About Us: Our Management Team
Christopher U. Conlin, President and CEO
As our President and CEO, Chris oversees all aspects of the company operations. Having worked at the company his entire professional career, Chris' industry knowledge is second to none. Having seen the industry go through significant change, Chris has transformed Conlin Travel into one of the largest Travel Management companies in the United States. "When almost 60% of the agencies in the U.S. have closed in the past 20 years, I feel very proud of my people and their perseverance that have allowed us to thrive and grow. When others feared technological changes in our industry, we embraced it and leveraged it to our clients' benefit. Delivering personalized service, having deep specialized knowledge, building excellent customer relationships and delivering great value is what sets us apart from the rest."
Betty A. Harmon, CTC, Vice President
Betty joined Conlin Travel in 1978 and has held just about every position in the travel industry. Currently, Betty oversees the retail and corporate operations of all branches of Conlin Travel. Betty is also in charge of vendor relations. There isn't an industry representative in S.E. Michigan that does not know and respect Betty for her knowledge and integrity. "This is a complicated industry that relies on lots of companies and people to make it work right. When something does go wrong for one of our customers, I know who to call and what to do to make it right."
Kevin F. Hamilton, Vice President of Sales
Kevin brings 30 plus years of industry experience to Conlin Travel. After graduating from Michigan State University in 1979, he held several Executive positions with Marriott Hotels, traveling extensively with the company throughout the United States. In 1992 Kevin left Marriott to return as President/CEO of Spartan Travel, a family business started by his parents in 1969. Later owning the agency, Kevin successfully grew it into one of the largest Travel Management Companies in the Midwest. In 2003 Kevin sold his agency and in 2009, after 30 years as a "Road Warrior" logging massive amounts of mileage in the air and on the road and experiencing travel from the business traveler’s perspective, Kevin found his dream job with Conlin Travel. "We have such an incredible team of industry experts with tireless energy directed toward the relentless pursuit of excellence."
William R. Swiderek, Chief Financial Officer
Joining Conlin Travel in 1981, Bill has overseen the financial and operational aspects of all of the Conlin Travel companies. Sitting on advisory boards such as Disney, Bill's industry knowledge is extensive. Bill maintains and monitors all industry standards and ensures that Conlin Travel measures up to all industry wide benchmarks.
Laura Bjorne, Chief Operating Officer
Laura Bjorne has been with Conlin Travel for over 7 years. Laura’s responsibilities started in 2009 with developing and overseeing the eServices Division at Conlin Travel. She was promoted to EVP of Corporate Travel and Technology in 2012 to further expand our support of company initiatives with technology and our corporate travel offerings. In 2016, Laura became our Chief Operating Officer where she is responsible for day-to-day activities, company growth, division goals and technology for the entire Conlin Travel organization. She began her career in 1990 where she worked as Brand Manager for a large marketing firm. With the introduction of web technologies, Laura shifted her focus and in 1999 joined Polyphasic, a company funded in part by NASA to explore web and data use. Polyphasic turned its focus to online reservation engines and data management in early 2003 as Travwell, Inc. where Laura oversaw operations, interface development, and communications. Her experience in technology and operations is invaluable to Conlin Travel and its future growth of services for our clients.
Jim Walter, CTC, President, Crossing Boundaries
Jim's experience in the travel industry dates back to 1973 when he began his travel career with Conlin Travel on the Youth for Understanding account. In 1974, he joined Cartan Travel as a tour manager in the Canadian Rockies, Alaska and Hawaii and subsequently became Manager of their Domestic Operations. In addition to serving for three years in hotel management, he was the President/COO of a large travel management firm for 19 years. He has traveled extensively throughout the world and has been active in local civic and industry affairs. He currently serves on the national advisory boards for Avis Rent-A-Car, American Express and the German National Tourist Organization.
Steven T. Conlin, CEO, Conlin Incentive Group, Inc.
Based in Dallas, Texas, with 30 years' experience in the industry, Steve Conlin specializes in providing turn-key automated B2B sales promotions and customer loyalty programs. Conlin Incentive Group clients range from small local businesses to large international corporations. On many programs, Conlin Travel teams up to provide important travel agency and technology services.
L. Thomas Conlin, Founder (Retired)
Tom started the company in 1959 and is considered a pioneer in the industry. Revolutionizing such concepts as alumni travel, group travel and college bowl travel, Tom recognized early the value that a highly organized group travel company could add. Growing from those experiences, Tom added such divisions as Corporate Travel, Conlin Groups & Meetings, and most recently the inception of the Great Lakes Cruise Company.