo, Inc.; Sony Pictures; and Oracle, to name a few. He started his career as a software design engineer for Microsoft. At KidZania, Hjelming will be responsible for building the technology infrastructure primarily for interactive web and mobile offerings.
KidZania already is a global brand with eight active parks and many more slated to open between now and 2013. The first KidZania opened in Mexico City in 1999, quickly becoming the premiere destination with more than 8 million visitors to date. The second park opened in 2006 in Monterrey, Mexico, followed by Tokyo. Jakarta launched in 2007, with Osaka and Lisbon opening doors in 2009. Success in all markets led to early 2010 launches in Dubai and Seoul. The trajectory continues with upcoming park openings slated for Bangkok, Shanghai, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Kuala Lumpur, and Mumbai, plus a KidZania “Drive” park in Mexico CityIstanbul, Cairo, and Saudi Arabia is also planned, followed by the U.S. where kids can drive from point-to-point. Expansion into Istanbul, Cairo, and Saudi Arabia is also planned, followed by the U.S.
KidZania, Inc., headquartered in Mexico, is privately held. The company has 4500 partners and employees worldwide and growing. KidZania continues to win many awards from organizations recognizing the unique blend of entertainment and learning that the parks and the concept offers, including being voted the World’s Top Family Entertainment Center by the IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions), and 2009 Global Leisure Operator of the Year, to name a few. KidZania park locations and company information can be found at www.KidZania.com.