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History

  • 1887 – Walter A. Brownell founds Brownell Tours in Syracuse, NY, and takes the first 10 guests on an archeological tour of Switzerland.
  • 1900 – Dr. George Brownell and his wife Jennie take over operations.
  • 1931 – George G. Brownell, Jr. takes over operations with his mother, Jennie.
  • 1937 – Brownell takes 53 groups and 938 clients to Europe.
  • 1946 – Brownell incorporates under the Brownell name and opens an office in Birmingham, AL.
  • 1948 – Brownell clears the $1,000,000+ revenue mark.
  • 1954 – George G. Brownell leads the ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) Committee that forms the ICTA (Institute of Certified Travel Agents), an educational institution designed to promote professionalism and ethical standards in the travel industry.
  • 1958 – New company record, 4,020 Brownell clients travel to Europe, Latin America, Hawaii and Alaska.

Troy Haas & Meg North

  • 1989 – A new group of investors purchase the company.
  • 1990 – Sterling Travel opens its doors in Atlanta, GA with owners Betty Fuller and Margaret Shirley.
  • 1993 – Troy Haas joins as President and shareholder.
  • 1995 – Brownell Travel merges with Destinations Travel. Meg McGriff North becomes partner and Executive Vice President of Leisure Travel.
  • 1999 – Betty Fuller and Margaret Shirley sell Sterling to Martha Gaughen and Betty Case
  • 2000 – Brownell is recognized in Conde Nast Traveler as one of three leading leisure agencies in the country, and consultants among the 100 best in the nation.
  • 2001 – Brownell operations are established in Mobile, AL led by industry veteran, Bowden Sarrett.
  • 2003 – Brownell implements ClientBase Plus, enabling consultants to capture client preferences and travel histories to better know and service them. Sterling Travel merges with Personal Travel Consultants and Rebecca Willson stays onboard to lead and grow the IC hosting program.

David Ourisman & Katherine Gould, Mantoring Class 1

  • 2004 – Brownell merges with Sterling Travel in Atlanta to create the leading luxury travel powerhouse. Martha Gaughen joins as partner and Vice President of Leisure Travel.
  • 2006 – Brownell is recognized as one of the top 5 producers of luxury travel in the nation by Virtuoso. Sterling Brownell Mentoring Program launches, the first of its kind in the nation.
  • 2012 – Brownell undergoes re-branding in celebration of 125th anniversary and launches Discover More – a new practice for communicating with clients and planning dream vacations.

Martha Gaughen, Troy Haas & Meg North

  • 2016 – Brownell wins the “Outstanding Mentoring and Talent Development by an Agency” at Virtuoso Travel Week.
  • 2017 – Brownell wins “Best Client Experience” at Virtuoso Travel Week.
  • 2019 – Brownell welcomes the 20th class into the Brownell Mentoring Program.
  • 2020 – Brownell wins Virtuoso’s Innovation Award – Human Touch for Connect process.
  • 2021 – Brownell advisors win the Luminaries, Legends, and Leaders Innovation Award and the Sustainability Award at Virtuoso Travel Week.

Christy Menzies, Virtuoso's Rising Star Award

  • 2022 – Brownell ranked #35 on Travel Weekly’s Power List.
  • 2023 – Brownell advisor Christy Menzies wins Virtuoso’s Rising Star Award. Brownell is voted One of the Best Places to Work by the Birmingham Business Journal. Troy Haas becomes the sole owner of Brownell Travel. Brownell breaks record with $200 million in travel sales.