AFC Tour Managers:  -  Go Back

Our Fabulous Vacation Managers

Deb Howard

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I was raised in Connecticut and chose to go to college in California. I started my career in the tour industry in 1977 shortly after graduation. With a focus on the North American continent I took tours throughout Northern and Southern California, the Southwest, New England, Canadian Maritimes, Canadian Rockies and several 28 day cross country tours primarily sharing our country with Australian and British visitors. In an innocent moment by the hotel ice machine while on tour in Anaheim, CA, I met my Massachusetts born husband, Bill, and shortly thereafter moved back to the east coast to begin a life together.

While raising two kids, Bill and I worked together starting our own business. Product design, development and manufacturing of household and decorative accessories sourced in foreign countries took me to China and all parts of India.

In 2010, I decided to go full circle and return to my first love; tour directing. With great gratitude to AFC for taking a leap of faith with my return to the industry, I have ignited that passion and look forward to additional opportunities. In between tours, I am serving as a local docent at Rough Point, one of the mansion homes of Doris Duke, in Newport, RI 

Chris McCool

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Chris McCool has had the privilege over the past 35 years to lead tours to 105 countries and to all 50 states.  He states, “I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the places I want to visit, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.”  His AFC family of friends continues to grow each year as he shares the excitement and beauty of numerous AFC destinations with you.  Chris leads AFC tours both domestically and abroad, and takes you to places that are off the beaten track, as well as well-known destinations.  Come with Chris on an AFC tour and you’ll experience far more than the brochure promises.  Chris has a BA in History, as well as a Masters in Education.  If you love to learn, laugh and let the child that lives inside of you come out to play, take an AFC tour with Chris.

Chuck Denny

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Following college graduation in California, I lived in Latin America studying Spanish and teaching English. It was there that my passion for travel and learning about other cultures first blossomed. After certification from the International Tour Management Institute (ITMI) in 1978, I launched my tour director career with a passion for sharing the world with others. 
I’m often asked about my favorite destinations. That question usually leads to a discussion about the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, East Africa safaris, Machu Picchu, Turkey, Latin America, Switzerland, or Western Canada. I’m also taken with emerging destinations I’ve led tours to such as Vietnam, Myanmar, and China (since 1982). It’s never a short conversation.
2019 marks a 41-year tour director career, leading tours to some 60 countries on 6 continents and the majority of USA States. I cannot imagine a time when I’m not sharing adventures with my fellow travelers. The journey IS the destination. I hope to see you on down the road!

Pat Conway

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Pat was born and raised in Michigan. He has been a tour manager for over 15 years. 
He has been living in San Diego since 1998. He also lived in Tokyo for 8 years.
Pat has travelled to 49 states and over 30 countries. He specializes in national parks, especially those in the western U.S.

Denise Wright

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After a 4 year sabbatical, my journeys have taken me near and far.  A new perspective on my 35 years in the travel industry was the renewal of interest and spirit that I needed.  

A 1983 graduate of the International Tour Manager Institute, my long time experience has touched all facets of this trade, enhancing my ability to coordinate and deliver the best tour. I have conducted tours in all but 5 states and have 5 filing cabinets to prove it!  After graduating I focused on senior motorcoach tours and these adventures have always been the heart of my profession.

Corporate travel has enhanced my career as well. It has introduced me to around the world cultures. Between covering the Olympics (4 times) numerous Super Bowls & the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, I feel truly blessed to have made travel my career & life. 

In a letter of support Randy once said, "one of our top tour managers for over 30 years, Denise possesses all the skills & personality necessary to be the successful tour manager she is."

So hope to see you ................"on the road again."

Christophe Sarafian

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I was born in Paris, France and grew up both in France and the US. I fulfilled my childhood dream of visiting far way destinations by enrolling in the International Tour Management Institute right after college. I studied international relations at San Francisco State University. Since then, I have led over 500 domestic and international tours and traveled to over 100 countries. I believe that travel feeds our basic human need for novelty and adventure!
I feel privileged that clients share their journeys with me and take great pleasure in sharing my knowledge and passion about destinations with them. When leading tours, I strive to impart the authenticities of a destination and its nuances and culture that go beyond well-known attractions.
When not traveling, I can be found playing pétanque (a French game similar to bocce) with Club Français de Sacramento. I also keep busy with my own receptive tour company, En Route USA, that services inbound French-speaking guests. I speak French, Armenian, and conversational Spanish (I learned Armenian from my maternal grandmother and Spanish through my travels). I currently live in California with my wife, Michelle.
Thanks for reading and I hope our paths will cross soon.  À bientôt!

