Speaker Bios - 2013

Speakers/Schedule Subject to Change. Please check back often for updates.

 

Jeff Adam
Air New Zealand Vacations

Jeff Adam is our resident Australia and New Zealand specialist, hailing from Adelaide Australia, Jeff moved to the USA prior to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games to promote travel to Australia and New Zealand, and stayed on to bring attention to the America’s Cup in Auckland. He has been instrumental in creating the travel industries most comprehensive training program for Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, Cook Islands, Papua and New Guinea titled the South Pacific Travel Symposium and went on to assist the Travel Institute (then called ICTA) in updating their Destination Specialist South Pacific program with pertinent travel information. His presentation style is both educational and entertaining, leaving all who attend excited at the prospect of traveling Down Under!

Leigh Ann Cloutier, CTC
President, Rico Tours

Leigh Ann Cloutier is a veteran in the travel industry. She has pioneered travel in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama and Belize for 2 decades. Her passion is contagious. Listed for a decade Conde Nast Traveler as a Travel Specialist, Cloutier continues to explore Latin America. Cloutier believes that travel is a bridge that joins cultures and ideology to bring people together. In a shrinking world, what better way to experience it than first hand?



Wayne & Pat Dunlap
Founder, Plan Your Escape®

Wayne and Pat Dunlap are award-winning travel photojournalists/bloggers with over 48,100 interested followers, hosts of the travel TV show Plan Your Escape® aired on the CW network, travel speakers, travel columnist for the Huffington Post, and authors of the 5-star rated travel book Plan Your Escape®, Secrets of Traveling the World for Less Than the Cost of Living at Home. They have been fortunate to live their dreams and are members of the exclusive Travelers’ Century Club. In total, they have visited 100 countries on 6 continents as well as 44 U.S. states. They want to make your travel dreams a reality and bring the world closer together by sharing great travel values, powerful travel tips, unique bargain-finding strategies, interesting tours, and the latest trends.

The Dunlaps have an inspiring life-changing story. Recently, they rented their home and traveled the world for 2 years visiting 51 countries. They have taken over 100 trips taking cars, trains, buses, and organized tours. They have also done home exchanges and taken 29 cruises on 13 different cruise lines on ships ranging from 10 to 4,000 passengers. Now they enjoy most of their traveling on interesting tours and independently on their own.

The Dunlaps have been awarded Top Travel Blogger and Best Boomer Travel Bloggers to Follow and stories about their travel adventures and unique travel tips have appeared in the Frommer’s The Travel Show, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, The Christian Science Monitor, Entrepreneur Magazine, ABC News, SecondAct & Newsmax Magazines, radio, TV, and other media. They were also expert travel contributors to the book 65 Things to Do When You Retire – Travel.

See more information about the Dunlaps and their travels on their world travel adventures website: UnhookNow.com. In addition to featuring over 185 wonderful places around the world, they include award-winning photos, unique bargain-finding strategies, easy-to-use trip planning ideas and tips, travel resources, interesting things to do, history, and you can sign up to receive free travel bargains and tips.

Tia Froehle, CTC, AWE
Tourism Sales Manager, Visit Anchorage

As a lifelong Alaskan, Tia Froehle knows her home like the back of her hand. Her love for the outdoors and adventure has allowed her to explore this amazing state of Alaska! Tia has worked in the tourism industry for over 14 years and now she wants YOU to come explore Alaska and check it off your bucket list! Come out and play!

Pauline Frommer
Editorial Director of the Frommer Guides and Publisher of Frommers.com

Pauline Frommer is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host. The Travel Show, which she co-hosts with her father, travel legend Arthur Frommer, is now heard in every state in the nation except Alaska. She also pens an internationally syndicated newspaper column on travel for King Features. You may recognize her face as Pauline created weekly travel segments for CNN's Headline News for 3 years. She's also appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Early Show, The O'Reilly Factor, NPR's Marketplace and Talk of the Nation, CNN, FOX, MSNBC and every local news station you can name. She was the founding editor of Frommers.com and edited MSNBC.com's travel section for two years. Pauline is the proud mother of two well-traveled daughters and wife to physical therapist Mahlon Stewart.

