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  Executive Team, Directors and General Managers
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ed   Edwin O. Swift IV, is the Chief Operating Officer of Historic Tours of America. In this capacity he is responsible for the sightseeing tours and attractions of the company. Ed has been working for Historic Tours of America since he was 11-years-old starting as a summer stock boy. Filling multiple roles for the company over the last 20 years, he has worked in many areas including retail sales clerk, Fisherman’s Café waiter, ice cream parlor server, Conch Train sales representative, Key West Aquarium tour guide and  Boston trolley conductor. He produced and acted in the first Ghosts & Gravestones Tour,  and was assistant manager for HTA’s Cambridge Trolley Tours in Boston. Following this assignment, he was promoted to Head of Property Management in Key West and later took the position of Director of Property Development. He opened the St. Augustine Operation for HTA and was soon asked to oversee the Savannah Operation as a regional Director of Operations. He has enjoyed living and working for HTA in Key West, Savannah, Boston, and St. Augustine.
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portrait of man   Freddy M. Varela has been employed as the company’s controller since August 2001. As controller of the company, Mr. Varela is responsible for analyzing, interpreting, and controlling the company’s accounting and financial records. His duties cover all of the accounting functions of the company such as general accounting, budgeting and forecasting, accounting methods and procedures, taxes, and internal auditing. Mr. Varela also works closely with the independent accounting firm that performs the company’s annual audit. He is currently serving a four year term as a member of the Monroe County Tourist Development Council. Mr. Varela is also involved with Key West Little Conch Baseball as a baseball coach as well as serving as league president for 6 years. Prior to joining the company, Mr. Varela was a senior accountant for a public accounting firm in Key West for over 10 years. Mr. Varela graduated from Florida International University in August 1990 with a BA in accounting.
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portrait of lady   Piper L. Smith began her career with Historic Tours of America in 1983 working in the Conch Tour Train Ice Cream Parlor and Gift Shop while on breaks from college. After graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in Advertising, she came back to work at the company’s newly created in-house marketing department as an assistant. While there, she noticed the fun the conductors had giving tours; so she became certified as a tour conductor on her weekends off, giving tours for nearly a year. In 1998 Piper was promoted to Vice President of Marketing for Historic Tours of America where she oversees all marketing aspects for the company. As an avid traveler, working for a company with operations in seven fabulous destinations is a dream come true. “How many people get to play tourist as part of their jobs?” says Piper. “We are around people on vacation every day. How fun is that?” Piper is also actively involved in the community. She currently serves on the Monroe County Tourist Development Council District Advisory Committee and the board of directors of the Florida Keys Lodging Association, Tropic Cinema and Key West Historic Memorial Sculpture Garden. She is a mentor as part of Take Stock in Children. She is a two-term past president of the Key West Attractions Association and Big Brothers/Big Sisters where she was a Big Sister for six years Her other passion besides travel are golden retrievers and she is a volunteer for Everglades Golden Retriever Rescue.
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portrait of man   Kevin Beede, our Director of Internet Development, heads up Trusted Tours & Attractions, LLC (www.TrustedTours.com) and is responsible for the development and growth of Internet business operations for Historic Tours of America, Inc. His team is responsible for all aspects of e-commerce production and has built a highly successful online “e-Ticketing” sales and redemption system. Under Kevin’s guidance, the Internet department has grown the company’s online business to encompass ticket sales for over 500 tours, attractions and museums in 25 U.S. cities. His latest endeavor is to expand the current eTicket system to allow U.S. hotels, travel agents and tour operators to easily purchase and print tour and attraction eTickets for their guests and customers.
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christian   Christian Belland is the Director of Sales, Marketing and Vendor Support for Trusted Tours and Attractions. A graduate of Stetson University's School of Business, Christian joined Historic Tours of America in 1992. Over the course of his employment at Historic Tours of America, Christian has experience having worked in many of the company’s departments. His tenure with HTA includes front-line retail and concession sales positions, ticket seller for the Conch Tour Train and the Old Town Trolley Tours and has been a tour conductor for Old Town Trolley Tours in both Key West and Boston. Christian served as the Directing Manager for the Yankee Freedom III - Dry Tortugas National Park Ferry, Schooner Western Union, Schooner America and the Heritage Harbor Tour. Christian has been involved with Historic Tours of America's ticketing sales through Trusted Tours and Attractions from the beginning and has assisted in the development of the Online Vendor Program.
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ryan darrah   Ryan Darrah is the Chief Information Officer of Historic Tours of America. He joined the CAST of Historic Tours of America in 2007 as a Computer Specialist. Within a few years, Ryan was promoted to Information Technology Manager where he worked directly under Layfield Long, implementing and managing many IT projects and upgrades for all the trolley, attractions and retail operations. In June 2015, Ryan was promoted to his current position of Chief Information Officer. Under Ryan’s direction, The IT department is responsible to assist the company achieve its goals through the developing, integrating and implementation of the company’s technological endeavors. Ryan works closely with the senior management teams at every location to ensure these needs are met.

