Meet the 2019/2020 National Director Candidates - About ASTA - ASTA

Meet the 2019/2020 National Director Candidates

Alvin Adriano | Kelly Bergin | Marc Casto | Brian Chapin | Jackie Friedman Tiffany Hines  | Amanda S. Klimak CTIE  | Steve Powers   |


Alvin Adriano

Title: President and CEO
Agency Name:  Travelwise International
City, State   Fort Washington, MD
Telephone:  301-248-8898
Email:alvin@itravelwise.com

Agency Information and Involvement

Number of Years in the Travel Agency Business:  30

Time Currently Spent on Agency Business:  

Full Time (35 hours or more)  X___  Part Time _____

Agency Related Responsibilities: Overseeing the growth of a family owned business into one of the largest Filipino owned and operated travel agency on the East Coast. Responsible for product branding, accounting and public relations.

Agency Consortium Affiliation, if any:  Travel Leaders

ASTA National and Chapter Involvement 

Years of ASTA Membership:  5

Chapter: Central Atlantic Chapter

Chapter Positions Held: None

National Positions Held: None

Other Service and Participation: 

  • Participated in 2019 ASTA Legislative Day
  • Currently serving on ASTA Consumer Awareness
  • Young Professional Society for ASTA

 

Other Leadership Roles

  • Speaker on behalf of the Department of Tourism for the Philippines

Campaign Statements

Everyday I am thankful for being in the travel industry because it has given me everything in my life. This is not a job or career for me, this is my passion and I believe that I can help bring ASTA and the industry into the new future.

Unlike the other candidates, I did not start as a travel agent, I was born into it. My parents started the agency in 1989 and over the last 30 years – I have worked in every role and position in our company. But today we need

more than just experience to lead, we need innovators and creativity, we need influencers who not only know the travel industry but are not afraid to adapt and help find new talent and bring them into ASTA.

Since tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, it is our time to shine brighter than ever. It is critical that we place leaders to maneuver through technology, support us in advocacy in the public and political view and enable its members to grow their business from inside out. It is important that we have leaders who understand this industry and are not afraid to listen to its members. We need to understand not only our strengths but more importantly our weaknesses. With your support, I would be honored to be your voice and help ASTA prosper for the future.

 

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Kelly Bergin

Title:  President/OASIS Travel Network
Agency Name: Palm Coast Travel
City, State    Boca Raton, FL
Telephone:  561-393-7274
Email: kelly@oasistravelnetwork.com

Agency Information and Involvement

Number of Years in the Travel Agency Business: 37 Years

Time Currently Spent on Agency Business:  

Full Time (35 hours or more) X        Part Time _____

Agency Related Responsibilities: Complete management of our agency’s independent travel advisor department which includes sales, marketing, operations, HR, and supplier relations.

Agency Consortium Affiliation, if any: Signature Travel Network

ASTA National and Chapter Involvement 

Years of ASTA Membership: 9 years

Chapter:  South Florida

Chapter Positions Held: Chapter Vice President

National Positions Held:  ASTA Hotel Committee

Other Service and Participation:  ASTA Legislative Day

Other Leadership Roles

CLIA Premium Advisory Board member and Treasurer for the Professional Association of Travel Hosts

Campaign Statement

ASTA was introduced to me in 1982 when I first joined the travel industry.  The manager of the agency I worked for was the ASTA Rocky Mountain chapter president.  She explained to me the importance of getting involved and supporting the only organization that that speaks for our industry. 

So, throughout the years working as an advisor or a supplier BDM I always remembered her words and the importance of ASTA. 

When I moved to Florida there was an opportunity to get involved with the newly formed NACTA (now ASTA SBN) chapter that Bob Duglin was starting.  I jumped at the chance!  That chapter began in 2009 and is still going strong today. I served on its Leadership committee and am now Vice President of the chapter.

When I joined the new chapter, I was also new to the South Florida travel community.  I had also just been hired to start a new division at my agency to help independent travel advisors grow their business.  It wasn’t long before I made new friends and great connections at ASTA that not only helped me in my new position, but also enriched my life.

I now want to be that manager from 1982 that taught me the importance of ASTA.  I want to reach out and attract new members to ASTA.  I want to help support current members and continue to do the great work that the  ASTA leadership, staff, and board has begun.

I would appreciate your support and your vote!  

