The Themed Attraction Student Showcase returns again with a stellar panel of judges. Our goal at Themed Attraction and the TEAAS (Themed Experience & Attractions Academic Society) has always been to build a bridge from the academic world to industry. To that end, we’ve put together this panel to help you make real connections with working professionals from legendary themed entertainment design companies.
Themed Entertainment design students will be able to connect with experienced professionals, who will both encourage and critique their work. If you are a current student or recent graduate, this is a prime opportunity to make connections and network with industry veterans. We invite you to take advantage!
New Panelists for 2023
(In alphabetical order by last name)
Greg Andrade – Architect – LEED AP
GREG P. ANDRADE – ARCHITECT – LEED AP is an accomplished licensed Architect and Visual Artist who enjoys working in the realms of Narrative and Themed Entertainment Design experiences. Greg is an expert in the creation of Conceptual Content and in turn the translation of Visionary Content into actual finished projects. Greg has extensive experience directing on-site installations and is an expert in Design Thinking and Process. His knowledge in the use of materials, construction methods and strategic planning have fostered a 30 year career in the world of narrative design. Following a 10 year career as a Concept Architect at Imagineering with The Walt Disney Company he founded:
ANDRADE STUDIO in October 2000-Present.
Andrade Studio develops master planning – high concept and design development work for themed environments teaming with companies including The Walt Disney Company, Wyatt Design Group, Universal Studios, The Hettema Group, Landmark Entertainment, Warner Bros. as well as many local LA Basin Architectural firms in need of Narrative Story driven conceptual overlays. The firm has worked on projects in the USA., Asia, UAE, Europe, Japan, China and Korea.
1993 Greg Founded ANDRADE ART WORKS, INC, including ‘HATCH GALLERY’ – Pasadena, Ca.
which was established to promote and educate young Artists sponsoring many First Gallery Shows for young undiscovered talent.
Adam Bezark – President – The Bezark Company
Adam J. Bezark is an award-winning Writer and Creative Director who fuses a wide variety of media and technologies to produce startling new entertainment experiences. His experience ranges from museum exhibits to theme park rides and attractions, film and video, live shows and spectacular special events.
Adam’s reputation for merging story, space and spectacle is well established. Adam’s creative experience covers both consulting and executive roles. As Director, Creative Entertainment at Walt Disney Imagineering, Adam was responsible for developing new entertainment concepts, products, and master strategies for Disney theme parks in Asia and the United States. The Bezark Company is an ongoing consultant to WDI on a variety of new projects.
Ryan Harmon, President + Chief Creative Officer – Zeitgeist USA
Terry Brown – Sr Creative Director – Forrec
Terry is FORREC’s blue sky thinker, a highly creative person who looks at projects with a fresh, inquisitive mind. As FORREC’s Senior Creative Director, he works closely with clients, project teams, artists, illustrators, renderers, and animators to bring concepts to life.Terry joined FORREC in 1995. He has contributed to several high-profile projects including: Legoland Deutschland, in Günzburg, Germany, BBC Worldwide in the United Kingdom, Universal Studios Dubailand in the UAE, Everland in Seoul, Korea, many large projects in China, and more locally, the Niagara Power Plant Attraction located in Niagara Falls, Canada. Prior to FORREC, having spent several years working as an architect and urban designer, he founded Street Seats, a public furniture design company with projects throughout Canada. His broad design experience included time as a set designer for the television and film industry.
Terry has won numerous awards for his work including the Nuffield Foundation Fellowship Urban Design Study in the UK, the “Port-A-Park” Modular Street Furniture System, Centre de Creation Industries in Paris, France and the Manitoba Department of the Environment Urban Design Excellence Award.
Joe Lanzisero – Executive Vice President + Chief Art Director – Zeitgeist USA
James Moore – Creative Director – Falcons Creative Group
A former Imagineer, our Creative Director has over 15 years of experience developing innovative design solutions and compelling interactions within the themed entertainment industry. He has served his teams as a creative designer, art director, technical designer, and an artist, among others, and his work can be seen in theme parks and cruise ships around the world.
