Phil Hettema


William Alton Founder and Chief Executive Officer Phil Hettema, Buzz Price Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, is THG Creative's Founder and Chief Executive Officer. With a distinguished legacy of over 40 years in themed entertainment, Phil leads a world class team of experience designers, architects, and media producers known for creating uniquely compelling guest experiences with great emotional resonance. Notable projects include One World Observatory at One World Trade Center, the High Roller Observation Wheel at The LINQ in Las Vegas, and Beyond All Boundaries at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Prior to forming his own company, Phil was Senior Vice President, Attraction Development for Universal Studios Theme Parks Worldwide for 14 years. He was responsible for the creative development of all major attractions and shows, including Terminator 2: 3D, Jurassic Park, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Backdraft, and many more. He oversaw master planning for all five Universal parks, including domestic and international expansion for Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s PortAventura in Spain, Universal Studios Japan, and, most notably, the conception and delivery of Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Florida. He also served as Senior Creative Executive for Location Based Entertainment at Dreamworks. Phil is an alumnus of ArtCenter College of Design, instructed courses at the institution, and endowed a scholarship for environmental design. He has been a guest lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University, USITT, IAAPA, KIN, ICOM, SIGGRAPH, and at the TED Conference. Phil holds four patents for entertainment technology solutions and has been honored with numerous Thea awards from the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) including Theas for One World Observatory (2016), Beyond All Boundaries (2010), FiestAventura (2000), The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (2000), Universal’s Islands of Adventure (2000), and Terminator 2: 3D (1997). In 2017, Phil was honored to receive the Buzz Price Award for Lifetime Achievement from the TEA. Back to team

Erik Neergaard


William Alton Chief Creative Officer Erik is the Chief Creative Officer and COO of THG, an experience design and production studio based in Pasadena, CA. He has acted in a host of creative leadership and advisory roles for signature parks and attractions for some of the world’s most high value brands, IPs and developers such as Universal, Dreamworks, Paramount, Sony, and McKinsey to list just a few. Whether cultural, entertainment or a blend of the two, Erik is able to elevate an experience to the delight of the audience and the success of the developer. Highly accomplished and well respected within his industry, Erik is recognized as a dynamic, creative visionary with a long history of developing innovative and award-winning experiences all over the globe. Back to team

Debbie Lindquist


William Alton Vice President of Finance As Vice President of Finance for The Hettema Group (THG) Debbie Lindquist is responsible for all of THG’s financial functions, including accounting, audits, corporate and project finance. She brings a strong record of success overseeing finance and operations functions in major entertainment, and is a dynamic leader who effectively creates analytical tools to enhance strategic insights. Debbie thrives in fast-paced, creative environments and truly enjoys using the power of financial accounting to provide the foundation for creative teams to do their best work. Debbie comes to The Hettema Group after 25 years at Warner Bros. Entertainment, most recently as Warner Bros. Animation’s Vice President of Finance & Administration. There, she oversaw all finance, accounting, and studio operations as a member of the Senior Leadership Team. Working closely with Creative, Operations and Corporate teams her responsibilities included financial planning and analysis, reporting and budgeting, accounting and franchise analyses for animated properties at Warner Bros. and Blue Ribbon Content, providing valuable insights to the creative and executive teams as they determined which projects to greenlight. She also oversaw the WBA facilities team, managing the studios multiple production spaces. Debbie received her Bachelor of Science, Business Administration & Accounting from Cal State Northridge. She looks forward to guiding THG’s financial future as the company prepares to execute its slate of complicated, challenging, and multi-faceted projects. Back to team

Marc Epstein


William Alton VP, Marketing and Business Development As the Vice President of Business Development and Marketing, Epstein is responsible for managing The Hettema Group’s marketing and sales strategy as well as cultivating business relationships, identifying new opportunities and working alongside THG’s senior leadership to grow and shape the future of the innovative company.  Epstein has spent his career working throughout the media and entertainment industry, building exciting campaigns through unique collaborations. He spent the majority of his career with Nickelodeon, leading innovative marketing partnerships for non-traditional and new business partners, shaping sports marketing strategy, and crafting programs to support Nickelodeon’s recreation venues, tours, and exhibits. Epstein oversaw the creation and marketing efforts for multiplatform programs for media partners such as Nationwide Insurance, United States Postal Service, and Famous Footwear; developed Nickelodeon-themed sport’s events including the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle 400; and enhanced experiential initiatives with partners including VStar, Triple Five Group, and Universal. He was most recently at Six Flags developing strategically aligned marketing programs that organically integrated clients into the theme parks. Epstein’s experience also includes roles at the Hallmark Channel, Young & Rubicam, and NBC where we started his career as an NBC Page. Back to team

Maeve Scanlon, Esq.