 

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Marc Casto

Title:  SVP Corporate Operations
Agency Name: Casto Travel
City, State: San Jose, CA
Telephone:  408-984-7000
Email:    marc.casto@casto.com

Agency Information and Involvement

Number of Years in the Travel Agency Business:  20

Time Currently Spent on Agency Business:  

Full Time (35+ hours or more) __40__  Part Time _____

Agency Related Responsibilities:  Manage operations, client engagement, and business development.

Agency Consortium Affiliation, if any: Signature Travel Network

ASTA National and Chapter Involvement

Years of ASTA Membership:  10

Chapter:  Northern California

Chapter Positions Held: None

National Positions Held: Secretary, Vice-Chair, and Chair of CAC;  Member of Executive Committee on ASTA Board of Directors;  Member of ASTA Board of Directors   

Other Service and Participation:

      • ASTA Tech Committee
      • ASTA CEO Search committee
      • Participation on panels for Global, Premium, and other events.

Other Leadership Roles

      • Chair of CBTG
      • Chair of Team San Jose
      • Board Member of Silicon Valley Leadership Group
      • Board Member of Junior Achievement
      • Advisory Boards for Sofitel, Accor, CTAP, Four Seasons, and others.

Campaign Statement

Ten years ago at dinner with a close friend I shared my list of complaints about this business we know and love. As only a good friend can do, he admonished me to quit complaining and start creating solutions. First on his recommendation list was to join ASTA. Taking the challenge to heart I joined Premium and then the Corporate Advisory Council (CAC). In short order I ran for and was elected as an officer of the CAC which by virtue of its charter served on the board of ASTA.

At that time when joining the Board the organization was in disarray, with declining membership, abysmal financial performance, poor employee morale, and lacking in strategic direction. Through the efforts of many committed and engaged staff and board members we were able to architect and implement the restoration of ASTA. I am deeply proud of our combined efforts to resurrect this vibrant organization so critical to our mutual success.

Of course, that is the past and the future always beckons. I am seeking a position on the Board with eyes on the future. Specifically, if elected to the ASTA Board I will focus on:

  • Continued expansion of membership in all categories, from IC’s to Consortiums to Globals.
  • Work closely with Chapters to proactively introduce favorable trade legislation on both a federal and state basis protecting our business.
  • Drive consumer outreach campaigns to encourage better recognition of our business model by the general public.
  • Create a path to make the travel industry carbon neutral and encourage environmentally sustainable practices for both industry and consumer.
  • Establish a permanent Tech Steering Committee on the ASTA board to ensure we are informed and can guide future changes in travel, from NDC to AI.

Needless to say, critical to each of the above is a continual focus on ASTA’s operational finances and ensuring the organization always operates in the black.

As a result of my prior service on the Board I was honored to receive the Barbara O’Hara Advocacy Award as well as the inaugural Paul M Ruden Award.  Now, I would be honored to receive your vote to elect me back to the Board.

Finally, to learn more about my plans and background please visit www.marccasto.com.

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Brian  Chapin, CTE, CTIE

Brian Chaplin
Title: Senior Director Supplier Relations - Air
Agency Name: Ensemble Travel Group
City, State    Chicago, IL
Telephone:    312-951-7494
Email:  bchapin@ensembletravel.com

Agency Information and Involvement

Number of Years in the Travel Agency Business:  17 (35 Total years in the Travel Industry)

Time Currently Spent on Agency Business:  

Full Time (35 hours or more)  XX___ 40+ Part Time _____

Agency Related Responsibilities: Provide airline industry strategy and vision for 850+ owned and operated travel agencies in the Ensemble Travel Group global member network.

  • Oversee and build Air & GDS relationships for the entire network.
  • Educate member advisors on the value and earning potential of air sales.
  • Serve as an ASTA advocate at industry events, meetings & in the media.
  • Seek and leverage ASTA integration opportunities within the Ensemble network.
  • Helped grow Ensemble’s membership and support of ASTA

Agency Consortium Affiliation, if any: Ensemble Travel Group

ASTA National and Chapter Involvement 

Years of ASTA Membership:  11

Chapter:  Midwest

Chapter Positions Held: N/A

National Positions Held:  

Director-at-Large, Board of Directors (incumbent)

Other Service and Participation:

  • Advisory Committee for Premium Business Summit & Global Convention (2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019)
  • Government Affairs & ASTAPAC Committee (2016-present)
  • Legislative Day (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
  • Legislative Day Video (2016)
  • Consumer Awareness Committee (2018)
  • Chair ASTAPAC Silent Auction Committee(2019)

Other Leadership Roles

  • Facilitator, workshop leader, and trainer for Ensemble members on air and technology solutions
  • Media spokesperson for Ensemble Travel Group on aviation industry issues
  • Advisory Boards:
    • Air New Zealand North America
    • Norwegian Air
  • Member of oversight committee for Activity, Spa and Fitness Center for Home Owners Association of 800+ homes.
  • Certified Spinning Instructor
  • Previous Home Owner Association Director

Campaign Statement

I began my industry career as a Travel Advisor and throughout my 30+ years in the industry have always worked to support the profession.

