I was born into the travel business. After serving in World War II my father worked for the Refugee Relief Organization in Germany where he help thousands of war torn refugees immigrate to the USA to realize the American Dream. When he returned to the U.S. with my mother and my 3 older siblings he continued to help Europeans immigrate to the United States. At the urging and suggestion of an airline representative my father started a travel agency in 1958.
My foundation in the travel industry was based on my father’s simple but profound belief in treating our customers like we would want to be treated ourselves and spending their money as if we were spending our own.
At a very young age I started answering phones in my father’s agency. I learned to read an OAG (a massive book listing flight schedules), calling in reservations to airlines and then handwriting airline tickets. In 1979 I helped my father bring automation into our agency which really began the evolution of the travel industry. I started working in a regulated travel industry which evolved into a deregulated travel industry. I began at a time when airlines begged travel agents to help them market their flights to a time when they push travelers to circumvent travel agents and go direct to their websites. These challenges and evolutions have been a learning experience for everyone. The most valuable lesson I have learned is that in this ever-changing industry the customer must come first. Park Avenue Travel focuses on reliability. We want our travelers to know they can depend on us to provide them with the most efficient, cost effective travel arrangements. This service standard is a non-negotiable commitment on which our agency has thrived and one that has been instilled in every one of our agents.
In 1986 I had the great fortune of meeting my business partner Jill Goldie. In 1989 I asked Jill to come work with me in my family’s agency and happily she agreed. Although Jill had limited experience in the travel industry I recognized in Jill her great enthusiasm, her unbridled energy and her innate ability to work with people. In 1998 we founded Park Avenue Travel.
I never planned on being a travel agent. My undergraduate degree is in Sports Medicine and my Masters is in Sport Management and Administration. I was going to run an Orthopedic / Sports Medicine Center. But things changed and here I am, a travel agent!
In 1986 I met Dora Bourgault. Our paths were brought together when Dora was asked to manage travel for a major foreign car manufacturer bringing 500 (non English speaking) executives to the USA to visit American auto manufacturers in various cities. I was brought in as the logistics coordinator. The trip went off without a hitch despite the usual travel challenges; flight delays, cancelations, inclement weather, varying traveler needs and the biggest challenge the language barrier.
After the success of this trip I decided to follow my passion for tennis and worked as a teaching tennis pro in Boston.
Then one day Dora called to ask me if I would be interested in joining her family’s travel agency to help with the growing travel needs of a corporate client, specifically meeting planning and event coordination. I was a bit hesitant because of my lack of travel experience but decided “nothing ventured nothing gained” so why not give it a try. So on August 8, 1989 I became a travel agent!
AND here I am 25 years later, still a travel agent, enjoying the loyality of many long standing clients, and enjoying meeting new people and introducing them to our customer service focused travel management company.