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Feature
Thea Awards 2016

By Christine Kerr | Published in Attractions Handbook 2016 issue 1

TEA – the Themed Entertainment Association – recently presented its latest tributes to the creators and developers of compelling educational, cultural and entertaining places that exemplify the value of globally engaging themed entertainment and experience design. Guest editor Christine Kerr summarises the event, tributes and award-winning entries.

In April 2016 – at Disneyland Resort in California – the 22st annual Thea Awards paid tribute to the organisations and individuals who work in the world of themed entertainment and experience design.

Prior to the Thea Awards, the TEA Summit conference featured two days of presentations regarding the industry, and included a keynote from Keith James – recipient of the Buzz Price Thea Award for a Lifetime of Distinguished Achievements – and an in-depth look at the history and success of the Thea Classic Award recipient San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Day two of the summit offered the Outstanding Achievement Award recipients an opportunity to give an overview of their projects, to speak about the creative process, and lessons learned, and to participate in a focused Q&A regarding their achievements.

*Project descriptions have been edited from summaries written by the 2016 TEA Thea Awards Committee and originally published by the TEA in the 2016 Thea Awards Program.


Keith James, JRA
Recognising a Lifetime of Distinguished Achievements
AWARD: BUZZ PRICE


 

Keith James, JRA
 

The Thea Awards began in 1994 with a single Lifetime Achievement Award, and the first honoree was Harrison “Buzz” Price – pioneer in economic feasibility for entertainment projects. After Buzz passed away in 2010, the award was renamed in his honour.

Keith James is a respected leader of the themed entertainment industry, known by all who work in the business or those involved with the TEA. The words that best describe Keith include: honest, great integrity, thoughtful, loyal, consummate businessman, straight as an arrow. His entire professional career has been in themed entertainment, and his passion for the industry is evident.

His Bachelor of Fine Arts in Technical Theater at the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati took him to Taft Broadcasting, and as production manager for live shows at King’s Island in Ohio, and later as assistant director of operations. Keith and some colleagues formed Kings Productions – for many years a creative division of the Taft family of theme parks.

In 1979 Keith moved to Toronto as director of planning & development for Canada’s Wonderland in Ontario, later becoming director of park operations.

In 1983, he became vice president of operations for Expo 86 in Vancouver, but remained with the Expo organisation for only a short time.

In 1983 Taft recruited him as managing director of Australia’s Wonderland in Sydney, and by 1987 he had taken on the role of vice president of show production for Universal Studios Florida and subsequently became senior vice president of planning and development.

In 1992 Keith returned to Cincinnati to join Jack Rouse Associates (JRA), where he remains today as chief executive officer/owner.

*With thanks to Jack Rouse who describes himself as “longtime friend, biker-buddy, colleague and business partner with Keith James since the 1970s”.

Jack was also the founder of JRA and a fellow Thea recipient, honoured in 2008 by the TEA for lifetime achievement.



John W. Robinett
Recognising Distinguished Service to the TEA
AWARD: TEA Distinguished Service


 

John W. Robinett
 

This award is presented annually at the Thea Awards Gala in recognition of a TEA member’s outstanding contributions “above and beyond the call of duty” to the association. Nominations are open to the TEA membership; the final selection is made by majority vote of the TEA Past Presidents Committee and approved by the TEA International Board of Directors.

John W. Robinett, senior vice president, economics at AECOM, is this year’s recipient of the TEA Distinguished Service Award. As a mild-mannered “numbers guy” wading into the creative-infested waters of the TEA, John has spent more than two decades giving time and expertise as a board member. He has sponsored events and activities through his company, presented and spoken at TEA conferences, advocated and ensured the continuation and growth of the annual TEA/AECOM Theme Index publication, and chaired and served as committee member of the TEA Thea Awards Committee. All the while, John’s “day job” included working with clients such as the Walt Disney Company, Getty Museum, Beach Park in Brazil, 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Universal Studios and Pixar Animation Studios.

