2004-12-11 / News

William Shepler Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Bill Shepler displays the crystal award commemorating his service to the package travel industry. He received the honor in Toronto November 16. Bill Shepler displays the crystal award commemorating his service to the package travel industry. He received the honor in Toronto November 16. William R. Shepler is the 2004 recipient of the National Tour Association’s Bob Everidge Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes individuals who have made outstanding, ongoing contributions to the association, its members, and the packaged travel industry. Mr. Shepler, president of Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry and Courtyards of Mackinaw in Mackinaw City, is the second person to receive the award, which is presented at the group’s annual convention, held this year in Toronto.

"Being a part of National Tour Association means far more than just membership in a business organization," Mr. Shepler said during the presentation Tuesday, November 16. "This association always has been, and continues to be, a valued friend to me. It provides enormous resources to not only further our group tour market, but to enhance our own business operations. But most of all, NTA membership has allowed [my son] Chris and me to meet and establish lasting friendships with so many great people in the tour business."

Bill Shepler served as the 1996 NTA Annual Convention chairman and has served on the association's board of directors. He also served on the Government and Member Services committees and acted as an Attraction Representative to the Tour Supplier Council. He is a member of the board of directors for Circle Michigan Inc., Mackinaw City Chamber of Commerce, and the Michigan State Chamber of Commerce.

"The award couldn't go to a finer, more committed individual than Bill, " said Chairman Mitch Sussman. "His energy and positive attitude should be an inspiration to all of us."

The Board of Directors established the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003 to honor the late Bob Everidge, owner and president of Shenandoah Tours Inc., in Staunton, Virginia, for his commitment to the association and the industry. Mr. Everidge, who died in 2001, served as president of the association in 1996.

The first award was presented to Lois Anderson, originator and president of Gadabout Tours in Palm Springs, California.

The National Tour Association is now known as CrossSphere, the new name being introduced and adopted at the Toronto convention last week.

CrossSphere, with nearly 4,000 members from 25 countries, represents the packaged travel industry.

(Photo by Smi Horn)

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