In The Company Dime’s From The Field program, industry leaders contribute guideposts and other commentary for publication to the business travel audience. We task these advisors to focus on opinion, analysis and education rather than marketing. You are encouraged to contribute to the dialogue by commenting on these posts. Want to go a step further and become an advisor? Email us for more details. Participation is complimentary, but does come with some requirements. We thank all participants. Learn more about them here …
Alison Taylor is senior vice president of global sales and distribution at American Airlines. She leads a team of more than 1,000 associates building relationships with corporate and group clients and distribution partners. She previously worked for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide as SVP of global sales. In 2015 and 2016, Successful Meetings magazine named her one of the most influential people in the meetings industry, and in 2017 Business Travel News named her among the 25 most influential people in business travel. Alison is a board member of the Meeting Professionals International Foundation. She grew up in Australia and earned a business degree from Victoria University in Melbourne. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
As president and CEO since 2011, Mike Premo plans and leads the execution of ARC's overall corporate strategy. With the help of the executive team, he also oversees the company's operations in support of revenue growth and customer satisfaction. Mike previously served as ARC vice president of business development. Before joining ARC in 2006, Mike served as senior vice president global network for TQ3 Travel Solutions and held senior executive positions at TQ3 parent Navigant International. He also served as president and CEO of SatoTravel from 1990 to 1999. Mike began his industry career at Northwest Airlines before entering the agency business at Gelco Travel. Find him on LinkedIn.
Mike Koetting is EVP of supplier and TMC services at SAP Concur. Based in Eden Prairie, Minn., he joined Concur in 2010. Mike is one of the architects of Concur's TripLink solution and is responsible for Concur's relationships with travel suppliers, GDSs and TMCs. He also leads Concur's TMC Services business unit. Prior to joining Concur Mike held a variety of senior positions at Carlson Wagonlit Travel and Maritz Corporate Travel. He began his career as a CPA with Price Waterhouse. Mike is also a seven-time Ironman and altruistic kidney donor. Find him on LinkedIn.
As COO of Egencia, Mark Hollyhead brings over 25 years of global experience in sales, marketing and operations across the travel and telecommunications industries. Before joining Egencia in 2010, Mark was with Vodafone as head of transformation and prior he spent 15 years at British Airways in a variety of leadership positions, including VP of e-commerce and customer contact, head of revenue management for the long-haul business worldwide and head of London Heathrow customer operations. Mark earned a MBA in Strategy and Distribution from the City of London Business School and received post graduate honors in Economics at Birkbeck University of London. Connect with Mark on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.
AmTrav CEO Jeff Klee is a self-described computer geek who developed and sold his first video game at the age of 13. In college, he and a buddy got a crash course in the intricacies of the airline business while planning their own backpacking trip and later decided to use that know-how to help others save money on airfares. What was first known as 1-800-Cheap-Air was founded out of a University of Michigan dorm room in 1989. When the company took off, Jeff ditched his law school plans for a far more exciting journey, combining two passions — travel and software development. CheapAir.com was born, and soon after AmTrav for Business, which together serve almost 400,000 travelers annually. Jeff grew up in Los Angeles. He still lives there with his wife, two young kids, and golden retriever, none of whom, when the Dodgers are losing, want to be anywhere near him. Connect with Jeff on LinkedIn.
James has over 20 years of experience in the travel technology industry. Prior to joining Yapta in 2012 as president and CEO, he was CEO of EZYield.com, responsible for orchestrating the sale of the company to TravelClick. Earlier in his career, James was CEO and general manager of Moneydirect, a payment processing joint venture between Sabre and Amadeus. Prior to that, he spent more than a decade at Sabre Holdings. James is active in the Washington Technology Industry Association. In 2013 he was named by Business Travel News as one of the 25 most influential executives in the business travel industry. James holds an MBA and BA in accounting from Washington State University. Follow him on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.
Oliver King is CEO of the Avinode Group, a technology and data partner for the business aviation industry. He oversees the entire group, which consists of Avinode, a B2B web and API platform for buying and selling air charter; SchedAero, an aircraft and crew scheduling system; and PayNode, the world's first payment system developed for business aviation. Oliver began his career as a transport consultant. In 1995 he joined British Airways, serving in positions including GM for global distribution, finance director in Asia/Pacific and GM in Latin America & the Caribbean. Oliver is a qualified accountant and holds a PhD in Economics. He is also a keen sailor and has raced and crewed his way around the world. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
Kim Castro is principal at TravelCast Consulting. She has worked in the travel industry for 30 years, the last 10 years in executive leadership roles overseeing business development, account management, technical operations and development, PMO and BI. Well known in the industry for her disruptor mindset and expert technical/process chops, Kim has deep insight into impacts of NDC and is a supporter of new technological entrants into the corporate travel space. As a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Kaizen facilitator, PMP and CBAP, her ability to deconstruct complex topics into simple concepts has earned Kim the title of "master builder" in the next Lego movie. She is based by the sea in the Northeast USA where she indulges her passion for sailing, trapping her own lobsters and adoring her dogs and family. Connect with Kim on LinkedIn.
