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Design Companies Merge to Create THG

Design Companies Merge to Create THG


Pasadena-based The Hettema Group and South Pasadena-based Themespace have merged to create Themespace\Hettema Group. The new company, which will be known as THG, is based in Pasadena.

The merger was announced on April 21.
THG is a creative agency that makes attractions for theme parks, museums and top brands. Its clients include Universal Creative, Walt Disney Co. and DreamWorks.
The Hettema Group’s Phil Hettema will be the company’s chief executive, while Themespace’s Erik Neergaard will be the company’s chief creative officer and chief operating officer.

“We’ve both been working in this space for quite a while. It’s a unique niche of the entertainment businesses,” Hettema said.
“It takes a specific set of skills to do this. Erik’s been working in the field for (more than) a decade, I’ve known him for 25 years and his company has a unique set of skills and outlooks similar to mine. It seems like a natural opportunity to join forces.”

The Hettema Group’s past projects include the High Roller Observation Wheel at The Linq in Las Vegas, the One World Observatory inside One World Trade Center in New York, the “Beyond All Boundaries” exhibit at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, and the DreamWorks Water Park in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Prior to forming the company, in 2002, Hettema was the senior vice president of Attraction Development for Universal Studios.

Before founding Themespace, Neergaard had advised and led parks and attractions for companies including Universal Studios, 20th Century Studios, DreamWorks and Sony Pictures Studios. Some of his projects include the Los Angeles Dodger Stadium: Centerfield Project; The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash; Jurassic World – The Ride; The DreamWorks Theatre: Kung Fu Panda Adventure; and The Simpsons Ride for Universal Studios and Dubai Parks.

Neergaard said that what sets the company apart from others in the sector is that THG will not only design but also build and implement experiences.
Hettema said the merger will allow THG to take on more projects, including those with larger scope.

Hettema and Neergaard agreed that the market right now is incredibly busy, demonsrating the need for a company such as theirs.
“Everybody is hungry for experiences, and we see an opportunistic horizon for the work we do…we think this is an excellent time to move to the future together,” Hettema said.

“We see growth from the standpoint of people are just coming out of Covid,” Neergaard said. “A lot of the projects that might have gone on hold in 2020 have come back and have come back furiously. Clients are eager to get those in the pipeline…for us, it’s about meeting that demand, about planning and being part of that structure as they reinvest into the projects they were going to do and get those out into the marketplace. It’s a several-year cycle and what we see is growth in accommodating that.”



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