Monday, May 27, 2024

TEA SATE 2016 Announces Initial Sessions and Speakers

Burbank, CA, USA — The following are confirmed sessions and speakers for TEA SATE 2016, Oct 13-14 in New York City. SATE (Storytelling + Architecture + Technology = Experience) is the annual conference on Experience Design presented by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA).

This information is subject to change.


Conference Theme: “Walking the Tightrope/Taking Risks”

“Designers who take risks” (“Experience” panel moderated by Paul Osterhout)

JoelBeckerman_cropJoel Bekerman, Founder, Man Made Music — Hailed “equal parts Philip Glass and Don Draper” by Details magazine, Joel Beckerman is an award-winning composer, producer, the founder of a strategic sound and music studio, and the author of “THE SONIC BOOM: How Sound Transforms the Way We Think, Feel, and Buy.” Beckerman has created original scores for over 50 television series across major networks and scored spaces and experiences from AT&T Stadium in Dallas to the Cartoon Network Zone in Dubai. Interweaving music, strategy, and popular culture, Beckerman is dedicated to telling compelling stories and impacting everyday experiences with music and sound.

JasonEagan_cropJason Eagan, Artistic Director, Ars Nova — Jason develops and produces theatre, comedy and music artists in their early professional careers, with global results. The company is represented on Broadway with Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812. Stage directing credits include: A House Tour… by Peter Nachtrieb; Now Circa Then by Carly Mensch; Gypsy starring Andrea McArdle; and the San Francisco production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch starring Kevin Cahoon. Jason came to NYC to manage the design studio and puppet shop for Disney’s The Lion King. Affiliations include The Improbable Theatre Company, Lincoln Center, Los Angeles Opera and San Francisco Opera.

AndreaFavilli_cropAndrea Favilli, President/CEO, Favilli Studio — Growing up in Rome, Andrea Favilli’s love for the arts was first ignited by his father Aldo Favilli – a famed sculptor and motion picture art director. Fueled by a passion for all things creative, Andrea began his career as an artist and designer working for a number of world class firms on a variety of international high-profile entertainment, leisure and hospitality projects. Today, at his boutique entertainment design firm in South Pasadena, Andrea utilizes his extensive knowledge and multi-disciplinary approach spearheading a multitude of projects around the world.

Marla-Weinhoff_cropMarla Weinhoff, Owner/Production Designer, Marla Weinhoff Studio — Specializing in full service production and design for film, live performance, fashion, advertising and installations, Marla draws upon a deep background in art and design history coupled with extensive relationships with world class fabricators and craftspeople to enhance and bring to life each client’s vision. Marla’s dedication, passion for beauty and storytelling have allowed her to engage in major collaboration to create sets for leading designers, photographers and artists over the past 20 years. Based in New York with a strong presence in Los Angeles, her studio regularly engages in projects on location all over the world.

Darren_David_webres“Creating Smart Spaces: Architectural-scale interactivity in process and practice” — Darren David, CEO, Stimulant — For over 20 years, Darren has traversed the blurry edges at the intersection of technology and design, exploring nearly every conceivable project role as both client and contributor. His rich and storied career has wound from paper to pixels to people, across a myriad of companies and ventures that ultimately led to several “world’s firsts” and awards. At Stimulant, he provides business, vision and experience design leadership for an inspiring team of like-minded compatriots and pioneers, from whom he learns something new every day.

“How risk ‘feels’ on both sides of the creative problem solving relationship” (Storytelling duo, moderated by Deanna Siller)

Meriah_cropMeriah Garrett, Chief Design Officer, USAA — Meriah is helping lead the transformation of USAA into a truly digital company with member centered design practices. Prior to joining USAA, Meriah spent almost 9 years at the design firm, frog. She led teams to deliver innovative designs that engaged consumers and created stronger relationships. She began her career as a freelance designer and developer followed by time as a product designer in consumer electronics and enterprise software. She joined frog in 2007 where she proudly worked on interesting questions for Disney, Google, Capital One, S&P, EY, LG, Sprint, AT&T, 7-Eleven and others.

AaronMoulton_cropAaron Moulton, Director of User Experience, Treehouse — Aaron straddles the space between Design Thinking, Software Design, Interior Design and Immersive Customer Research. Treehouse is a home improvement company focused on human health and sustainability. Previously Aaron was Associate Creative Director at global design consultancy, frog where he worked most frequently on Experience Design programs that investigated the relationship between humans, their digital tools and the changing role of brick-and-mortar. Born in England, and now thoroughly Mid-Atlantic, Aaron earned his BFA with a focus on Interaction Design from Savannah College of Art and Design.