I am personally and professionally aligned with ASTA’s vision to support, elevate and advocate the role of Travel Advisor.

It has been my privilege, as a current member of the Board of Directors, to support the great ASTA staff and the Board as the organization has grown and evolved.  Membership is increasing, attendance at events is at record levels and we have had numerous regulatory wins.

One of the strongest areas of ASTA’s work is in Advocacy.  ASTA’s advocacy efforts on both the Federal and State levels have earned us a seat at the table and the respect of elected officials, which has translated into recent legislative wins.  I am passionate about ASTA’s advocacy work and will continue to be a proud and enthusiastic participant at every opportunity.

ASTA’s continued chapter and membership growth, the evolution of the VTA program as well as ASTA’s increased exposure in the media are additional examples of how ASTA continues to thrive.  As a Board member I have been proud to represent ASTA at local chapter events as well as in print media and on TV, promoting the association and the role of Travel Advisor.  I am currently also enrolled in the VTA program.

ASTA is the only organization where all members of the travel community can come together to advance the professionalism of our industry and communicate our message regardless of competition, business model, or consortia affiliation. As your representative, I will continue to use my industry experience, relationships and perspective to work with the Board and ASTA staff to ensure your voices and views are heard.

I ask for your vote and your support.  Together we can all help ASTA continue to grow and prosper in the future.

Thank you.

 

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 Jackie Friedman

Title:  President
Agency Name: Nexion Travel Group
City, State Irving, TX
Telephone:  972-629-4798
Email:   Jackie.friedman@nexion.com    

Agency Information and Involvement

Number of Years in the Travel Agency Business:  20

Time Currently Spent on Agency Business:  

Full Time (35 hours or more) __XX__  Part Time _____

Agency Related Responsibilities: Provide leadership and direction to a national host agency with over 60 employees and 4400 independent travel advisors

Agency Consortium Affiliation, if any:  Travel Leaders Network

ASTA National and Chapter Involvement

Years of ASTA Membership:  15

Chapter:  Dallas / Ft Worth

Chapter Positions Held: Chapter Vice President 2017-2019

National Positions Held: National Board of Directors 2012-2016

Other Service and Participation:

      • PBS/AGC Advisory Committee
      • Independent Contractor Advisory Committee
      • Corporate Advisory Council

Other Leadership Roles

      • Travel Institute Board of Trusteese
      • CLIA STARBoard
      • Professional Association of Travel Hosts (PATH) Board of Directors
      • Family Bonds Foundation Chairman
      • Various Supplier Advisory Boards

Campaign Statement

As president of Nexion Travel Group for well over a decade and a 34-year travel industry veteran, I believe it is critical that advisors have a strong, effective advocate. Whether the issue involves government relations, industry affairs or consumer awareness, ASTA is there leading the charge for our profession. That is why I so passionately support ASTA.

I got my start in the travel industry working as a front-line agent and eventually became a travel agency manager. Prior to joining the Nexion team, I worked with Sabre Travel Network for 15 years. Since joining Nexion Travel Group, I’ve strived to create an enterprise where thousands of advisors are provided opportunities to grow their business through top-quality support in the areas of operations, training, marketing, technology and networking.

But all of us, whether agency owners, advisors or business leaders, need a savvy, nimble association representing our interests with talented professional staff and experienced volunteer leadership who will roll up our sleeves and pitch in.

I have been a strong and enthusiastic supporter of ASTA for many years. Under my leadership, Nexion was twice named ASTA’s Host Agency of the Year. The more members, the stronger ASTA is. That’s why I have encouraged our Nexion advisors to support their industry association and put a recruitment program in place resulting in more than 300 of them becoming ASTA members. More importantly, I am proud of the fact that so many of our advisors are engaged in leadership positions at the local chapter level.

