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Ben Howard

Candidate for Head of Resort Theming and Design

Thank you for taking the time to visit my online CV for Head of Resort Theming and Design. As I am so excited for this opportunity I wanted to give you the best possible overview as to why I feel I am perfect for the role. 

A little about me!
(Well... This is all about me actually)

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Merlin life

Current role: Rides Coordinator

Merlin team member since: 2016

Completed projects: 7

Line manager: Gaz Birks

Favorite ride: Wicker Man

Outside of Merlin

Current role: Rides Coordinator

Number of pets: 2 - Sully & Kiki


Married for: 6 years!

Hobbies: Performing magic, Visiting other theme parks, Collecting pin badges, Playing guitar 
 

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Why I feel I am perfect for this role
 

Creativity

Why whole life I have had creativity within my bones. Since I was a child I have loved theme parks, magic, halloween attractions, music, theatre and anything else creative I could be around. I was a professional magician straight out of college for many years before joining Experian as a product manager in 2010 and moving to Merlin in 2016. 

I have developed products for Magician, Animatronics for scare attractions and consulted on various adverts and TV shows. 

How is this relevant to being the Head of Resort Theming and Design?

All of my deepest passions and interests revolve around story telling, which is why I was attracted to working in the theme park industry to begin with. My strong passion and interest in telling the best story possible to our guests through theming, ambience, landscaping, lighting and any other tools at our disposal would be a focus in the role. I understand the importance telling a story and immersing our guests in their environment can have.

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"Ben worked with me to deliver Love Hurts at Screamfest 2017 horror attraction. It was a pleasure to work with him and to describe the different environments and allow him to interpret the designs himself but he also knows when to ask questions to understand the different designed elements to match the brand and attraction narratives. I would have no hesitation on contacting him in the future to create more incredible environments whatever the project."

 

Andrew Porter - Co-Owner & Creative Director @ Firefly Creations

(Previously creative lead for Resort Theme Parks within Merlin)

Theme Park and Operational Knowledge 

My six years within Merlin have been within the Rides Department. Being in such a hands on and operational role within Merlin has allowed to gain much understanding as to the real world conditions in which theming elements, landscape and theatrical designs have to endure as well as the practicalities in which both staff and guests interact with these elements. 

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(not me!)

I have also been part of the teams to open new attractions such as Wicker Man, Gangsta Granny, Go Jetters and others. Being hands on in these project has also given me a deep understanding as to the importance in balance between theming and safety, budget restraints and prioritising guest facing elements. 

How is this relevant to being the Head of Resort Theming and Design?

During my time within Park Operations, I have been in scenarios many times when we have limited budget to achieve the maximum theatrical impact within our rides. We have had to analyse (through taking thousands of photos and reviewing them in detail) which guest facing elements should be allocated budget based on various factors which as guest contact and visibility, environmental factors, the life cycle of the ride, the popularity of the ride or area and many other factors.

Other reasons I believe this opportunity was made for me!

Project Management and budgeting

I have experience in managing projects and budgets within Merlin. There have been a number of projects which I have championed within Alton, some of which we have been the first resort to launch! I understand the importance delicate and relevant stakeholder management, from managing internal suppliers (Magic Making) as well as external suppliers and contractors. I have also had to balance budgets across these projects and utilise Netsuite to create and distribute POs. 

Branching outside of Alton

I have worked closely with many other RTPs and Midways on a number of attractions. Last year I spent many weeks between LLW, TP and Chessington during the development of the Rides Operations Application.

Executive Masters of Business (specialising in International Marketing)

I have been undertaking various business degrees since starting with Merlin, with my most current degree being an Executive MBA. This degree has a strong focus, with entire modules dedicated to, Project Management, Stakeholder Management, Collaboration, Finance and many other topics in which the skills would be directly transferable to this role. 

Passion, goals and Enthusiasm

I am an extremely driven person. I take great pride in knowing that the harder I work and more successful both myself and my team are, the most fun that 2M+ guests a year have. I love our industry, and the responsibilities and areas of focus within being Head of Resort Theming and Design directly align with the areas of Merlin and the industry in which I have never ending passion for.