Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

TEA reveals SATE speakers

Joe Rohde (pictured), David Smith, Linda Smith, Mike West and Phil Hettema have been confirmed as speakers for September’s SATE conference from the TEA (Themed Entertainment Association).

“The speakers include several living legends of the niche industry we call themed entertainment or experience production,” says TEA president Steve Thorburn. “We are looking forward to a stellar gathering in Orlando this September in the company of these and other top innovators.”

Best known for his groundbreaking work creating Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Joe Rohde is executive designer and senior vice-president in the creative division of Walt Disney Imagineering and currently leading the creative effort for the Disney’s new resort in Hawaii.

David and Linda Smith of Smithink are former executives of Busch Entertainment Corporation, where they played a primary role in rebranding the SeaWorld parks and conceiving and shaping Discovery Cove. At SATE, they will deliver an interactive workshop entitled The Challenges in Unleashing the Power of Storytelling.

During his 15 years at Universal, Phil Hettema, now creative executive of his own Hettema Group, was the creative force behind five theme parks including Islands of Adventure. His SATE presentation will be explore Interactivity and Immersion for the i-Phone Generation.

Mike West, meanwhile, joined Universal Creative Studio in 2006 and was executive producer of The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios in both Orlando and Hollywood. He also boasts a 25-year career with Walt Disney Imagineering.

Other planned SATE speakers include George Wiktor of the Hettema Group and Steven L Snyder of the Franklin Institute.

The conference takes place at the Atlantic Dance Hall, Disney’s Boardwalk, Walt Disney World in Florida on September 24 and 25. For registration and fees see

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