Mawema_Vaki_webres“When baby steps won’t do it” — Vaki Mawema, Senior Associate & Studio Director, Gensler — Vaki, an award-winning designer, is Director of the global design firm Gensler’s Lifestyle Studio in Washington DC, which focuses on placemaking and retail, hospitality, sports and entertainment design with an emphasis on social spaces in the public realm. With over 50 design projects to his name, Vaki is a business leader whose professional and industry accomplishments, along with his community involvement recently resulted in his being named one of the Washington Business Journal’s ’40 under 40′ for 2016.

Molly_Piveral“Sometimes the answer is YES!” Molly Piveral, Patient Experience Manager — “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together. My passion is to help others understand the value of connectedness. Our experiences shape our future. One interaction can change your life… For over 35 years I have had the great opportunity to be engaged in 3 careers – entertainment, education and healthcare. All three rewarding and – surprise – deeply connected. I have an honors degree in Psychology from Rollins College, a 26-year marriage to an audio engineer (don’t hold that against me) and two compassionate, outspoken, amazing kids.”

Scott_Rosenfeld_webres“Why should I care? What’s the story with lighting?” — Scott Rosenfeld, IES, Lighting Designer, Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery — Scott Rosenfeld lights art so it can be better seen, experienced and preserved. The advent of energy efficient LED lighting has led Scott to research new possibilities for manipulating the spectrum of light to enhance vision and slow the degradation of light sensitive materials. Research partners include the Getty Conservation Institute, DOE and the University of Florida. Scott is chair of the IESNA Museum and Art Gallery Committee.

Sean-Saylor_webres“Evolve or die” — Sean Saylor, Vice President & Creative Director, MTV International — Sean Saylor is responsible for leading the MTV global brand identity outside the US. In this role, Saylor establishes the creative vision and voice for the brand and its content across multiple platforms. He also oversees the company’s World Design Studio in Buenos Aires, where he leads a team of designers, visual artists, copywriters, producers and audio engineers responsible for bringing to life the image of all advertising (consumer and trade), collateral materials, special events and contests across all brands.

David_Schwarz_HUSH_webres“Risk, and the act of saying ‘Yes'” — David Schwartz, Creative Partner, HUSH — Award-winning creative leader and founding partner of design agency HUSH, David Schwartz has spent his career designing brand experiences that integrate content, interactivity, architecture and technology. He has developed projects across sport, luxury, beauty, technology and entertainment categories, for Nike, Sonos, Equinox, Estee Lauder, Google, Ted Baker, Uber, and others. Schwarz has been featured in numerous publications such as Creativity, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Communication Arts, AIGA, Grafik, Cool Hunting, FWA, and The Hub. He is a mentor at New, Inc. – the New Museum’s incubator program for art, technology, and design.

Cynthia_Sharpe_webres“The power of why not: Challenging the status quo in cultural attractions”Cynthia Sharpe, Principal, Cultural Attractions & Research, Thinkwell Group — Cynthia has 20+ years of experience spanning museums, zoos, aquariums, theme parks, live events, and multi-use destination resort planning. At Thinkwell, a Los Angeles-based global design and production agency, she is an active member of all cultural attractions projects, working closely with the creative team in creating the overall guest experience, exhibition development, educational program, and master planning. Cynthia combines creative approaches in content-rich experiences with a keen understanding of trends in learning theory, social networking and new media, and visitor behavior.

Manon_Slome“Taking risks in the museum” — Manon Slome, Co-Founder & Chief Curator, No Longer Empty — Manon Slome’s organization engages new audiences for contemporary art through site-specific and community responsive exhibitions in non-traditional spaces throughout New York City. Since 2009, through some 22 exhibitions, No Longer Empty has harnessed the power of art to explore community narratives and key issues of social justice, collaborating and co-programming with local organizations, residents, civic leaders to ensure relevance and promote cultural vibrancy at the neighborhood level.

West_Mike_Exec_Photo_webres“The creative tightrope: Find the right balance”Mike West, Executive Producer, Universal Creative — Mike most recently led the creative team responsible for the design, development, production and installation of Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Additional Universal projects include Thea Award-honored The Simpsons Ride and Transformers The Ride – 3D, along with Annie & VES award-winning Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and The Simpsons Springfield expansion. Prior to joining Universal Creative in 2006, Mike was president of Innovative West, Inc., a creative design company he founded after 25 years as a writer, director and producer with Walt Disney Imagineering.

Dr_Kathryn_Woodcock“The necessary risk”Dr. Kathryn Woodcock, Associate Professor, Ryerson University; Director, THRILL Lab — Dr. Woodcock is involved in unique extracurricular training and knowledge mobilization activities focused on human factors of amusement rides and attractions, and passionate about engaging the next generation of professionals. She is a member of TEA, ASTM Committee F24 and serves on the Global Safety Committee of IAAPA. She is a registered Professional Engineer, Canadian Certified Professional Ergonomist, and a Fellow of the Association of Canadian Ergonomists. She has published and presented extensively for academic and industry audiences including IAAPA, AIMS and TSSA-NAARSO.




