Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Steve Birket of Birket Engineering will be next TEA International Board President

Steve Birket
Burbank, Calif USA – The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) announced that its next International Board President will be Steve Birket, PE, of Birket Engineering. Birket officially became TEA President-Elect by a unanimous vote of the Board on May 13. In November, he will succeed sitting President Christine Kerr of BaAM Productions in the position.

Steve Birket has been active within TEA for more than 10 years, and part of the leadership since 2006, serving with the TEA Eastern Division Board two years as Secretary and two years as President, and then stepping up to the TEA International Board, where he currently serves as Treasurer.

“There has never been a more exciting time for TEA,” says Birket. “The number of themed entertainment projects in development has never been greater, and the world looks to our industry for solutions. Growth, technology, and creativity make the possibilities boundless.”

As Director of Birket Engineering, Steve is responsible for the company's business development and industry relationships. Birket Engineering is a system integrator, designing and producing the hardware & software controlling some of the world’s best known rides & shows. Steve Birket has worked in themed entertainment since 1979 and has held project management, engineering, and entertainment positions at Universal Studios and The Walt Disney Company.

He holds an MBA from Rollins College and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Central Florida. He is licensed as a Florida Professional Engineer and Florida Limited Energy Systems Specialist, and as an FAA Private Pilot.

Says Christine Kerr, “Steve Birket is ideally suited to be TEA's next President and take a larger role in helping steer the organization on its current path of growth and international expansion. Steve and his company are part of the fabric of our global community. He has been very active in the Asia-Pacific region, where our industry is growing the fastest. His knowledge and experience of visitor attractions is wide-ranging, including the entertainment and cultural sectors, museums, large scale show installations, and theatrical production. As a business development professional, he understands TEA's directive to serve the needs of membership. In addition, he is universally liked. His calm demeanor and engaging personality will serve us well as he takes on the challenges of leading TEA.”

Steve Birket, TEA President-Elect and Jennie Nevin, TEA COO, along with many other TEA members, will attend the IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo in Beijing June 18-20; TEA and the TEA Asia Pacific Division will exhibit and hold a reception there. Details here.

About TEA
The TEA (Themed Entertainment Association) is an international nonprofit alliance founded in 1991 and based in Burbank, Calif. Some 1,000 TEA members represent roughly 8,000 creative specialists, from architects to designers, technical specialists to master planners, scenic fabricators to artists, and builders to feasibility analysts working in 30 US states and 40 different countries. TEA presents the annual Thea Awards and the TEA Summit and hosts the annual SATE Conference (Storytelling, Architecture, Technology, Experience). TEA also produces a variety of print and electronic publications, including the TEA/AECOM Theme Index, TEA Annual Directory and Thea Awards Program magazine. Visit

Media inquiries: Contact Judith Rubin,

Monday, May 12, 2014

Nominate a project for a Thea Award - Submissions deadline: July 11, 2014

Mike Davis of Universal Studios Japan accepts a Thea Award for "The Song of an Angel," with colleagues
Do you know of an outstanding attraction, technology or guest experience that deserves industry recognition? The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) encourages you to nominate it for a Thea Award.
  • You can nominate your own project, event or technology
  • Anyone may submit a nomination whether or not a TEA member
  • Nominations for lifetime achievement honorees and for the Thea Classic Award are also welcome
  • Nominations deadline: July 11, 2014
  • Recipients will be announced in November 2014
  • Awards will be formally presented in spring 2015 at the 21st annual Thea Awards Gala
  • Online nominations process: Click here for more info or to start your submission

Welby Altidor of Cirque du Soleil accepts a Thea Award for Michael Jackson ONE™
2014 judging cycle 
for the 2015 Thea Awards
Submissions deadline, July 11, 2014

To celebrate excellence in the creation of outstanding visitor experiences, attractions, exhibits and places worldwide, the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) created the Thea Awards in 1994. These prestigious honors focus international attention on innovation within the Themed Entertainment industry.

The Thea Awards honor the vision and dedication of the project owner while bestowing and recording credits for the work of the designers, technicians, vendors and suppliers who realize the project.

Thea honorees François Delarozière & Pierre Orefice, Les Machines de I’île

To be eligible for consideration in the current judging cycle, the project should have opened or the event taken place between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2014.

Complete the nominations form here:

If you have any additional questions, please email or call the TEA office, +1 818 843-8497.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Visit the Snowdon Summit Building atop the highest mountain in Wales, with TEA May 22-23

Join your colleagues in the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) Europe & Middle East Division for an educational excursion to the Snowdon Summit Building, and back.

Thurs, May 22 at noon to Fri, May 23 at 10 pm

FREE for paid TEA association members in good standing
£20 to non-members
Pre-registration is required and space is limited. 

Click here to sign up.

Click here to download flyer. 

Starting point: The Royal Victoria Hotel Snowdonia in Llanberis (Wales).
It is recommended to book accommodations well in advance. 
There are hotels and guest houses at all budget levels in and around Llanberis. 
This outing is one in an ongoing professional development series titled "SATE Academy Days" that are an offshoot of TEA's annual design conference, SATE (Storytelling+Architecture+Technology=Experience). Click here to read about the last SATE Academy Day, a visit to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld in the UAE. 

