– By Dave Cooperstein, senior creative designer
July 13, 2018 marked 20 years ago that I started this amazing adventure at PGAV Destinations. And I don’t regret it for a second.
Over the past 20 years, I’ve worked with some of the most talented minds in the Themed Entertainment and Attractions industry. They’ve taught me what great design really is. They’ve shown me how careful planning is just as important as great design. They’ve been great leaders, great teammates, great partners, great communicators, great collaborators, and great friends. Whether we’re cranking to meet a deadline, or traveling together to meet a client, or just trying to not to meet our doom before we escape from a room, we love what we do and we have a great time doing it.
Over the past 20 years, I’ve learned skills that I never even thought about learning in school. I’ve drawn things I never imagined myself ever trying to draw. I’ve created beautiful images of amazing design work. I’ve invented new ways of thinking about how we work. I’ve created workflows, and standards, and countless tools that make our design work even better. I’ve learned how to use tools that didn’t exist 20 years ago. I’ve learned what it means to always be learning… and sometimes teaching. The commitment we’ve made to the Alberti Program has truly grown into something special.
Over the past 20 years, I’ve worked on projects that are a “dream” project, until the next project comes along, and I realize that it’s ALSO a “dream” project. I’ve collaborated on design teams that have created projects that have blown my mind. I’ve designed things that I was deeply interested in designing, and designed things that I had to learn to love. I’ve helped design the world’s largest aquarium, twice. I’ve designed experiences for world-class destinations, and destinations that no one has heard about… yet.
Over the past 20 years, I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over the US, and the world. I’ve photographed and measured aquariums from coast to coast. I’ve ridden some of the best rides and attractions at the best theme parks, many of which I’ve worked on. I’ve seen a project rise from rice paddies in China to a full working theme park. I’ve spent a night in London, two days in Shanghai, and a week in Washington, D.C. I’ve been behind the glass of a focus group in Cincinnati, sick as a dog. I’ve spent over 30 hours on a plane trying to get to a World Expo.
Over the past 20 years, I’ve struggled, succeeded, laughed, screamed, smiled, joked, yelled, been too goofy, been too serious, pushed myself, pushed others, tried hard, tried even harder, failed often, accomplished a lot, and looked forward to the next time.
And I’ve loved every minute of it.
Thank you, PGAV Destinations, for 20 amazing years. Here’s to the next 20.