Organization: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Committee Position: Member
Term: 07/01/2014 to 06/30/2020
Therrin Protze is chief operating officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, operated by Delaware North. He was named COO of the Visitor Complex in January 2014 and has made enhancing the guest experience a top priority since he began.
Protze oversees all aspects of Delaware North’s operation of the Visitor Complex, which it has done on behalf of NASA since 1995. The popular Florida destination, only 45 minutes east of Orlando, welcomes visitors who come to tour Kennedy Space Center, experience such attractions as Space Shuttle Atlantis®, Shuttle Launch Experience® and even see live rockets launches.
Since being named COO, Protze has spearheaded major upgrades and additions to enhance the guest experience while telling NASA’s inspirational story. Major projects include the new Astronaut Training Experience® and Heroes and Legends featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®. Future projects include a series of improvements and enhancements to prepare for the return of crewed launches from Kennedy Space Center. In addition, Delaware North was awarded an early extension from NASA to continue operating the Visitor Complex until 2028 and achieved record attendance in 2016 and 2017.
He joined Delaware North in 2006 as vice president of gaming operations at its global headquarters in Buffalo, NY where he supervised the operational performance of over three casinos. Before joining Delaware North, Protze worked with Harrah’s, Trump and Barden Companies as senior director of operations at Majestic Star Casino. Protze spent eight years in the United States Marine Corps prior to his time in the gaming industry. While in the Marine Corps, Protze earned the rank of sergeant and held several leadership responsibilities.
In every place Protze has worked and lived, he’s always served and supported community organizations. He participates on five community boards, and under his leadership, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has participated in two consecutive record-breaking United Way campaigns, raising millions of dollars for the community. In 2016, Therrin received the Distinguished Public Service Medal awarded by NASA.