Chief Design and Project Delivery Executive
Walt Disney Imagineering
Craig Russell serves as the co-executive leader of Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI), the creative delivery arm of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, in partnership with Chief Creative Executive Bruce Vaughn. In his role as Chief Design and Project Delivery executive, Russell is responsible for the design, engineering, production, installation and project management functions for Imagineering Theme Park & Resort projects around the world. In addition, he is responsible for WDI's legal, contracts, facilities and operations teams.
A 26-year veteran of Imagineering, Russell was named to his current position in May 2007. He had previously served as Vice President of Environmental Design and Show/Ride Engineering, leading and overseeing the groups charged with transforming creative ideas and concepts into three-dimensional immersive experiences. In this role, Russell was responsible for such design disciplines as architecture, theatrical set design, lighting, graphics and landscape architecture, as well as all facets of engineering for facilities, rides, shows, attractions and entire theme parks, including Hong Kong Disneyland Park, the landmark Expedition Everest attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom, and many key components of Disney's worldwide celebration of the 50th anniversary of Disneyland Park.
As Project Vice President for Architecture and Facilities Engineering, Russell was the executive design manager for Tokyo DisneySea theme park. He also relocated to Japan to serve as field project manager during the construction and installation of two Tokyo DisneySea ports-of-call as well as the 502-room Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta, which opened with the theme park in 2001.
Russell first joined Walt Disney Imagineering in 1980 as a project coordinator for Tokyo Disneyland, Disney's first international theme park. He first relocated to Japan in 1982 to manage the show and ride installation for six major attractions and three lands within the park, which opened the following year. During his tenure with WDI, Russell has led the design—from concept through opening—of some of Imagineering's biggest, most complex and highly successful projects, and worked on the preliminary design of Disney's Animal Kingdom and Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris.
During a three-year absence from Disney, Russell worked as a project manager of entertainment attractions developed for Universal Studios, Six Flags and the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics Committee, as well as several projects under development in Asia. Russell returned to Imagineering in 1986 and, as a senior project engineer, was responsible for the overall technical coordination of the Disney-MGM Studios theme park throughout its design, construction and show systems installation phases.
Russell is an active leader and participant in Disney's volunteer program, and is currently serving as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of Habitat for Humanity. He received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering systems from UCLA in 1980.
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