Chris Harrison
Host of ABC's The Bachelor

Chris Harrison was there as we watched some of the most shocking moments of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. He gets us into the mindset of each bachelor or bachelorette as he prepares them before every rose ceremony. He asks questions we want to know during the Men/Women Tell All and the After the Final Rose specials. And, quite frankly, we can't imagine The Bachelor or The Bachelorette without him.

Chris Harrison is Host of TV Guide Network’s daily one-hour entertainment news show, HOLLYWOOD 411. Harrison began his television career by covering local sports in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Dallas, Texas native went to Oklahoma City University on a soccer scholarship and then made the natural transition to sportscasting with a local station. During his six years there, he worked his way up the ranks from part-time sportscaster to weekend sportscaster. He also had the opportunity to cover hard news stories, including the 1995 tragedy at the Federal Building, an event which profoundly affected his perspective on life and career.

A visit to L.A. in 1999 for an audition for a horseracing network led to a permanent move. Later that year, Harrison landed the job as host of HGTV's “Designer's Challenge.” Now in its sixth year, it has consistently been one of the network's highest rated shows. In 2001 he became host of ABC's hit romance/reality series “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.”

Harrison continues to advance in the entertainment industry through a variety of professional endeavors. He co-hosted E!'s 2006 coverage of the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes, and this year will co-host the TV Guide Network’s coverage of the 2008 Golden Globes and Oscars. He will continue to host the Citrus Bowl Parade on ABC stations throughout the country in December of this year, an event he also hosted in 2006. In 2004 he hosted the Miss America Pageant for ABC.

The versatile Harrison has done his fair share of acting as well, having garnered roles in the popular television series “Alias,” “The Practice,” “Six Feet Under” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” His feature film appearances include “Bounce,” “Showtime” and, most recently, portraying himself in the comedy “Date Movie.”

In his spare time, Harrison still plays soccer and has become addicted to golf. He has developed a great appreciation for the weather and lifestyle of Southern California.

Nancy and Bob Kerstetter
Independent International Travelers, Travel Writers for Village Hiker Publishing Company

Nancy and Bob Kerstetter travel independently in Asia, specializing in affordable trips to Japan. They do all of their own travel research and arrangements. They publish travel tips, cultural essentials and experience stories on the website of Village Hiker Publishing Company (villagehiker.com). They travel lightweight, use public transportation, eat Japanese food, and stay in local hotels, inns and ryokans. Their travels have taken them to traditional tourist stops and off the beaten path. This spring they followed the blooming of the cherry blossoms from near Osaka City in western Honshu to Hakodate City on the southern coast of Hokkaido, all without knowing the Japanese language. While they enjoy seeing sights throughout Japan, some of their best travel adventures come from meeting people and making friends. Both Nancy and Bob are professional journalists. They are currently writing two non-fiction books about Japan and America. Proponents of the one-bag-only rule of travel, they can be ready to go just about anywhere in 60 minutes or less!

Chef Kieunnia Boykin

Kieunnia has always had an interest in travel and learning more about cultures and food from other regions. She loves to see the world and try new foods, and has been as far afield as Egypt. She decided to cultivate her passion for people, culture, and food by beginning the Culinary Arts program at El Centro College. She has completed an AAS in Culinary Arts and Pastry programs, is a member of the El Centro Culinary Student Association, and is a Certified Culinarian in the Texas Chef Association and American Culinary Foundation.

Kieunnia has worked with notable Dallas celebrity chef John Tesar, learning and assisting at his side on projects including his launch of the Cedars Social. She has also worked at Del Frisco’s and Dallas Center for Rehabilitation as a chef. Kieunnia operates an event planning business (Finer Things Events), caters, and works as a private chef. She is currently working as a head chef at Glamour Hall I and II. She is a contracted caterer, photographer, and party planner for the African American Museum and The Potter’s House. Kieunnia is also working on establishing A Rising Star Nonprofit in the South Dallas area to teach healthy culinary habits and photography skills to underprivileged youths.



