Thea Awards 2023: Around the World
TEA Service Award winner Kevin Murphy of Kraftwerk Living Technologies cares every time.
Interview by Judith Rubin and Martin Palicki
Kevin Murphy’s distinguished career has made him a leader in theme-based entertainment technology for decades. With familiar and friendly faces from industries all over the world, Kevin brings his business development skills to a short but powerful list of companies, including his current employer. Kraftwerk Living Technologies Kevin is also an unabashed advocate for the industry. By supporting organizations like TEA to the ends of the world. He has been instrumental in the development of TEA’s business in Europe and has been a steadfast volunteer for TEA since its inception. Here are some reasons he received the TEA Peter Chernack Award for Distinguished Service and will be honored at Thea Awards Gala this April at the Disneyland Resort.
You work in a museum. Why did you move to the seller side of the business?
I was pretty stubborn during my time. And while I am fascinated by mathematics and physics By the time I turned 17, I found myself working in the civil service developing Nuffield physics and electronics experiments for Her Majesty’s School Inspector in an old laboratory on the site of WWII radio station – Ivy Farm.
Within a year I traveled to the UK to teach basic electronics in a residential course. After five years I applied for a job at the Natural History Museum London. which led to working with curators scientist and exhibition designer to help develop the museum’s technical system To say that it was new and extremely fun would be an understatement. But we led the industry in the ’70s and early ’80s. I still love that place. people I work with And the secret in the basement!
I am ambitious and my next opportunity has come Robert Simpson, one of the founders of Electrosonic and a great innovation leader in AV for our industry. I got to know him and the company from visiting museum sales events. Joined in 1987 as Product Manager.which is a luxury term for salespeople in those days really That started a new chapter in my life. Armed with company cars briefcase and a few more suits
How did you get involved in themed entertainment?
My new role at Electrosonic has taken me to museums, retail stores, science centers, brands and amusement parks, and I love it! My first “theme park” project was the Granada Studios Tour in Manchester. and the Coronation Street experience, the hit TV show “Soap.” I also experienced the Sanrio Puroland project in my early years, and my first trip to Los Angeles was to Helped to program animatronics at a subsidiary called Roboshop. I remember that trip well. and a colleague took me around LA and its attractions
Working at Gardaland in Italy on the pirate-themed I Corsari, which debuted in 1992, introduced me to Intamin, Technifex, Creative Presentations and more, along with the creative team led by Richard Crane and Chris Miles. and experience the themed entertainment community in the United States. Including a rather lovely chapter named Monty Lunde.
What is your history of involvement with TEA?
Monty often talks about setting up an association to look after and protect small companies in the industry. And I was honored to be invited to be the first member and sit in the first meeting. Started building the TEA European business group and I’m here to help.
In the early 90s and 2000s I was very involved with TiLE – leisure and entertainment technology. I had the pleasure of chairing the 2000 Conference in London shortly after that last conference. I am very active on the board of the European TEA division. I have been on the board for about nine years and chair for seven years.
I see myself as a dedicated volunteer. Be a team player who believes in the organization. I like and respect the people in Europe and the US with whom I have to interact. in line with my work life All I can do is be a catalyst – get involved. Admit when I’m wrong and make a decision. I’ve managed a big team in my career and I’m “very senior” but I really just like being right-hand man. However, I like planning and strategy. And we have expanded our divisions to cover the Middle East.
The first European SATE at Disneyland Paris was an exciting step. I have a soft spot for SATE Europe as the event is a really good combination. of delegates from North America and Europe with a touch of the Middle East. Usually in an environment that makes them very entertaining.
Tell us a little bit about the art of business development unique to this industry.
I am fortunate and nothing more than in my current position at Kraftwerk Living Technologies (KLT). The team is filled with the best creative engineers. And I can focus on sales. marketing and business development. And I don’t need a technical design. Because there are many people better than me who can do it!
in business development There has to be a structure and a reason why you are reaching in a certain direction. Build a network that can expand in the future. as well as allow for changes in strategy
With personal experience from senior executives to store level in many industries and countries. I can walk into meetings that are “cold” and always find something interesting for those who are wondering or talking about it. Building relationships requires listening and trying to say the right things. do the right thing and gain trust
What do you love about this industry?
I like to work on projects that have a reasonable amount of time. And I love seeing projects succeed. I’m always working on fixed installs. And I’m also passionate about making something that millions of people will see and hopefully like – so I think I love making an impact and our industry certainly does. Our industry also respects age. It plays an important role for young players and even older players like me – I turned professional at the age of 60 and KLT welcomed me into the job. And I found a company that cares as much as doing “the right thing.”
I also want to help entrepreneurs of all types and everywhere expand their horizons and enhance the guest experience with technology and immersive approaches. Many museums and cultural institutions still do not value entertainment as a time competitor. However, entertainment is needed to be educational, simple.
Overall, I think the themed entertainment sector will continue to flourish and grow. The industry offers endless opportunities for innovation and discovery. And it helps customers to identify exactly what visitors want.
You have seen a lot of worlds How does that make your outlook on life?
Traveling taught me a lot. but above all Respect for the different people and cultures you meet. The need to listen and learn and stop looking ahead all the time which sometimes I feel guilty when I get excited Vancouver Island, Japan, Los Angeles, and Austria are my favorite places. I’d hop on a plane with little excuse for those places.
in terms of business travel Networking and learning from others is invaluable and necessary. and prevent you from becoming isolated or having narrow views Advice to my colleagues – when traveling to trade shows Always check to see if a TEA gathering is being held there. Here are some of the best networking and professional development events.
What advice can you give to others who want to contribute more to TEA?
Meeting and working with other TEA members to gain knowledge and experience. add new opportunities It also helps to understand your customers and your competition. You get back what you put in.
Being on a board is good. But everyone can support our association by volunteering, from helping with events to helping with recruitment and membership. There are many little things that need to be done to help the organization grow and prosper. And this is where every member, young or old, should start. TEA does a great job of bringing together culture and entertainment along with brands and retail. One of the most rewarding qualities of a TEA is the openness and friendliness of its work.
TEA must be a global association to thrive and survive. by paying attention and adjusting Members and leaders must be aware and understand the entire market. It’s not just the parts they touch. Understand that there is a difference – and listen.
Little known facts about Kevin What is Murphy?
“Murphy Bus” – Maastricht in the mid 90’s and TiLE meetings and what happened after midnight after a great meeting dinner in the Chateau. and for those who have been through this experience That bus and the trip was memorable enough. Fortunately, there were no mobile phones and cameras in those days. So the legend continues.
Your dream vacation or cruise?
The Rainforest and the Sea – Make this year a trip to the Amazon and Galapagos. I love nature and everything it has to offer. And I’ve never been happier than when surrounded by flora and fauna with Maggie. My lovely wife • • •