On April 25, after 44 years of service in the travel industry, Deb Mangas retired from Menno Travel. From vacation department supervisor to business development manager, then back to custom vacation planning, Deb has provided exceptional, professional service to her clients before, during, and after their trips.

Deb says, “this is what I’m going to miss. The contact with all the people I have planned travel for over the year. But I’m a people person. Whatever I do, I’m going to be out and about.”

Deb and her clients have weathered major changes in the travel industry.  Booking trips looks a lot different than it did when she started in 1974 at Gulliver’s Travels in Syracuse. Her first task was to handwrite 70 airline tickets for a musical group’s flight to Europe.

“We started BC — before computers!” she remembers. “I would take books home and read them over the weekend to learn about places. Now you have the technical age. But that’s made the job fun. You continue to learn. You have everything at your fingertips.”

Deb’s interest in learning extended beyond her nine-to-five work at Menno Travel. In the mid-’80s, she joined the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA). Her participation propelled her from the local chapter to her role as ASTA National ASTAPAC chair. Deb also chaired the ASTA World Congress in Montreal in 2005.

Though she’s leaving her office behind, Deb doesn’t plan to slow down. She and her husband will soon fly to Europe for a river cruise from Prague to Budapest. Her clients have always raved about the cruise, and she’s excited to experience it for herself.

“A lot of people retire to travel. Fortunately, I’ve gotten to do that for my career,” she says. “What other careers could you have joy and fun, exploring the world and meeting new people all the time? It’s exciting. Working for Menno Travel has been a delight. They think of their staff first. They look out for you, then you look out for their business and clients.”

Some of those clients and connections have turned into dear friends. For Deb, retirement will still include many of these relationships. In fact, she has decided to set up a Facebook account to stay in touch. Though she hopes to “take it easy” this summer, Deb plans to fill the coming years with family, friends, travel, and new opportunities to volunteer.

According to Geof Landis, CEO of Menno Travel, “Deb has been an integral part of our office for the last 27 years.  She has filled many roles for us and been successful at every one.  She has also made significant contributions at the national level with ASTA and locally too.  We always knew that when Deb represented Menno Travel, we were in good hands.”