Steve has worked in the themed entertainment industry continuously since 1979, first as a parade and waterski performer at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and later as a project manager for Universal Creative and Walt Disney Imagineering. Steve is a UCF Electrical Engineering and Rollins MBA graduate, is a past TEA International Board President, and is licensed in Florida as a Professional Engineer and Electrical Specialty Contractor. Steve is responsible for business development at Birket Engineering, a provider of life-safety hardware & software control systems for world-class rides & shows. Birket equipment may be found in every Disney and Universal park in the world.
Consultant – Art Director/Creative Director
Patrick Brennan retired from Walt Disney Imagineering in February 2016. He was Creative Development Executive and led a diverse group including creative producers, show managers in Glendale Ca, as well as global design and show quality teams responsible for locally driven design work at the Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.
Patrick began his career with The Walt Disney Company in 1980 working in WED Show Production and Show Installation for Epcot. Some of his past projects include Horizons Pavilion, Norway Pavilion, Typhoon Lagoon and Splash Mountain in Tokyo Disneyland. He became a Design Director for Tokyo Disneyland in 1995 and oversaw the day-to-day creative direction of the park. Patrick returned to Florida in 1998 as Director of Show Design for WDI Florida, Walt Disney World. He and his family moved back to Japan in 2006 when he became the Director of Design and Production for Tokyo DisneySea. In 2008, he returned to Orlando as Vice President of Global Design and Show Quality. In 2013, Patrick moved to Glendale CA for an expanded role as Creative Development Executive until he retired.
Prior to joining The Walt Disney Company, Patrick worked on the design and construction of the Miami Metro Zoo creating natural habitats for animals.
Juliette Feld Grossman
Chief Operating Officer
Feld Entertainment, Inc.
Juliette Feld Grossman is Chief Operating Officer of Feld Entertainment®, the world’s leader in live family entertainment. In her role, Juliette leads the company’s strategic planning and business development initiatives.
Since joining the company, she has spearheaded the launch of Marvel Universe LIVE! and led the planning, branding and marketing for Monster Jam® and Monster Energy Supercross, elevating the brands to premier sports and entertainment properties. As part of a new partnership with NBC Universal, she is at the forefront of the new arena spectacular, Jurassic World Live Tour.
Director of the Sports and Entertainment District
Orlando Magic Basketball
Pat Gallagher was named Director of the Sports and Entertainment District for Orlando Magic in July 2016. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing the development of the mixed-use project planned to be built adjacent to the Amway Center.
Pat began his career with the Magic in 2003 as an intern and was hired full-time in 2004 to launch the Magic’s tourism sales department. He quickly transitioned to business strategy manager, where he was responsible for assisting with all aspects of the strategic planning for and the execution of renovation projects in the Magic’s former arena, including a new courtside club, a suite level club, and a reconfigured courtside seating plan. He was also instrumental with the execution of the arena name change from TD Waterhouse Centre to Amway Arena.
In 2007, he was promoted to business development and strategy manager and oversaw the development and build-out of the Magic’s experience center for the new arena (now the Amway Center), which included full mock-ups of suite and other seating products as well as an upscale club environment, with the goal of helping the community understand some of the key amenity differences between the old arena and the Amway Center, which was set to open in 2010.
He also was a key member of the Amway Center development team. Upon completion of the Amway Center project closeout process in 2012, he transitioned to assistant director of legal services and subsequently to general counsel, then added the Sports and Entertainment District oversight to his role in 2014 when he was named general counsel/project director.
Denise has over 20 years’ experience in the themed entertainment industry working in a variety of positions including theme park and resort operations, legal compliance, marketing, sales and business administration. Denise draws upon her diverse background, leadership experience and project management skills, to build and motivate strong teams who are successful in achieving their goals.
During her tenure in Disney Parks Marketing Strategy, Denise was responsible for leading the team that developed marketing strategies and integrated communications plans supporting the Walt Disney World theme parks including special events and attraction launches at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. With Disney Vacation Club Sales and Marketing, Denise managed the strategy and execution of special events and marketing launch campaigns supporting new Disney Vacation Club Resorts and sales channels worldwide.