Steve Glenn founded Executive Travel 31 years ago and was a pioneer of online travel fulfillment, virtual agents and zero online fees. He serves as the company's chairman of the board and CEO. During his career Steve has served as president, officer or director at more than 20 organizations around the state of Nebraska and the nation. As a serial entrepreneur, he started more than 40 companies. Steve was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by the University of Nebraska – Lincoln College of Business Administration, and Business Owner of the Year by the Lincoln Independent Business Association. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from the UNL College of Business Administration in 1979. Connect with Steve on LinkedIn.
Simon Barker is co-founder and CEO of Conferma. He is responsible for developing and executing the company’s strategic vision to optimize B2B payment processes through the use of innovative virtual card technology. Prior to establishing Conferma in 2004, Simon accumulated vast experience in the business travel industry during 18 years as managing director of NIS Travel Management Solutions. Simon was recognized as one of the 25 Most Influential Executives in business travel by Business Travel News for Conferma’s groundbreaking work modernizing the business travel industry’s payment processes. Connect with Simon on LinkedIn.
Charlene Wang leads product marketing for Coupa Expenses, part of Coupa Software, where she is responsible for understanding the expense management market landscape, product positioning and building alliances. Prior to Coupa, Charlene worked in EMC's (now Dell's) corporate strategy group and as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, where she advised C-suite executives on business strategy and implementation. Charlene holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Bachelors in Economics from Harvard. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
Caroline Strachan is managing partner at Festive Road. Her work experience can be summarized as 10 years the meetings and events supplier, 10 years the travel buyer (at Cisco, Yahoo and AstraZeneca) and more recently as VP global consulting at American Express Global Business Travel. Caroline has also held a number of industry leadership positions including ITM chairman and GBTA Europe president, and has received a number of awards in recognition of her services to the industry. Caroline is often called "the most credible business travel expert" in the industry, further supported by being published as one of three "industry influencers" in the Buying Business Travel 2016 Hotlist. Find more of Caroline's information on LinkedIn.
Principal and owner of Keltner Travel Consulting, Jennifer Keltner is a modern-day abolitionist within the travel industry fighting human trafficking. She most recently managed the travel and meeting services program for Toyota Motor Sales North America. Prior to Toyota, she was a senior account manager at Carlson Wagonlit Travel and managed travel for multiple Fortune 500 companies across the United States. Previously, she worked for major airlines including United Airlines and Air New Zealand. Jennifer serves on the Advisory Committee for ECPAT USA and works as a fundraiser for International Justice Mission. She holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from Pepperdine University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Virginia Tech. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
Mark Williams is CFO at Dots & Lines, a marketing, public relations and brand management firm. He previously served as a partner with GoldSpring Consulting. Before that he was a principal at Advito, the consulting division of BCD Travel, and worked in the Business Transformation Outsourcing practice at IBM. Mark has 25 years of experience in business travel management, beginning in the late 1980s working for WorldTravel Partners, followed by 10 years as the director of travel for Price Waterhouse and PricewaterhouseCoopers. He has a Bachelor's degree in Accountancy from Wake Forest University and a Master of Taxation degree from Georgia State University. Mark is a former president of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
Kurt Knackstedt's experience spans over 20 years and four continents, across technology, travel, leadership and marketing roles at global multinationals, start-ups and his own consulting business. In early 2015, Kurt co-founded and was appointed CEO of Troovo, a technology company focused on virtualizing and removing manual intervention within transaction-based industries. Kurt is currently chairperson of the ACTE Centre. He leads the Centre's efforts in research, advocacy and community engagement. From 2014 to 2017, Kurt was global president of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives. An avid traveler for both work and play, Kurt is based in Sydney, Australia, and is a dual citizen of the United States and Australia. Catch up with him on LinkedIn.
