Meet the Executive Team
Dan Sullivan, President and CEO of Collette Vacations,has over 35 years in the travel industry. Sullivan's travel experience includes tour guiding, product development, sales, and marketing; as well as managing the corporate team and providing the strategic vision for the company. As CEO, Sullivan has brought Collette from a regional tour operator to one of the most respected tour companies worldwide. He is responsible for such innovative first-to-market initiatives as launching a worldwide sales team and driving new product development to non-traditional destinations.
Sullivan is a member of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) and the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP). He chairs the Collette Foundation board, Collette's global initiative to improve the quality of life of children worldwide. He is the Immediate Past Chairman of the Board of Directors for Tourism Cares, an organisation dedicated to the preservation and conservation of our tourism sites worldwide for future generations. In 2007, he (along with his late father, Daniel Sullivan, Sr.) was inducted into the Tourism Cares Hall of Fame for his contributions to the community, through philanthropic endeavors and significant contributions to the advancement of responsible tourism.
Locally, he serves as Co-Chairman of the Pawtucket Foundation, an organisation committed to the continued economic development of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Collette's home city. He is also a member of the Pawtucket Culinary Arts Initiative panel, which explores ways to promote better eating and nutrition, job growth and training in the culinary field and other aspects related to good diet and healthy foods. He serves on the board of Bristol County Savings Bank Charitable Foundation as well as on the advisory board of the Fairfield University Center for Faith and Public Life and the Providence College Council of Advisors. Sullivan is member of the Race to the Top Steering Committee for the Rhode Island Department of Education, too.
An engaged supporter of non-profit causes including the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, The Boston Red Sox Foundation, Hospice and Hasbro Children's Hospital, Institute for the Study & Practice of Nonviolence, and Amos House, he is also active with the Boys and Girls Clubs in Rhode Island.
A graduate of Fairfield University in 1973 with a degree in marketing, Sullivan graduated in 2003 from the Harvard Business School's Executive Owner/President Management programme.
All-Time favourite Destination:That is a tough question; I love them all! I love the turn of the century charm of the Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island. I love the scenic train journey through the Alps of Switzerland and the Southern Alps of New Zealand and I love the rugged coast of Newfoundland where you can see icebergs from shore and whales breaching.
favourite Pastime:Baseball, basketball, football… any sport really. And of course music, all kinds… but Springsteen is my favourite. I've seen “The Boss” in concert as far away as Barcelona!
favourite food experience while travelling?Food is such a big part of travel. I guess I'd say the pasta in Italy is always a favourite. I've also enjoyed the great cuisine of Southern France.
Best adventure?In February 2008, my wife Kathy and I embarked on a trip to Antarctica that marked our 7th continent! The sights on the White Continent are unimaginable – snow covered mountains, glacial bays, massive icebergs and seeing wildlife like penguins, seals and breaching whales was an adventure I won't soon forget.
Best View?There are so many it is tough to decide but standing in front of the Kremlin in Moscow has to be right up there along with sipping tea at the Chateau Lake Louise while overlooking the lake and Victoria Glacier.
What's on your bucket list?Right now, Cambodia and Vietnam are on my bucket list as well as spending a week in Napa Valley to enjoy the wine country.
Why do I love my job?When you find a job you love, you never have to work the rest of your life. My job is the best job in the world and I get to work with some truly amazing people which I love! I consider our partners and customers as friends; each one part of Collette's extended family.
John Galvin, Chief Financial Officer for Collette Vacations,serves on the company's Executive Committee and Board of Directors. He has held the position of CFO since joining Collette Vacations in 1989.
Galvin graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and received his Master's in Business Administration from Bryant University in Rhode Island. He has also completed the OPM Executive Education programme at the Harvard Business School.
Galvin is active in the local community and serves on the board of Women & Infants Hospital and is Chairman of the Board of Meeting Street Center. He is the finance committee chairperson for Tourism Cares. He is also a past member of the Board of Directors and served on the Executive Committee for the United States Tour Operators Association and the Providence Boys and Girls Club.