Bert Kreischer
Host of Travel Channel's Trip Flip 
Click Here to Learn More About Bert and Trip Flip.

When Bert Kreischer is not passionately discovering local traditions, thrills and competitions for Travel Channel, viewers can find Kreischer touring comedy clubs and colleges throughout the United States. Prior to becoming Travel Channel’s adventure seeker on the series “Bert the Conqueror,” Kreischer began a career in comedy in 1998, working at the Boston Comedy Club. Within a year, he grabbed the attention of Hollywood A-lister Will Smith, who signed him to a television development deal. Kreischer co-hosted FX’s “The X Show” and made his acting debut starring in the CBS/20th Century Fox pilot, “Life with David J'’ with Elliot Gould.

In 2009, Kreischer had his own stand up special, “Bert Kreischer: Comfortably Dumb,” and hosted Spike TV's “Fresh Baked Video Games.” His television appearances include Comedy Central’s “Shorties Watchin’ Shorties,” and “Reality Bites Back,” FX's “Hurt Bert,” and “The Shield,” and NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” Kreischer has also guested on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Late Show with David Letterman” and “The Rachael Ray Show.”

In Travel Channel’s series, “Trip Flip,” which premiered in June 2012, Kreischer convinces two random people to spontaneously agree to an unforgettable surprise adventure. Throwing away the guidebook, he takes them off the beaten path and delivers an action-packed, customized itinerary stacked with the kind of VIP-access, accommodations, gourmet food, unexpected twists and celebrity appearances that only Travel Channel can deliver.

A Florida native, Kreischer attended Florida State University. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

John F. Krieger
Founder & President, Cruise & Tour Center

John is a veteran in the travel industry, owning travel companies for over 30 years. John is a national recognized travel expert featured on KRLD radio, KAAM radio, Channel 4 (Fox), Channel 11 (CBS), Travel Weekly, and Cruise Week. He is also the creator of the “7 Critical Things You Must Know Before You Buy a Cruise” —a 1st Time-Cruiser Video. John is also an advisory board member of Vacation.com, the nation’s largest travel agency consortium.

Mark "Hawkeye" Louis
Host - Travel With Hawkeye and Award Winning Dallas - Fort Worth Morning DJ, 96.3 KSCS

Mark is an award winning broadcaster and novelist, his latest mystery, The Travis Club was released this summer . Radio listeners in Dallas/Fort Worth know 'Hawkeye,' as the long time morning host on heritage country station, 96.3 FM KSCS. Mark, along with his partner Terry Dorsey, have the longest-running morning show in Dallas. Hawkeye is also host of 'Travel With Hawkeye' on the CW Network's 'Eye Opener morning program, WBAP and KLIF Radio. Mark is an avid skier, windsurfer and he and his wife and daughter are enthusiastic travelers.



Andrew McCarthy
Award-Winning Travel Writer and Actor

Andrew McCarthy is an editor-at-large at National Geographic Traveler. He has written for the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic, to name a few. The Society of American Travel Writers named him their "Travel Journalist of the Year" in 2010, and in 2011, the North American Travel Journalists Association awarded him their Grand Prize. His recent travel memoir, The Longest Way Home, became a New York Times bestseller, with the Financial Times of London naming it one of the Best Books of 2012. Despite all this he is perhaps best known as an actor, having appeared in dozens of movies, including such iconic films as Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo's Fire and Less Than Zero.

Ken Patrick

Chef Ken Patrick has accomplished more than he’s ever imagined. As a young boy growing up in Beaumont, Texas, he always knew he wanted to learn how to cook. The love of food was instilled in him by his parents and other family members who enjoyed cooking great food. It didn’t take Ken long to get caught up in his passion and to share his art with the rest of the world.

