Phil Hettema President - Creative Executive

Phil Hettema is the President and Creative Executive of The Hettema Group (THG).  With a distinguished 30- year legacy in themed entertainment, Phil leads a world class team of experience designers, architects, and media producers known for creating uniquely compelling guest experiences with great emotional resonance.  Notable projects include One World Observatory at One World Trade Center; the High Roller Observation Wheel at The LINQ, Las Vegas; and Beyond All Boundaries at the National World War II Museum, New Orleans.

Prior to forming his own company, Phil Hettema was Senior Vice President, Attraction Development for Universal Studios Theme Parks Worldwide for 14 years. He was responsible for the creative development of all major attractions and shows, including Terminator 2: 3D, Jurassic Park, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Backdraft and many more.  He oversaw master planning for all five Universal parks, including domestic and international expansion for Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s PortAventura (Spain), and Universal Studios Japan, and, most notably, the conception and delivery of Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Florida.

Phil is an alumni of ArtCenter College of Design, instructed courses at the institution and endowed a scholarship for Enivronmental Design.  He has been a guest lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University, USITT, IAAPA, KIN, ICOM, SIGGRAPH, and at the TED Conference. Phil holds four patents for entertainment technology solutions and has been honored with numerous Thea awards from the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) including Theas for One World Observatory (2016), Beyond All Boundaries (2010), FiestAventura (2000), The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (2000), Universal’s Islands of Adventure (2000), and Terminator 2:3D (1997).

Debbie Saale General Manager

As General Manager, Debbie brings a wealth of management expertise to The Hettema Group, with an ability to apply real world experience to a wide variety of design challenges that can at times require unconventional management techniques.  Throughout her career Debbie has demonstrated a unique ability to jump headfirst into management emergency situations, and quickly sort through the issues to streamline workflow and facilitate the design team to reach target objectives.

Prior to her role as a key member of The Hettema Group, Debbie held two posts at Disney Consumer Products.  First, she managed the digital studio and oversaw character art development, style guide production, large format production and digital photography.  She then managed creative operations for Infant/Toddler Pre-School products.

Early in her career, her background in print production and advertising led her to forge her own role as director of a design and marketing company specializing in direct marketing, print production, packaging and point of sales materials.  There, she managed projects and creative teams and served as the primary account executive throughout the production process.  She worked to personally develop relationships with a diverse collection of clients.

Anthony Pruett Senior Vice President – Operations

Anthony Pruett joined The Hettema Group in 2008 as a Project Director with over 25 years experience managing the design and construction of tourism, hospitality and retail projects. Anthony brings extensive on-site project and construction management experience in Asia, the Middle East and North America to all projects at The Hettema Group.

Prior to The Hettema Group, Anthony was involved in assignments that included the Ferrari Theme Park in Abu Dhabi, the Desert Diamond Hotel and Casino in Tuscon, AZ, and a wide variety of Las Vegas-based projects. In addition, Anthony project managed a design expansion of the Gardens Shopping Mall in Dubai, U.A.E., the Durban Film City in Durban, South Africa, the Exterior Show Pavilion/MS Band of Choctaw Indians in Philadelphia, Mississippi, as well as projects in Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, and the Philippines. Pruett also served as technical advisor to the Abu Dhabi government for a range of projects in the emirate. His career in the entertainment industry began with a stint at Spectra Entertainment where select clients included the Sands Hotel (Atlantic City, NJ), Walt Disney Imagineering, Universal Studios, and Microsoft.

Anthony possesses a rare blend of artistic talent and business savvy that make him a true renaissance man. He received an MFA degree in theatrical design from the California Institute of the Arts and is also an attorney, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 2006. 

Cat Wisnoski Director of Human Resources

“Cat” joined The Hettema Group in January of 2015 as their human resource leader.  She brings with her extensive experience in human resource management, organizational design, and workforce development as a multi-faceted business leader.  With over twenty five years’ experience in the service industry, Cat has been responsible for the development and execution of several business and human resource strategy initiatives.  Prior to her joining The Hettema Group, Cat held the executive human resource role of a health care service provider with approximately 6000 employees.


B.A., Lakeland College

M.B.A., University California Irvine

Human Resource Professional Certification


President’s High Growth Training Initiative

Workforce Management – Optima’s Vision Award

California Caregiver Training Initiative

Steve Cathell Director of IT

Steve’s 30-year career in Information Technology began while working at Defense Contractors in Washington DC.  He did coding for the Navy Fleet Modernization Program.  Steve moved to Southern California to lead IT at the Broadcast Center for the Armed Forces Radio and Television program.  After 9 years, he started working with telecommunications company Accurate Telecom, overseeing the company’s transition from Digital Service Offerings to Voice over IP Services. In 2014 he began at The Hettema Group, heading the IT Department, managing expansion in size and scope of services.  Steve enjoys the outdoors, gardening and all things cars.


Technical Certification, CLC, Springfield, VA


Fiber Optic Network Build, Broadcast Center AFRTS, Sun Valley, CA

VoIP Conversion Management, ATI, Van Nuys, CA

Thomas Harding Technical Director

Thomas is known throughout our industry as a master of technical direction in the development of groundbreaking, high-profile theme park attractions. He brings to his current position for THG a proven, 25-year track record of successful projects for the world’s leading theme park companies, with numerous major theme park attractions opened for Universal Studios and Disney.

Thomas’s work has taken him around the globe, including an impressive roster of projects in Asia in particular. He has overseen the technical aspects of attractions for Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney California Adventure, Tokyo Disney Seas, Tokyo Disneyland, Shanghai Disneyland, Universal Studios Singapore, Chimelong Paradise, Sanrio Puroland, Sanrio Harmonyland and Expo ‘93 in Taejon, Korea.

During the course of his career, Thomas has invented special effects equipment that is now standard and found throughout the theme park world. He has received two Thea Awards for best new attraction, for T2-3D and Star Trek: The Experience.

A third-generation Californian, Thomas is an alumnus of the United States Military Academy at West Point and a U.S. Army Veteran.


T2-3D: Battle Across Time, Universal Studios

Star Trek: The Experience, Las Vegas Hilton

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