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Meet the 2014 IMERSA Summit organizing team

2014 IMERSA Summit, March 6-9 in Denver. Theme: Shaping the future of immersive spaces. Lifetime honors for Jeri Panek of Evans & Sutherland. Professional development, panel discussions, Innovators presentations, screenings, networking and more. Prof. Donna Cox of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications is a featured speaker. For more information including registration, hotels and meeting venues, click here.

Meet the organizers: Dan Neafus, Michael Daut, Mike Murray, Ryan Wyatt, Ed Lantz, Judith Rubin, Ian McLennan, Brian Wirthlin, Carolyn Collins Petersen, Ken Scott, Patrick McPike, Matt Mascheri, Chris Hill, Chris Maytag and Toby Mensforth. Read on...

2014 IMERSA Summit Organizers

Michael Daut.smallProfessional Development Chair: Michael Daut
Director of Show Production/Marketing, Evans & Sutherland

Michael Daut is an award winning writer/producer/director of fulldome videos, theatrical productions, music videos, live concert videos, commercials, documentaries, corporate videos, and trade show presentations. He has done pioneering work incorporating 3D technology in fulldome theaters and helped create the world’s first digital fulldome transfer of a giant screen film, “Africa the Serengeti” in 2007. Michael is a member of the ASIFA-Hollywood International Animated Film Society, the Telly Awards’ Silver Council, the Producers Guild of America, and a Board member of IMERSA.

Joe Kleiman interviews Michael Daut for InPark Magazine


Murray2Professional Development Co-Chair: Mike Murray

Programs Manager, Clark Planetarium

Mike Murray supervises and manages the production and show distribution efforts of one of the country’s most active digital dome theaters at Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City, Utah. He sets program directives and manages a staff of ten in the development of computer animation-based dome shows, including popular science shows, current events/sky programs, children’s shows, live-narrated interactive presentations, entertainment programs, guest lecturers and special events.

Mike has been a space and astronomy enthusiast since watching the Apollo moon landings. He loves to talk telescope observing, space exploration, digital dome production, and astronomy. He made his own 16” scope a few years ago and feels that Utah is one of the best places on Earth to observe from. Read his Clark Planetarium blog.

danNeafuslSummit Chair: Dan Neafus

Operations Manager of Gates Planetarium, Denver Museum of Nature & Science; Founding Director, IMERSA

Dan has produced engaging audience experiences for over 30 years,and continues to do so as Operations Manager of one of the finest immersive digital dome theaters in the world, the Gates Planetarium. He is past president of the Rocky Mountain Planetarium Association.

His consulting design firm Artlight Design Inc., provides public and performance artworks across the country. With an emphasis on technology, Dan utilizes many tools in his work, from supercomputer graphics, to 3d sound and automated lighting. By collaborating and inspiring fellow visionary pioneers he has charted a course for the future of domed theaters and the immersive experience.

Ryan WyattRyan Wyatt

Director of Morrison Planetarium and Science Visualization, California Academy of Sciences/ Founding Director, IMERSA; Co-chair of IMERSA Standards Committee

Ryan Wyatt assumed his role at the California Academy of Sciences (San Francisco) in April 2007. Previously, Wyatt worked for six years as Science Visualizer at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City; previously, he opened technologically-advanced planetariums in Phoenix, Arizona, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Wyatt’s professional interests include making research data sets accessible to the general public, and developing standards and “best practices” in the fulldome video community. A paper co-written for Natural History magazine reflects on the role of modern planetariums in bringing cutting edge science to a variety of audiences, and his “Visualizing Science” blog provides an informal look at his ideas and opinions related to visual representations of science. Wyatt also indulges avid enthusiasms for archeoastronomy, the history of science, and intersections between art and science. See his public profile on LinkedIn


edLantzEd Lantz, president & CTO, Vortex Immersion

Immersive Art & Entertainment Expert/Founding Director, IMERSA; co-chair of IMERSA Standards Committee

Ed Lantz has over 20 years of management and executive level experience in media and entertainment technology, art, science and business, successfully envisioning and leading high-risk technical and entrepreneurial operations with excellent strategic planning, management, marketing, P&L, and negotiation.

Ed is internationally recognized as a pioneer and leading authority in large-format digital cinema and immersive experiences. Other areas of expertise include cable television, themed entertainment, photonics, virtual reality, events production, 3D animation and special effects for large-format film and video.

JudithRubinMarch 2013Summit Co-Chair: Judith Rubin, IMERSA Communications & Development

Judith Rubin is a publishing professional, social media strategist and content marketer for the experience design industry. Areas of specialization include specialty cinema and media-based attractions, museums and science centers, theme parks, performing arts centers, world's fairs and entertainment technology.

Since its founding in 2008, Judith has spearheaded communications for IMERSA, building relationships with media outlets, helping foster strategic alliances with the Themed Entertainment Association, Producers Guild of America, GSCA, SIGGRAPH and others, and reaching out to IMERSA sponsors.

Please contact Judith [judy[AT]] if you are a member of the press interested in covering the 2014 Summit, or a member of the industry interested in IMERSA sponsorship opportunities.

Visit Judith Rubin's blog

IanMcLennanIan McLennan, Ian McLennan Consulting

Ian C. McLennan  has extensive experience in public project planning and administration; conceptual/ strategic planning and management of public projects; co-ordination, fund raising, merchandising and sponsorship preparation for projects and events in cultural and educational organizations, museums, planetariums, science/ interpretation centres, tourism projects and World Expositions—with emphasis on creative thinking, exhibition development, production management; feasibility, governance and administration analysis.

