Meet the Operations Team

The Operations Team manages the day-to-day operations. Your Event Coordinator provides personal attention to every event detail from hotel reservations to event organizing while promptly addressing every question and concern. The Flight Coordinator handles airfare for all of your participants ensuring smooth travel.

Johanna Hofer

Director of Operations

Johanna Hofer has been with Morris Meetings & Incentives since October of 1995. Her near twenty-year career in the travel industry has spanned many aspects of both domestic and international travel. At MMI, Johanna shoulders the responsibility of training new Event Coordinators. She speaks conversational Spanish, German, and French, and writes novels in her spare time.

Favorite Locations: The Amalfi Coast, Tuscany, Vienna, Loire Valley, San Francisco Bay Area, and Southern Utah

Bucket List: The Cotswolds, Wales and Scotland

Tawnya Blanksma

Flight Department Manager

Starting work at Morris Meetings & Incentives as an Air Manger in the Spring of 2012, Tawnya Nelson brings with her a total of six years in the airline industry. She received her Associate of Science Degree from Salt Lake Community College in 2003.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, and painting with water colors. She currently resides in Sandy, UT with her husband and cat Jigga.

Favorite Locations: Germany and Maui

Bucket List: Ireland

Allison King

Event Coordinator

Allison King is an Event Coordinator with Morris Meetings and Incentives. After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations from Utah State University, Allison moved to Argentina where she lived for a year and a half. After her South American adventure she moved back to Utah where she worked for three years as a travel agent specializing in Central and South American travel. During that time she traveled extensively throughout Latin America by herself and with others as a trip director. In 2011, Allison came to work for Morris Meetings and Incentives as a Spanish speaking Flight Coordinator and gained valuable experience before moving into the role of Event Coordinator a few years later. When she is not working out the details of amazing trips, Allison can be found exploring different parts of the world, or playing violin with her European Folk band.

Favorite Locations: Anywhere in Argentina, Chile (Especially Patagonia), Rio de Janeiro, Pantanal, Paris, Cusco & the Inca Trail in Peru, Quito, Barcelona, anywhere in New Zealand, The British Isles

Bucket List: Czech Republic, Croatia, Morocco, Turkey, Colombia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Iceland, Norway

Amanda Simmons

Event Coordinator

Amanda Simmons studied Hospitality Management at the University of Utah and has always been interested in making sure those around her are well taken care of.  Prior to her work with MMI she worked for a lobbyist firm for five years where she planned meetings and events, catered to clients, and gained invaluable relationship building skills.  Alongside working with the lobbyists firm, she has done extensive event planning year after year for organizations such as NAMI Walks and the Venture Outdoors Festival. Amanda has a love for travel that has taken her all around the world and in her spare time she enjoys spending time outdoors with her dogs.

Favorite Locations: Greece, The Grenadines, Grand Cayman, Moab, Utah

Bucket List: African Safari, Australia, Tennessee

Ashley Dodson

Flight Coordinator

Ashley’s love of travel and sports led her to a Bachelor’s of Science in Tourism Development and Management, hoping one day to coordinate travel for her favorite teams. Managing sports travel is no small feat, but for the orderly and highly organized Ashley, nothing is better than tackling a huge project and seeing it through to completion. These traits led her to be a highly effective travel coordinator for the State of Utah where she booked conference travel for government employees, and it’s these same talents that make her so effective at MMI today. If you don’t find Ashely in the office, chances are you’ll find her golfing, cooking, or cheering on her San Francisco Giants and the Denver Broncos.

Favorite locations: Victoria B.C., San Francisco, Georgia, South Carolina

Bucket List: Sweden, Greece, South Africa, Australia (to swim with sharks), Italy

Bryson Dwyer

Flight Coordinator

Bryson enjoys the new perspectives travel brings, but as an EMT, it was difficult to reconcile tourism with the strenuous hours he worked. His solution was simple; he needed a career in travel, and it wasn’t long before he found employment within the corporate travel industry. Now with years of experience, Bryson traverses complex airline systems for MMI’s English and Spanish speaking clients, ensuring that everyone he works with uncovers something new about the world. Bryson continues seeking new points of view, specifically in the world of music. He enjoys listening to local bands as well as the talents at open mic nights.

