|Photo by Freeimages.com/Mary Gober|
In a special ceremony held as part of the Travel Leaders National Meeting at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, Travel Leaders honored top agents and agencies.
Agency of Excellence Award Winners
The organization announced the winners of its "Agency of Excellence" awards, which recognizes Travel Leaders agencies with top scores in business growth, utilization of marketing programs, participation in training programs, participation in local and national business networking meetings and overall promotion of the Travel Leaders brand. The winners are:
- Roy Goree – Phoenix, AZ
- Colin Weatherhead, Jacki Jones and Robin Sanchez – Tempe, AZ
- Lois Van Dyck, Max Nelson and Sarah Nelson Wandrey – San Jose, CA
- Arvid & Patricia Olson, Lindsay Hardy and Denise Palumbo – Palm Coast, FL
- Louise & Paul Lascik – Johns Creek, GA
- Tim Kennedy – LaGrange, GA
- Terry Brennan and Ronald Williamson – Marietta, GA
- Ann Waters – Fort Wayne, IN
- Diane Mullahy – Framingham, MA
- Pamela Edwartoski – Troy, MI
- Bonnie & Walt Lee – Albertville, MN
- Sandy & David Lovick, Sr., David Lovick Jr. – Maple Grove, MN
- Barbara Muelken – Prior Lake, MN
- Cynthia Tyo and David Eckman – Fargo, ND
- Dave Hershberger and Robin Hershberger – Cincinnati, OH
- Judy Clappin – East Greenwich, RI
- Linda Bourgeois – Memphis, TN
- Charlotte Weller – Houston, TX
- Christy Prescott – San Antonio TX
- Bruce & Carol Horner – Virginia Beach, VA
- Sondra Wilson and Julie Harrington – Richland, WA
- Alex Trettin and Teri Trettin – Tacoma, WA
- Dennis & Linda Heyde – Chippewa Falls, WI
- Dale & Wendy Rauwerdink, David Prigge and Jim Prigge – Sheboygan, WI
Employee of Excellence Award Winners
Travel Leaders also recognized top employees with its "Employee of Excellence" awards, which spotlights Travel Leaders agents who go above and beyond on behalf of their clients. This year's winners were:
Lordi Cordes, a Detroit-area travel agent from the Travel Leaders location in Troy. An agent with over 20 years of experience in the industry, Cordes joined Travel Leaders in Troy just three years ago and quickly became the agency's top-producing agent, with over $3.2 million in sales.
Jo Ann Buening, a La Crosse travel agent who began her travel career in 1985, conquering her fear of water to become a cruise aficionado. Buening has earned the Elite Cruise Counsellor and Luxury Cruise Specialist designations from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) -- the highest possible certifications -- as well as specialist designations with various cruise lines, such as Viking River Cruises and Avalon Waterways. She is also a "Commodore" certified travel agent with Princess Cruises.
Pam Gereau, a San Antonio travel agent at Corporate Travel Planners -- a Tzell branch that has been a member of Travel Leaders since 2011. Gereau, who has spent more than 28 years in the travel industry, joined Corporate Travel Planners in the fall of 2013.
Associate of the Year Winner
Also at this year's National Meeting, Travel Leaders honored East Greenwich-based Travel Leaders Associate Judy Clappin with the organization's "Associate of the Year" award, which recognizes the Travel Leaders Associate (franchisee) who epitomizes excellence in service to clients and effectively representing the Travel Leaders brand.
Clappin is president and owner of the Travel Leaders locations in Cranston, East Greenwich and Woonsocket in Rhode Island. She has solely been at the helm of the business for the past 10 years. Along with her late husband, Gil Clappin, she was honored with the Associate of the Year award in 2002 and again in 2005, though that second honor was awarded posthumously shortly after her husband’s death.
Christy Prescott Honored With "Golden Legacy Award"
Finally, Travel Leaders named Christy Prescott of San Antonio, Texas, as the recipient of its "Golden Legacy Award." The highest annual honor from Travel Leaders, the "Golden Legacy Award" recognizes the Travel Leaders Associate (franchisee) whose lifetime achievements best exemplify the franchise system’s entrepreneurial spirit and quality standards.
Prescott grew up in Nebraska and Kansas, and her entire adult life has revolved around travel. Her first job after college was as a leisure travel agent in Salina, Kansas. She later worked as a corporate travel agent in Kearney, Nebraska. After taking advantage of an opportunity to fly to San Antonio, Prescott suddenly imagined herself living in the “big city.” She immediately landed a travel position in San Antonio with Travel Planners, then became the manager for Global Enterprises.
With changes on the horizon in 1991, Prescott made a leap and started her own corporate travel management firm.
“Over the past two and a half decades, Christy’s entrepreneurial fire has led to major growth and multiple acquisitions. Her company’s headquarters location includes 80 dedicated travel professionals,” said Roger Block, president of Travel Leaders Franchise Group. “While continuing to increase sales for her travel enterprise, Christy is also very dedicated to giving back to the greater-San Antonio community. From organizations such as Eva’s Heroes and the Texas Medal of Arts to the Silver and Black Give Back and Christy’s own organization, Christy’s Hope, giving back to the community where she dreamed of making it in the ‘big city’ is an important part of who she is.”
Christy’s Hope raises money in support of the San Antonio Battered Women’s Shelter. Founded by Prescott, the charitable organization coordinates an annual golf tournament and gala to raise money to help stop the vicious cycle of domestic violence. Since its inception, Christy’s Hope has raised over $1.9 million with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to the shelter.