Since becoming a professional chef, he’s appeared on numerous TV productions and has become the sought after chef from many government and national organizations to include the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, U.S. Department of Education, American Heart Association, National Kidney Foundation, March of Dimes, U.S. Department of Agriculture & the Food & Drug Administration for various public cooking demonstrations and speaking engagements.

Chef Ken is the proprietor of the Ken Patrick Culinary Group, FOOD LIFE with Chef Ken! & Texas Catering Company. He is also the founder of the non-profit organization, F.O.O.D-Feeding Our Own Disadvantaged, where he focuses on providing meal assistance to local families in their time of need.

Chef Ken resides in Dallas, Texas with his wife and son.

Peter Poulides
Photographer, teacher and owner of The Spot Studio in Dallas

Peter began his photographic life in Athens, Greece while attending high school. In his 20s he landed the first of many assignments for Travel & Leisure magazine and went on to shoot feature articles and cover stories for Travel Holiday, Food & Wine, Departures, Smithsonian, Merian, D, American Way and other inflight publications. Early in his career he was named one of the top 100 travel photographers in the world by the editors at Travel & Leisure. He continues to shoot personal and corporate assignments and teaches at The Spot Studio in Dallas.

Sucheta Rawal
Founder of the international nonprofit, Go Eat Give

Sucheta Rawal is a food and travel writer, cooking instructor and international volunteer. Born and raised in India, she is a home grown chef who is an expert at many cuisines. Her passion for cooking started with learning through observation, direction and experimentation and expanded into many others. Soon she was trying new restaurants, critiquing them and refining the preparations in her own kitchen. She particularly enjoyed blending flavors and creating a variety of palates on her dinner menu, such as an artist would.

Sucheta also has a passion for seeing the world and has traveled to 40 countries and counting. Her favorite things to do while traveling are eating with families, talking to the locals and visiting local farmers markets and wineries. She likes to bring back recipes from people she met or places she ate at around the world and teaches international cooking classes at schools around US.

Sucheta is the founder of the movement, Go Eat Give, that brings people from around the world together, through food and community service. Her goal is to encourage people to explore the diversity of this planet, have fun and learn from each other. The Go Eat Give showcases volunteer abroad tours, travel guides, restaurant reviews, stories of giving and recipes from around the world. www.goeatgive.com



Patricia Schultz
Author, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die

Patricia Schultz has a dream job: traveling the globe and writing about it. She is the author of the international #1 bestsellers, 1,000 PLACES TO SEE BEFORE YOU DIE (with over 3 million copies in print and translated into 25 languages) and 1,000 PLACES TO SEE IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA BEFORE YOU DIE. With these works, she has reinvented the idea of travel book as both wish list and practical guide. She was chosen by Forbes as one of the 25 most influential women in travel, and was executive producer of the Travel Channel’s TV show based on her first 1,000 PLACES book.

The second edition of 1,000 PLACES TO SEE BEFORE YOU DIE came out in November 2011, with 200 entirely new destinations, 28 new countries, full-color photographs, and more than 50 percent new material woven into the revised and expanded entries, which emphasize comprehensive travel experiences instead of single sites.

Family legend, never proven, is that Patricia’s family is somehow related to Mark Twain, who was a preeminent globetrotter of his day. Patricia’s own wanderlust began on the beach at Atlantic City, when she set off from the family beach blanket seeking adventure and was returned to an apoplectic mother several hours later by some relieved lifeguards. “I had heard the siren call of the great, global beyond,” she recalls, “and I had answered. I was hooked. I was four years old.”

While her college classmates headed for Wall Street, Patricia grabbed her passport and made a beeline for the airport, and soon discovered that she could make a living from her passion. Many guidebooks and articles later, she embarked upon the first 1,000 PLACES book, spending seven years augmenting the knowledge she gained from her own travels with information from hundreds of books and magazines and first-person reports from colleagues, tourist agencies, and individual travelers. How did she winnow it all down? “The common denominator I chose was a simple one: that each place impress upon the visitor some sense of the earth’s magic, integrity, wonder, and legacy. And sometimes places that were just plain fun.”

