Virgin Galactic, an aerospace company manufacturing air and space vehicles and seeking to provide spaceflight to private individuals and researchers, has hired former Imagineer Joe Rohde, who left Disney this year.
Rohde will be Virgin Galactic’s first Experience Architect, bringing his experience as an Imagineer to the job of designing experiences for the company’s future astronauts.
Rohde, who is most known for his work at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, recently arrived in New Mexico. In the company’s press release, he said, “I spent 40 years with Walt Disney Imagineering and that word, ‘Imagineering,’ refers to the fusion of imagination and engineering. This means I’ve come from a tradition where if you are imagining something, you are imagining that thing is going to be made real. That’s also been going on here at Virgin Galactic, and I’m delighted to be joining at this incredible moment in time when it is about to blossom into public awareness.”
Rohde continued, “This is one of the most profound things that can happen to you. To go beyond the reaches of the earth, to space, and look back down at it. It’s a spectacularly unique opportunity with huge potential for transformational change in a person… What Virgin Galactic is doing, in democratizing space travel, has reached a moment where it is about to enter history. It’s happening right here in New Mexico, and it’s very rare to be a person who gets to be in the place, at the time, that history begins.”
Michael Colglazier, CEO of Virgin Galactic who also previously worked for Disney, said, “As soon as I joined Virgin Galactic, I knew there was one person we just had to work with to help shape the incredible experience we are developing – and that person was Joe Rohde. Joe has a methodology that is unique, inspired, and truly effective. His track record for keeping authenticity central to the design and creating deeply transformative experiences aligns perfectly with our mission. I couldn’t be more pleased to see Joe choose Virgin Galactic for his first encore!”