Favorite locations:  Hawaii, Chile

Bucket List: Ireland, Scotland, Brazil

Carina Velez

Event Coordinator

Many can say they were born to travel, but few can say they’ve dedicated their life to it. Carina’s travel experience harkens back to the days when she helped her mom at Carnival Cruises. With that spark of inspiration, Carina saw her future and sought a Bachelors of Hotel Management, working with various hotels in her native Puerto Rico. Ultimately she would settle in the destination management industry, helping people make the most of their visit to the Caribbean island. The joy tourists had as they experienced the music and cuisine of Puerto Rico ultimately became the foundation of Carina’s travel passion; she wanted to help people see the world. Even today, living in Utah with her two children, it motivates her to endow her clients with cultural experiences they won’t ever forget.

Favorite locations: Washington State, Puerto Rico, Hawaii

Bucket List: Spain, France, China

Cindi Smith

Event Coordinator

Cindi has worked in event management, event marketing, and marketing communications on the client side (B2B, B2C, MLM) for the last 20 years, handling all aspects of corporate events for groups ranging from 30 to 3000 people. Her extensive skills include strategy, planning, site selection/contract negotiation, and budgeting to onsite staff and attendee management, event execution, and post-event auditing – and everything in between. As an event coordinator, she is always excited to bring her organizational and communication skills, as well as her passion for creating exciting and memorable events, to her clients. Cindi loves to travel, and while she enjoys visiting touristy spots, she prefers to befriend the locals often getting to experience cool, secret places only the locals know about.

Favorite locations: New Orleans, Nashville, Seattle, Sedona, Barbados, BVI, St. Thomas, Bahamas, London, Paris, Jamaica, Cancun

Bucket List: Egypt, Australia, Greece, Machu Picchu, Rio, Costa Rica, Fiji, any and all Caribbean islands

Daniela Farias

Flight Coordinator

Once an aspiring cosmetologist, Daniela always knew that travel was in her future. Often she would find herself looking for job openings with Delta, Jet-Blue, and a variety of other travel companies. When cosmetology failed to live up to expectations, an occupation in the travel industry seemed to make more and more sense. This career shift eventually led her to MMI. Born in Venezuela, Daniela’s curiosity for travel came when she moved from her birth country to the United States. Here she frequented Florida, Hawaii, and sought to see what every state’s culture brought to the table. Venezuela is never far from her heart, however, as she still frequents the country to experience the pristine beaches, explore the curious German towns that populate the Spanish country, and visit the family that still reside there. She also enjoys visiting Chile – a neighboring country. Now a Utah native, Daniela encourages visitors to see its outdoors, including Moab and the ice castles of Midway.

Favorite Locations: Venezuela, Chile, Hawaii, Miami

Bucket List: Greece, Paris, Thailand

Debbie Huddleston

Flight Coordinator

Debbie has been in the travel industry for more than 20 years. During her career she has acquired experience in all aspects of the business including reservations, sales, management, and executive VIP travel. An avid traveler herself, Debbie is committed to providing over-the-top customer service in order to provide her clients with a travel experience that is amazing and unforgettable.

Favorite Locations: Greece, Ireland, and the Caribbean Islands

Bucket List: New Zealand, Singapore, Italy, Canary Islands, and Croatia

Jennifer Kruse

Event Coordinator

Jennifer Kruse has been an Event Coordinator at Morris Meetings & Incentives since 2002. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management from Virginia Tech which has given her a strong background in event management. Jennifer has worked over 25 years in the industry and has a detailed knowledge of hotel block management.  Jennifer’s clients also appreciate her positive attitude and attention to detail on any event that she coordinates.  Currently residing in Bend, Oregon, her free time consists of skiing during the winter months and spending time with her family and two cats.

