Steve Shur is a veteran of association and issues management in Washington, DC. He has over 20 years of experience in association management, public affairs, government relations and issues campaigns. Under Steve’s leadership, Travel Tech has grown in both membership and staff and is leading the charge on policy and industry affairs matters at all levels of government and across the globe. Steve serves as the chief executive officer of the association, managing the operations and also as industry spokesperson and ambassador for the leaders in travel technology.
Prior to joining Travel Tech, Steve was a partner in a public affairs consultancy and served as the executive director of several trade organizations and coalitions as well as strategic advisor to corporate and industry association clients.
Originally from South Jersey and a graduate of the University of Rhode Island, Steve resides in Northern Virginia.
Emily Cullum serves as the Director of Communications for Travel Tech. She has nearly a decade of communications experience in both the corporate and non-profit sectors.
Prior to Travel Tech, Emily was a Director at the White House Writers Group, a strategic communications and public affairs firm. There she managed major client accounts in a wide range of industries, including CPG, agriculture and technology. She also consulted with think tanks and other non-profits.
Early in her career, Emily worked in membership and marketing for an NPR affiliate and taught 9th grade mathematics with Teach For America. She holds a BA in Economics from Wake Forest University.
Matthew Kiessling serves as the Vice President of Short-term Rental Policy at Travel Tech. He brings to the organization more than decade of experience in issue advocacy and political campaigns.
Prior to joining Travel Tech, Matthew was an Associate Vice President at the firm DDC Advocacy. In that role he served as a campaign and issue advocacy strategist, overseeing the execution of multi-component public affairs and advocacy campaigns for Fortune 500 companies and major trade associations. His responsibilities included management and oversight of grassroots and grasstops, coalitions, social media, strategic communications, and paid media efforts for various legislative and regulatory issues. Previously, Matthew spent three years as a department head, managing the company’s grassroots outreach and constituent mobilization offering.
Matthew began his career in political campaign and grassroots advocacy work at the state level, consulting for a range of clients on health care, energy, tax, and regulatory issues, as well as serving in various strategic and management roles on state and federal political campaigns. He has also led state and local candidate recruitment and training initiatives and been involved extensively in GOTV efforts throughout his career, leading targeted large-scale GOTV programs in each of the last five federal election cycles. Matthew attended West Virginia University where he studied English.
Mike Liptak serves as Vice President of Government Relations for Travel Tech, managing a broad portfolio of public policy initiatives before the U.S. Congress, the administration, and at the state and local levels.
Prior to joining Travel Tech, Mike spent nearly five years as Director of Government Affairs for the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association, where he lobbied Congress on behalf of the aggregates industry with a strong focus on transportation, tax, and small business issues. He also spent five years with a small but aggressive consulting and lobbying firm developing strategies for policy implementation and identifying federal grant opportunities. Mike brings to the association an extensive political background having worked on several House and Senate campaigns in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Washington. He has worked to develop and maintain close relationships with congressional staff in countless personal offices, key committees, and in leadership.
Mike began his tenure in the nation’s capital as a legislative aide to U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (KY), the current Senate Majority Leader. He is a native of Western Pennsylvania and a graduate of Grove City College.
Bruce Charendoff leads the $3 billion travel technology company’s worldwide public policy, industry/government outreach and charitable giving programs. He played a lead role in deregulating the global distribution system industry in the United States and in liberalizing the CRS Rules in the European Union. He has facilitated Sabre’s technology exports to foreign airlines through the Department of Commerce Advocacy Center, secured company leaders’ appointments to top government advisory and operating boards, advocated on behalf of travelers’ rights at the Department of Transportation, and developed Sabre’s Passport to Freedom program to combat human trafficking. He founded and served as chairman of the Travel Technology Association, the trade association that represents global distribution systems and online travel companies. Mr. Charendoff currently serves as a key advisor to government and private sector leaders of the US Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (TTAB), Brand USA and US Travel. He advocates for travel facilitation and promotion initiatives and infrastructure improvements. With TTAB, he has helped develop and is currently working to implement President Obama’s National Travel and Tourism Strategy and its goal of welcoming 100 million international visitors annually to the United States by 2021.