Ryan earned his degree in computer science from SUNY Institute of Technology and brings over 20 years of field and management experience from various computer driven companies ranging from 15 employees to 25,000 worldwide. He has served as Vice President of Mu Theta Fraternity and Vice President and Treasurer of The Southernmost Homebrew Club. Ryan enjoys the outdoors and has participated in a number of 5k races in both Key West and St. Augustine, FL.
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portrait of man   William V. Meagher III  joined our cast as Director of Risk Management and Insurance in 2007. He oversees the Company’s Risk Management operations which include assessment and  analysis, insurance procurement, risk treatment, loss control, safety and claims management. Bill brings with him over 20 years of property and casualty insurance experience and served as a corporate underwriting executive for a major U.S. insurer. In addition, Bill has been involved in sales, marketing and training and has also owned several businesses of his own, including a catering business and two restaurants. “When I left the cold, ice and snow behind in Chicago and came to Key West I thought I had also said goodbye to the insurance business. Not to be!!! I couldn’t resist the opportunity to join HTA and be part of an organization that knows how to have fun.”
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joanna   Joanna comes to HTA from the Tampa Bay area where she had over 15 years of corporate human resources experience. Most recently, Joanna handled Human Resources for 300 people in a large financial call center. She also has HR experience in the rental car industry, the medical field, and retail management.
As a graduate of the University of South Florida, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with an emphasis on public speaking and Performing Arts. Joanna also holds the certification of “Senior Professional in Human Resources” from the HR Certification Institute. She is a member of the National Society for Human Resource Management and has recently joined the local Florida Keys Chapter.  
During her free time, you will find Joanna and her husband on their boat, “Salty Paws” enjoying the beautiful waters of the Florida Keys.
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portrait of man   Charlie Brazil has worked for Historic Tours of America (HTA) / Old Town Trolley Tours (OTT) for over 12 years in four different cities. He started in the Management Training Program in San Diego, then transferred to the Key West and Boston operations before being asked to take over the General Manager position in the Savannah Operation. He is currently Regional Manager for Boston, Key West and Savannah. His educational background includes a Bachelor's Degree from Hofstra University in Political Science with a concentration in Literature and a JD (Law) from California Western School of Law in San Diego, CA. Charlie is extremely involved in the leadership ranks with a number of organizations dedicated to the protection, service and support of the city of Savannah and its hospitality / tourism industry. He enjoys the variety experience in his position and with OTT, and getting the chance to “greet new guests from all over the world, every day.” He takes great pride in working for an operation that was once the smallest in the HTA nation, and has grown to carry more guests than any other operation in the company. In his spare time, Charlie enjoys travel, time spent outdoors, gardening, music, and time with his family, including the newest addition, his boy – Holden, born in February of 2008.
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monte   Montgomery “Monte” Triz is National Director of Art Design for Historic Tours of America, Inc. He designs retail stores and backdrop sets for attractions, among other things. A professional artist by training, Triz employs his full range of skills in the development of HTA stores and attractions, including concept illustration, model making, sculpture, and scenic painting. His 25 years of professional experience includes creating stage sets for movie studios in Hollywood as an art director and design work for Disney World and Universal Studios in Florida. He has also worked for Fox/Viacom and the Walter Hill Company. Triz’s lively approaches to illustrations, story boards and architectural rendering are an integral part of the HTA creative process in the development of museums, attractions, retail spaces, and background sets. His lifelike sculptures, known as Montemen, can be seen at HTA attractions and in theme parks across the country, and his art hangs in studios, private collections and galleries throughout Florida.