Patricia Schultz has written about travel for publications including The Wall Street Journal, Everyday with Rachael Ray, and Travel Weekly, and for guides such as Frommer’s and Berlitz. She is a popular speaker at travel shows, museums, associations, and organizations both in the U.S. and abroad. In more than 25 years of travel writing, she has never lost her curiosity or passion. “Some people can speed from New York to L. A. without registering a thing,” she writes. “I can walk around my mid-Manhattan block and come home with a carton of milk and stories to tell. In the end, the number of miles covered has nothing to do with the real pleasures of travel–the inherent beauty of the world and the discovery it promises are all around us.”

Supinder Singh
President, Palace Tours

Mr. Supinder Singh is the President of Palace Tours, based in Princeton NJ, a leading luxury tour operator specialized in building unmatched experiences for the independent traveler in Asia, Africa and Europe. The company specializes in luxury train journeys and custom designed travel experiences for its guests based on a consistent service delivery framework. Before Palace Tours, Supinder worked with leaders in timeshares and hotel industry and was a consultant to a number of companies where he helped them grow their business on the Internet. He has helped position the Palace Tours as a market leader by investing in technology solutions for marketing, sales and consistency in service delivery while keeping the costs down. He continues to travel extensively and helps his team in identifying potential areas of grow the portfolio of Palace Tours offerings.

J. Griffis Smith
Photo Editor, Texas Highways Magazine

"Griff" is a graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta, and worked at Texas A&M University before becoming one of TxDOT's most dedicated photographers. After almost 30 years photographing for Texas Highways, his work has graced countless pages of magazines, brochures and even wall murals. A master of light, Griff turns the ordinary into images of extraordinary beauty. He has logged more than 200,000 miles traveling Texas highways.



Matthew Trinetti
Founder, GiveLiveExplore


In 2012, Matthew Trinetti left his consulting job at IBM to slow-travel around Europe and explore his passion for travel and culture. In the process, he founded GiveLiveExplore, a startup publishing company whose mission is to bring the world more storybooks (and less guidebooks) and inspire more people to become travelers (and less to become tourists). Along with Chicago author and journalist Stephen Markley, Trinetti is pioneering a new brand of fast, funny, and informative anti-guidebooks called Tales Of. The first book in the series, Tales of Iceland -or- Running with the Huldufolk in the Permanent Daylight has remained an Amazon category bestseller since its debut in April 2013. The second book in the series, Tales of Ecuador, will be published in early 2014.

Melanie Tucker
Owner, Tough Love Travel

Melanie Tucker is the owner of Tough Love Travel, where she specializes in unique trips for adventurous travelers. She sets clients up in novel lodging like cave hotels and treehouses and offers unique excursions like lobster-diving and truffle-hunting.

She graduated from the University of Virginia in '84, worked in event planning, and raised 4 sons -- partly in her home in NJ and partly in their Ford van as she road-tripepd all over the US, CA, and Mexico. Her love of travel took her around the globe, too. She side-stepped cobras in the Marrakech souk, hiked Arenal Volcano, and rode the Orient Express into Budapest.

Through these experiences, she was touched by the magic of travel, and inspired to build Tough Love Travel, with trips to open people's eyes and fire their imaginations. She calls herself "Tough Love" because she aims to get people out of their comfort zone -- just a bit - so that they can enjoy a more authentic, less touristy travel experience. Trips with Tough Love Travel are sometimes rustic, often luxurious, but always unique!