Dirk J. Vande Beek has been a Senior Vice President of Corporate and Government Affairs at Travelport Limited since October 2007, and served as its Senior Vice President of Communications & Government Affairs. He provided strategic direction and manage relationships with governments and international organizations through strategic and tactical global public affairs programs. Mr. Beek joined Travelport from CA, formerly Computer Associates Inc., one of the world’s largest information technology (IT) management software companies, where he was instrumental in creating and managing its government relations function both as a consultant and, since 2004 until as Head of the Department serving as CA’s Vice President of Global Government Relations. Previously, he served as vice president of Public Relations for The Coca-Cola Company, where he developed and implemented global public relations strategies. He served as Director of Communications and Press Secretary for Vice President during the presidential campaign. In that role, he developed and executed Vice President Cheney’s national image and media strategy. Prior to joining the campaign he was Director and Manager of Global Public Relations for the Halliburton Company. He also has served as Director of Development for Space Center Houston. He is a recipient of the American Advertising Award and the United States Distinguished Civilian Service medal. He graduated from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Brent Thompson is Senior Vice President of Government & Corporate Affairs for Expedia, Inc. the world’s leading online travel company. Today, Expedia, Inc. is the parent company to a global portfolio of leading consumer brands, including Expedia®, Hotels.com®, Hotwire.comTM, Classic Vacations®, eLong, Inc., Venere.com, and Egencia. In total, Expedia, Inc. companies operate more than 140 branded travel sites in more than 55 countries. The Expedia, Inc. portfolio serves both leisure and business travelers with tastes and budgets ranging from modest to luxury. As head of government relations, Thompson is responsible for overseeing Expedia’s interaction with the U.S. federal and state governments, in addition to international government relations. Previously, he was a lawyer/lobbyist for the Washington, DC firm of Barbour Griffith & Rogers. In prior years, Thompson was with the National Association of Manufacturers and served as an aide to former Senators Alfonse D’Amato (R-NY) and Slade Gorton (R-WA) and the late Senator Paul Coverdell (R- GA). Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Thompson is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a Juris Doctor degree from the George Mason University School of Law.
With 28 years of travel industry experience, Stewart is currently responsible for leading efforts to expand Non-Air distribution business in the North American marketplace for Amadeus North America. He also leads the strategic business development team and serves as an extension of Amadeus’ Industry Affairs organization. During his tenure at Amadeus, he left to serve as vice president of sales and marketing for ICSAT, (International Computer Services and Advice for Travel), a world leader in software solutions which ultimately was acquired by Amadeus. He has played a direct role in airline negotiations, including the ongoing evolution of the GDS commercial model. In addition to his role at Amadeus, Stewart now serves as a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) Board of Directors, and is Chairman of Business Corps. Stewart was previously with System One (Amadeus) in a series of advancing positions in customer support, technology, sales and marketing. His career began in the travel industry in 1985, when he first joined Eastern Airlines as a sales agent.
Phyllis Wallitt is Senior Vice President and General Counsel of priceline.com. Priceline.com, part of The Priceline Group [NASDAQ: PCLN], gives leisure travelers multiple ways to save on their airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, vacation packages and cruises. In addition to getting compelling published prices, travelers can take advantage of priceline.com’s famous Name Your Own Price® service, which can deliver the lowest prices available, or the recently added Express Deals®, where travelers can take advantage of hotel discounts without bidding. Wallitt has been with the company since early 2008. Prior to joining priceline.com, Wallitt worked for Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. She is a graduate of Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
David Owen is the Regional Head of Public Policy at Airbnb. He is an attorney with an extensive background in state and local government. From 2003-2009 Owen was the Chief of Staff for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors where he managed legislative portfolio for the President of the Board of Supervisors, including legal drafting, committee calendaring and stakeholder outreach for an aggressive and diversified legislative agenda, amongst many other duties. He received his degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
David Morris is Vice President and Associate General Counsel for TripAdvisor. David is responsible for managing a wide variety of legal issues at TripAdvisor, including technology & content licensing, marketing & consumer law, privacy, e-commerce, user-generated content, government affairs, and regulatory compliance for the TripAdvisor Inc. and its other TripAdvisor member companies and brands. Prior to joining TripAdvisor in 2008, he spent five years as Senior Counsel at Invensys PLC. Prior to that, David also worked at Millennium Pharmaceuticals and the law firms of Hinckley, Allen & Snyder and Wilmer Hale.
Carolyn Jameson is Senior Director and General Counsel of Skyscanner. Skyscanner is an independent, leading global travel search site, providing online comparisons for thousands of flights car hire and hotels. Skyscanner has over 60 million visitors every month who use their site to find travel solutions in more than 30 different languages. Carolyn is responsible for a number of areas within Skyscanner, including all legal, public and regulatory affairs globally. Prior to joining Skyscanner Carolyn spent a number of years in a variety of legal and commercial roles within the technology sector, working for several international proprietary and open source software and semi-conductor companies. Carolyn studied law in London, initially training as a Barrister prior to working in-house.