Where is everybody?


Pat GoingI just got off the phone with Jim Smith, CTC, whom Id known when he was at National Car Rental and Certified Vacations. He told me he hooked up with a company called the Solutionz Group. I clicked on the Solutionz.com Web site and -- wham! -- my past flashed before my eyes.

There was former Sabre CEO Kathy Misunas and her husband, Bill. The last I heard, they were involved with motorcycles (or joined a gang).

Terry Jones was there, as well. I thought he had retired from Travelocity and went to live the good life.

Vela McClam Mitchell was there, too. I thought she was still with Worldspan.

All of this made me start thinking, Where has everyone gone?

Where is Peter Sontag of the Sontag Annis and Associates consultancy, the man who later headed USTravel and 800 Travel Systems and used to pontificate on the front page of every trade magazine and paper?

What happened to Stevan Trooboff, who seemed to chair every industry committee?

That one I know -- he is living the good life in New Hampshire and is heading up the Council on International Educational Exchange.

But what about former Avis CEO Joe Vittoria, who went on to launch Travel Services International? He cant be just sitting on his boat with a fishing pole.

What happened to TACO? Remember them? Way before it was fashionable to eat meat wrapped in a tortilla, TACO was the Travel Agents Computer Organization, started by the Garber folks in Boston. The Garbers seemed to think that automation might be here to stay. They may have been on to something.

Hedna (Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association) is still around and successful. Did you know it started out as Hot Mama? It stood for Hotel Marketing Automation Managers Association.

We had to change the name after the late Scott Pruner of Stouffers (yes,  Stouffers used to run hotels and make frozen lasagna) refused to check in for a meeting saying he was with the Hot Mama group.

After much deliberation during a sumptuous Sunday brunch in Chicago, we decided to call it EDNA, short and simple -- but then we didnt want the car guys to be a part of it, so we added the hotel qualifier. Go Hedna! I feel like a very proud parent.

But, speaking of Hedna, where is Scott Heintzeman these days?

I just realized that Marsha (Marriotts Automated Reservation System for Hotel Accommodations) is now in her 20s. They grow up so fast, dont they?

That reminds me, when I was at Marriott, the company had just added its 100th hotel and the only woman VP was head of gift shops!

[Editors notes: Peter Sontag is consulting and is CEO of Fast Lane Travel, a Clearwater, Fla.-based organizer of tours involving fast cars. Joseph Vittoria is chairman of the board of PuraDyn, a manufacturer of oil filtration systems in Boynton Beach, Fla. Scott Heintzeman is chief information officer for Carlson Hospitality Worldwide.]

Pat Going is a semiretired former marketing automation executive and a recovering workaholic. Her e-mail address is pat [email protected].


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