Tony O'Connor is the founder and CEO of Airocheck, the fare auditing company specialising in audits for TMC fare markups. Airocheck issues the FairFare accreditation to TMCs that prove good practice through a detailed process, and also conducts audits for travel buyers directly. For 20 years, Tony has also been the managing director of Butler Caroye Asia Pacific, an independent travel management consultancy. Tony manages the Global Business Travel Association in Australasia and is a frequent speaker at global events. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
Miriam Moscovici works on the forefront of product and service improvements that deliver value for companies of all sizes by driving effective corporate travel programs. As senior director of innovation and intelligence at BCD Travel, Miriam leads research and introduces concepts aimed at engendering a culture of innovation throughout the organization. She draws deep foundational insight into the buyer's perspective from her eight years spent as a corporate travel manager. Her industry experience and technology savvy, combined with a provocative communication style, keeps her in high demand as a speaker, panelist and judge. Miriam uses a curriculum she developed to teach students at Metro State University in Denver, where she is enthusiastically grooming the next generation of talent. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
Scott Gillespie often breaks new ground — and a bit of glass — in the corporate travel industry. He is a leading authority on travel procurement, travel friction and the total cost of travel. As managing director of tClara, Scott is developing the next generation of benchmarking for airfares and traveler friction. He is the author of a U.S. patent and has been named one of Business Travel News’ Top 25 Executives and a thought leader by Buying Business Travel. Scott writes the popular blog Gillespie’s Guide to Travel+Procurement, and speaks at travel industry conferences around the world. Scott holds an MBA from the University of Chicago. He and his family reside near Cleveland. Connect with Scott on LinkedIn.
As co-founder and CEO of Chrome River, Alan Rich guides software design with an acute focus on business function. He has worked with numerous organizations to implement innovative technology and provide expertise in financial management systems. Previously Alan co-founded Elite Information Group, a provider of several financial and practice management applications for law firms and professional services markets. He also held the position of chief strategist at Thomson Elite. Alan holds a B.A. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.Phil in economics from Nuffield College, Oxford University. Find more info on Alan's LinkedIn page and Chrome River's LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook pages.
Yael Klein is executive director of marketing for AirPlus International. She has extensive experience in the international credit card business, including the past 17 years with AirPlus. After years of success in German international key account management and global sales management, Yael took over the position of managing director AirPlus UK in 2007. In that role she contributed greatly to the development of the British market. Most recently she was CEO and president of AirPlus Inc., as well as head of the Americas. Connect with Yael on LinkedIn.
Brandon Strauss is a partner at KesselRun Corporate Travel Solutions. He's been at the Atlanta-area consultancy since 2003. His practice focuses on all areas of corporate travel and meetings. Before that, Brandon worked for four years at World Travel BTI. He also spent four years at Ernst & Young as a manager in its middle market supply chain practice where he helped create the company's first web-based self-service consulting tools. Brandon graduated from Tulane University with a Bachelor of Science in Management degree and earned his MBA in Finance at Georgia State University's J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Connect with him and KesselRun on LinkedIn.
Steve Reynolds is CEO and founder of Tripbam, a hotel shopping service changing the way companies and travel agencies procure hotel stays. Based on the company's success, Business Travel News named Tripbam the most innovative technology for corporate travel in 2014, and in 2015 recognized Steve as one of the most influential executives within corporate travel. The company in 2015 also won Phocuswright's Battleground competition. Steve previously was managing director in North America for WNS Global Services, president and EVP at TRX and president of Travel Technologies Group. Find more of Steve's info in his LinkedIn profile, on Tripbam's Twitter feed and the company's Facebook page.
Tom Tulloch is executive vice president and managing director of PredictX North America. Tom's career includes over two decades of leadership and expertise in the data business. His passion is helping companies manage global travel and expense programs using a data-driven approach. Tom is widely recognized as a data expert in the travel industry. Prior to joining PredictX in 2015, he ran the data business at TRX Inc., before divesting the company to Concur/SAP in 2013. Find more information about Tom on LinkedIn.
Erika Moore has approximately 20 years of travel industry leadership experience in the United States and Latin America. As VP and GM for Travelport, she leads the company's U.S. commercial organization. Before joining Travelport in 2010, she served as SVP for international sales at Aeromexico. Erika has been a speaker at the World Economic Forum, Consejo Nacjional Empresarial Turístico and the Phocuswright Conference. She graduated from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México with a degree in Economics. Erika lives in Atlanta and enjoys spending time with her husband and beautiful daughter. Find her on LinkedIn and Twitter. Additional Travelport information is available on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Anant Kale, CEO and founder at AppZen has developed the world's first artificial intelligence solution for back office automation. He founded AppZen in 2012 with a vision to build the next generation of AI-driven back-office applications to enterprises around the world. Anant is responsible for the product vision and execution of the company's broad mission. Previously he was the vice president of applications at Fujitsu America from 2009 to 2012, responsible for product management and delivery of Fujitsu's applications and infrastructure for enterprise. He has 15+ years of experience in software development and an MBA and a BS in Finance and Engineering from Mumbai University. Connect with Anant on LinkedIn.