James Moore began his career in themed entertainment as a Show Design Intern with Walt Disney Imagineering. As an intern and later a Creative Designer, James redefined the Guest-to-park interaction model, leveraging unique technologies and innovative solutions to drive the creation of a new industry paradigm. In these roles, he consistently delivered creative direction that simultaneously achieved story and theming cohesion while meeting operational sustainability and code adherence.
Later as a Senior Concept Designer, James developed concepts and design intents that drove the design and construction of Walt Disney theme parks, resorts, and cruise ships worldwide. Among his many projects, he led a team of 20+ members as the interactive director and key conceptual visionary for a first-of-its-kind interactive experience.
Most notably during his time with Walt Disney Imagineering, James spearheaded the MyMagic+ system, delivering new experiences and interactions that balanced innovation and corporate objectives while seamlessly integrating with existing story. He also designed the human interaction model, partnering with multiple cross-functional teams to validate its intuitiveness and usability. His many contributions across the company resulted in numerous patents, 50 percent improvement in customer satisfaction ratings, and the implementation of interactives across multiple locations.
At Falcon’s Creative Group, James has distinguished himself as a decisive leader who drives full lifecycle projects from initial vision through launch. His rare combination of strong traditional art fundamentals coupled with modern interactive and iterative design principles enables Falcon’s to execute products with sensitivity to mission-critical design criteria, expectations, storytelling, and creative intent. We’re fortunate to have him as a creative sounding board and vision holder for our future experiences, attractions, and parks.
Mark Spencer, BLA, MBA – Creative Director – Falcons Creative Group
Mike West – Innovations West
Mike West is a rare blend of talent whose 40+-year career spans a bridge of extraordinary experiences built upon a lifetime of work with two legendary companies – Walt Disney Imagineering and Universal Creative. Mike now returns to lead Innovative West after more than 14 incredible years with Universal where, as an Executive Producer, he recently led Blue Sky development of the largest and most ambitious project in the company’s history – Universal’s EPIC UNIVERSE. Once EPIC headed to the field, he took over creative development for projects featuring DreamWorks Animation properties, as well as Fast & Furious, a worldwide, blockbuster film franchise. Mike was also responsible for the design, development, production and installation of Skull Island: Reign of Kong, a massive attraction at
Universal’s Islands of Adventure (2016). Mike joined the Universal Creative Studio in 2006 as Show Producer for The Simpsons Ride at both Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood. The attraction opened to rave reviews in 2008 and received the prestigious THEA Award for Best New Attraction from the Themed Entertainment Association, as well as Best New Theme Park Attraction by Theme Park Insider. Mike’s other Universal projects have included the gigantically popular King Kong 360 3D at Universal Studios Hollywood (2010); THEA Award-winning Transformers – The Ride 3-D attractions for Universal Studios Singapore (2011), Universal Studios Hollywood (2012), and Universal Studios Florida (2013); Annie & VES Award-winning Despicable Me Minion Mayhem at Universal Studios Florida (2012), and the delectable Simpson’s Springfield expansion at Universal Studios Florida (2013), which laid the groundwork for the THEA Award-winning Simpsons Springfield at Universal Studios Hollywood (2017).
Innovative West, Inc., is a creative design company Mike originally founded in 2005 after a 25-year career with Walt Disney Imagineering. Innovative West’s list of clients has included Chimelong, AOA, Virgin Galactic, Sunrise Animation Studios, United States Space Force, NBC Universal, The Coca-Cola Company, Walt Disney Entertainment, Carnegie Mellon University, Silver Dollar City, The Franklin Institute, J.W. Marriott, Renaissance Hotels, and the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum.
