Protravel International combines personal, boutique-level service with formidable industry influence to secure the best possible travel options for our customers. Since 1984, we’ve established ourselves as a client-focused, internationally-renowned travel management company with a dedicated team of passionate professionals and a superior network of air, hotel and cruise partners.
Chairman, Protravel International and Tzell Travel Group
Barry Liben is the Chairman of both Protravel International and Tzell Travel Group, the two predominant travel agencies that comprise the Elite Travel Division of Travel Leaders Group, a North American travel company that generates gross travel sales approaching $21 billion. With more than 70 branch locations in both the United States and the United Kingdom that generate nearly $4 billion in annual sales volume, Protravel and Tzell are each recognized and award-winning leaders in luxury leisure, corporate and entertainment travel. Mr. Liben is based in New York City, and he also serves on the Board of Directors for Travel Leaders Group. By combining his business skills, management savvy and personal philosophy to “create an environment conducive to initiative and hard work, encourage a sense of fun, then let people do their best and recognize it,” Mr. Liben charted the path for success for Travel Leaders Group’s diverse holdings. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Mr. Liben resides in Manhattan with his family. In addition to starting the Protravel and Tzell Foundation in the wake of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, he is deeply involved in a variety of other philanthropic work.
PRESIDENT, TRAVEL LEADERS GROUP ELITE TRAVEL DIVISION
Gail Grimmett was named President of the Elite Travel Division—comprised of Protravel International and Tzell Travel Group, the two predominant luxury travel agencies within the Travel Leaders Group that together generate nearly $4 billion in annual sales—in May 2016. Immediately prior to that, Ms. Grimmett served with distinction as Delta Air Lines’ Senior Vice President, Global New York where she oversaw the financial turnaround for Delta’s New York operations and delivered $6 billion in revenue to the airline annually. Prior to that distinguished position, Grimmett served in several other leadership roles at Delta. She began her career as a Senior Regulatory Economist with the U.S. Department of Labor. As a champion for New York, Grimmett serves as Governor Andrew Cuomo’s appointee on both the New York State Tourism Board and the New York City Regional Economic Development Council. She also serves on several other prestigious business and charitable boards and was named among the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in New York by 'Crain’s Business'. Grimmett holds an undergraduate degree from Indiana University and an MBA from George Washington University.
Senior Vice President of Airline Relations, Travel Leaders Group
Peter Vlitas has been with Protravel International since 1998. Mr. Vlitas has negotiated and managed many aspects of Protravel International’s airline programs, including industry relationships, airline contract negotiations and corporate travel. He oversees the team responsible for revenue management, rates, cost containment and adherence to contractual parameters. He has been working for over 34 years in the travel industry, starting as an agent at the age of 18 in a small company. Protravel agents rely on his depth of knowledge, advice and counsel to ensure that their clients are receiving the same excellent service in the air as they do on the ground. Mr. Vlitas sits on several airline advisory boards. Today, Peter lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughters and is involved with numerous philanthropic activities.
Senior Vice President of HQ and Branch Operations
Michele Capaccio, formerly Michele LaRosa, joined Protravel International in 1985 and has risen through the ranks from assistant clerk to her current position as Senior Vice President of Headquarters and Branch Operations. Today, she oversees Protravel’s business processes, branch profitability and performance, meetings and event operations and back office tools. She lives in Long Beach with her husband.
Senior Vice President, Leisure Sales & Marketing
After building and selling one of New York City’s leading travel agencies, Andy Pesky joined Protravel in 1999. Today he oversees our growing leisure sales and marketing programs. He manages many industry contacts and relationships on behalf of Protravel, negotiating with hotels, cruise lines and tour operators. Much of his time is devoted to assisting Protravel agents with his vast knowledge of luxury destinations across the globe. He also serves on various prestigious travel industry advisory boards. He coordinates Protravel’s annual kid’s holiday extravaganza for the Beth Israel Children’s Hospital and the NY Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation. Mr. Pesky lives in Manhattan and Long Island with his wife Elaine—a longtime Protravel agent—and enjoys taking his children and grandchildren on special voyages all over the world.
Vice President, Sales Operations and Agent Support
Laura D'Angelo began her career in the travel industry in the early 1980s in the reservations department of British Airways in New York City. She later joined Travel in Style, which became part of the Protravel family in 2001. D'Angelo has performed many duties over the years, including corporate and leisure sales, back office accounting and branch management. She is responsible for Client Services, Training and Agent Support. She has been instrumental in working with front-end applications and testing developing and implementing new agent tools. She is located at Protravel's New York City headquarters and continues to expand her operational role. Laura is married with two grown boys and lives in New Jersey.
Vice President, Sales Development
Mickey Weill joined Protravel International in 2005 after building a 20-year reputation for integrity in the travel industry. Operating out of our Beverly Hills office, he helps to lead our growth in corporate and leisure travel in the robust West Coast market. He is a popular and respected member of the travel industry and serves on several influential travel advisory boards.
Vice President, Marketing and Demand Analytics, Travel Leaders Group
Asmita Singh joined Protravel in January 2017 as the Vice President of Marketing and Demand Analytics for Travel Leader Group’s Elite Travel Division – consisting of the award-winning luxury travel brands, Protravel International and Tzell Travel Group. As Gail Grimmett, President of Protravel International and Tzell Travel Group noted: “What makes Asmita’s marketing approach particularly compelling is her devotion to helping our best-in-class travel agents to amplify how they tell their stories to travelers, including existing and potential clients. Her expertise in multi-channel marketing makes her an outstanding choice to take our high-end luxury travel brands to the next level.” Singh brings more than 12 years of experience to the Elite Travel Division. Most recently at PR Newswire, where she served as the Vice President of Digital Experience & Marketing Optimization, managing their global digital experience, reporting and analytics, and marketing technology teams. Asmita lives in new Jersey with her husband and young daughter.
Vice President of Information Technology
Luis Rodriguez has been with Protravel since November 2016. His primary focus is vetting, implementing and overseeing technology products and services that enhance the overall experience of our front line agents and their clients and building a cohesive and supportive environment which meets the day to day expectations of our team. Luis has over 30 years of experience in many areas of the industry, including in the airline, GDS, leisure & corporate agency and IT arenas. Luis was born in upstate New York, where he breaks away on occasion to visit his family and friends to enjoy a breath of fresh air and a slower pace. Currently he resides in Jackson Heights, Queens.
Buddini Weerasinghe has been with Protravel since May 2013. She graduated from CUNY College of Staten Island with a degree in Finance and Economics and a minor in Accounting. She has been with Protravel since it was acquired by Travel Leaders Group. As Financial Controller she supervises the month-end financial process, forecasting and budgeting, audits and other financial projects and works with operations to ensure seamless processes between agents, accounting and finance. Originally from Sri Lanka, Buddini currently resides in New Jersey with her husband. Her passions include reading, movies, music and travel.
Director, Sales & Business Development
Jason is a dynamic, results-oriented sales executive with 12 years of international success in the travel, aviation and technology industries.
Since joining Protravel in August 2016, Jason has spearheaded the creation of our Sales & Account Management Division and is
focused on increasing new corporate client accounts and revenue for our powerhouse travel advisors. He previously worked at Delta Air Lines and American Airlines, where he successfully led business development, agency & corporate sales teams. He is
passionate about two things: (1) empowering his team to achieve higher levels of success and (2) giving back to local communities