Destination Directory

Industry Trailblazers

Those with years in the travel industry have faced big changes and incredible challenges.

Those who succeed have the courage and creativity to see opportunity where others may see obstacles. Groups Today recognizes some of the industry's trailblazers—people who've forged new ways of doing business, inspiring many to follow in their footsteps.

Bruce Beckham
strung baggage tags as a boy, in his father's travel business. When he was only 25 his father died, and the business became his responsibility. Beckham recognized that getting involved with industry organizations would provide him with the tools to honor his father's way of doing business, and help him adapt. "One of the best things I've ever done in my life is volunteer. To give is to get back. I volunteered for committees to get a chance to meet and learn from industry experts. Volunteering was the catalyst for business and personal growth." Beckham credits his enthusiasm for working with others—as a volunteer and a businessman—and the relationships forged for his Tourism Cares CEO position, which he held for more than 12 years while the company grew into a model for philanthropy in the industry.

industry-trailblazers-1-webEd Dresel entered the industry while working as an insurance sales manager. Insurance employee clubs often organized trips, and he enjoyed planning them. He and his wife began Destinations Unlimited, Inc. in 1983, initially focusing on senior citizen travel, but moving toward student travel after chaperoning their son's high school band trip. "We knew there was a better way to do student travel." Not everyone found this a good business move. "When we first started, a lot of our colleagues thought going into the market was the craziest thing they'd heard. We went full steam ahead, anyway." Today, Destinations Unlimited, Inc. has helped define what constitutes quality student travel.

To read more about industry trailblazers John Stachnik, Dan Sullivan, Jr., Arthur Tauck, Jr., and others, click here to read this article in the digital edition of Groups Today Magazine.



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