Design companies merge to create THG


The Pasadena-based Hettema Group and South Pasadena-based Themespace have merged to create ThemespaceHettema 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 manufactures attractions for theme parks, museums and major brands. Its clients include Universal Creative, Walt Disney Co. and DreamWorks.
Hettema Group’s Phil Hettema will serve as the company’s Managing Director, while Themespace’s Erik Neergaard will serve as the company’s Chief Creative Officer and COO.

“We have both been working in this space for a while. It’s a unique niche of entertainment companies,” Hettema said.
“It takes a specific set of skills to do that. Erik has been in the business for (over) a decade, I have known him for 25 years and his company has a unique set of skills and perspectives similar to mine. It seems like a natural opportunity to join forces.

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 founding the company in 2002, Hettema was senior vice president of attractions development for Universal Studios.

Prior to founding Themespace, Neergaard advised and managed 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 Leash; Jurassic World – The Ride; The DreamWorks Theater: Kung Fu Panda Adventure; and The Simpsons Ride for Universal Studios and Dubai Parks.

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

Hettema and Neergaard agreed that the market is currently incredibly busy, demonstrating the need for a company like theirs.
“Everyone is hungry for experiences, and we see an opportunistic horizon for the work we do…we think it’s a great time to spend together going forward,” Hettema said.

“We’re seeing growth from the perspective of people just coming out of Covid,” Neergaard said. “A lot of projects that could have been put on hold in 2020 came back and came back furiously. Customers are eager to put them in the pipeline… for us it’s about meeting that demand, planning and being part of that structure as they reinvest in the projects they were going to do and bring them to market . It’s a multi-year cycle and what we’re seeing is growth to accommodate that.


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