Mike is also a contributing author on several books about Walt Disney Imagineering and its creative process, including The Imagineering Way, Ideas to Ignite Your Creativity, and The Imagineering Workout, Exercises to Shape Your Creative Muscle.Mike is a member of the University of Central Florida’s College of Arts and Humanities Themed Experience Advisory Council and past member of both the Eastern Regional, and International Board of Directors for the Themed Entertainment Association.
Logan Zawacki – Sally Dark Rides
Logan Zawacki is a key member of the Project Management team at Sally Dark Rides and has managed such notable attractions as the THEA award-winning, interactive dark rides: “Sesame Street: Street Mission” at PortAventura World & “Justice League: Battle for Metropolis” at multiple Six Flags locations.
When he’s not traveling all over the world to install the latest dark ride, Logan is the co-creator/host of the THEME PARK SHUFFLE podcast, a founder/featured artist for GAAM (Games Art and Music), and always looking for opportunities to guest lecture or provide virtual presentations to college classes/clubs interested in Themed Entertainment.
Logan has a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of North Florida and a MFA in Photography from the Savannah College of Art & Design. Before working at Sally, he had the pleasure of teaching photography as a Visiting Assistant Professor at UNF and then became the Program Coordinator of Design at the Art Institute of Jacksonville.
(alphabetical order by last name)
Louis Alfieri – Principal / Chief Creative officer at Raven Sun Creative
Mark Amos – Executive Vice President, JRA – Part of RWS Entertainment Group
Mark Amos, JRA Vice President, has been with the company for nearly two decades, working on and leading theme park and attraction projects for such clients as Ferrari, LIONSGATE, Hasbro and Angry Birds. His experience in the industry is results-driven and brings a creative approach based on his thorough understanding of creative development and design processes, master planning, project and construction management.
As Executive Vice President, Amos focuses on managing the design staff, fostering collaborative efforts within the industry and providing overall support to the design development of the various JRA projects.
Peter Cliff – CEO and Founder – Conductr
Conductr is a collective of designers, artists, engineers and developers who create large-scale attractions and experiences that captivate human connectivity and transform physical environments using media and next-gen technologies.
Previously he was the Global Creative Director // VP Creative for Holovis Immersive Attractions. Prior to that, he was the Global Shows Creative for Merlin Entertainments where he was responsible for the conceptualization and delivery of children’s entertainment, main stage shows, musical productions, street theatre and special events. In particular, he led the creative vision for Alton Towers Resort’s annual Halloween event, Scarefest, with The Sanctuary and Sub Species attractions taking the award for the UK’s scariest horror attraction.
Throughout my career, I have operationally managed and coordinated several high-profile events and products. I have a keen eye for organization, professionalism, quality, delivery, and time-critical management. My proficiency spans from owning a successful theatre company to engaging with multiple international intellectual properties
Scott Ault – Managing partner – Railton Entertainment Design
A creative executive with over 30 years of experience, Scott Ault has worked with clients and IP partners to develop an extraordinary roster of international attractions and entertainment. World-class companies such as Walt Disney Imagineering, 20th Century Fox, Sony, DreamWorks, Marvel Entertainment, Lionsgate, BBC Worldwide, Aardman Animation, and Nickelodeon are just some of the brands Scott has helped.
Prior to forming RED, Scott was President and CEO of Rethink Leisure & Entertainment where he oversaw the development of four entire IP-based theme parks, and was Chief Operating Officer of BRC Imagination Arts, one of the longest-standing and largest design firms specializing in visitor experiences. During his time at BRC, Scott held the positions of Vice President of Project Development, Managing Director of European Operations, and Vice President of Creative Development.
Scott began his career in 1987 at Walt Disney Imagineering, where he was the youngest-ever show producer at the time. He has gone on to assume positions instrumental in the development, opening, and operation of highly successful projects around the world, including over a half dozen theme parks, four World Expo Pavilions, and a dozen museums and corporate visitor centers.
