Creative Works Founder Jeff Schilling passed away on Sunday, July 26, after courageously battling cancer for almost four years.
Jeff took inspiration from his entrepreneurial grandfather and started Creative Works in 1997. Jeff was working in the laser tag industry and, at the time, most laser tag arenas were sterile spaces, lacking imagination and creativity.
Jeff saw an opportunity to reimagine and build a much better game environment. He transformed these static spaces into epic, movie-style sets where guests could become the heroes of their own journey. These immersive experiences delivered the WOW Effect, which would become the Creative Works cornerstone over the next two decades.
Under Jeff’s visionary leadership, the company expanded its product line to include many more attractions like indoor mini golf, escape rooms, laser mazes, virtual reality, and Esports. He worked with thousands of business owners all over the world and became ingrained in the amusement industry.
Creative Works started as an idea at his kitchen table and turned into an industry powerhouse with more than 60 employees and almost 50,000 square feet of office and production space. His attractions connect with tens of millions of people around the world each year.
Jeff also believed in empowering operators through education to strengthen the industry as a whole. In 2011 he started the LaserTAG360 program, which today is called Amusement 360. These events were designed to bring the industry’s best together to educate, inspire, and share the tools for success.
Jeff’s impact went far beyond the business itself. When he was diagnosed with cancer, he was determined to share a message of positivity with those around him. He traveled the world to learn from the best leaders in business, health, and mental strength. These lessons gave him a sense of gratitude for every moment, and he encouraged others to view life through this lens.
As he stated in a presentation during the 2019 F2FEC event, “When you have gratitude and appreciation, much can be done, much can be gained, and much can be shared.”
Jeff never hesitated to share. He became a mentor to others and helped foster their personal growth to create a lasting impact and force for good.
Jeff’s legacy will live on through his wife Kimberly and the charity the two of them started in his final days. More details about this charity will be announced in the near future.
Creative Works President Armando Lanuti will continue to lead the company and help create memorable experiences for millions of people around the world, building on the vision Jeff started over 22 years ago.