Thursday, September 21, 2023

The odds are on SATE Las Vegas

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) return to in-person events in 2021-22 has included the revival of the SATE conference series on Experience Design. Preparations are underway now for SATE Las Vegas, Oct 13-15, hosted at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).

The SATE acronym stands for Story + Architecture + Technology = Experience. SATE also alludes to a collaborative culture of production, in which designers, technologists, producers, developers and operators work closely together from the early stages of a project, in a team structure often more horizontal than hierarchical.

Registration for SATE Las Vegas is now open, and TEA welcomes inquiries about sponsorship. The call for presentations deadline is June 10, 2022. Visit for details.

InPark editor Judith Rubin posed some questions to the SATE co-chairs, Shannon Martin of Color Reflections Las Vegas, and Gregory Senner of Scenario. Shannon sits on the TEA International Board of Directors, and previously co-chaired SATE when it met in Seattle in 2019. Greg is President of the TEA Eastern North America Division and this is his first time as a SATE co-chair.

UNLV Ham Concert Hall

Tell us about your working relationship as co-chairs of TEA SATE Las Vegas.

Shannon: I have had the pleasure of getting to know Greg Senner over the years through our love of the TEA. I was so excited to have him join the team this year for SATE Las Vegas. I like to think Greg and I share a love for collaboration. We work hand in hand together on every aspect of this program and we will also be engaging a small content committee with diverse voices and perspectives to see and even bigger picture as we review all the presentations submitted.

Greg: I have wanted to work on something with Shannon for years. She brings such a unique enthusiasm and energy to the TEA that exemplifies the idea that the energy you put into TEA gives you so much more back in return. We also share the desire to challenge expectations and after the long wait, we plan on delivering to the membership the best experience ever.

The deadline for presentation submissions is June 10. What should submitters keep in mind?

Shannon: We are looking for insightful, diverse topics as they relate to innovation in our industry and beyond, particularly in segments members don’t hear about every day. What can we learn and how can we collaborate with other disciplines to make our industry stronger? Our goal is to bring new, innovative experiences to consumers that they never expected.

How are you making the most of the Las Vegas setting and UNLV as host?

Shannon: I am SO EXCITED to be able to host in Las Vegas! You talk about innovation, Las Vegas is the place to be. Las Vegas is constantly reinventing and innovating itself. It has immense hotels and casinos, one-of-a-kind entertainment venues, and most recently, has become a destination for major sporting events. The city that once seemed unable to land a major league team now hosts its own NHL and NFL teams. Now, with the possibility of getting MLB and MBA teams, it really seems there is nothing you can’t do in Las Vegas.

To have the opportunity to host at The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is an incredible honor. UNLV is known for its Hospitality Program and the SATE opening mixer will take place at the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality. This program has been ranked the #1 national hospitality program in North America and #2 in the world and also gets points for affordability. Students work and intern at the epicenter of the industry. The new Hospitality Hall is a modern, interactive learning laboratory that closely mirrors the industry. This will be a one-of-a-kind event! UNLV also recognizes the importance of Themed Entertainment and has some exciting things on the horizon that will benefit the industry. More on this to be revealed at SATE…

What makes the TEA SATE conference unique and important for the themed attractions community?

Greg: SATE by definition is the DNA of themed experiential entertainment. Having a conference that focuses on these four pillars (Storytelling, Architecture, Technology and Experience) brings everything our members could want out of a conference. When you combine those with SATE’s mission to travel to new venues, and the expansion of the conference to other parts of the world, SATE provides the best opportunity for education, networking exploration and benchmarking.

SATE Las Vegas was originally planned for 2020 but was sidelined by the pandemic. Have your ideas for the event evolved in any important ways during that period?

Shannon: Funny you should ask this, we literally had everything cooked and ready to go when we were cancelled in 2020. As I went back to review the topics we wanted for SATE Las Vegas 2020, I realized the content was even more powerful, more meaningful now than ever. I got goosebumps reading it again. There were a few wordsmith changes but the topics just seemed to be more important than ever. I was now looking at it through a different lens.

What are your tips to help one get the full value from attending SATE?

Shannon: This industry is mesmerizing! The People, The Projects, The Technology! You will see and hear so much during this program from the up and coming to industry legends. My only advice would be to attend everything you can. From the opening mixer Wednesday night to the close of the conference on Friday, this is Vegas Baby and it will not disappoint! Oh and as I always say DON’T FORGET YOUR BUSINESS CARDS.

Greg: SATE is my favorite TEA event of the year. Beyond the amazing content, I really love how SATE rotates through different topics and locations. This year couldn’t be more perfect matching innovation and Las Vegas. There will be so much wrapped into this year’s program, you will not want to be the person hearing about it later.

And spoiler alert, make sure you plan to stay for it all.

For all inquiries regarding sponsorship of SATE Las Vegas, please contact SATE Co-Chair Shannon Martin at [email protected].

TEA SATE Seattle in full swing (2019). Photo: TEA
Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She reports on design and technical design, production and project management, industry trends and company culture. From 2005-2020 she ran communications and publications for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA and publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association, and has contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a BFA from Pratt Institute. She has lived in Detroit, New York, Oakland, and now Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts community.

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