What do you do in the attractions industry?
Birket Engineering designs and builds ride and show control systems for the themed entertainment industry. The company was started by my brother Glenn in 1984 after leaving Walt Disney Imagineering. Glenn was responsible for the electrical systems for Epcot’s American Adventure. Today we have about 60 employees with offices in Orlando, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
What’s happening at the TEA?
TEA is experiencing exciting growth in several areas, including our membership, international reach, and in the quality and quantity of projects. The interest we’re seeing in our association and our industry has never been greater.
Our staff, Board, Committee and Division leadership has never been better in my opinion. We’re benefiting from the economic growth we see internationally. The world is increasingly aware of the possibilities of themed entertainment. Guest expectations continue to rise – and our industry rises to meet them!
What do you hope to bring the TEA table?
I would like to see further development of TEA’s SATE conference, SATE Academy Days and everything TEA does that fosters a variety of dialogue and networking around the world.
Within TEA we’re optimising our processes and communications.
With your engineering background, do you bring a different perspective to the TEA?
Yes, I think I do. People associate a ride, show or museum project with the things they see and do. The things they see and do are the result of the great efforts of designers, producers, renderers, artists, and storytellers. For every one of those, there is an engineer or technical person who made the project work. You generally don’t hear from the technical people because their personalities often don’t make them very talkative. I can say this coming from a family of engineers.
What do you want to achieve as head of the TEA?
I’d like to continue to expand the Asia-Pacific and the Europe & Middle East Divisions, and increase our overall visibility. For educational topics, there are many sectors and areas relevant to the industry that haven’t been explored.
Do you have any concerns about the industry?
Our industry is at its most vibrant ever, with exceptional growth globally. Guest expectations have been set and I don’t think the appetite is going away. In the US, the leisure industry is now the number two producer of jobs in the private sector.
What trends are you noticing?
The industry continues to extend and integrate with others and we see more well-known IPs and global brands.
We are also seeing see new ideas layered on top of existing facilities.
The globalisation of the industry has brought new energy to storytelling. Out-of-home leisure options are more exciting and varied than ever.
What’s next from the TEA?
We’ve planned a fantastic few days for the TEA Summit and the Thea Awards Gala at Disneyland Resort Anaheim in March.