Mary Ellen George is a highly regarded travel industry leader with a proven track record in building and launching profitable travel enterprises for Fortune Global 500 companies. As head of North America for Tramada, Mary Ellen is leading this Australian software company in the United States. Her past experience includes time on HRG's North America executive committee leading the region's commercial team; with American Express Global Business Travel in a global business development role; and with BCD Travel's global management board in general management, consulting and sales leadership roles. Connect with Mary Ellen on LinkedIn.
Mat Orrego has worked in the software and travel industry for 20 years as CEO of Cornerstone Information Systems. A graduate of Indiana University Kelly School of Business, Mat co-founded the application and data management company. He is also an avid investor in a variety of enterprises including technology, manufacturing and services businesses. In 2012 Mat co-founded Runuplabs.com, a technology accelerator for the travel industry. He has invested in and advised startup companies such as trekkable.com, peopleocity.com and Desti.com. Mat lives in Bloomington, Ind., with his wife Beverly. Connect on LinkedIn with Mat and Cornerstone Information Systems.
Arlene Coyle is chief commercial officer corporations in Travel Channels at Amadeus IT Group. She has been in the managed travel and technology industry for over 20 years. Her career has taken her from Amadeus to the world’s leading travel management companies and back. Her focus has always been on client-facing roles. Arlene has authored a number of blogs and whitepapers on managed travel. She is an advocate of how the individual — led by technology, convenience and lack of time — will play a key role in managed travel of the future. Arlene holds a Bachelors with Honours in Modern Languages, a Masters in Strategic Marketing and a diploma in Leadership and Innovation from IESE. She loves music, books, travel and technology. Arlene is active on LinkedIn and loves to give opinions on various industry topics.
Grasp Technologies VP and chief sales officer Dave M. Lukas is a serial entrepreneur, best-selling author, investor and founder of the Misfit Entrepreneur podcast. His companies have been on the Inc. 5000 list multiple times. He has been featured on radio, TV, and many top business publications such as Forbes, Inc., Yahoo! Finance, BTN and BTE. Dave is the author of the Amazon best-seller "The Ten Year Career, The Fast Track to Retiring Young, Wealthy and Fulfilled." Through his 12 Minute Trading System, he has mentored and trained thousands of students worldwide. Dave lives with his wife and daughter in Columbus, Ohio. Find Grasp on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
Travel and Transport appointed Kevin O'Malley CEO in January 2015. A member of Travel and Transport’s board of directors, Kevin joined the company in 1994 as assistant controller. He has held the positions of controller, vice president, senior vice president and CFO. Before joining Travel and Transport, Kevin worked as a CPA for the public accounting firms of both Deloitte LLP and Lutz & Company. Kevin earned his BSBA in accounting from Creighton University in Omaha. Kevin serves on several boards, including those of Employee Travel Specials, Skutt Catholic High School, Jelecos and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Nebraska. He’s also an advisory board member for several companies in the travel industry. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.
Gabriel "Gabe" Rizzi is the president of Travel Leaders Corporate, a division of Travel Leaders Group, one of the top 10 travel management firms in North America and the United Kingdom. Since his appointment in 2016, Gabe has led the enterprise through a period of significant growth, effectively integrating acquisitions of several well-established corporate travel management companies. Prior to joining Travel Leaders Group, Gabe served in senior sales roles for SenecaOne Finance Co. and then Dun and Bradstreet. Earlier in his career he worked in sales, product, marketing and operations at Gateway Computers Inc. and AT&T Corporation. Gabe earned a Bachelor of Arts in Businesses Administration from Virginia Wesleyan University. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
Suzanne Neufang is vice president of the Americas for HRS Global Hotel Solutions, a corporate lodging program optimization provider. Based in New York, Suzanne's professional background spans 20+ years in e-commerce and software-as-a-service across travel, software, telecommunications and media industries. Before joining HRS in 2015, she was chief marketing officer of Intuit's professional tax group. Prior to that, she held executive roles including president of GetThere and Sabre Virtual Meetings, and VP at Travelocity Business. Suzanne holds a Master's degree in communications from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and a Bachelor's degree in broadcasting and foreign languages from Minot State University in North Dakota. Connect with her on LinkedIn. Find more information about HRS on Twitter and LinkedIn.