Melanie's insatiable passion for food has lured her into remarkable culinary experiences on her travels. From ceviche and chocolate, to wine routes and homemade Nocina, to her favorite - dinner parties in the home of a local - she revels in sharing these secrets with fellow Foodies!
Executive Chef Jason Weaver
Omni Dallas Hotel

Chef Jason Weaver has an extensive culinary background in the hospitality industry and most recently took the helm at the Omni Dallas Hotel. Chef Weaver had been the Executive Chef at La Torretta Lake Resort and Spa in Montgomery, Texas. Prior to that, he served as opening Executive Chef for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Las Vegas; he had also opened the Mandarin Oriental in Manhattan. Texas foodies know Weaver from his days as executive chef at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, home of the legendary French Room which was rated as the best hotel restaurant in the country by Zagat. Weaver’s other celebrated culinary ventures include executive chef at the Mandarin Oriental in New York, chef of Café Sambal at the Mandarin Oriental Miami, voted best lunchtime hotspot by the Food Network, and chef of The Grill at Ritz-Carlton in Dearborn, Mich., which was rated “One of the Top 10 Hotel Restaurants in the Country” by Conde Nast Traveler under his leadership.

A decorated United States Marine, who served in Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and in Somalia for Operation Restore Hope, Chef Jason earned his cooking stripes at the School Craft College in Livonia, Michigan.

Awards, Honors and Societies

The French Room at the Adolphus Hotel:
- The 2006/2007 Zagat Survey named it the #1 hotel restaurant in America, score of 29-29-29. The highest rating of any restaurant in the United States.
- Travel & Leisure chose it for its rankings of “America’s Top 50 Restaurants” and the “twenty-five best dining experiences in the world.”
- USA Today recently featured the Zagat Survey's 100 Top Hotel Restaurants in America. Based on food quality, decor, and service, The French Room is #1. "The French Room is only one of two Zagat rated restaurants worldwide to receive ratings of 29 (of 30) across the board in the last five years." - Tim Zagat
- "A Religious Experience....Five Stars for Food, Service, and Ambiance" - Dallas Morning News
- "One of World's Top 25 Dining Experiences" - Travel & Leisure Magazine
- "Top 11 American Restaurants" - AOL Food
-Conde Naste Traveler Hot List 2010

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas:
- AAA 5 Diamond in the first year of opening
- Forbes 5 Stars
Jim White

Jim White is a major-market media veteran, selected for induction into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame (2010), who has blended his passion for broadcasting and special events with his love of food and wine.

Jim White Media develops media strategies, multi-media content, and produces the critically acclaimed “Savor Dallas—Celebrating Wine, Food, Spirits and the Arts”. The annual event is the largest premium wine and food festival in Texas, and showcases a world of wines, top chefs, and the beautiful Dallas Arts District.

During its 9 year run on CBS Radio in Dallas “The KRLD Restaurant Show with Jim White” was nominated for a prestigious James Beard Foundation Award, “The Viking Range Best Radio Show on Food” (the Oscars of the food world).

“KRLD Restaurant Week”, co-developed by Jim, generates in excess of $650,000 annually for the North Texas Food Bank.

As a columnist for The Dallas Business Journal, the Dallas Press Club honored him with a Katie Award for “Best Major Market Column” in the Southwest. He has been recognized for “Excellence in Journalism” with the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association “Tastemaker Award.

His broadcast honors include an Associated Press award for “Best Newscast in Texas” as co-anchor of “The KRLD Afternoon News”, and an Associated Press award for “Best General Assignments Reporting” for his “Project Earth” environmental series for KLTV, Channel 7’s East Texas News (ABC-TV).

He’s boosted ratings for every radio station with which he’s been associated as a music, news and talk personality in Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas.

He has a supporting role as a reporter in Oliver Stone’s Academy Award winning “JFK”. Other acting assignments include a co-starring role on the new “Dallas” TV series on TNT, numerous corporate films and national TV commercials.

Jim and his wife Vicki live in the Lakewood area of Dallas. He has a daughter and two grandsons. His interests include food, wine, travel, movies, music, singing, writing, photography, the ocean, and the study of whales.

As a member of The Vocal Majority he was awarded a gold medal in international competition with the globally renowned chorus.

Jim is a member of Screen Actors Guild, and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists—SAG-AFTRA.