He explains his commitment to the TEA as follows: “Well, first, TEA members are great people, incredibly creative, great ideas, very good to work with from a business perspective, be friends with, have good relationships with”. John also says “They appreciate one another’s gifts and talents. It is really rewarding to work with TEA members.”

*With thanks to Gene Jeffers, retired executive director of the TEA and 2012 Distinguished Service Award recipient.


Thea Awards Gala

The 22nd annual Thea Awards were presented in April 2016 at a sold out black tie gala evening at the Disneyland Hotel Grand Ballroom in Anaheim, California, US, sponsored by Chimelong. The awards show, produced by The Hettema Group, was attended by more than 700 guests, VIPs and award recipients, honouring the people and projects in this feature. The TEA’s weekend of events, including the two-day TEA Summit Conference, hosted more than 1,000 guests from all over the world.
 



Thea Awards Gala
 


Thea Awards Gala
 
San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park
San Diego, CA, USA


AWARD: CLASSIC

To honour an exemplary and influential project that has stood the test of time (25+ years), TEA created the Thea Classic Award. Past recipients include Madame Tussauds London, “it’s a small world” (Disneyland), Studio Tour (Universal Studios Hollywood), Efteling Park, Exploratorium (San Francisco) and Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen.

What began in a moment of inspiration after the close of the 1915 Panama-California Expo has resulted in a century of amazing animals and extraordinary people coming together to pursue a vision. The 100-acre (40-hectare) San Diego Zoo is primarily a cageless facility for more than 3,700 rare and endangered animals, and a renowned botanical collection that enjoys an annual 3.75 million visitors. Sister facility San Diego Zoo Safari Park opened in 1972 and receives some two million annual visits. Its 1,800 acres (728 hectares) are home to more than 2,600 animals and 1.5 million botanical specimens.

Consistently, both have been at the forefront of innovations in contemporary zoo-keeping and most active in conservation and preservation efforts. Over the last century, conservationists with San Diego Zoo Global (a non-profit organisation dedicated to saving species from extinction) have worked to preserve and reintroduce more than 30 endangered species. Looking towards the next 100 years, the well-known conservation organisation is using new technologies and community supported efforts to turn the tide of extinction and create a world zoo where all species are protected in their native habitats, as they are in accredited zoos.

In July 2015, TripAdvisor.com Travelers’ Choice Awards recognised San Diego Zoo as the best in the US and in the world.

 



Both of these attractions have led the way in best practice zoo-keeping and active conservation and preservations efforts
 


Both of these attractions have led the way in best practice zoo-keeping and active conservation and preservations efforts
 
 


Both of these attractions have led the way in best practice zoo-keeping and active conservation and preservations efforts
 
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Feature
Thea Awards 2016

By Christine Kerr | Published in Attractions Handbook 2016 issue 1

TEA – the Themed Entertainment Association – recently presented its latest tributes to the creators and developers of compelling educational, cultural and entertaining places that exemplify the value of globally engaging themed entertainment and experience design. Guest editor Christine Kerr summarises the event, tributes and award-winning entries.

In April 2016 – at Disneyland Resort in California – the 22st annual Thea Awards paid tribute to the organisations and individuals who work in the world of themed entertainment and experience design.

Prior to the Thea Awards, the TEA Summit conference featured two days of presentations regarding the industry, and included a keynote from Keith James – recipient of the Buzz Price Thea Award for a Lifetime of Distinguished Achievements – and an in-depth look at the history and success of the Thea Classic Award recipient San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Day two of the summit offered the Outstanding Achievement Award recipients an opportunity to give an overview of their projects, to speak about the creative process, and lessons learned, and to participate in a focused Q&A regarding their achievements.

*Project descriptions have been edited from summaries written by the 2016 TEA Thea Awards Committee and originally published by the TEA in the 2016 Thea Awards Program.


Keith James, JRA
Recognising a Lifetime of Distinguished Achievements
AWARD: BUZZ PRICE


 

Keith James, JRA
 

The Thea Awards began in 1994 with a single Lifetime Achievement Award, and the first honoree was Harrison “Buzz” Price – pioneer in economic feasibility for entertainment projects. After Buzz passed away in 2010, the award was renamed in his honour.

