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Industry bids adieu to a dear friend

After 46 years in the visitor industry, Tim McDonnell hung up his hat yesterday, on his 70th birthday.

It’s been a fantastic career for Tim, who says he’s had the privilege of working “for three wonderful companies – Princess Cruises, Holland America and Temsco.”

Tim had been with Temsco for 16 years and ended his long career as vice president of tours and marketing. It’s been a good ride for him, as he explains. “With having the access to helicopters, I have had the ability to fly to areas people have never touched. I have seen some back country, thanks to Temsco, that is a person’s dream to even get close to. The beauty of Alaska is extremely unreal, but the accessibility by helicopter is how I became fortunate. “

Tim came to Alaska in 1971 for college and started out as a tour bus driver in Fairbanks. “I went through the pipelines years in Fairbanks and worked my up through management,” he says.

“I was the vice president of Alaska operations for both Princess and Holland, running all of their transportation operations on the motor coach side.  I worked in the cruise lines from 1971-1999 – 28 years.”

Following his cruise years, Tim did some consultant work for Temsco “and grew to know the owners, where they eventually brought me on board.

“I have been incredibly fortunate with all three companies. It has always been about the people and I am humbled as they stand up at different presentations to speak of me and my contributions.”

Among those who’s proud to stand up for Tim is Sarah Leonard, president and CEO of Alaska Travel Industry Association.

“I was honored to be able to work with Tim as one of the Alaska Travel Industry Association’s long time board directors. Tim’s history with the organization, along with the relationships he built through his time in the tourism industry, made him an invaluable member of the ATIA Board. Perhaps more important to me was the generous amount of his own time that Tim gave in support of ATIA’s goals and in his advice to me,” she said.

When asked how he wanted to be remembered, Tim said: “I will hope they thought I was always fair, regardless of if you were my employee or a competitor. You always knew what I said was my word. I hope I taught how to treat other employees and about the industry business overall; Within the industry, I hope I have contributed to being a part of it.”

Tim plans to spend more time with his wife and grand kids. “I live in Seattle as well as Alaska. I am looking forward to spending more time with my wife and grandchildren. My sons and nephew are in the industry, so I get to see them continue the tourism industry in Alaska.”

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