Traci Klainer Polimeni, Luce Group — Founder/Principal Designer of Luce Group, specialist in lighting design for exhibits, themed entertainment and live events, Traci has lighted objects ranging from motorcycles for the Guggenheim Museum to a roller coaster and new realm at SeaWorld. She is currently leading the Luce team for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Traci has a parallel reputation for theatrical lighting design. She is credited with lighting over 100 productions and her designs have been nominated for a Drama Desk Award and a Lucille Lortel Award. Traci is also a TEA International Board member.

Michael Blau Adirondack 1

Michael Blau, Adirondack Studios — Michael is Vice President of Business Development for Adirondack Studios and 1st Vice President of the TEA Eastern North America Division. With an M.F.A in Theatre Design and a B.S. in Marketing, Michael synthesizes all his experience and knowledge of design, fabrication and business to make sure clients are provided innovative and cost effective theming solutions. He has extensive experience creating theater, theme park attractions, water parks, museum experiences and retail environments around the world. Michael has consulted with large clients on print media, television, event production and corporate branding initiatives. Michael believes that fostering creative thinking builds industry, community and social change.

Chris Conte Electrosonic

Chris Conte, Electrosonic Inc. — As Vice President of New Business Development, Chris leads a dedicated and talented group at Electrosonic to help generate the future business canvas of the company. Chris joined Electrosonic in 2001 as the General Manager of the Western Regional Business and was instrumental in the company’s growth and in establishing new business for the US entertainment division. In 2008 Chris was promoted to Vice President of the worldwide entertainment business looking after clients and opportunities in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, as well as North America. His current role in Business Development began in 2015. He has been involved in TEA for many years including helping to found the TEA Asia Pacific Division.


Paul_Osterhut_SATE16_webresSTORYTELLING – Paul Osterhout, Universal Creative — Paul Osterhout is a senior creative executive with over 40 years of diversified, international experience in blue-sky conceptual development, design, art direction, producing, product branding and master planning of themed entertainment resorts. Paul has played an integral role in creating a variety of world-renowned venues in themed entertainment, resort environments, innovative retail and interactive game media development for companies such as Walt Disney Imagineering, Electronic Arts and Universal Creative. Paul is currently Senior Director/Executive Producer for the Universal Beijing Resort, where he is responsible for setting the creative vision, directing the conceptual development, and executive producing the attractions and shows.

DeannaFranclSATE16_webresARCHITECTURE – Deanna Siller, Gensler — LEED® AP Regional Consulting Director, Principal at Gensler, Deanna Siller approaches each project with an understanding of how design can impact business performance. As trusted adviser to her clients, she brings strategic insights that result in innovative strategies to differentiate user experiences and foster human connections. Deanna focuses on global trends and research to establish thoughtful approaches in change management, stakeholder engagement, and strategic communications. Her work has earned awards from the International Interior Design Association, American Institute of Architects, and American Institute of Graphic Arts. Deanna holds an M.B.A from Georgetown University and a B.A. from Bowling Green Street University.

ChrisManson_SATE16_webresTECHNOLOGY – Chris Manson, Fox and Crow Inc. — As Principal, Fox and Crow, Inc., Chris Manson has a 25-year career in the development and management of immersive technology projects for themed entertainment and film. He has provided services to groups as diverse as Nickelodeon and the National Institute of Justice, and recently served as Supervising Technical Director, Ride and Show System Design for schematic and design development on two new Dubai Parks & Resorts properties: motiongate and Bollywood Parks Dubai. Previously, Chris was Director of Technical Management for Thinkwell Group and has also worked for Walt Disney Imagineering, Stan Winston Studios, and Idealab.

Steve Birket and Jennie Nevin


Steve Birket, Birket Engineering: TEA International Board President

Jennie Nevin, TEA Chief Operating Officer

Tammie Richards, TEA Event Producer

Jeri Kinney, TEA Member Services



The annual SATE conference was created by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) in 2007 to foster professional dialog about the methodology of Experience Design. SATE reaches across a broad range of creative disciplines and market sectors within the attractions industry. SATE provides an environment for learning and professional development: to share diverse ideas and concepts, to challenge and inspire, to learn about breakthrough projects, best practices and trends, and to discover collaborative opportunities in the field of attraction design and development. In addition to enriching working professionals with an exchange of information and creative stimulus, the SATE conversation benefits TEA’s NextGen Initiative of collaboration and dialog with educators, and with students of design, media production, theater, engineering and other related disciplines who are interested in pursuing careers and finding mentors and guidance in the themed entertainment industry.

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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