Press Release



Theme and guests announced for the Legends 2023 Panel at IAAPA EXPO, Orlando

ORLANDO, FLORIDA (October 10, 2023) — Each year for 26 years, the Legends Panel at IAAPA EXPO, moderated and curated by Bob Rogers, Founder & Chairman of BRC Imagination Arts, has shared the otherwise-lost wisdom and methods of the industry’s great achievers, in a way that helps tomorrow’s creative leaders shape the future.

On November 15 the Legends 2023 Panel will explore the valuable lessons, tools and strategies that enabled Universal Beijing Resort to open in spite of Covid quarantines, lockdowns and more. From ground breaking to ribbon cutting, UBR overcame one unusual challenge after another, with ingenuity, creative problem solving, leadership and grit. Three amazing Legends share insights, strategies, and lessons of a lifetime – lessons that you can soon be applying to your own work. The Legends 2023 panel includes:

Bob Rogers is the Founder & Chairman of BRC Imagination Arts; Moderator and Curator of The Legends Panel. For Epcot, Rogers wrote and produced the original Impressions du France, still playing at Epcot’s French Pavilion, plus two generations of post shows for the GM Pavilion including Bird & the Robot. Rogers has been inducted into the IAAPA Hall of Fame and is a Thea Lifetime Achievement recipient and has two
Oscar Nominations. Rogers’ first industry job was as a magician in the Magic Shop at Disneyland.

Tom Mehrmann, was the President and General Manager for Universal Beijing Resort during it’s development. For UBR, Tom worked with Universal Creative, the Chinese government and the Chinese partners to develop the strategies and teams that would operate the park. Today he is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Universal Destinations and Experiences, Pacific Rim. Previously, Tom was CEO of Ocean Park where, for 13 astonishing years, he successfully fought back and won, staying ahead of the newly arrived Disney Hong Kong. He is also the author of Taming the Mouse, in which he shares the invaluable management and leadership practices instrumental to his successes competing and winning against Disney in Hong Kong.

Sylvia Hase is the President of Hasbas Entertainment. Sylvia has been the creator and producer of an impressive body of award-winning, world-class events and live shows across the United States, Asia, Europe and South America. At UBR she was the creative force that adapted How to Train Your Dragon from film into the Thea-Award Winning stage spectacular, Untrainable – The How to Train Your Dragon Stage Spectacular, including the script, music, choreography and special effects. She also lead the creative development and production of the park’s daily Universal on Parade, featuring themed floats, characters, and performers based on Universal’s Despicable Me/Minions, Shrek, Madagascar, and Kung Fu Panda franchises.

Mike Hightower, is the now retired President of Universal Creative. Michael was named President of Universal Creative after 26 years with Universal Parks & Resorts (UPR.) He oversaw all aspects of planning, design, and creation of Universal theme parks, resorts, CityWalk venues, and new ventures worldwide. He has championed projects worldwide from concept through opening in the U.S., Japan, Singapore, Spain, Dubai, and China. In his prior role as Senior Vice President, Mr. Hightower was responsible for the delivery of UPR’s largest property to date, Universal Beijing Resort. Prior to his career at Universal Parks & Resorts, Hightower was an engineering project manager in the aerospace/defense contracting industry.


Bob Rogers is the Founder and CEO of BRC Imagination Arts, a global strategy, design, and production company that translates brand and cultural stories into transformative, human experiences. For 40 years,
BRC has stood on the front lines, helping brand homes, cultural attractions, and museums build more meaningful, enduring relationships with audiences around the globe. BRC’s unique body of work has earned
over 450 awards for some of the most respected and acclaimed brand destinations in the world including Johnnie Walker Princes Street, the Grand Ole Opry, Amorepacific’s Storygarden , Jameson Distillery Bow St.,
the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ford Rouge Factory Tour, Guinness Storehouse, World of Coca-Cola, NASA Kennedy Space Center and more.


IAAPA is a diverse and dynamic community of global attractions professionals. As the largest international trade association for permanently located attractions, IAAPA unifies the attractions community, connects people to learn and grow together, and strives to promote the highest professional standards for excellence and safety around the world.

Founded in 1918, IAAPA represents leading industry attractions and supplier companies, consultants, and individual members from more than 100 countries. Members include professionals from amusement parks, theme parks, attractions, water parks, resorts, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, science centers, museums, cruise lines, manufacturers, and suppliers. The association’s global headquarters and North America office are in Orlando, Florida, U.S. IAAPA also maintains offices in Brussels, Belgium; Hong Kong, China; Shanghai, China; Mexico City, Mexico. Additional information is available at and through IAAPA’s social media channels: @IAAPAHQ #IAAPA

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