Steve Shur, President
Steve Shur is a veteran of association and issues management in Washington, DC. With nearly 20 years of experience in public affairs, government relations and issues campaigns, Steve has developed strategic public affairs programs, managed coalitions, grassroots and media campaigns at the local, state and federal levels. He has extensive experience working with the nation’s top trade and professional associations and corporations on branding and issues management in DC and across America.
Steve knows how to develop winning strategies and implement them effectively to achieve results. Whether it’s legislative or regulatory victories, building audiences online and in the field, and mobilizing them in support of issues, increasing public and media awareness or assisting companies and industries to increase market share, Steve knows how to get it done. An effective strategist, communicator, issue ambassador, spokesperson, lobbyist or media contact, Steve brings a versatile skill set to Travel Tech.
Most recently, Steve was a Partner with a successful public affairs consultancy and served as the Executive Director of the Alliance for PE Pipe, a trade association he created to promote the use of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Pipe in municipal water and sewer applications.
Steve began his career in campaign organizing and management as field operations coordinator for The Direct Impact Company. He is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island.
Philip Minardi, Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Philip Minardi serves as Director of Communications and Public Affairs for Travel Tech and has communications leadership experience in both the corporate and government arenas.
Prior to joining Travel Tech, Philip served as press secretary to U.S. Congressman Erik Paulsen (MN-03), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. During his time on the Hill, Philip led the development and implementation of traditional media and digital communications plans. As a proven spokesperson, communicator, and digital strategist, the Chicago native has managed messaging on an array of issues areas ranging from international trade to domestic tax reform. Philip got his start on the Hill in Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam’s (IL-06) communications department.
Philip began his career as a global sales consultant at Anixter Inc. focusing on enterprise wire and cable and security solutions for members of the Fortune 500 and the U.S. Government. He holds a Bachelors of Science degree from DePaul University in Marketing and Sales Leadership.
Matt Kiessling, Director of Coalitions and Grassroots Advocacy
Matthew Kiessling serves as the Director of Coalitions and Grassroots Advocacy for 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.
Members of the Board
Chris Chiames, Chairman of the Board
Chris Chiames serves as chairman of Travel Tech and has more than 25 years of public affairs and communications leadership experience that incorporates corporate, government, non-profit and consulting assignments. He currently serves as vice president of corporate affairs for Orbitz Worldwide and manages the government affairs and corporate communications for one of the world’s leading online travel companies, with nearly $12 billion in annual bookings across the U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific.
Much of Chiames’ career has been spent in the airline industry, where he led the media relations functions at the Air Transport Association (now Airlines for America) and later for American Airlines. At US Airways, he managed a broad portfolio that included public relations, government affairs, investor relations and consumer relations during the company’s financial restructuring, two rounds of Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the eventual merger with America West Airlines. He has also managed communications assignments related to labor disruptions, industrial accidents, government investigations and criminal charges. During the 9/11 crisis, Chiames’ consulting clients included American Airlines, Orbitz, and aviation security interests. His affiliation with Orbitz goes back prior to its 2001 launch, including issues management, marketing communications and e-commerce strategies counsel.
Chiames began his public relations career as press secretary to former Congressman Tony Coelho, who served as Majority Whip in the U.S. House of Representatives. A native Californian and graduate of Fresno State University, he also holds a Master of Arts degree in Political Communication from the University of Maryland, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard.
Simon is Vice President Government Affairs at Travelport. Prior to joining Travelport, Simon served as Assistant Secretary for Governmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Simon is a graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park, and George Mason University School of Law. Simon served as Chairman of ETTSA from June 2011 until November 2012.
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.
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.
He previously worked in positions of increasing responsibility in the American Airlines Legal and Government Affairs Departments (1990-2000) and as an attorney at Shipman & Goodwin, a leading Hartford, Connecticut law firm (1985-1990).
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.
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.
Mr. Peter J. Millones serves as an Executive Vice President and Ex-Officio Member of Group Management Board at priceline.com Inc., and has been its General Counsel and Corporate Secretary since January 2001. Mr. Millones served as Vice President and Associate General Counsel of priceline.com from March 2000 to January 2001. From September 1995 to March 2000, he was with the law firm of Latham & Watkins.
A former three-term Mayor of Henderson and a practicing attorney in business and commercial law for more than 35 years, Jim Gibson brings his extensive experience in Nevada's tourism, hospitality, entertainment and business industries to his position as Officer on the VEGAS.com Board of Managers.