Prior to joining Collette Vacations, he spent five years at KPMG in Providence, where he worked as an accountant and audit manager. He then joined Paramount Card in Rhode Island, where he served as Director of Strategic Planning, and ultimately as Assistant Vice President, before joining Collette Vacations.
All-Time favourite Destination:The lake crossings from Southern Chile to Argentina. It is a pristine and beautiful destination.
favourite Pastime:In my free time I enjoy working out and reading. I also like to ski and play golf.
favourite food experience while travelling?I went on a Collette vacation to Italy with my family and some close friends and it was the best food experience I've had. Every meal was terrific.
Best adventure?My wife and I have had the best adventure in raising three great kids.
Best View?There are many 'Best Views' that come to mind but Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies, and sunset from a rooftop bar in Santorini probably top the list.
What's on your bucket list?I haven't been to Egypt or Machu Picchu and look forward to both.
Why do I love my job?I love my job because I work in an environment where giving back to others is very much a part of the corporate culture. Everyone in the organisation gets involved at multiple levels at helping others. It makes coming to work a joy.
Paula Twidale is the Executive Vice President of Collette Vacations,a position held since early 2000. A member of Collette's Executive Committee since 1996, Twidale serves on the company's Strategic Planning Committee which is responsible for examining policies, competitive position, and diversity with long-term perspective.
A travel industry veteran for 31 years, Twidale began her career with Eastern Airlines, holding positions of Passenger Service Manager and Interim Director at Boston's Logan International Airport. She was recruited by Collette Vacations in 1992.
Among her many accomplishments, Twidale implemented a Harvard Business School concept resulting in a system to enhance operational efficiencies within several departments that she oversees. She also spearheads the Customer Service Taskforce which focuses on overall quality of Collette's tours and experiences. Twidale has long been well-respected in the travel industry. Travel Agent Magazine has nominated her five times as one of the most powerful women in travel. She serves on the board for the United States Tour Operators Association, The Canadian Tourism Commission for U.S. Leisure Travel and is an active member of the Wings Club in New York.
In the community, Twidale serves the RI Chapter of St. Jude Children's Hospital and is a Board Trustee for Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, a non-partisan group that provides research aimed at improving state and local government. Twidale holds a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and a Certification in Gerontology.
All-Time favourite Destination:Italy! The culture, the food and the scenery are spectacular. For me, it was an opportunity to reconnect with my ancestry. Experiencing the freshness, simplicity and authenticity of the food was a real treat as my husband and I celebrated our anniversary in style. We travelled to Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Naples, Capri, Florence, Sorrento, and Venice and to the lakes of Stresa. The history, amazing sites, fabulous shopping, tasty limoncello and a romantic gondola ride are all memories that we will cherish forever.
favourite Pastime:Gourmet cooking and travelling. I love to spend quality time with my close friends who have been both part of my life and family, but also travelled around the world with me. Special dinners and sharing travel stories is always a highlight. My husband is British so enjoying family and travelling throughout glorious England will forever be a joy and favourite pastime.
favourite food experience while travelling:favourite food experience while travelling: I ate my way through Italy. The food was great because the people buy local fruits, vegetables, fish and meat daily and cook it to perfection. The pastas are all different based on the region, north to south. Let's not forget the smoothest wine that has been pressed from grapes basking in the Mediterranean sun. What's not to love? Passion goes into making every meal an experience.
Best adventure?Crossing the Andes and getting your passport stamped out in the wilderness was surreal. It was a real treat viewing breathtaking waterfalls and the condor while experiencing the lake crossings in South America. In Peulla, the stars and the sounds of the wildlife were magnificent and etched in my memory. Similar to South America, rafting down the Corobici River in Costa Rica seeing monkeys, iguana, toucans and crocodiles was something I will never forget.