Favorite Locations: Europe and Mexico

Bucket List: Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Norway, Africa, Easter Island, and Macchu Pichu

Jordan Street

Flight Coordinator

Jordan joins Morris Meetings & Incentives with several years of experience in the aviation industry and a passion for travel. With a B.S. in Aviation Administration, he brings an expert understanding of major airline and general aviation operations to the Flight Coordinator team. In addition to helping others fly, he also holds a private pilot license so he can fly himself. When Jordan isn’t immersing himself in the world of aviation, he particularly enjoys tasting the unique cuisines and beverages of his travel destinations. Few things are better than drinking delicious coffees, exploring big cities, and spending time in Utah’s beautiful lakes and mountains.

Favorite Locations: Vancouver, Seattle, Bahamas, Boston, Savannah, Tokyo

Bucket List: Italy, Sweden, Japan, Thailand, Iceland, Fiji, Germany, Costa Rica

Katie Hollien

Flight Coordinator

Katie Hollien obtained her love and knowledge of the travel industry when she attended The Travel Academy in Eagan, Minnesota. Later, she worked as a Service Specialist for Syngenta Seeds in Minnetonka, Minnesota, before moving back to Utah to begin her career as a Travel Agent at Egencia Corporate Travel. She left to join Morris Meetings & Incentives team as an Flight Coordinator in 2013.  She and her husband, Nathan, enjoy traveling and exploring new places. In her free time, she enjoys crafting and writing, along with being around animals.

Favorite Locations: Alaska and Hood River, Oregon

Bucket List: Paris, Venice, New Zealand and Fiji

Makayla Barrandey

Event Coordinator

Makayla is a natural coordinator. She’s planned weddings, coordinated volunteers, and worked with Yevo International in their Events and Recognition department. All these talents make her a natural fit for MMI and a great asset to her clients. Makayla loves diversity. During her tenure at Utah’s Hogle Zoo, she worked for the welfare of its animal residents and handled a variety of predatory birds. Her kind nature proved perfect for both Tye the Gibbon and Acara the Orangutan for whom she acted as a surrogate mother. Though Makayla’s time at the Zoo has passed, she still mothers the animals under her care, namely Princess Sophie and Prince Henry, her cat and fish. Time at home also means refining her talents on the Viola of which she has 30 years’ experience.

Favorite Locations: Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Mexico, The Dominican Republic, Canada, and almost all of the United States

Bucket List: Madagascar, Germany, Austria, New Zealand

Michelle Guida

Event Support Coordinator

Michelle Guida is a member of the Morris Meetings and Incentives Event Support team. Michelle’s love for travel led her to a career in the travel industry 26 years ago. She worked as a vacation agent for 18 years before she transitioned over to the meetings and incentive side of the business. Michelle’s loves for travel and people is what gives her the great customer service she provides for our attendees.  She enjoys cooking, traveling, and the outdoors.

Favorite Locations: Napa Valley, Carmel, Monterey, California, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Bucket List: Ireland, Italy, Germany, France, Quebec, and New England

Stella Iriye

Event Support Coordinator

Stella was an Event Coordinator with Morris Meetings & Incentives for five years before she joined Event Support. Her experience includes 15 years of various positions in marketing, sales, and business development. She has worked on trade shows, executive meetings, and incentive planning.  Stella has the ability to help resolve conflicts and motivate personnel to meet their potential in accomplishing personal and company goals. Stella also speaks Chinese. She has been married for 20 years and has two sons, Tevin, 18, and Kobe, 17. She loves the outdoors, hiking, camping, fishing, boating, and skiing together with her family.

