By Robin GOLDSWORTHY
Montrose Travel celebrated its 60th anniversary like it does most things – in a family kind of way. On Saturday at its Honolulu Avenue location, the company hosted a family-friendly party that included two food stations, beverages and awards. And though the thermometer might have read mid-80s at Montrose Travel, there was snow on the ground – about 35 tons of it – trucked in for the kids for the annual Snowpalooza event.
Typically held in the fall, Montrose Travel co-president Andi McClure-Mysza said it was decided to incorporate Snowpalooza into the anniversary festivities, adding to the fun.
“This [party] is a team building and family building event,” said McClure-Mysza.
Montrose Travel was started in 1956. In 1972, Joe and Leora McClure bought the company and built it into a thriving business. In 1989, the couple decided to sell their business, which sold about $6 million in travel annually, to their children Joe III and McClure-Mysza. Joe and McClure-Mysza had worked in many different departments of the company and were well- versed in its operation.
Excited about their new roles, the younger McClures set their goals high. Under their stewardship, along with Joe’s wife Julie, the business exploded with sales estimated at $300 million. The buildings that house Montrose Travel have expanded including a new facility recently added in Palmdale. And whereas the employees in 1989 numbered 14, today Montrose Travel is proud to have a crew of over 200 people. The company also expanded its offerings by providing specialized travel for vacations, romance, businesses and groups and also offers a loyalty rewards program, which since its inception in 1994 has grown to be the third largest loyalty travel solution in the U.S.
But, according to company president Joe, a key component to the company’s success is their employees.
“The people make the business successful,” he said.
That importance of having passionate people has resulted in high retention levels and keeping their employees on the payroll even during hard times.
“We’ve never laid anyone off,” Joe added. “We also promote a family atmosphere.”
That family atmosphere is one reason Daren Autry, the company’s Leisure manager, has stayed at Montrose Travel for nearly nine years.
“We have fun in the office,” Autry said. “It’s an accomplishment to maintain a family-friendly [place]. If you’re going to be working eight or more hours a day with the same people, it’s important people like to come here.”
“The people who work with us work very hard,” she said. “We want to keep morale high.”
One way morale is kept high is the distribution of recognition awards, which was done at Saturday’s event. Twenty awards were handed out to those who in the last six months went beyond expectations in their performance (see the list at the bottom of this article).
A highlight of the evening, in addition to the food, snow and awards, were heartfelt comments delivered by Joe.
“You cautiously gave us the keys to your company in 1989,” he said to his parents from the stage, “but success is in our DNA. I hope that we have made you proud.”
Awards Presentation Winner Name
Yes We Can/Team Player:
Corporate Patty Overton
Loyalty Palmdale Linda Gonzalez
Loyalty Montrose Meifaith Mims
Group Ronni Burns
Leisure Karen Kelly
Preferred Supplier Sales:
Home Based Agent Barry Kelchner
Leisure Anita Kayekjian
Home Based Agent Meredith McCutcheon
HBA Support Loretta Alva
Loyalty Palmdale Tiffany Shaw
Loyalty Montrose Destinee Winn
Group Teresa Owens
Leisure Rhonda Maroney
Corporate Ruby Yaboudjian
Home Based Agent Jaguar Travel
Leisure Carmela Flores
Group Jannette Dilley
Corporate Marilyn Manoel
Independent Contractor Cathy Nilsen
Loyalty Diana Duran