Witte Travel & Tours’ team of 26 group sales, operations, and administrative professionals are the key ingredients in each of our top-notch, custom-designed tours. Group leaders and tour participants are most likely to interact with the following staff members:
Henry (Henk) Witte, President and CEO – Henk and his family emigrated to the U.S. from the Netherlands when he was a teenager. Always interested in European culture, history, and geography, Henk began planning tours as a high school student. He worked for two international airlines and a tour operator before establishing his own company in 1975. Henk has traveled extensively throughout Europe and has visited many other parts of the world. He works directly with a number of group leaders and is a mentor to the group staff. Committed to giving our tour participants the best possible travel experience, he also provides quality assurance on all European operations.
Dan Hermen, Group Sales Director – A former high school language teacher, Dan has spent most of his career traveling the globe in corporate sales roles. He has done extensive business in Latin America and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. Dan’s travels have taken him throughout North America and on dozens of visits to Europe, South America and South Africa, totaling more than 30 different countries. He studied in Spain and Mexico while completing his undergraduate degree at Calvin College and earned his MBA at Grand Valley State University. Dan joined Witte Travel in 2010 to lead our group sales team and he also works directly with key accounts and new group leaders.
Jan Peterson-Wayward, Group Sales Manager – Jan joined Witte Travel in 1977. She has a BA from Aquinas College and has earned The Travel Institute’s Certified Tour Consultant designation. In addition, she is a certified specialist in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, European Culture and Heritage, Holland, France, and Britain. Her travels have taken her to Europe, Asia, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, the U.S. and Canada. Jan designs art and architectural tours, tours with religious, cultural or historical themes, and family tours.
Jane Larson, Manager, Performance Tour Division – With a background in education and arts development, Jane joined Witte Travel in 1993. She holds a BA and a MA in Art History from Michigan State University and The Travel Institute’s Certified Travel Associate designation. She is also a certified specialist in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, European Culture and Heritage, Holland, France, Hungary, and Britain; and she is fluent in French. An admitted travel addict, Jane has visited nearly every European country. She plans many of our performance and special interest tours and she manages the operational details for all performance tour groups.
Brenda Kennedy-Muraski, Group Tour Planner – Brenda has a BA in Travel and Tourism from Michigan State University and she spent seven years in retail travel before joining Witte Travel’s group department in 1993. While at MSU, she studied in Spain and has since traveled in many other European countries as well as Asia, the Caribbean, the U.S. and Canada. Brenda has earned The Travel Institute’s Certified Travel Associate designation and is also a certified specialist in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, European Culture and Heritage, Holland, Austria, France, Ireland, Britain, and North America. Brenda plans many of our performance tours.
Kristin Sullivan, Group Tour Planner – Kristin came to Witte Travel in 1999 with a BA in Speech Communications and Geography from St. Cloud State University and experience in European group tour operations. She has earned certifications in Holland, Western Europe, and Britain and has traveled in France, Germany, the Netherlands, England, Wales, and Ireland. Working from her home office in Minnesota, Kristin assists the group sales team in planning and pricing itineraries for European and North American performance and special interest tours.
Pat Tolle, Tour Operations Coordinator – Pat earned a BS from Grand Valley State University and a Masters in Communications from Western Michigan University. She is also a graduate of the Travel Education Institute and has earned certifications in North America and Holland. Pat joined Witte Travel in 1999 after a lengthy career in event planning and management. She has traveled extensively in the U.S. and Canada and has explored Japan, China, New Zealand, and South Africa. Pat’s specialties include sales and operations assistance on groups traveling in North America and to international destinations other than Europe.
Kristina Choura, Group Tour Planner – Kristina has a BA in German and International Studies from Hope College. Fluent in German, she studied and worked in Germany and Austria for two years. Returning to the U.S., she spent six years in European group tour operations before joining Witte Travel’s group sales team in 2003. She has traveled extensively throughout Europe, visiting almost every country. Kristina is certified in Southern Europe and Ireland and is currently studying the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. She focuses mainly on special interest tours for adult groups and study programs for high school and college students.
Johannes (John) Witte, Sales Representative – John has represented Witte Travel for more than 25 years, attending national and regional conferences and conventions; and he plays a pivotal role in developing client contacts for Witte Travel. John also coordinates performances for choirs, bands, and orchestras touring in the Netherlands and the U.S. An avid traveler, John often escorts groups on tour throughout the world. His travels include Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, North America, Central America, and South America. John holds a BA from Calvin College and a MS in Counseling Education from Hofstra University.