Best View?The serene view of the English Lake District and the rolling green countryside, the sprawling magnitude of the Great Wall of China and glistening peaks of the Canadian Rockies all top my list for the best awe inspiring views.
What's on your bucket list?Health, happiness and love… and I continue to pursue all three! Exploring the world and stepping foot on all 7 continents is on my list. I am more than half way there and hope to complete that journey with my family, my friends and others that I can inspire and encourage to travel.
Why do I love my job?I have worked with fabulous people, made lifelong friends, travelled the world and experienced cultural diversity. I've always loved people and culture and that is why Sociology was my field of study. I have had the best of both worlds and “work to live” and “live to work”. Travel is all about fun and experience. Climbing the Great Wall of China, riding in a rickshaw, dancing with an Argentine cowboy, sailing the Greek Islands, sipping wine on the Champs-Élysées, snow shoeing on Grouse Mountain, whitewater rafting in Cost Rica and more make it the best job ever!
Kevin Kramich, Executive Vice President of Global Sales,is based out of Collette's corporate headquarters in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He has worked at Collette Vacations since 1985 where he began selling student tours and tour guiding. He was District Sales Manager of Boston from 1987 to 1990 at which time he was promoted to Midwest regional manager. In 1995, Kramich was National Sales Manager and a year later was named Director of Worldwide Sales after establishing sales territories in Australasia and the United Kingdom. He became the Executive Vice President of Global Sales in 2003.
Kramich oversees Collette's global sales force of over 70 outside sales personnel and defines the sales strategy for the company. He is frequently asked to conduct sales training seminars in the travel industry.
Among his many accomplishments at Collette, Kramich was instrumental in establishing Collette's first international office in Toronto, Canada, and since 2002 he has served on the Executive Committee of Collette Vacations. As Regional Sales Manager in the Midwest, Kramich and his team won most growth and most revenue for several consecutive years.
Kramich is a noble in the Aleppo Shriners of Wilmington, Massachusetts. He serves on the board of advisors for the Boston Bruins Foundation and works with Boston Bruins alumnae. Kramich helps to raise funds for cystic fibrosis, St. Jude's Children's Hospital, and the widows of firefighters lost in the 911 tragedies.
Well respected in the travel industry, Travel Agent Magazine named Kramich a Rising Star in the travel industry for two consecutive years beginning in 1997. A 1985 graduate of Worcester State College, Kramich has 27 years of experience in the travel industry. He successfully completed his CTA and his CTC certifications in 2001.
All-Time favourite Destination:Hawaii
favourite Pastime:Playing Hockey and Fishing
favourite food experience while travelling?I'd have to go with goat cheese cannolis in Italy.
Best adventure?The best adventure for me would be the Ice Safari I took in Antarctica where we travelled by Zodiac boat with landings that revealed the most amazing wildlife!
Best View?The best view is at sunrise from the top of Haleakala Crater in Maui.
What's on your bucket list?I have a few things on my bucket list at the moment including a stay at The Tropic Star Lodge in Panama, touring Russia, seeing the Passion Play in Oberammergau, and a cruise down the Amazon.
Why do I love my job?I get to travel the world and educate customers, family and friends about different destinations and help them fulfill their dreams. It doesn't get much better than that!
Bill Dziura is the Executive Vice President of Information Technology for Collette Vacations.A member of the Company's Executive Committee, Bill has been with Collette for 18 years, starting as the company's Controller in 1992. He later moved to Director of Product and Operations and then Vice President of Information Technology.
Dziura oversees all of the Company's technology systems, security and infrastructure. Among his many accomplishments at Collette, Bill spearheaded the successful implementation of a Sales Force Automation and CRM tool. Most recently he directed the company-wide effort to develop a new system which completely replaced the existing Reservation and Operating system for the company. Through his leadership and vision, Dziura has led Collette's reinvention of systems and processes resulting in improved service delivery and sales growth.