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rod   Rod is the Director of Travel Industry Sales for Historic Tours of America and oversees the wholesale and group sales market. Rod was born and raised in Concord, New Hampshire and graduated from the University of New Hampshire and then moved to San Diego. He worked a summer job at SeaWorld of California then got a job as a Concierge at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina and was there for 9 years. He was also the President of the San Diego Concierge Association for two years during that time. He was then stolen away from the Sheraton and became the Hotel Vendor Rep for Old Town Trolley Tours of San Diego. Several years later, he was promoted to Director of Sales overseeing all aspects of the San Diego Old Town Trolley Tours and SEAL Tours sales department. In addition to those duties, Rod was recently promoted to Director of Travel Industry Sales overseeing the wholesale market for all of Historic Tours of America. Rod is also currently the Secretary of the San Diego Tourism Authority’s Board of Directors. He enjoys the beach, traveling, going to the gym, hanging with friends and loves to cook. Rod has been with HTA for 14 years.
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nelson nodal   Nelson Nodal is General Manager of Retail Operations for Historic Tours of America. He was born in Cuba and moved to Key West in 1981. He is a graduate of Key West High School and holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from St. Leo’s University. Nelson joined Historic Tours of America in 1997 and has worked in all areas of its retail operations. He was promoted to General Manager in 2012. Nelson loves the challenge of retail as well as analyzing every area of the business to maximize its full potential. Nelson is married with a six-year-old daughter.
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Vincent   Vincent A. Leone is the Director of Ticketing Operations for Historic Tours of America. Vince began his tenure with Historic Tours during high school working at the Conch Tour Train Gift Shop in Key West. After graduating from Key West High School, he attended Florida State University and graduated from the FSU College of Business with a double major in Finance and Real Estate. In 2009, Vince began training in the Historic Tours Management Training Program working in both Savannah and St. Augustine Operations.  During the next four years of Management Training, he learned many roles in the company: Old Town Trolley Conductor, Ghosts & Gravestones Driver, Ticket Sales Agent, St. Augustine Charter Representative and AR/AP Manager. In 2013, Vince was promoted to a corporate leadership position as National Trainer, focusing on training and accounting standardization throughout the country. Currently, he is responsible for large scale operational rollouts, including but not limited to, online reservation systems, daily recap and vendor ticketing systems. Additional responsibilities include facilitating implementation of all operational ticketing rollouts. Vince enjoys golf, fishing and spending time with his wife, Tracy, and two children, Isabella and Austin. 
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portrait of man   Clinton Curry has been employed in various positions with the company and today serves as the Director of Attractions in Key West. Clinton has been working with Historic Tours of America since 1987, starting as a stock boy for our retail operations and server within our food and beverage operations in Mallory Square. By the early 1990s he began working as a tour guide at the Key West Aquarium. In 1999, Clinton was promoted to Operations Manager of the Key West Aquarium and in 2004 as General Manager of the Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum. Throughout his tenure with the company, Clinton has assisted with the development of several other city tours, including the highly popular Ghosts & Gravestones of Key West trolley tour. Clinton has been a board member and officer of the Key West Attractions Association, volunteers time to many of our local non-profit organizations and also completed training as an Ambassador for the City of Key West. In his own words, what he enjoys most about working at HTA is the “opportunity to serve those I work with and to meet people from all over the world, while sharing the cultural history of our city.”

