About Us

Meet Our Team

We would love to meet you

George Staples

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George Staples is the co-founder of Hobson Travel, along with Nancy Staples.  Upon purchasing Hobson Travel in 1995, George and Nancy set an objective of applying technology to enhance employee productivity, lower cost and improve client communications while continuing to provide excellent personal service.  They believed this would enable them to effectively compete with larger travel agencies and Internet travel agencies which were just coming into being.  At the time, only the largest travel agencies had any form of automation tools.  Many small to mid-size agencies were still hand writing airline tickets.

George, a graduate Chemical Engineer, with over 35 years of senior management experience in Business Management, Marketing and Sales with Fortune 500 companies focused on technology for Hobson Travel.  Early in his career, George served on an IBM team to implement relational databases for a Fortune 500 company; so he had an understanding of the value of information and how to use it to benefit clients.  Later, as VP of Sales, he oversaw the equipping and training of a 350 person sales organization with notebook computers and a tailor made Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool.  This experience was invaluable in providing Hobson Travel with State of the Art technology equal to the largest Mega agencies.

George and Nancy, recognizing the value of Travel Consortiums, elected to join and take active roles in both regional and national travel consortiums.  A key role of travel consortiums is to combine the buying power of their membership to preferred vendors.  This combined buying power assures the membership with competitive prices to the largest travel agencies.  Their memberships has enabled George and Nancy to establish personal relationships with leading travel vendors and to observe best practices among the consortiums’ membership.  George has served on the Board of MAST Travel Network, a Midwest based Travel Consortium, and as Chairman of the Board.

Today, Hobson Travel, is able to deliver best value professional travel services to their clients through a team of experienced travel advisors utilizing state of the art technology.  Equally important, when a client calls Hobson Travel, a real person located in the United States, answers the phone.  

Nancy Staples

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In 1985 Nancy received a degree in Travel and Tourism and began to work with an International Tour Operator, managing their Group Department.  She left in 1989  and took a position Managing the Groups/Meetings/Incentive Department with Hobson Travel Ltd where in 1995 became co-owner and President of Hobson Travel.   Nancy has been active with several Airline boards, hotel boards and many other professional travel organizations, including MAST Travel Network and Virtuoso Travel Network.  

She has been fortunate to have traveled virtually all over the world.  Nancy says she has only missed one continent and that is Antarctica and that one is still on her bucket list.  She has been on more the 35 cruises on various cruise lines and has various destination certifications.  Her philosophy for the past 20 years has been to hire the very best people and give them the tools and authority to take care of our customers and provide superior service.

As she begins to reduce her hours and let others take over the growth and management of Hobson Travel, she is able to spend more time with the light of her life, her beautiful granddaughter.  She hopes to enrich her education with travel and expose her to the different cultures and lands she has been fortunate enough to visit.

Dianne Hively

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Dianne is a business owner, entrepreneur, and advisor with over 20 years of financial services and senior management experience.  She is Chief Operating Officer (COO)/Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Owner of Hobson Travel. 

Dianne began her career in public accounting, specializing in the financial services industry, and has subsequently served as the Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer, and Chief Operating Officer for a broker-dealer clearing firm and an investment management firm. Throughout her career, she has completed a number of private equity transactions as well as the sale of two firms to publicly-traded companies.  In addition, Dianne was a founding member in an outsourced CFO firm that advises entrepreneurs, Red Granite LLC.  

Dianne’s involvement in Hobson Travel began when her family purchased the firm in 1995.  Her mother, Nancy Staples has led the firm as President for almost 20 years.  While Dianne has always been involved in a financial and advisory position, continuity planning has led Dianne to a formal, full-time position as COO/CFO.  Beginning in 2014, Dianne is officially responsible for the strategy, management, and growth of Hobson Travel.  Nancy’s role has transitioned to focus on vendor and VIP client relationships as well as strategic coaching for the firm and its new leadership. Hobson Travel is capitalizing on its best resources as it evolves to its next generation.