Keith James is a respected leader of the themed entertainment industry, known by all who work in the business or those involved with the TEA. The words that best describe Keith include: honest, great integrity, thoughtful, loyal, consummate businessman, straight as an arrow. His entire professional career has been in themed entertainment, and his passion for the industry is evident.

His Bachelor of Fine Arts in Technical Theater at the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati took him to Taft Broadcasting, and as production manager for live shows at King’s Island in Ohio, and later as assistant director of operations. Keith and some colleagues formed Kings Productions – for many years a creative division of the Taft family of theme parks.

In 1979 Keith moved to Toronto as director of planning & development for Canada’s Wonderland in Ontario, later becoming director of park operations.

In 1983, he became vice president of operations for Expo 86 in Vancouver, but remained with the Expo organisation for only a short time.

In 1983 Taft recruited him as managing director of Australia’s Wonderland in Sydney, and by 1987 he had taken on the role of vice president of show production for Universal Studios Florida and subsequently became senior vice president of planning and development.

In 1992 Keith returned to Cincinnati to join Jack Rouse Associates (JRA), where he remains today as chief executive officer/owner.

*With thanks to Jack Rouse who describes himself as “longtime friend, biker-buddy, colleague and business partner with Keith James since the 1970s”.

Jack was also the founder of JRA and a fellow Thea recipient, honoured in 2008 by the TEA for lifetime achievement.



John W. Robinett
Recognising Distinguished Service to the TEA
AWARD: TEA Distinguished Service


 

John W. Robinett
 

This award is presented annually at the Thea Awards Gala in recognition of a TEA member’s outstanding contributions “above and beyond the call of duty” to the association. Nominations are open to the TEA membership; the final selection is made by majority vote of the TEA Past Presidents Committee and approved by the TEA International Board of Directors.

John W. Robinett, senior vice president, economics at AECOM, is this year’s recipient of the TEA Distinguished Service Award. As a mild-mannered “numbers guy” wading into the creative-infested waters of the TEA, John has spent more than two decades giving time and expertise as a board member. He has sponsored events and activities through his company, presented and spoken at TEA conferences, advocated and ensured the continuation and growth of the annual TEA/AECOM Theme Index publication, and chaired and served as committee member of the TEA Thea Awards Committee. All the while, John’s “day job” included working with clients such as the Walt Disney Company, Getty Museum, Beach Park in Brazil, 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Universal Studios and Pixar Animation Studios.

He explains his commitment to the TEA as follows: “Well, first, TEA members are great people, incredibly creative, great ideas, very good to work with from a business perspective, be friends with, have good relationships with”. John also says “They appreciate one another’s gifts and talents. It is really rewarding to work with TEA members.”

*With thanks to Gene Jeffers, retired executive director of the TEA and 2012 Distinguished Service Award recipient.


Thea Awards Gala

The 22nd annual Thea Awards were presented in April 2016 at a sold out black tie gala evening at the Disneyland Hotel Grand Ballroom in Anaheim, California, US, sponsored by Chimelong. The awards show, produced by The Hettema Group, was attended by more than 700 guests, VIPs and award recipients, honouring the people and projects in this feature. The TEA’s weekend of events, including the two-day TEA Summit Conference, hosted more than 1,000 guests from all over the world.
 



Thea Awards Gala
 


Thea Awards Gala
 
San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park
San Diego, CA, USA


AWARD: CLASSIC

To honour an exemplary and influential project that has stood the test of time (25+ years), TEA created the Thea Classic Award. Past recipients include Madame Tussauds London, “it’s a small world” (Disneyland), Studio Tour (Universal Studios Hollywood), Efteling Park, Exploratorium (San Francisco) and Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen.