I have experience with ASTA at both the chapter and national level and previously served on the ASTA national board from 2012 to 2016. I am the current vice president of the Dallas Fort Worth ASTA chapter, which was awarded the 2017 Chapter on the Rise award. I also serve on the ASTA Independent Contractor advisory council and the Education committee.

I am an enthusiastic participant in ASTA’s Annual Legislative Day and was pleased to serve on a panel this year to help newcomers learn the ropes on Capitol Hill. I’ve taken an active role in state government affairs and was proud to win the 2015 Barbara O’Hara award for advocacy. Every year, my personal budget includes a sizable donation to ASTAPAC.

The travel industry offers great opportunity for those who are passionate about travel and entrepreneurship and I’m dedicated to helping our industry be the best it can be. I try to lead by example by focusing on my own personal development and industry certification. My travel industry accreditations include ASTA’s Verified Travel Advisor (VTA), as well as the Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) and Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE) from the Travel Institute.

I look forward to applying my passion for our industry and my experience to ASTA’s Board of Directors and ask for your vote. Thank you!

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Tiffany Hines

Pamela
Title: President & CEO
Agency Name:  Global Escapes, Inc
City, State: Athens, GA
Telephone:     760-549-1164  x 208
Email:  tiffany@globalescapes.com

Agency Information and Involvement

Number of Years in the Travel Agency Business:  31

Time Currently Spent on Agency Business:  

Full Time (35 hours or more)  X___  Part Time _____

Agency Related Responsibilities: Visionary, Manager, Trainer, Sales

Agency Consortium Affiliation, if any: Signature Travel Network

ASTA National and Chapter Involvement 

Years of ASTA Membership:  20+ Years

Chapter:  Atlanta

Chapter Positions Held:  N/A

National Positions Held:   N/A

Other Service and Participation: None

Other Leadership Roles

• Training and Marketing committees for Signature Travel Network
• Athens Area Chamber of Commerce Board
• Terry Entrepreneur Society
• The Junior League of Athens Board

Campaign Statement

As a second-generation travel agent, I have had the privilege of being in the travel industry my entire career. My mother started Global Escapes in 1988 when I attended the University of Georgia. I have had the opportunity to grow not only as a travel advisor but as a leader and now CEO of our organization. A strong work ethic, an empowered team and a passion for travel have helped us continue to grow through all the challenges of running a leisure and corporate travel business. We kept focus on the truly positive elements of our industry; the fact that travel changes lives and can truly change our world.

In April 2019, we were awarded the Small Business Administration’s Women in Business Champion Award for the state of Georgia and I can tell you it is because of the incredible team and culture we have developed. I believe we have an opportunity as an industry to share with future generations how rewarding and empowering a career as a travel advisor can be.

ASTA is the face of our industry, both nationally and internationally. The steps they have taken to represent us in Washington and to the general consumer have played an enormous role in our viability and professionalism.

If I have the honor of being elected, my goal is to take what I have learned as a small business owner and passionate traveler to the ASTA board so that we can continue to grow our industry and be recognized as a service as worthy as legal and medical advice. The vacations and experiences we plan are some of the most memorable of our client’s lives. Thank you for your consideration.

 

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Amanda S. Klimak, CTIE

Title:  President
Agency Name: Largay Travel, Inc.
City, State: Waterbury, CT
Telephone:  (203) 757-948
Email: amanda@largaytravel.com

Agency Information and Involvement

Number of Years in the Travel Agency Business:  30

Time Currently Spent on Agency Business:  

Full Time (35+ hours or more) __X__  Part Time _____

Agency Related Responsibilities: - Full agency operations including training and travel advising

Agency Consortium Affiliation, if any: Virtuoso and a branch of Tzell Travel

ASTA National and Chapter Involvement

Years of ASTA Membership:  7

Chapter:  SE New England

Chapter Positions Held: None

National Positions Held: none 

Other Service and Participation:  Attended ASTA conferences and legislative day, as well as participating in ASTA calls and online courses

Other Leadership Roles

  • Chair of the Virtuoso Member Advisory Board for two terms
  • Virtuoso Tour Committee member for two terms
  • Virtuoso Technology Committee member for two terms
  • Classic Vacations E3 Conference Presenter
  • Presenter at Virtuoso Travel Week for three years
  • Certified Travel Industry Executive
  • Certified Travel Advisor

Campaign Statement

My name is Amanda Klimak, and I am asking for your support and vote for the ASTA Board of Directors At Large position I am currently seeking.