Keith Cole, Sales Representative – A long-time client, Keith joined Witte Travel in 2003. He holds a Master of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, a Master of Church Music from Scarritt Graduate School, and a BA in Music and Theatre from Baldwin-Wallace College. Keith has over 16 years of choral conducting experience and has co-directed several church choirs and organ study groups on European tours. He frequently represents the company at conferences and conventions and works with performance tour directors and special interest group leaders in the planning and promotion of their tours.
Jim Jerome Williams, Sales Representative – A native of North Carolina, Jim studied music at Mars Hill College, East Carolina University, and received his BS and MA from Appalachian State University. He has taught both instrumental and choral music, worked in arts administration, directed church choirs, served as principal percussionist for a regional symphony, and was a frequent clinician. Jim is also a published composer. Representing Witte Travel in the sale of performance tours has been a great fit for Jim—He loves to share his enthusiasm for travel, especially when it is combined with opportunities to make music for European audiences.
George Gentes, Sales Representative – As the director of the Greater Chicago Sacred Chorale, George has been an enthusiastic client and supporter of Witte Travel for many years, which makes him an ideal representative for the company. Convinced of the far-reaching value of travel, George is always eager to assist other performing groups as they plan their tours. He holds a BA in Music Education from Luther College, a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, and the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Educational Administration from Concordia University. George retired in 2005 after 34 years of teaching.
Loren Veigel, Sales Representative – Loren received a Bachelor of Music Education from Mount Union College and a Master of Music in choral conducting from the University of Arizona. A church organist and choirmaster, Loren also enjoyed a highly successful career in high school choral music education. Loren took his choruses on tour throughout the U.S. and to Europe and he also directed the Ohio Honors Chorale on European tours for many years. Now retired from teaching, Loren directs the Voices of Canton, Inc., and he represents Witte Travel with a mission to help create life-changing travel experiences for musicians and music lovers.
Candice Wallace, Sales Representative – Candice resides in Traverse City, Michigan and she represents Witte in Northern and Southeast Michigan. Candice was an award-winning high school and middle school choral director for many years in the Metro Detroit area. She also led many student choral groups to musical events and competitions throughout the United States where she created fun itineraries for her award winning choirs. After moving to Traverse City, she held sales and marketing positions with Interlochen Public Radio and icon Learning, taught piano and voice for Northwestern Michigan College, and presently teaches private voice and sings in and directs Trillium Singers . Over the past 25 years, Candice has been a travel host along with her husband Dick on seven European music-themed tours and most recently they hosted a successful Witte tour to Italy. Candice’s enthusiasm, musical talent, and travel experience, make her an ideal representative for Witte Travel.
Dick Wallace, Sales Representative –Dick resides in Traverse City, Michigan and he represents Witte in Northern and Southeast Michigan. Dick has worked in radio as a classical music announcer for 39 years with stops in Detroit, Toledo, and most recently Interlochen Public Radio in Northern Michigan. Dick also plays the drums, loves to sing and enjoys sailing, swimming and fishing. Over the past 25 years, Dick has been a travel host along with his wife Candice on seven European music-themed tours and most recently they hosted a successful Witte tour to Italy. Dick’s friendly nature, sense of humor and travel experience, make him an ideal representative for Witte Travel.
Cindy Gless and Jana Kissell, Group Travel Consultants – Always cheerful and ready to help, Cindy and Jana assist our tour participants with all of their individual travel arrangements, including connecting flights, extended stays at the destination, rail passes, car rentals and much more. They can also provide accounting information and up-to-date travel tips. Cindy joined Witte Travel in 1996. She is a graduate of the Travel Education Institute and has earned The Travel Institute’s Certified Travel Associate designation and certifications in Holland, Western Europe, Britain, Spain, Switzerland, and Alaska. Her travels have taken her to France, Germany, the Netherlands, England, Spain, Switzerland, Wales, and Ireland. Jana has 27 years of travel industry experience, working in vacation planning, corporate travel, and now group tours. She was part of the Witte Travel team from 1982 to 1986 and then she worked for a large corporate agency in New York and Chicago. We were very happy to welcome her back in 2006. Jana has traveled extensively throughout the U.S., Europe, and Australia and has her BS at Central Michigan University.