He believes in fostering an enjoyable project creation process, mutually beneficial working relationships, and dealing honestly and ethically on all fronts.
Ian Mac Vittie – Executive Vice President at Technifex XR
Mk Haley – Lecturer at The University of Texas at Austin & Former Imagineer
Mk has more than 25 years of experience at Walt Disney Imagineering in Themed Entertainment Design, Production, and R&D. She has also taught Computer Animation, Game Design and Themed Entertainment Design at Carnegie Mellon University, Florida State University and UCLA. With over 30 years of service to industry associations, Mk is also a huge supporter of the ACM SIGGRAPH Conference planning process as well as the Themed Entertainment Association Conferences and Academic Society. Mk currently serves as faculty at UT Austin in the Arts & Entertainment Technology program.
Jason McManus – Principal at Thinkwell Group
With over 20 years of experience in the themed entertainment industry, Jason McManus has developed a proven track record of creativity, innovation, and strong creative leadership on a multitude of projects ranging from theme parks to live shows, hotels, cruise ships, and entertainment destinations. With a background in animation and theatrical set design, Jason guides projects with a narrative-based focus, leading teams to develop successful concepts with an emphasis on originality and a spectacular guest experience.
Prior to Thinkwell, Jason worked in creative leadership roles for Walt Disney Imagineering, The Hettema Group, Wyatt Design Group, and Lightning in a Bottle Design & Production. Jason also teaches themed entertainment design at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).
Jessica Piatti – Concept Artist / Attractions and Theme Parks Designer
My name is Jessica Piatti and I’m a designer with a passion for theme parks and feature animation. I studied Communication Design at the Politecnico of Milan, specializing in the field of animation and CG. My skills range from spatial storytelling to the creation of immersive environments, from graphic design to 3D modeling. I bought the famous Theme park design book and started putting on paper first ideas and attractions based on my favourite IPs of the time including Harry Potter and the Lord of the rings. I was the hired by Jora Vision as a graphic designer and then moved onto creative concepts. There I had the chance to learn and grow in the industry and work on many projects from theme park master plans to museum experiences (including the 2023 Thea award winner Quake! in Lisbon). In my free time I create places and attractions with my partner experimenting with new techniques to bring experiences to life through POVs and VR previz. I am now embarking on a new adventure in the videogame industry that is enriching my experience with a new point of view and approach on design.
John Polk – Senior Vice President – Executive Producer at Technifex
Master of Ceremonies & Panelist
Freddy Martin – Director of the Creative Collective – Storyland Studios
Freddy Martin, MSML is a gifted communicator, strategist, and leader with decades of experience leading teams in Experience Design, Marketing, Communications and Fundraising Development.
An expert in content marketing, Freddy helps companies tell their stories and drive enthusiastic brand interaction through authored articles, social media, and search engine optimization. He has led the marketing efforts of three design studios. Freddy led brand identity development for international charity Children’s Hunger Fund. He is co-host of the “Themed Attraction Podcast,” a themed entertainment industry show, and “The Backside of Water Podcast,” an entertainment show about the history of Disneyland attractions.
Freddy has vast experience in championing vital social causes by inspiring action and initiating an irresistible, emotional response. He serves as Development Director for Triumph Foundation, a charity focused on improving the lives of people with disabilities.
Freddy began his career as a skipper on Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise where he learned the value of experience design and immersive storytelling. He led the design development of “Poverty Encounter,” an immersive themed attraction that helps visitors understand the realities of global poverty. He has produced gala fundraising events and a unique campout experience for fathers and their kids.
A prolific writer, Freddy creates volumes of content for brands and publications including curriculum, scripting, and ghost-writing for business leaders. He is a contributing editor for themedattraction.com and contract writer for InPark Magazine. He enjoys interviewing theme park design luminaries for his personal blog, FreddyMartin.net and is authoring a fictional novel on the life of Walt Disney.