|PHOTOS: Graeme Baker, TEA|
The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) held its strategic planning meeting for 2014 Jan 23-24 at the Globe Theater, Universal Studios Hollywood. TEA president Christine Kerr of BaAM Productions (above) is now in her second year as TEA president and will finish her term in November. Among the milestones Kerr recounted at the meeting were effecting the transition to a new COO of the association, putting the development of TEA's new website into motion, the growth of the TEA NextGen initiative and enhanced collaborations with IAAPA.
|It was the first such meeting for TEA's new COO Jennie Nevin (left), who replaced outgoing executive director Gene Jeffers, who retired at the end of 2013. "Jennie has top financial skills and association experience," said Christine Kerr. "Her joining us is a big win for TEA." January 21, 2014 was Nevin's 90-day benchmark on the job at TEA. In her opening talk to the group, Nevin said that communications and member services are a high priority along with the formation and implementation of effective, standard operating procedures. On the right is director of development Kathy Oliver. Universal Studios and Chip Largman of Universal Creative generously hosted the meeting and took care of all our needs over the two days.|
|Speaking of TEA members' creative contributions, here is a classic napkin sketch that someone at the meeting was inspired to produce. We haven't yet identified the artist - will he or she please step forward?|
|Chris Conte of Electrosonic has been active within TEA for many years and is currently Secretary of the International Board. He was a driving force in establishing the new TEA Asia Pacific Division. His call to action at last year's strategic planning meeting led to the formation of an interim Asia Pacific Board and then the transition to the current Board. The Asia Pacific Division has had several successful networking events and expects to grow rapidly in keeping with the rapid expansion of the industry in that part of the world.|
|David Willrich of D.J. Willrich Ltd. recently became president of the Europe & Middle East Division, succeeding Philip Hartley in the position. The EME Division is working to build membership numbers in several different countries and has embarked on a promising series of SATE Academy Days events that are based on the "Storytelling, Architecture, Technology, Experience" focus of TEA's annual SATE conference.|
|Jennie Nevin, TEA COO|
|Aram Ebben (exp) and Stefan Lawrence (Stefan Rules!) were co-chairs of TEA's successful SATE conference in 2013 and are repeating those roles in 2014. Details of SATE '14 will be announced soon.|
|Traci Klainer Polimeni (The Luce Group) is president of the TEA Eastern Division and has worked to broaden the scope and location of her division's events and mixers, pushing beyond Orlando to New York City, Chicago and other places.|
|Clara Rice (JRA) chairs the TEA NextGen Committee and gave an impressive report on the committee's dynamic growth and extensive activities, which include targeted gatherings at the TEA Summit and Thea Awards Gala, and efforts to help identify internship opportunities with TEA member companies.|
|Jordan Coleman (JB Coleman LLC) is a member of the TEA Western Division Board.|
|Louie Allen is VP Creative of Adirondack Studios, is a member of the TEA International Board. The company's Asian branch is Adirondack Asia PTE Ltd.|
|Michael Mercadante (Main Street Design) is on the TEA International Board.|
|Michelle Mace, a student at the Art Institute of Los Angeles, is an Associate Member Representative on the TEA Western Division Board, and a TEA NextGen member.|
|The assembled group poses for a "TEA family photo" at the close of the meeting.|
Also present at the meeting, but not previously named here: Tommy Bridges (ATI) of the TEA International Board, Pat Gallegos (Gallegos Lighting), TEA past president, David Price (DAPA Leisure Group) of the Western Division Board and Tricia Rodriguez (Mad Systems), also of the Western Division Board. Thanks to everyone who attended and worked so hard to make the Themed Entertainment Association the great organization that it is!