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 their 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. Click to learn more about them here …
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.
Alex Kaluzny, CTO at Egencia, is specialized in building high-performance technology platforms for global travel companies, for both leisure and corporate travel. At Egencia, he heads up worldwide technology and development with a mission to create game-changing web, mobile and customer service solutions to make business travel better. Based in Paris, France, Alex leads a team of over 500 engineers and IT specialists located in R&D centers in the United States, France and India. Prior to joining Egencia, he served as group vice president of technology at Chicago-based global online travel agency Orbitz Worldwide. Alex holds degrees in Computer Science from the University of Illinois and Business Administration from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Michael Jacques serves as the CCO for Lumo, a predictive analytics technology company that forecasts flight delays to help proactively manage air travel disruptions. Michael is a travel industry veteran with over 30 years of travel experience. He is a former travel agency owner and over the past 18 years has served in senior management business development roles with e-travel, cytric/Amadeus, Farelogix, Tripware and Databasics. Michael is passionate about innovative solutions advancing corporate travel and active in his local GBTA chapter in St. Louis. He formerly served as the co-chair of GBTA's Technology Committee. Connect with Michael 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.
Pedro Ceron is managing partner at TravelCast Consulting. Early in his career Pedro worked in various purchasing roles. He then worked for travel suppliers including airlines, a global distribution system and enterprise technology companies. His expertise is in change management, disruption management and innovation facilitation. Throughout his career Pedro has focused on business and market development, channel development and management with emphasis on client relationships, sustainability and community interaction. He currently advises on strategic approaches to the changing landscape of travel distribution, with an emphasis on IATA's New Distribution Capability. A frequent presenter at industry events, Pedro continually engages with non-travel startups and web-based projects to keep current with the ever-changing web and e-commerce fields. Connect with him 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 and head of analytics for ARC, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vic Pynn is a long-time travel industry executive. After five years as a vice president at American Express, he rose through the ranks at TRX, ending his time there as chief operating officer. Vic then worked at Amadeus IT Group for nine years, most recently as COO for North America. As a certified StrengthsFinder coach and mentor, he helps people identify, develop and apply their talents and passions. Vic has authored pieces outlining the critical importance of nurturing talent and presented on various business topics. Also a certified general accountant, he graduated from Seneca College after studying and business and finance. Vic serves as a board member for the Global Business Travel Association Foundation and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Connect with him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.
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.