How & Where I Started

Somewhere in the flatlands of the mid-west in the early 90's I was hired on by two friends of mine to assist in selling their travel incentive programs. My two friends, who gave me that first break in the industry, owned a small travel incentive house and agreed to take me under their wing as a sales manager.  Prior to that, when we were together skiing or out to dinner together, they would constantly be talking of great travel programs they were operating and I was always intrigued. One day I finally mentioned to them "I've traveled quite a bit and I love to travel, how can I get involved in this business?"  So the story goes... Their client niche for travel programs were broadcasters, TV & Radio stations across the country.  Back then many TV stations were independently owned and still enjoyed operating travel incentives for their client base.   After 5 years of gaining an education in the travel industry with them, a few clients, and many great destinations later, a close friend convinced me to attend tour management school.  After that was all said and done and immediately out of school I was hired by a British Company. I began leading coach tours with British clients throughout the western US.  Another company also took me on about the same time which would later turn out be, the main tour company that would subsequently send me all over the world leading college alumni group tours.  That was a wonderful education on many levels and many incredible world destinations of which many I still thoroughly enjoy traveling to. In meeting many fine people in these wonderful places to whom I call my friends, I continue to enjoy an ongoing rapport with many of them today. Many friends and acquaintances tell me they wish they could see the destinations I've seen and experience the travel I have done over the last 25 years however;..I stop them and say yes, it's been a great education and the travel is a wonderful bonus however; of all the places I've been, it's the people I've met and gained as friends along the way is what makes it most gratifying.
As I mentioned prior, after 25 years of traveling and seeing the world, I'm hungry from more.
Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow One other aspect that goes hand in hand with leading tours is handling logistics for corporate meetings, conventions and special events. As a free-lance Travel Director, I have worked with several meeting planning companies both large and small across the US. Living in Las Vegas makes that an easy decision to work with convention groups and various corporate companies coming to town for meetings.  Generally this involves moving groups from airports to hotels, hotels to restaurants and the convention center or vice versa, you get the picture.  Other times it may involve handling special VIP's and his or her family or perhaps setting up a general session sales kick-off for 1000 attendees.  Other times it may involve a hospitality desk providing answers and help to those attendees or putting together a helicopter tour for a satellite group. There are many different aspects and logistics to handling and managing meetings and events and I have experienced most of them. It is definitely a far cry from visiting Venice and the Doges Palace however; it is a vital role in the tourism industry and I enjoy it immensely. Living in Las Vegas I will continue to pursue this avenue along with my main focus of planning and leading tours. Tour season may be busy for several months of the year and the meeting industry will be busy for the other part of the year. It is a wonderful balance holding down the two aspects of my career.
Children in Traditional dress in Cusco Peru hiding from the rain; one of my favorite photos
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