What began in a moment of inspiration after the close of the 1915 Panama-California Expo has resulted in a century of amazing animals and extraordinary people coming together to pursue a vision. The 100-acre (40-hectare) San Diego Zoo is primarily a cageless facility for more than 3,700 rare and endangered animals, and a renowned botanical collection that enjoys an annual 3.75 million visitors. Sister facility San Diego Zoo Safari Park opened in 1972 and receives some two million annual visits. Its 1,800 acres (728 hectares) are home to more than 2,600 animals and 1.5 million botanical specimens.

Consistently, both have been at the forefront of innovations in contemporary zoo-keeping and most active in conservation and preservation efforts. Over the last century, conservationists with San Diego Zoo Global (a non-profit organisation dedicated to saving species from extinction) have worked to preserve and reintroduce more than 30 endangered species. Looking towards the next 100 years, the well-known conservation organisation is using new technologies and community supported efforts to turn the tide of extinction and create a world zoo where all species are protected in their native habitats, as they are in accredited zoos.

In July 2015, TripAdvisor.com Travelers’ Choice Awards recognised San Diego Zoo as the best in the US and in the world.

 



Both of these attractions have led the way in best practice zoo-keeping and active conservation and preservations efforts
 


Both of these attractions have led the way in best practice zoo-keeping and active conservation and preservations efforts
 
 


Both of these attractions have led the way in best practice zoo-keeping and active conservation and preservations efforts
 
 
 
ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2018

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Feature
Thea Awards 2016

By Christine Kerr | Published in Attractions Handbook 2016 issue 1

TEA – the Themed Entertainment Association – recently presented its latest tributes to the creators and developers of compelling educational, cultural and entertaining places that exemplify the value of globally engaging themed entertainment and experience design. Guest editor Christine Kerr summarises the event, tributes and award-winning entries.

In April 2016 – at Disneyland Resort in California – the 22st annual Thea Awards paid tribute to the organisations and individuals who work in the world of themed entertainment and experience design.

Prior to the Thea Awards, the TEA Summit conference featured two days of presentations regarding the industry, and included a keynote from Keith James – recipient of the Buzz Price Thea Award for a Lifetime of Distinguished Achievements – and an in-depth look at the history and success of the Thea Classic Award recipient San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Day two of the summit offered the Outstanding Achievement Award recipients an opportunity to give an overview of their projects, to speak about the creative process, and lessons learned, and to participate in a focused Q&A regarding their achievements.

*Project descriptions have been edited from summaries written by the 2016 TEA Thea Awards Committee and originally published by the TEA in the 2016 Thea Awards Program.


Keith James, JRA
Recognising a Lifetime of Distinguished Achievements
AWARD: BUZZ PRICE


 

Keith James, JRA
 

The Thea Awards began in 1994 with a single Lifetime Achievement Award, and the first honoree was Harrison “Buzz” Price – pioneer in economic feasibility for entertainment projects. After Buzz passed away in 2010, the award was renamed in his honour.

Keith James is a respected leader of the themed entertainment industry, known by all who work in the business or those involved with the TEA. The words that best describe Keith include: honest, great integrity, thoughtful, loyal, consummate businessman, straight as an arrow. His entire professional career has been in themed entertainment, and his passion for the industry is evident.

His Bachelor of Fine Arts in Technical Theater at the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati took him to Taft Broadcasting, and as production manager for live shows at King’s Island in Ohio, and later as assistant director of operations. Keith and some colleagues formed Kings Productions – for many years a creative division of the Taft family of theme parks.

In 1979 Keith moved to Toronto as director of planning & development for Canada’s Wonderland in Ontario, later becoming director of park operations.

In 1983, he became vice president of operations for Expo 86 in Vancouver, but remained with the Expo organisation for only a short time.

In 1983 Taft recruited him as managing director of Australia’s Wonderland in Sydney, and by 1987 he had taken on the role of vice president of show production for Universal Studios Florida and subsequently became senior vice president of planning and development.

In 1992 Keith returned to Cincinnati to join Jack Rouse Associates (JRA), where he remains today as chief executive officer/owner.

