In a career that spans over 30 years, Phil Hettema has overseen the design and production of leisure destinations, live shows, global events, and themed attractions that have been experienced live by millions of people around the world. He has achieved recognition for projects ranging from museums to theme parks that combine creative design with innovative technology to tell compelling stories that entertain and inspire. Hettema’s signature brand of authentic, engaging design results in award-winning master plans, immersive environments, shows, exhibitions and attractions that focus on outstanding guests experiences. Phil Hettema and his dedicated team of talented professionals push the limits of what is possible to create places where imagination comes to life and to tell stories that you can touch.
In 2002, Hettema founded The Hettema Group, where he serves as Creative Director to a highly collaborative staff of veteran designers and creative artists. As a full-service design firm, The Hettema Group has the power to take the spark of a single concept and drive the entire design process from destination master planning to exhibit design, media production and on site installation supervision.
Phil Hettema has successfully leveraged the combined talent of the creative design team in numerous projects including “Beyond All Boundaries,” a special large format theatrical film production for the National World War II Museum, recipient of the prestigious AAM Gold Award. Recent and current projects include the design of the world’s largest observation wheel for Caesar’s in Las Vegas, design through production of the US Pavilion at Expo 2012, in Yeosu, Korea, for Philippe Cousteau and his non-profit - Earth Echo International, the design of a Hello Kitty theme park for Sanrio, and the design of an interactive dark ride for a major theme park. The Hettema Group is also currently developing master plans for a wide variety of mixed-use, retail, entertainment and dining destinations, cultural institutions and resorts around the world.
Prior to founding his own company, Phil Hettema was Senior Vice President, Attraction Development for Universal Studios Theme Parks Worldwide for over a decade. He was responsible for the creative development of attractions and shows, ongoing master planning for all five Universal parks, including concepts for domestic and international expansion for Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s PortAventura (Spain), Universal’s Islands Of Adventure (Florida), and Universal Studios Japan.
Phil began his career as a designer at Disneyland and Walt Disney World before going on to play a key role as production supervisor for major worldwide events such as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games and the Liberty Weekend Statue of Liberty Centennial Celebration. His credits also include projects for Steven Spielberg, the Walt Disney Company, Dreamworks SKG, Sid and Marty Krofft, and David L. Wolper. He has been a guest lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University, USITT, IAAPA, KIN, and SIGGRAPH. Phil holds four patents for entertainment technology solutions and has been honored with numerous THEA awards from the TEA including THEAs for Beyond All Boundaries (2010) T2:3D (1997), FiestAventura (2000), The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (2000), and Universal’s Islands of Adventure (2000).