Brian WirthlinBrian Wirthlin, Seiler Instrument & Mfg. Co., Inc.

In 1979 at age 20 Brian became Chief Technician of the McDonnell Planetarium in St. Louis, and a Laserist with Laser Images, Inc.  Today Brian describes himself as Planetarium and Fulldome guru for the Seiler Instrument/Carl Zeiss Planetarium team. In between Brian has engaged in a variety of geeky projects involving software, hardware, and optical  design as well as production control, field service, special projects, and R&D. Brian is also COO of Photon Alchemy, LLC. It's in this persona that Brian is attempting to reboot the '70s-era Laserium shows at the McDonnell Planetarium (Saint Louis Science Center).

CCPCarolyn Collins Petersen, CEO Loch Ness Productions

Carolyn Collins Petersen has supported and contributed to IMERSA and IMERSA events since its founding, and we welcome her back to the Summit team again this year. 

Carolyn is an award-winning science writer with more than two dozen Loch Ness Productions shows to her credit and is responsible for show development, editing and writing contracts, and other outreach services for Loch Ness Productions clients. Carolyn has also written custom scripts for Evans & Sutherland Corporation, edited scripts for Sky-Skan, Inc., and created shows for major planetaria across the U.S.

Recent projects include writing a series of 32 short multimedia media pieces for Starmap, an iOS-based astronomy app for iPad and iPhone. Her latest book, released in July 2013 is Astronomy 101: From the Sun and Moon to Wormholes and Warp Drive, Key Theories, Discoveries, and Facts about the Universe published by Adams Media. Read her "Spacewriter" blog

Ken Scott, Digital Chaotics

Ken ScottKen Scott's insatiable appetite for more and more computer power and his penchant for being the first to create wild and crazy art on the latest exotic computer designs have led him to work on all kinds of wild and crazy projects in the course of a 30+ year career in Silicon Valley.

He's created artwork on virtually every computer he's encountered, from making a roomful of teletype printers "sing" to rendering dizzying animations for domes and virtual reality systems; from screensavers on cellphones and desktops to synthesizing music and fractals on the fastest supercomputers. Ken says, "he just wants to blow your mind" with what he calls "music for the eyes."

These days you'll find Ken still chasing his dream - in his private lab in San Jose, California, surrounded by hand-built computers and digital toys running his custom-designed software.

patrick-mcpikePatrick McPike, Visualization Engineer, Adler Planetarium

"I am an Artist, Leader, Storyteller and Imaginer... As a planetarium veteran, I specialize in dome theaters and space visualization. I use the most advanced planetarium software and computer graphics programs to develop the workflow for immersive storytelling. To help achieve my creative goals, I formed Immersive Creations LLC, an immersive media and design company.

"In my role as Technical Director at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, I collaborated with Sesame Workshop, NASA, NCSA, and numerous other planetarium and outside partners, writers and directors to create some of the most popular dome shows to date, including the first ever 8K (67 megapixel) dome show produced in the US. My work is currently shown in numerous planetariums around the world and my visualizations have been featured on the cover of Science magazine and in many exhibits and festivals.

"Aside from dome productions, I design and create VFX content for many standard formats."

matthewmMatt Mascheri, Dome3D

Matthew is an award winning fulldome artist, programmer, producer and founder of Dome3D LLC. Prior to founding Dome3D, he received his B.A. from Columbia College and was the Producer and Director of Digital Design at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. Now as President of Dome3D, Matthew brings his unique knowledge of art, programming and computer knowledge to the field of fulldome production.

IMERSA welcomes Matt back to the Summit for another year of dynamic and engaging contributions.

Chris MaytagChristopher Pray Maytag, Fiske Planetarium

Chris Maytag is Production Lead at the University of Colorado's Fiske Planetarium (Boulder), and is currently guiding the fledgling digital production department, as well as working to create a new undergraduate film & digital media internship program at Fiske. They produce content for faculty of the Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences Department and others. As the largest planetarium between Chicago and Los Angeles, Fiske serves countless CU students, students from local school districts, and the general public. A technical, scientifically-minded animator and pixel-miner, Maytag writes, makes photographs and enthusiastically creates educational content to communicate wonder and love for the natural world and universe. His specialties are video editing, motion graphics, copy editing, social media and general "evil genius" activities.


Chris HillChris A. Hill, Sliced Tomato Productions

Chris serves as the Producer & Business Manager of SlicedTomato Productions, based in Greenville, South Carolina USA. SlicedTomato is focused on creating fulldome education modules primarily using camera-captured footage. "Our team likes a challenge and we are open to suggestions," says Chris. "We are excited about supporting IMERSA and being part of the Summit this year." This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

TobyMensforthToby Mensforth, Mensforth & Associates

IMERSA looks forward to leveraging Toby's extensive experience working within the business development, brand and operations groups of museums and cultural institutions, to help create a great 2014 Summit program.

Toby is expert in the world of Museums, Giant Screen and specialty cinema (this includes IMAX and digital cinema formats). He has extensive experience in revenue generation, business and audience development for major institutions, and substantial experience and operational knowledge in insitutional experiences including, simulators, food service, box office, branding, management and operations. See his LinkedIn profile



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