*With thanks to Jack Rouse who describes himself as “longtime friend, biker-buddy, colleague and business partner with Keith James since the 1970s”.

Jack was also the founder of JRA and a fellow Thea recipient, honoured in 2008 by the TEA for lifetime achievement.



John W. Robinett
Recognising Distinguished Service to the TEA
AWARD: TEA Distinguished Service


 

John W. Robinett
 

This award is presented annually at the Thea Awards Gala in recognition of a TEA member’s outstanding contributions “above and beyond the call of duty” to the association. Nominations are open to the TEA membership; the final selection is made by majority vote of the TEA Past Presidents Committee and approved by the TEA International Board of Directors.

John W. Robinett, senior vice president, economics at AECOM, is this year’s recipient of the TEA Distinguished Service Award. As a mild-mannered “numbers guy” wading into the creative-infested waters of the TEA, John has spent more than two decades giving time and expertise as a board member. He has sponsored events and activities through his company, presented and spoken at TEA conferences, advocated and ensured the continuation and growth of the annual TEA/AECOM Theme Index publication, and chaired and served as committee member of the TEA Thea Awards Committee. All the while, John’s “day job” included working with clients such as the Walt Disney Company, Getty Museum, Beach Park in Brazil, 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Universal Studios and Pixar Animation Studios.

He explains his commitment to the TEA as follows: “Well, first, TEA members are great people, incredibly creative, great ideas, very good to work with from a business perspective, be friends with, have good relationships with”. John also says “They appreciate one another’s gifts and talents. It is really rewarding to work with TEA members.”

*With thanks to Gene Jeffers, retired executive director of the TEA and 2012 Distinguished Service Award recipient.


Thea Awards Gala

The 22nd annual Thea Awards were presented in April 2016 at a sold out black tie gala evening at the Disneyland Hotel Grand Ballroom in Anaheim, California, US, sponsored by Chimelong. The awards show, produced by The Hettema Group, was attended by more than 700 guests, VIPs and award recipients, honouring the people and projects in this feature. The TEA’s weekend of events, including the two-day TEA Summit Conference, hosted more than 1,000 guests from all over the world.
 



Thea Awards Gala
 


Thea Awards Gala
 
San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park
San Diego, CA, USA


AWARD: CLASSIC

To honour an exemplary and influential project that has stood the test of time (25+ years), TEA created the Thea Classic Award. Past recipients include Madame Tussauds London, “it’s a small world” (Disneyland), Studio Tour (Universal Studios Hollywood), Efteling Park, Exploratorium (San Francisco) and Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen.

What began in a moment of inspiration after the close of the 1915 Panama-California Expo has resulted in a century of amazing animals and extraordinary people coming together to pursue a vision. The 100-acre (40-hectare) San Diego Zoo is primarily a cageless facility for more than 3,700 rare and endangered animals, and a renowned botanical collection that enjoys an annual 3.75 million visitors. Sister facility San Diego Zoo Safari Park opened in 1972 and receives some two million annual visits. Its 1,800 acres (728 hectares) are home to more than 2,600 animals and 1.5 million botanical specimens.

Consistently, both have been at the forefront of innovations in contemporary zoo-keeping and most active in conservation and preservation efforts. Over the last century, conservationists with San Diego Zoo Global (a non-profit organisation dedicated to saving species from extinction) have worked to preserve and reintroduce more than 30 endangered species. Looking towards the next 100 years, the well-known conservation organisation is using new technologies and community supported efforts to turn the tide of extinction and create a world zoo where all species are protected in their native habitats, as they are in accredited zoos.

In July 2015, TripAdvisor.com Travelers’ Choice Awards recognised San Diego Zoo as the best in the US and in the world.

 



Both of these attractions have led the way in best practice zoo-keeping and active conservation and preservations efforts
 


Both of these attractions have led the way in best practice zoo-keeping and active conservation and preservations efforts
 
 


Both of these attractions have led the way in best practice zoo-keeping and active conservation and preservations efforts
 
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2018

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS