The late Bob Whitley, USTOA president for 32 years, will be honored this year with the National Tour Association's (NTA) Pioneer award as John Stachnik of Mayflower Tours will receive the Bob Everidge Lifetime Achievement award. Both awards will be presented at the 2010 NTA Convention in Montreal.
The Pioneer award, established by the NTA Board in 2005, honors individuals whose accomplishments have resulted in a significant change in the travel industry from which NTA and its members have benefited. Established in 2003, the Bob Everidge award honors an individual who has had an active dedication to the mission of NTA and the best interest of its members while making professional and personal contributions over a span of at least 20 years.
“There is no one more deserving of the Pioneer Award than my dear friend Bob Whitley. It will be our honor to present the award to his family at our Convention in November,” said NTA President Lisa Simon. “It will be especially memorable to also honor John Stachnik at the same time. John is a long-time member and past president of NTA and the current USTOA chairman. He really stepped in to manage the organization after Bob’s untimely passing. John’s tireless work for NTA and USTOA is something we are all thankful for.”
Whitley’s distinguished career in the tourism field spanned more than 40 years, the NTA notes. He was selected to be president of USTOA in 1978 and served in that role until his passing earlier this year. Before joining USTOA, Whitley held positions as director of the Florida and Pennsylvania departments of tourism and director of the Virginia Beach (Virginia) Convention and Tourist Bureau.
Whitley has won numerous awards from the travel industry for his work. He has also has served on the board of directors of the U.S. Travel Association, the executive committee of the Association of Travel Marketing Executives and the board of trustees for the Institute of Certified Travel Agents. Whitley passed away May 13 from complications following abdominal surgery and was survived by his wife, Carol; three children, Scott, Shaun and Kelly; and five grandchildren.
A graduate of Marquette University, Stachnik began his career in 1966 with a hotel company based in Washington, D.C. In 1970, he co-founded a Midwestern regional tour company, and, along with his wife Mary, established Mayflower Tours in 1979, now one of America’s most widely recognized tour companies. John served on the board of Tourism Cares, TIA (now U.S. Travel Association), and 14 years on the NTA Board of Directors, including a year as NTA president in 1982.
Stachnik has attended every NTA Convention since 1968 and helped to establish and fund both the NTA National Tour Foundation and the USTOA Travelers Conservation Foundation, which eventually merged to form Tourism Cares. In 2005, Stachnik was inducted into the Tourism Cares for Tomorrow Hall of Fame.