The Buzz Price Thea Award - Recognizing a Lifetime of Distinguished Achievements
(formerly the Thea Lifetime Achievement Award)
Joe Rohde, Walt Disney Imagineering
Joe Rohde is a 30-year veteran of The Walt Disney Company, starting his career as a model designer on Epcot, and continuing with projects for Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Calif.; Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.; and Disneyland Paris. Joe led the team that conceptualized, designed and built Disney's Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort. He continues to oversee new attractions for that park and is also responsible for the creative design and content of Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa, at Ko Olina, O'ahu, Hawai'i, which debuted in August 2011.
The challenge of creating Disney's Animal Kingdom, a park with a strong wildlife conservation message, involved years of research and negotiation with constituents from the scientific community, the world of zoos, and representatives of indigenous communities involved in the stories created in the park. In the process of developing the park itself, Joe was instrumental in the development of the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, which has supported more than 180 nonprofit organizations in 111 countries totaling nearly $18 million.
Joe speaks regularly about design and narrative and has appeared at NASA, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the TED conference, Portland Creative conference, and has been the keynote speaker at SIGGRAPH in Boston and Yokohama, Japan, as well as many other venues. He is also a member of the Explorers Club.