Robert Ward’s fifty-year career has focused on leisure entertainment and resort destination industries worldwide. Bob has established himself as a respected industry veteran with proven success collaborating with large, multidisciplinary development teams in the conceptualization, design and production of mixed-use destinations, resorts, theme parks and signature attractions. He is particularly effective assessing stakeholder expectations, project development realities, and key consumer guest experience attributes that translate directly into strategic planning principals and design guidelines. During his twenty plus years with Universal Studios Parks & Resorts he was a Co-Founder and key executive of Universal’s creative think tank development team. Bob is acknowledged as being instrumental in the creative repositioning of the Universal Studios Tour from it’s beginnings in Hollywood as a film and TV business “industrial tour” into a new and pioneering theme park brand.
Bob led the conceptualization, guest experience storytelling, integrated resort master planning and “signature placemaking” principals for all aspects of Universal Orlando Resort, Universal’s multi-billion dollar premiere entertainment resort destination in Florida. He subsequently focused on strategic planning for Universal’s worldwide brand expansion, including New Business Development site selection and master planning for Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, Universal Studios Beijing/Shangahi China and numerous other business opportunities in greater Asia and Europe. Universal Parks & Resorts is now one of the most recognized leaders of destination entertainment, theme parks and resorts worldwide.
In 2005, Bob established a consulting practice where he leverages his diverse planning and design insights, market, business and operations experiences into added development and business value for his clients in the areas of leisure and resort destination, theme parks and attractions, and integrated mixed-use developments.
He is also partnered with Philippe Cousteau Jr., grandson of legendary explorer Jacque Cousteau, and Andrew Snowhite, to create added economic, social and sustainable environmental value in key segments of the tourism industry. This includes empowering youth to take action that restores and protects our water planet for future generations.
The International Themed Entertainment and Experience Design Industry awarded Bob the internationally prestigious THEA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. This Award was given in recognition of his exceptional career and contributions to the highest standards of excellence and creative achievement associated with the arts and sciences of themed entertainment, outstanding visitor experiences, attractions and places.
Select highlights include: Currently Chairman, Global Advisory Board for “Qiddiya”, Saudi Arabia’s future entertainment, sport and cultural destination on the edge of Riyadh; Currently Advisory Board member Urban Legacies, redefining the world of adventure sports and active leisure lifestyle destinations; Executive Strategic Planning and Design Advisor to the CEO and COO of Samsung Everland Resort in Seoul; Executive Producer for the highly successful USA Pavilion at the 2012 World Expo in Yeosu Korea; Joint venture exploring new port development and eco-experience storytelling in the Caribbean for the rapidly growing cruise tourism industry; Development of new branded concepts in the fast growing Location Based Entertainment destination industry.