Some of Denise’s key career highlights are leading the development of Disney theme park attraction launch campaigns for New Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom and the relaunch of Test Track in Epcot and special event marketing campaigns for Star Wars Weekends, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Epcot Food and Wine Festival, Epcot Flower and Garden Festival and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Denise also led the event team that launched the first full charter “Disney Vacation Club Member Cruise” onboard Disney Cruise Line in 2003, an event which continues to delight members today.
Denise’s passion for the themed entertainment industry continues at AOA where she serves as Managing Director and works closely with the owners to grow and diversify the company while creating and maintaining a culture that engages and retains top talent in the industry.
Cecil D. Magpuri is the Founder and President/Creative Officer of Falcon’s Creative Group, an international design firm that creates powerful immersive experiences including global entertainment destinations, award-winning attractions, cutting-edge digital storytelling, and patented ride systems. As an industry veteran, he has led teams to the completion of numerous award-winning experiences such as Heroes and Legends at Kennedy Space Center, Turtle Trek® and Dragon’s Treasure™. He has also developed notable ride system technologies and a host of innovative products, patenting more than 30 of them, including Suspended Theater® attraction and Falcon’s Vision™ AR Headset. Cecil is passionate about bringing joy to a global audience and leverages his skill set and experience to help guide the next generation of themed entertainment professionals to future success.
Merrill Puckett Miller
Corporate Vice President, Guest Experiences
Chief Creative Officer
Herschend Family Entertainment
With more than 20 years in the entertainment design industry, Merrill has worked with some of the top entertainment and retail brands in the world. She has led or participated in the design of a vast portfolio of projects including a 1930’s country fair for Dollywood, top-rated Nickelodeon children’s attractions, Paramount Picture’s Star Trek: The Experience, a world-class Universal Studios Shanghai theme park and a branded experience for the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum. Since joining HFE in 2005, her primary focus has been the development of compelling guest experiences from concept and feasibility through installation. She is the leader of the core creative team, with responsibilities for the creative management of many of the studio’s projects. She is also responsible for the pursuit and management of outside creative resources to supplement project teams and on occasion will serve as a Creative Director for HFE’s capital projects.
Walt Disney Imagineering
David has decades of design experience, nearly 30 years with Walt Disney Imagineering, having a creative hand in successfully developing master planning and resort hotel projects around the globe. Having begun his Disney career at DDC (Disney Development Company) in 1991, he’s worked extensively in the planning and development of nearly every major resort since then and was a major contributor to the successful negotiations that led to Shanghai Disneyland Resort. Before joining Disney, David worked at Perkins & Will, and led the Urban Design Studio of Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) in Chicago. He graduated from Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 1987 and University of Illinois in Chicago in 1985. He has taught numerous Collaborative Learning Center studios at SCAD and received the Graham Foundation Award in 1983. David is a licensed architect, with NCARB, ULI, AIA and SARA certifications.
Bob Ward (Robert)
Robert L. Ward, Inc.
Robert Ward’s forty-year career has focused on leisure entertainment and resort destination industries worldwide. Bob has established himself as a respected industry veteran with proven success collaborating with large, multidisciplinary development teams in the conceptualization, design and production of resorts, theme parks and attractions. He is particularly effective assessing stakeholder expectations, project development realities, and key consumer guest experience attributes that translate directly into strategic planning principals and design guidelines.
During his twenty plus years with Universal Studios Parks & Resorts he was a co-founder and key executive of Universal’s creative think tank development team. Bob is acknowledged as being instrumental in the creative repositioning of the Universal Studios Tour from its beginnings in Hollywood as a film and TV business “industrial tour” into a new and pioneering theme park brand.
Bob led the conceptualization, integrated resort master planning and “signature placemaking” principals for all aspects of Universal Orlando Resort, Universal’s multibillion-dollar premiere entertainment resort destination in Florida. He subsequently focused on strategic planning for Universal’s worldwide brand expansion.
Sr. Director/Executive Producer
Mike has led project teams in the design, development, production and installation of numerous award-winning attractions for Universal Parks & Resort including THEA Award-winners The Simpsons Ride and Transformers the Ride-3D, along with Annie & VES award-winning Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, as well as Simpsons Springfield and Skull Island: Reign of Kong.
Prior to joining Universal Creative in 2006, Mike was president of Innovative West, Inc., a creative design company he founded following a twenty-five-year career as a writer, director, and producer for Walt Disney Imagineering. Mike also serves on the International Board of Directors for the Themed Entertainment Association.