A graduate of the University of Rochester with a degree in Philosophy, Alan Tyson quickly failed as a writer. He was, however, good at taking tests. The Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis offered him a job as a computer programmer which Alan reluctantly accepted and his career in IT was off and running! Well, maybe it was more of a jog ... It wasn't that Alan couldn't program. He was actually quite talented. The problem was that he was a lousy employee. After leaving the Commerce Department, to the relief of all, he joined Control Data Corporation (the predecessor of Ceridian) where he developed one of the first microcomputer-based accounting systems. Alan later founded Databasics, a software-as-a-service provider of expense reporting and time tracking solutions, where he continues to serve as CEO. Alan is married, has a daughter and lives in Great Falls, Va. Find more info on the Databasics blog, LinkedIn page and Twitter feed.
Ted Perlstein has two decades of travel industry experience. He's held marketing, partnership and strategy leadership positions at AmTrav, Orbitz, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Travel Spike and LastMinuteTravel.com. In his role at AmTrav, Ted and his team evangelize the AmTrav service while continuously evolving the product to make managing travel easier. When not at the office, you can find Ted trying to keep up with his wife, two young children and golden retriever. Or you'll find him traveling for fun: 45+ countries and counting. Ted holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and an Electrical Engineering degree from Washington University in St. Louis. Find him on LinkedIn.
Martin Warner has 35 years' experience in travel distribution and is principal at MW Travel Consultancy Limited providing advisory services to the travel and associated industries. He is a founding partner of KuriusSolutions, a global business that develops ideas and provides solutions to travel and related industries. Martin previously had several roles at Carlson Wagonlit, including EVP, COO for Asia/Pacific and executive team member. He served in non-executive board positions for Jt-Ventures in China, Japan, India, Indonesia and South Africa, and was an executive board member of subsidiaries in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong. Based in London and Miami, Martin is a much sought after facilitator, moderator and speaker. Find Martin on LinkedIn.
Tiffany Zerby serves as the communications specialist at World Travel Inc. While pursuing her education at West Virginia University, Tiffany also studied digital media at Fernando Pessoa University in Porto, Portugal. She became a published writer, traveling to Paris to present at the Electronic Literature Organization's annual conference. She then spent years writing for the financial services industry, covering personal finance, real estate investing and retirement planning. In her free time, she loves to travel (of course) and volunteer in the community, whether locally in Philadelphia or across the globe. Connect with Tiffany on LinkedIn. Find more information about World Travel Inc. on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
Kurt Ekert was appointed president & CEO of Carlson Wagonlit Travel in April 2016. He has more than 20 years' experience in global travel, tourism and technology, with leadership and governance positions at Travelport, eNett, GTA, Orbitz Worldwide, and Continental Airlines. Kurt is also currently a director of Passur Aerospace and the World Travel & Tourism Council, an advisor to Freebird Inc., and serves on the boards of the U.S. Department of Commerce Travel & Tourism Advisory Board and the UNGA Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children. He holds a B.S. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA from the University of South Carolina, and saw active duty as a US army officer. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
Heni Balint is director of global meetings and events sales at Radius Travel. She has a wealth of experience in both M&E and transient travel, having spent more than 20 years in corporate travel management company roles covering both sectors. A native Australian, Heni has lived and worked in Europe, Asia/Pacific and North America, and currently resides in the United States. Her passion is working with organizations to create strategies that drive their objectives. Connect with Heni on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter. Find more Radius Travel information on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
Ariane Gorin is president of Expedia Partner Solutions, a B2B division formed in 2017 by the combination of Expedia Group's Expedia Affiliate Network and Brand Expedia Global Partner Solutions. Ariane previously served as SVP and GM of Expedia Affiliate Network. Prior to joining Expedia, Ariane spent 10 years at Microsoft in various sales, distribution and marketing roles. Before that, she was a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group. Ariane received an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management and a BA in economics from the University of California at Berkeley. She currently serves on the board of directors of Adecco Group and the advisory council of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
Mark Meader is senior vice president of industry affairs and education at the American Society of Travel Agents. He is responsible for advocating on behalf of agencies, travel advisors and consumer communities with travel suppliers, technology providers, other trade associations, coalitions and various government entities. Mark also serves as vice chair of the World Travel Agents Associations Alliance board of directors. He previously was vice president of business development at the Airlines Reporting Corporation. Mark also worked for American Airlines, United Airlines and Sabre. He began his travel industry career as an outside sales advisor at a Boston-area travel agency. Connect with Mark on LinkedIn.