Favorite Locations: China and Mexico

Bucket List: Australia, Nepal, Brazil, Europe, South Dakota (see Mount Rushmore), Rhode Island, Alaska, Boston Massachusetts, Vermont, and Williamsburg, Virginia

Suzanne Niebuhr

Event Coordinator

Suzanne joined Morris Meetings and Incentives in 2011 with a strong sales and corporate air industry background. Suzanne takes pride in her organizational and customer service skills. Combined with a fine attention to detail, Suzanne was able to quickly learn the ins and outs as well as the ups and downs of the incentive air travel business. This desire to succeed lead Suzanne to be promoted to the role of Air Supervisor in 2013. With a true passion for travel and with an eagerness to take on new challenges, Suzanne moved to be an Event Coordinator in 2014. Suzanne is an avid reader who spends her free time with her husband, her friends, and her 110 pound Bernese Mountain Dog.

Favorite Locations: Thailand and New Orleans, Louisiana

Bucket List: Cambodia, New Zealand, and Switzerland

Suzi Viavant

Event Coordinator

Suzi’s career in the travel industry has spanned over 30 years. She excels at managing all aspects of a highly-customized global program, including complex budgets, unforgettable events, and “VIP” service. Suzi has a passion for native cultures with a lifetime of experience working with indigenous people to improve their quality of life. She co-founded a children’s nutritional project in her beloved Guatemala, which has currently been in operation for 36 years and has become a worldwide model for NGO development organizations. Her hobbies are biking, river running, hiking, and visiting ancient ruins around the world.

Favorite Locations: Guatemala, Bali, Bora Bora, Africa

Bucket List: Machu Picchu, Maldives, India, Nepal

Tina Chiu

Flight Coordinator

When Tina Chiu joined MMI in 2016, she brought a profound respect for every country, heritage, and person. Tina values learning from others, accruing this wisdom by communing with her favorite cities and books. In fact, she loves the planet’s various cultures so much she majored in them. Equipped with an International Studies BA, Tina sought opportunities to expand her knowledge by finding tenure at Continental Airlines Hong Kong market right out of college.  As you can expect with this level of experience and passion, this Salt Lake City native fits in perfectly.

Favorite Locations: New York, Vancouver, Hong Kong

Bucket List: Korea, Taiwan, Japan, England, Rome, France

Tristin Zinke

Event Coordinator

Tristin Zinke is an Event Coordinator at Morris Meetings & Incentives in Salt Lake City, UT.  Tristin’s career started in the beautiful Hawaiian Islands on a cruise ship named the Pride of Aloha.  Not only did she learn all aspects of the service industry while on board the cruise ship, but she also found her passion for event planning.  Upon returning to the mainland, she expanded her career and secured a diverse background to include managing a helicopter ski tour operation, working as a personal concierge, and overseeing a nationwide company that specializes in photo opportunities at national events.  Tristin’s unique background has given her the opportunity to provide unparalleled, inspiring experiences and world-class customer service to each of her clients.  In her down time you can find Tristin on the Roller Derby track or exploring the world.  She currently resides in Salt Lake City with her husband Cory, their dog Chloe, and pigs Pepper and Boris.

Favorite Locations: Australia, New Zealand, San Francisco, Hawaii, South Africa

Bucket List: Ireland, Italy, and the Amalfi Coast

Victor Sanchez

Flight Coordinator

Hailing from Dallas, Victor pursued his love of travel early when he left for Boston right out of high school. However, Boston was just the launch pad. Victor toured the entire eastern seaboard, flew across the Atlantic, and journeyed south of the border. Each new cultural experience drove Victor’s love of travel. Together with his wife and daughter (who also love travel), Victor joins Morris Meetings & Incentives with a vast array of travel knowledge garnered from both his personal expeditions and tenure at Delta Airlines. When he’s not packing his bags, he sets aside time to cheer on his Boston Red Sox.

Favorite Locations: Costa del Sol, Stockholm, and Hawaii

Bucket List: The Wonders of the World, The French Country Waterways Cruise, Jordan, and a Nile River Cruise

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