William Alton Vice President of Business Affairs As the Vice President of Business Affairs, Scanlon is THG’s head of legal and responsible for managing the business’ legal processes from proposal commencement to project completion.  She leads project negotiations, intellectual property management, and contractual relationships with clients, vendors, subcontractors, and business partners.  Scanlon has spent her career in the entertainment, events, and location-based and themed entertainment industries, focusing on and specializing in contract, corporate, intellectual property, and employment law.   Her dynamic in-house approach working directly with business teams has led to strategic and strong collaborations with global clients like Warner Bros. Entertainment, Universal Studios, Disney, SeaWorld, and numerous world-class theme parks, production companies, museums, and pop-up experiences.  She has overseen and managed all legal and compliance efforts for a wide range of clients and projects, acting most recently as Global Head of Legal for Thinkwell Group, where her innovative and collaborative approach led to many successful international location-based and themed entertainment projects. Scanlon has a passion for supporting her community, and aside from previously acting as counsel for the Special Olympics World Games, sits on Boards and committees of various non-profit organizations and charities in the Los Angeles area. Back to team

Rani Bal


William Alton Vice President of People Rani Bal leads THG’s Human Resources and Talent Acquisition. In her role, Rani serves as a strategic business partner and advisor providing leadership in all HR functions, including talent recruitment, workforce planning, policy implementation, organizational development, and supporting employee relations. Over the course of more than twenty years, Rani has mastered the ability to find the right person for the right job. Rani has worked in a wide range of industries, from hospitality to retail. Her themed entertainment roots extend back to key roles at Kings Dominion. Most recently, she served as VP of People for Thinkwell, and as a consultant supporting studios in the HR and talent acquisition realms domestically and internationally. Rani proudly served in the United States Military following her education at the Virginia Back to team

Scott Sinclair


Scott Sinclair Executive Director of Design Scott has played leadership roles in the conceptualization and design of many high-profile themed entertainment projects, including the Dragons Wild Shooting interactive dark ride at Lotte World in Seoul, Korea; the Hello Kitty Theme Park in Anji, China; Tokyo DisneySea; Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland; Sony’s Metreon retail entertainment center in San Francisco and Mediage in Tokyo; and multiple live shows and parades for Disneyland’s Marketing and Entertainment Division. He has served as lead designer on numerous other ambitious projects, including Paul Allen’s Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle, The National Ag Science Center in Central California, Ski Dubai indoor ski resort, and Paul Allen’s “Flying Heritage Collection,” a WWII fighter plane display in Seattle. EDUCATION B.A., Theater Technology/Set Design, California State University, Long Beach NOTABLE PROJECTS & CLIENTS Magic Kingdom, Tomorrowland Tokyo DisneySea Ski Dubai Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, Seattle Abbey Road Studios Chicago Museum of Science & Industry Dollywood Universal Studios Shanghai Disneyland Dreamworks Chimelong Ocean Kingdom Back to team

William Alton


William Alton Senior Director of Design William Alton is Senior Director of Design with over 25 years working in the Theme Park, Hospitality, Retail and Restaurant industries. He has been Design Team Lead for the Universal Studios Hollywood Jurassic World. the Dodgers Stadium Renovation and Entertainment Plaza projects, the Atlantis The Palm Dubai Aquaventure and many other projects in the United States and internationally. He served as Vice President of Design for Paramount Pictures Parks and Resorts where he supervised the creative and design development of all other national and international aspects of recreation and hospitality for Paramount Pictures. He had development oversight on many R&D projects, including VR and AR themed entertainment experiences based on Paramount Films. Alton also worked with major game companies in developing Next-Gen Gamified experiences for theme park applications and worked as a creative consultant and concept designer for Walt Disney Imagineering in the development of attractions and resorts for Disney’s Anaheim, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Back to team

Ezra Perez


William Alton Director of Project Management Thoughtful, versatile, and dynamic project director with 15+ years’ experience working with and guiding creative project teams from concept to delivery. Accustomed to managing multi-disciplinary teams to deliver world class one of a kind attractions on accelerated time tables in logistically challenged environments as the Owners representative. Projects completed total $1.1B over a 15 year period. NOTABLE PROJECTS  Fast and Furious: Supercharged, Universal Studios Hollywood, California The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios Hollywood, California and Orlando, Florida Velocicoaster, Universal Studios Orlando, Florida Back to team

Nichole Garza


William Alton Director of Project Development As the Director of Project Development, Nichole collaborates with clients in the earliest stages of development, understanding their goals and needs, and these into phases of design that lay the foundation for creatively and commercially successful experiences. Nichole brings over 15 years of experience in themed entertainment, live theatrical productions, and world-renowned events from both Production and Business Development perspectives. She brings the blend of these experiences to her work collaborating closely with clients and project teams, guiding the design process to create unique and memorable experiences that are aligned with clients’ vision and goals. Nichole spent many years touring with Ringing Bros., Barnum & Bailey Circus, eventually serving as the Director of Production. In this role, she was responsible for guiding the creative development of new shows, bridging the expertise of artists from the live entertainment community with the unique and particular needs of a real life three ring circus. This experience has given Nichole a broad perspective, experience working with exceptionally diverse teams and bridging the worlds of technicians, artists and acrobats, uniting them around a common vision and leading the path forward. Nichole has worked with a diverse array of clients throughout the themed entertainment and live entertainment communities including Dragone, Prince’s Paisley Park, Universal Studios, City Football Group, and The National WWII Museum. Back to team

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