Dianne has a M.S. in Financial Markets from the Stuart Graduate School of Business at the Illinois Institute of Technology and a B.S. in Accountancy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dianne has a diverse set of qualifications; she is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), ex-licensed real estate agent, ex-FINRA Series 3, 7, and 24, certified yoga instructor, and dance-fitness instructor. She lives in Glenview, Illinois with her husband and three children. When not working, you can find her spending time with her family, entertaining, or teaching yoga and dance-fitness classes.

Amy Surma

Operations and Technology Manager
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Amy joined Hobson Travel Ltd in 1998, and has been a travel advisor for 26 years. Amy brings a world of experience and vast array of knowledge to Hobson Travel. Her knowledgeable career includes leisure, corporate, groups/meetings/incentives, technology and travel training.

Amy holds a High Honors Associates of Applied Science degree with certificates in Travel and Tourism and Convention and Meeting Planning from College of DuPage. Amy believes in remaining current in all areas of travel and has completed many specialist and professional training programs.

Amy believes the personalized planning experience is a MUST for all travelers; business or pleasure. “Excellence is in the details. Give attention to the details and excellence will come” by Perry Paxton is a quote that Amy brings to clients daily.

June Banas

Director of Account Management
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June is the manager of the Hobson Travel Corporate department, with over forty years in the travel industry. June came to Hobson Travel in 1995.

June began her career with Frontier Airlines in Denver, CO in 1971 at their corporate headquarters. She held many positions during her 15 years at Frontier. She started in the interline billing accounting department. After five years, she moved to aircraft maintenance supporting maintenance records for the FAA. Later, she found herself in the tariff department as Manager of Fare and Capacity Display managing accurate and timely display of fare filings for all GDS systems. After many years in that area she moved to reservations to support the director of reservations and served as the company representative for union grievance hearings for 3 reservations offices.

June eventually moved to the Chicago area in 1986 and made a career move to the agency side of the travel industry working for an incentive travel company.  She later moved to a larger corporate travel company as an onsight customer service manager before coming to Hobson Travel.

June attended Atlantic Travel School in Inglewood, California.
June lives in Downers Grove, IL with her husband and has two daughters - a nurse and a soon to be doctor. When not working, you will most recently, find her building an “empty nester” home in Downers Grove with her husband.

Karyn Ewald

Leisure Travel Manager
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Karyn began her career in the travel industry in the mid 1990’s when she took a position at a small family owned agency working as both a corporate and a leisure travel advisor, learning both sectors of the business. It was her work with both that led Karyn to realize that her true passion comes from helping her clients make their vacation dreams become a reality.  This was her driving force to seek out a larger agency with an established leisure department to grow her leisure clientele. She found her new home at Hobson Travel in 1996 where she became the Leisure Travel Manager.

As the Leisure Travel Manager Karyn is responsible for supporting front line advisors, back office accounting as well as developing and maintaining vendor relationships. She has been instrumental in working with front end applications, testing, developing and implementing new agent tools to augment Hobson Travel’s focus on luxury travel.

In her spare time Karyn enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, movies, cooking, decorating, music and of course travelling.

Deborah Burke

Office Manager
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Deborah Burke is an employee,  accountant and manager with over 35 years of travel experience. The last 19 years of experience has been with Hobson Travel.

Deborah began her career as a Marketing Specialist with St. Paul Federal Savings & Loan in the 1970’s. She managed and coordinated travel for the S&L as a service to the older adult customers adding value and benefits to community programs. Deborah performed this service for 16 years.  She left the banking industry to pursue a dream in a Nursing career. 

In 1995, Deborah went to work with former co-worker and friend, Nancy Staples, the President of Hobson Travel.    Deborah learned all aspects of the travel agency from working as a travel advisor to performing accounting functions for the business.  She currently assists in the daily operations as the Office Manager, our marketing materials, and is Airline Reporting Certified.

Deborah has a B.S.in Business Management with a concentration in Behavioral Science from National Louis University in Evanston and has an Associates in Nursing from the College of Dupage in Glen Ellyn.

Deborah has a diverse set of qualifications; she is a Licensed Practical Nurse, Certified Phlebotomist, and soon will be completing her training as a nutrition/fitness coach.  She is very active in the community volunteering for organizations such as SHARE, NICU Reunions and Fundraising for Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove , and the March of Dimes of DuPage County.