As a seventh generation, native born Key Wester, Clinton and his family are well rooted in Key West. In his spare time, Clinton and his family enjoy the many wonderful land and sea activities available in the Fabulous Florida Keys.
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garry patrick  

Garry Patrick is the General Manager of Old Town Trolley Tours of Savannah. Garry began his career at Old Town Trolley as the Depot Sales Manager in 2010. After three successful years in this role and seeing the need for stability and growth in the Ghosts & Gravestones program, Garry volunteered to become the Program Manager. Garry has also worked in the Groups and Charters Department and was previously the Assistant General Manager of Old Town Trolley Tours of Savannah. “Without question, this is truly a great company to work for,” says Garry. “I am thankful every day for the opportunity to work in Savannah for Old Town Trolley and with our amazing Castmembers.”

Originally hailing from Australia, Garry has four children: Stephanie, Emily, Zara and Wade. When he is not working he enjoys spending time with his children outdoors enjoying all Savannah has to offer.

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portrait of man   David Thornton began his career with Old Town Trolley Tours as the operation manager of the Old Town Market retail division and property leasing. After graduating from the University of Oregon in 1981 with a degree in advertising, David moved to Dallas Texas and began a career in retail operations with Mervyn’s Department store. After 12 years of Mervyn’s, 10 different stores, and 5 different states, David joined the Hewlett Packard Corporation working in Corvallis, Oregon. David’s career focused in the area of training and new hire orientation. After the dot.com crash of 2001, David moved to what is known as ‘America’s finest city’, San Diego. There he joined Old Town Trolley Tours of San Diego, Old Town Market, and began his new career back into retail operations, but now with a focus on tourism hospitality. In 2008, David was promoted to General Manager of all San Diego operations, Old Town Trolley & SEAL tours and the Old Town Market. “What better way to work than with people who are on vacation in America’s Finest city, San Diego!” David is involved in community events such as Old Town Fiesta Cinco de Mayo, Fiesta Navidad, Old Town Planning committee and the St. Vincent DePaul family & children’s division. David has also volunteered with the San Diego Big Bay clean-up project and other community events.
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portrait of man   David Chatterton is the General Manager of Old Town Trolley Tours of St.
Augustine. He started his hospitality career in St. Augustine in the
early 1990's. He joined HTA in 2003 as Savannah's Operations Manager.
Born in Hackensack, New Jersey, Dave considers St. Augustine his
hometown, and eventually returned as Operations Manager in 2007. In
2009, he was promoted to General Manager of Old Town Trolley Tours of
St. Augustine, the Authentic Old Jail and the St. Augustine History
Museum. To make this operation the best it can be, Dave continually
seeks innovative ways to insure guest satisfaction, maximize sales and
attract CASTmembers that happily perform in keeping with HTA philosophy.
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eric holmes  

Eric S. Holmes is the General Manager of Old Town Trolley, and Arlington National Cemetery Tours in Washington, DC. In this role, he oversees the financial, practical, and logistical operations of these three companies.

Eric started his HTA career in 1996 as a tour conductor for Old Town Trolley Tours. After being with the company for one year, he was promoted to the role of head conductor. In 1998, he was offered and accepted the position as operations manager of Old Town Trolley Tours, Savannah. After one year in Savannah, he would return to Washington DC as the operations manager. Over the last 19 years, he's also worked as a sales representative, safety and training officer, charter representative, vendor representative, and assistant general manager.

In 2013, Eric was ordained to preach the gospel at the Isle of Patmos Baptist Church where he now serves as the Assistant Pastor, Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, and President of the Men's Ministry.

When he's not at the offices, Eric loves spending time with his children and breeding South African Mastiffs.

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steve burress  

Steve Burress is the General Manager of Old Town Trolley in Nashville, TN. Steve started his career with Old Town Trolley in the Key West operation as a tour Conductor in 2006. Over the course of the next several years, Steve had a goal to learn as many aspects of the company as he could. He moved into the Sales Department and spent time working in the sales booths. An opportunity opened in the office working with the Office Manager and became the administrative assistant, gaining valuable knowledge of the office side of the operation. In 2001, Steve was promoted to the Operations Manager where he spent his time until the position of General Manager for the new Nashville Operation was available. Steve was excited about the opportunity to help Old Town Trolley expand into its 7th city and gladly accepted the opportunity.