Carol Walker

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Travel and an interest in the world has always been a passion of mine, starting out with family car trips when I was young, progressing on to ocean and river cruises, to adventure travel, to coach tours, to travelling on my own in Europe for weeks at a time. I have been lucky enough to visit over 45 countries and 6 continents.  When an opportunity presented itself to be able to share this passion with others as a Tour Manager, I couldn’t wait to get started!
Since 2000, I have led tours to Canada’s Maritimes, Eastern Canada, Alaska and the Yukon, California, Oregon and Washington as well as the Canadian and American Rockies. I like working as a Tour Manager for AFC for lots of different reasons: to have fun, to see places I have always dreamed of, to meet new and interesting people, to learn and to have my preconceived notions challenged. Sharing these ideas has helped me appreciate that others are also keen to share their ideas and their dreams as well.
In addition, I work part time as a costumed Interpreter/Tour Guide at Heritage Park Historical Village in my home town of Calgary, Alberta, where I help visitors understand our Canadian history and to appreciate that the past has not “passed” and that it affects our daily life, culture, and values.
 As a born and raised Canadian, I look forward to presenting our country to our visitors and ensuring that they have a wonderful time “north of the border, eh?”

Barbara Jorgensen

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I have been an intrepid traveler all my life.  I started young as an Army dependent.  After college, I joined a large mid-west charter tour company and was the supervisor for the Las Vegas hotels.  I have visited over 75 countries and all 7 continents.  I love the adventure, new and unexpected experiences and education. My favorite destinations are the national parks, Far East, South Africa, and cruising.
I was a middle school Reading Specialist for 30 years.  I expanded and influenced many young people’s minds with the love of reading.  I am still an avid reader today.  I have a grown son and now call San Antonio home with my sister and our three rescue cats.  I plan to continue to travel with AFC both in the US and abroad.  Travel opens minds, eyes and hearts.  Thank you, AFC.

Philip Walker

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Philip has been a Tour Director since 2008 with his main focus being National Parks of the Western US, Texas, and Louisiana. He has also done extensive summer work in Alaska as well as numerous travels to Belize and Costa Rica.  Philip’s background includes Sales, Event/Artist Management, Cruise Ship Emcee/Activity Coordinator, Cruise Manager, and Ranch Management. His education includes a BBA in Business Management from Ole Miss, International Tour Management Institute Certification, Fire Behavior 130-S90 (prescribed fire training), and LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Green Associate Certification. When off the road he enjoys helping manage the family conservation ranch in far West Texas.  His hobbies include range restoration, Scuba, kayaking and wildlife conservation.

Julie Setzer
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Born, raised and educated in Pennsylvania, the East Coast will always be my home but, as they say, the world will be my oyster!
I graduated from Bucknell University with a degree in Math and started a career as a Junior/Senior High Math Teacher. I taught for 22 years, with a few years off to raise my three children, and finally gave in to my passion for travel; I left teaching in 1999.
So many skills required for teaching are very applicable to being a Tour Manager. You need to be organized, able to address a group of people, to research a topic and make learning fun and, of course, to always have a Plan B ready when unexpected things happen.
In 2003, I became a Tour Manager for a company on the East Coast and never looked back! I’ve been thrilled to share my love for travel and my excitement about hidden gems in the United States, escorting tours all over the US, French Canada, Niagara Falls and Nova Scotia.
Last year, AFC assigned me my first Mystery Tour and I had as much fun as the group did! What a blast teasing but not telling what surprises each day would hold! Looking forward to doing more of those.
I have been to 48 states in the US, leading tours to many of them. I hope that this is the year I make my goal of all 50 states – only North Dakota and Nebraska to go!