According to the Snowdon Railway:

"Designed by Ray Hole and funded by Welsh Assembly Government, Snowdonia National Park, The Welsh Tourist Board, The European Union, Snowdon Mountain Railway and Public Subscription, Hafod Eryri was opened to the public atop Snowdon Mountain, the highest mountain in Wales, in June 2009. Today guests are welcomed in to a modern contemporary environment clad in welsh oak and granite with wonderful views from our panoramic windows to the valleys below. With large screen information points, an engraved floor and “whispering windows” the designers are keen for visitors to experience a true sense of place. The building houses both catering and retail outlets and also serves the walking community after their climb to the summit of the principality. With a good range of hand held cakes and hot savouries and a full range of hot and cold drinks Hafod Eryri, the highest re-fuelling station in England and Wales!"

David Willrich
Says TEA EME Division president David Willrich:

"This will be a day with a difference, through the generous sponsorship of Martin Barratt and Nick Farmer  we have been able to book the steam engine to take us up and down the mountain! As each trip takes an hour all presentations will be verbal as we travel.

"We will meet at midday at The Royal Victoria Hotel Snowdonia in Llanberis, before walking to the mountain railway station. The trips up and down the mountain take an hour and we will spend half an hour at the summit. After the trip we will reconvene at The Royal Victoria for a mixer and dinner." 

Join TEA in Beijing for the Asian Attractions Expo June 18-20

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA
and the TEA Asia Pacific Division 
are participating in the 
IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo 
in Beijing, June 18-20. 
Here's how you can take part as well:

Opportunities are available for TEA member companies to display their materials at the TEA booth and to sponsor the booth, June 18-20. For more details: Click here

Cocktail reception, June 19. Revisiting the 20th Annual Thea Awards: TEA will celebrate the people and projects that were honored in April with top awards. RSVP required to attend the reception.

To RSVP for the reception, or for more information, contact Leila Chen:, +886-2-2655-0186 #145

Many thanks to sponsors AECOM and Walt Disney Imagineering.

Friday, May 2, 2014

SATE 2014 design conference set for Oct 2-3 in Sarasota, FL: TEA issues call for participation

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) welcomes proposals for its annual SATE Conference - a professional dialog on Experience Design, to be held October 2&3, 2014 in Sarasota, Florida USA, hosted by Florida State University.

SATE (Storytelling, Architecture, Technology, Experience) is an annual, international gathering of themed entertainment and experience design creators, producers, owners and operators. As such, it explores issues, opportunities and possibilities relating to the creation of compelling guest experiences for entertainment, education, retail and branding.

Hashtag: #TEAsate

Members of the attractions industry with expertise in one of the SATE areas described above are encouraged to send in proposals to TEA. Click here for details on submitting proposals to SATE 2014. The deadline for submissions is June 1. Email submissions to

Interested in sponsoring SATE '14? Contact Kathy Oliver, TEA business development, 

Media inquiries: Contact Judith Rubin,

About TEA - click for information.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Exclusive to TEA members: May 8 Despicable Me VIP tour at Universal Studios Hollywood

Chip Largman
Universal Creative and Universal Studios Hollywood welcome members of the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and the Producer’s Guild of America to enjoy a VIP visit to its recently opened Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem attraction. This ride/film experience based on Illumination Entertainment’s Oscar-nominated blockbuster motion pictures showcases the latest in large format 4D and motion simulation technologies.

Thursday, May 8, 6:00 pm
Universal Studios Hollywood
followed by a mixer at CityWalk

Pre-registration is required; click here to sign up.

TEA Members Only – limit 2 people per company
Each person must register separately
(A TEA member is a paid member of the Association in good standing.)

Jon Corfino
Chip Largman, SVP, and Jon Corfino, Project Director and Executive Show Producer, will be joined by other team members for a brief presentation followed by an opportunity to become a minion recruit; better come prepared!!

Afterwards, the adventure continues at Super Silly Fun Land where you’ll enjoy wet and dry play environments straight from the motion pictures. When the fun finally sets, there’s a hosted mixer at Howl at the Moon on CityWalk for the TEA and PGA members in attendance.

  • Check in at Iron Gates by Frankenstein Parking Structure, Universal Studios Hollywood
  • Complimentary Parking at Frankenstein General Parking (not valid for valet or preferred)

Mixer details - Note: mixer is open to event attendees only
Howl at the Moon – CityWalk (Event attendees only)
Time: 7:30 pm
Each mixer attendee receives 1 drink ticket and snacks, thanks to the sponsors:
Producers Guild of America and Adirondack Studios

NYC, May 15: TEA mixer at McHale's

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) Eastern North America Division invites you to network with your colleagues at McHale's in Manhattan, May 15. Open to all members of the industry and their guests. Cash bar.

Thurs, May 15, 2014, 6:30-8:30 pm
McHale's Bar & Grill, 251 W. 51st St (at 8th Ave)

RSVP requested: Please click here to respond.