When Steve is not in the office, he enjoys exploring Nashville, his new home, as well as spending time with his family and dogs.

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shawn ford  

Shawn P. Ford is the Executive Director and Vice President of the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. Previously, Shawn was Vice President of International and Domestic Sales. Says Shawn, "I have the best job in the world (and I am very sincere about that statement); I have been with HTA for over 22 years  (here's the part when you're supposed to say… YOU SURE DON'T LOOK THAT OLD!)". Shawn started his career with the company as a tour conductor with Old Town Trolley Tours of Boston. "It has been a tremendous 22 years. I have had the opportunity to represent this company at hundreds of trade shows and sales missions, served on many board of directors both locally and nationally over the years. I can honestly say that I have never ever had 'a typical work day' here at HTA and that the entire cast and crew are certainly NOT your 'typical company employees'". Shawn is a past president of the Boston chapter of SKAL.

"Outside of Historic Tour of America, I enjoy great cooking, great food, great wine and most importantly great friends and company. I have been blessed to have been with my partner for 17 years, who just happens to be the greatest human being in the world, and the smartest guy in the world because he has decided to be with me. Our boys Dalton and Cody (two cocker spaniels) are the joy of our lives, who enjoy spending their summers on Cape Cod National Seashore ( who says "it's a dogs life out there") swimming, chasing sea gulls and digging for clams."

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portrait of man   Terry A. Strickland and his wife had previous “lives” in the high-tech industry and like many of their co-workers dreamed of escaping Silicon Valley and moving to the tropics. In 2000, they decided to make the dream come true, sold everything and bought an RV. After two years of traveling they finally made it to the end of the road and moved onto Key West. Semi-retirement eventually had to end so Terry took the job for which all his friends told him his personality was perfect: driving the Conch Tour Train. He found this an excellent learning experience in the subtle arts of verbal storytelling and defensive driving. After a dip back into technology as sales and marketing manager for an internet company, Terry returned to the tourism industry, joining the Yankee Freedom III as Sales Manager in March of 2008.  In March of 2009 he assumed the General Manager role for the shoreside operations of the company. “The entire Yankee Freedom III team has a good sense of the responsibility we shoulder for providing visitors with a safe, fun, and educational trips to the Dry Tortugas,” Terry points out. “Every one of us is proud to be part of their experience of such a unique and important place.” Terry has found that volunteerism is actually the most popular sport in the Keys and is an active participant, having served on the Board of Directors and as Vice President for the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce, on the Board of Directors for the Florida Keys chapter of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International, on marketing committees for the Key West Business Guild and the Florida Keys Scenic Highway Alliance and as Vice President for the Key West Attractions Association. He also does free-lance writing and a lot of informal tour directing for the steady stream of house guests who want to see if “giving it all up” was really worth it. “We usually take them out on our boat for an afternoon lounging in the warm water on a backcountry sandbar,” Terry notes. “Once they are sighing in relaxation we ask them what they would be doing back home - that pretty much answers their question."
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kayla black   Kayla Black is the Museum Manager of the American Prohibition Museum in Savannah, Georgia. Born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Kayla completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in History and Applied History at Bloomsburg and Shippensburg Universities of Pennsylvania before moving to Savannah in 2011. In 2013, she began working for Old Town Trolley Tours of Savannah as a Trolley Conductor and moved through the company working as the Training Officer and Script Writer until finding a home in her current position at the Prohibition Museum. Working as the Training Officer afforded her the opportunity to become familiar with many different departments of the Trolley Operation. Kayla says, “Being with the Museum from the first cross-legged powwow meeting to the ribbon cutting Grand Opening has been an amazing experience”. When not in the Museum, Kayla enjoys taking her corgi, Radar, to the beach.
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