Glenn Birket Receives TEA Masters Award

Glenn Birket, UCF alumnus, honored for his work on Disney, Universal projects

University of Central Florida alumnus whose expertise in ride controls led him working on Universal’s JAWS ride and Disney’s Maelstrom was honored recently.

Glenn Birket was one of seven people recognized for their careers during Themed Entertainment Association’s convention last week in Orlando. Their backgrounds range from lighting to art direction and production.

Glenn Birket and Others receiving the TEA Masters Award

Birket, who studied electronic engineering at UCF, got his start at Disney as as captain of the Nautilus at Walt Disney World’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and later worked for Walt Disney Imagineering to construct Epcot, according to TEA.

He later founded Birket Engineering which became involved with several influential projects at Disney and Universal — including designing, building and commissioning the ride control system for Maelstrom (which has since closed and reopened as Frozen Ever After) in Epcot’s Norway Pavilion.

“Glenn went on to design and implement show control systems for Disney Hollywood Studios’ Epic Stunt Show and Superstar Theater opening attractions,” his bio said. “Later Glenn would design and build Universal Studios Florida’s JAWS and Earthquake ride control systems and implement Universal StudiosHollywood’s Riot Act Stunt Show show control software.”

Now, Birket Engineering is in demand for projects around the world, TEA said.

The other honorees are: Joe Falzetta, lighting designer; John Lindsay, project management; Ralph Nielsen, master craftsman and project production; Rich Procter, writer; Phillip van Stratum, creative director; Nina Rae Vaughn, art director and illustrator.

“In honor of these incredibly talented individuals who have dedicated their professional lives to Themed Entertainment, the TEA has developed the TEA Masters program, with the purpose of recognizing those who are truly ‘Masters of Their Craft,’” wrote Monty Lunde, TEA Masters Committee Chair.

TEA, a nonprofit based in Burbank, represents 15,000 creative specialists.

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