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Animax Designs recently appointed Jay Rottinghaus to its newly-created position of Vice President, Strategy and Business Development. Rottinghaus brings over 20 years of brand activation, business development, strategic planning, and experiential design experience to the 29-year-old company.

With a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Bowling Green State University, Rottinghaus began his career in the banking sector before leading account management teams at an interactive branding agency. His subsequent seven-year tenure as Director of Sales and Marketing for BHDP Architecture piqued his interest in exploring the intersection of branding and physical spaces, inspiring him to establish the firm’s first environmental design team. This position led to another director-level appointment at a design firm specializing in location-based brand activations. That firm’s foray into the themed entertainment world is what introduced Rottinghaus to Animax.

Rottinghaus feels that his experience in translating brands into environments and connecting those brands to people leaves him well-prepared for this new role. “I believe in the power of story, and I love connecting people to stories in emotional ways within physical environments. At Animax, we’re lifting intellectual properties off the two-dimensional page or screen to create vibrant, sophisticated physical characters.” 

In just the past three years, Animax Designs has grown from 35 to over 130 employees and has moved from a 22,000 sf to an 80,000 sf, state-of-the-art facility. The company is now introducing its Innovation Lab, the aim of which is to leverage existing technologies and launch new ideas to transform the animatronics industry.

Animax CEO Chuck Fawcett feels that this new executive leadership position was needed to ensure that the company continues to progress on a unified, focused course. “Jay provides an injection of fresh perspectives into the business, and he has the marketing, branding, and finance experience that we need, particularly now that we are on this accelerated growth path.”

Fawcett has charged Rottinghaus with leading Animax’s strategic initiatives across the entire firm, ensuring that client objectives are met with creative and operational solutions and that innovation drives future growth. Other responsibilities include increasing brand awareness, shaping Animax’s marketing message, building strategic partnerships, identifying, negotiating, and closing new business opportunities, and managing client relationships on an executive level. Rottinghaus envisions success for his role as an “aligned machine”, in which the company’s people, processes, and projects are moving at a similar pace and trajectory.

“We are on the cusp of being best in the world, from our artistic representation of the IPs to the level of detail and sophistication in our highly-engineered animatronics,” said Rottinghaus. “And with the talent, tools, and techniques that we are bringing to the industry, we are only getting better. People are calling our new facility a game-changer, and changing the game of how physical characters are developed is exactly what we’re doing.”