Prior to joining Collette, Dziura worked at KPMG Peat Marwick in Providence for 5 years as an accountant and audit manager. Later he worked for the corporate offices of John Brown Inc. in addition to serving as Assistant Controller at one of their divisions, Cumberland Engineering in South Attleboro, Massachusetts.
Dziura is a graduate of Bryant College with a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, and holds a CPA certificate in Rhode Island. He obtained his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Rhode Island. Aside from travel, Dziura enjoys professional baseball, football, and coaching soccer. He is actively involved in youth soccer and coaches for the Freetown Lakeville Soccer Club. Dziura is also involved in the mentor programme for Year Up. Year Up is a one-year, intensive training programme that works with urban young adults 18-24, enabling them to move on to full-time employment and higher education. Dziura, his wife and 3 children live in Lakeville, Massachusetts.
All-Time favourite Destination:I have too many destinations that I love to choose just one. Many destinations offer such unique experiences that it is impossible to pick just one. For example, you have the great nature experiences such as the majestic views of the Canadian Rockies in Banff, to the breathtaking views from the cliffs at Mykonos, Greece, to the great adventures of doing a Kenya safari and seeing amazing wildlife up close and personal. Then you have the great history and cultural destinations like Paris, France and Prague in the Czech Republic, Beijing, China, or Hong Kong. This is a tough one to answer.
favourite Pastime:When I am not trying to launch a new system or learn about some new technology, I am very involved in Youth Soccer. I have been a board member of a local soccer club and have been coaching soccer for my kids travel teams for more than 7 years. It is a great experience to see these kids develop and grow with the sport and learn to be competitive and discover the importance of teamwork.
favourite food experience while travelling?I am wondering if Paula Twidale has this on her bio as well, but I was with her in Paris, France, when I first joined Collette back in 1992. We went to dinner with a vendor and good friend of Collette to a very small and quaint restaurant on a back street of Paris. We were very jet lagged and tired from a couple of long days but went to dinner with a small group anyway. We had the most spectacular meal at this restaurant and were personally visited by the chef to ask us how we would like our meal prepared. I will never forget the experience. We have great memories and laugh every time we recall our special meal.
Best adventure?My best adventure was a challenge issued by Dan Sullivan when we were in Amsterdam at a manager's meeting. We were handed a map with the destination of Bruges, Belgium. He split us into teams and said “meet me there as soon as you can.” We got to experience what is was like to find your way around the country without a bus driver and Tour Manager to guide you. It was an “amazing race” to find our way and see who truly was an experienced travel professional.
Best View?The best view that comes to mind from a more recent trip is the beautiful island of Maui. I was up high on a ridge overlooking the beautiful volcanic mountain, the high surf and surfers riding the waves up and down the beach, and whales breaching in the distance off the shore. It was absolutely amazing.
What's on your bucket list?Places I still want to visit are Egypt; Vietnam; and Machu Picchu, Peru.
Why do I love my job?I have always loved a job that is challenging. My position is one that has new challenges every day. There is an endless list of new projects and new technologies to explore every day. I also work for a Company that brings peoples' dreams to life and is full of people who are energetic and fun. I enjoy working for a Company that welcomes and expects everyone to be their own entrepreneur. And in addition to that I get to visit and enjoy many places on this earth that I would probably never have been able to see on my own. What's better than that?
Melissa Wisniewski, Executive Vice President of Product,is based out of Collette's corporate headquarters in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. At Collette since 1997, Melissa oversees the Product, Operations, and Custom Tour divisions, and heads the Company's Product, Sales and Marketing Committee. She is responsible for developing and executing the company's product strategy, itineraries, and pricing for all product lines, including Collette Vacations, Collette Family Vacations, and Explorations, Collette's small tour division.
Graduating with a double degree in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a JD from Boston University, a “Semester at Sea” a very long time ago instilled a love of travel she has yet to get out of her system. Melissa has more than 14 years of experience in product development, corporate strategy, pricing and itinerary creation. She is frequently asked to speak at tourism and non-tourism functions on topics including strategic planning, itinerary development and pricing strategy.