 

I am a very passionate, creative, capable, determined individual with a joyful soul and positive outlook on life. Throughout my life and thirty plus year travel career I have always believed that achievement begins with ‘ involvement’, but that sustained, scalable success truly requires a defined, communicated vision and personal and professional ‘commitment.’

 

My travel career is a true testament to my vision and commitment to the travel industry. Beginning as a leisure and corporate travel adviser, I strategically positioned myself to assume and fulfill middle management responsibilities. Eventually, through hard work and extensive education and professional development, I was fortunate to become the President and an equity partner at Largay Travel, Inc. of Waterbury, CT, which is a proud member of Virtuoso and a branch of Tzell Travel Group.

My unique value proposition and candidate differentiation for the position I am seeking is that, in addition to having extensive frontline travel sales and management experience, as an agency principal, I also possess a shared awareness and perspective on the critical importance and strength of professional alliances such as ASTA and a strong consortium.

Regardless of how determined and fortunate I have been, I have always subscribed to the concept that “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together!” To protect, reinforce, and grow our agency business, Largay Travel has always leveraged the power of a network of agency partners and friends, both within Virtuoso and within other travel consortia. My ten plus years of sharing within the TAMS, aka Travel Agency Management Solutions, group has given me an in-depth understanding of the various business models, in the US and globally, contained within and outside of the Virtuoso network.

Another example of my past commitment, not just involvement, is my election to the Virtuoso Member Advisory Board where I currently serve as the Chairperson of the Board.

In addition to holding an ASTA Premium membership, my ASTA commitment has led me to attend multiple state and national legislative ASTA conferences, including legislative day, where I lobbied in Washington and our state capital for more favorable laws for everyone in our industry. It was this involvement that spurred me to seek this position on the ASTA Board to represent all of the travel agencies in America.

If you vote for me, I will employ the same demonstrated personal and professional passion and commitment to proudly serve on the ASTA board and represent your individual needs, as well as our collective needs.

 

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Steve Powers

LanotteDay
Title:  President
Agency Name:  Hidden Treasure Tours, Inc.
City, State   New Lebanon, New York
Telephone:   516-670-9232
Email:  steve@hiddentreasuretours.com

Agency Information and Involvement

Number of Years in the Travel Agency Business:  20

Time Currently Spent on Agency Business:  

Full Time (35 hours or more)  X___  Part Time _____

Agency Related Responsibilities:   All

Agency Consortium Affiliation, if any: None

ASTA National and Chapter Involvement 

Years of ASTA Membership:  19+

Chapter:  Long Island

Chapter Positions Held: 2nd VP, 1st VP, President, Past-President

National Positions Held: 

  • Chapter President Council
  • Chair (twice)
  • Area Director & Regional Director/ National Director
  • National Treasurer

Other Service and Participation: 

  • Special Projects Committee Chair
  • Membership Committee
  • Tradeshow Advisory Taskforce
  • Bylaws Review Committee
  • Organized ASTA’s Photography for Travel Agents Webinar & Future-Proofing Your Travel Business: Understanding Climate Change and What You Can Do Webinar

Other Leadership Roles

  • Co-Founder & Treasurer of Chandra Gurung Conservation Trust (non-profit supporting conservation efforts in Nepal);
  • Member, Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (non-profit educating travel advisors and public to avoid purchasing wildlife parts)
  • Member, Conservation Advisory Committee, Town of New Lebanon

Campaign Statement

Back in 1999 I read an article about the local ASTA chapter on Long Island organizing a demonstration at JFK to protest anti-consumer practices by a particular airline. I signed up and from that moment was hooked on ASTA. What I loved about ASTA then still applies now - ASTA advocates on behalf of its members and the consumers, our clients. What other professional organization can make that claim? I’ve been proud to be a part of it for almost 20 years, starting with chapter positions leading up to my current position as Regional Director for the Northeast and National Treasurer. 

There is still much to do and I hope you will vote for me as a National (At-Large) Director. I feel adamantly that small businesses represented in the traditional chapters, our new Small Business Network, Independent Advisors and Consortia Members should have a strong voice on the National Board of Directors. In addition to strengthening the grassroots involvement, we need to commit more for consumer awareness and convince the rest of the travel advisors out there that their best interests are represented by ASTA.  I will offer that voice on your behalf as I have done in the past. I would be honored if you would cast your vote for me! Thank you in advance.

 

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