Park of the Week: Islands of Adventure

Two More Themed Design Firms Join Forces

April 21, 2022, 1:03 PM · Another two top themed entertainment design firms have announced their merger. The Hettema Group and Themespace will combine to form a new company, THG, based in Pasadena, Calif. (Just down the street from Theme Park Insider world HQ!)

Phil Hettema and Themespace's Erik Neergaard announced the merger today at the TEA Summit at the Disneyland Resort. Hettema will serve as THG's Chief Executive Officer, while Neergaard will be the Chief Creative Officer and COO.

Hettema and Neergaard
Hettema and Neergaard. Photos courtesy Mitchell Haddad Photography

A winner of the TEA's Buzz Price Award for Lifetime Achievement, Hettema worked as Senior Vice President, Attraction Development for Universal befiore starting The Hettema Group. In that role, Hettema oversaw the development of classic attractions such as The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Jurassic Park - The Ride, and Terminator 2: 3D, as well as the master plan for Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park. The Hettema Group has created the DreamWorks Water Park at the American Dream shopping and entertainment complex in New Jersey, the One World Observatory at One World Trade Center, and the High Roller Observation Wheel at The LINQ in Las Vegas, among many other projects.

Themespace has worked on The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash and Jurassic World – The Ride for Universal Studios Hollywood, while also creating the new centerfield plaza for Dodger Stadium. Other Themespace clients have included Sony Studios, Paramount Studios, Hasbro, Meow Wolf, Dubai Parks and Resorts, Nickelodeon, and the London Paramount Resort.

"I am thrilled to partner with Themespace," Hettema said. "I have long been inspired by Erik's creativity and innovative spirit, and I believe he will be the perfect partner as we embark on this new chapter. As an independent agency, we will specialize in close partnerships with our clients, to help them realize their goals and turn their dreams into destinations. Through our holistic approach combining both the creative and business sides of a project, we have the ability to create incredible experiences from concept all the way through execution."

Neergaard added, "It is incredible to be working alongside a revered titan of the experiential entertainment industry like Phil. Together we have assembled an even deeper team of talent, combining our expert industry veterans to offer a broader array of world-class services. This will enable spectacular options for envisioning and bringing to completion guest-centric projects that touch, move, and amaze."

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