Monday, July 15, 2024

PGAV remembers Bill Castle

Bill Castle, PGAV Destinations Vice President, passed away on October 16, 2022. Castle made significant contributions to building PGAV Destinations into a global leader in planning and designing unique destinations. His legacy spanned over five decades and impacted the entire themed entertainment industry. 

From left to right: Bill Castle, George Albers, Mark Viets, Lyda Krewson, Fred Walton and Fred Guyton. Photo courtesy of PGAV Destinations.

Castle began his career at PGAV Destinations on July 20, 1968, making him PGAV’s longest-serving employee. His talent, creativity and vision impacted many of PGAV Destinations’ projects, including Busch Gardens, Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, Georgia Aquarium, and the National Air and Space Museum.

An innovator in every facet of design, Castle was passionate about creating immersive experiences encompassing rides, shows, dining, shopping and exhibits. He also mentored, guided and trained many of PGAV’s current leaders, leading them to consider how an attraction integrates and affects the space around it. His influence has a lasting impact on PGAV designs.

From left to right: John Kemper, Bill Castle, Anselmo Testa and Phil Greene. Photo courtesy of PGAV Destinations.

Castle was talented at drawing master plans and creating immersive spaces for guests that also provided iconic views. Castle could be seen many late nights lying across a table covered with paper, drawing an entire theme park master plan. He was also a master model builder, sculpting rock work and animal exhibits in modeling clay and plaster. PGAV continues to use techniques Castle developed. 

A rendering of Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: an example of the work of Bill Castle. Image courtesy of PGAV Destinations.

His skills stretched beyond paper and clay and into the design and development of new maneuvers for roller coasters. He challenged what was possible, and his vision led to many exciting and thrilling coaster designs.

“PGAV is saddened by the passing of our friend Bill, a long-time designer and creator of incredible destinations worldwide. Bill’s creative vision was often described as a ‘force of nature.’ He was an artist, inventor and designer with a unique ability to fashion experiences with stories based in history, science and the natural world. His remarkable career spans from the early days of the American theme park industry to some of the most state-of-the-art rides and attractions that have opened in recent years,” said Mike Konzen, CEO of PGAV Destinations.

Jeff Havlik, a long-time colleague and fellow vice president of PGAV, said, “Because of confidentiality, many of Bill’s contributions to the industry are only known by a small number of people. But his influence is felt by millions of guests that are immersed in environments he molded, ridden the rides he conceived, engaged with animals in habitats he designed, and learned by visiting exhibits he created.” 

Castle is survived by Emily, his wife of 44 years, his four children and nine grandchildren. A Celebration of Life will be held later this year.

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