Keith Griffall - CEO Co-Owner
Keith started in the tour industry managing domestic and international tours for Tauck World Discovery, Travcoa, Maupintour, and Travalaska. After being a sales manager for several tour operators he established Western Leisure in 1979. Keith has served three terms on the NTA Board of Directors and was the President of the National Tour Association in 1998. He has also served 2 terms on the board of the United States Travel Association (TIA) and served on the Executive Board of the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau for many years. In addition to an active role in the hospitality industry, Keith was an adjunct professor at the University of Utah for 14 years, where he taught classes in group travel and tourism. He is a member of the University of Utah Tourism Advisory Board, and has served on a number of Corporate Tourism advisory boards. He is a Certified Tour Professional and has received many awards including the Utah Professional Tourism Achievement Award, the NTA Group Travel Marketing award and was inducted into the Utah Tourism Hall of Fame in 2014. Since 2015, Keith has taken a step back from the day to day office grind to enjoy life and pursue his other interest. However, he is only a phone call away.
Michele Michalewicz - President Co-Owner
Michele started her career working in Yellowstone during the summer while attending South Dakota State University. In 1983, she accepted a full-time position with TW Services at Yellowstone National Park in the Group Tour Department . In 1987, Western Leisure, Inc. hired Michele as Director of Operations. In the time that followed she rapidly rose through the organization to the position of President. She is now a co-owner of the Corporation. A long-time supporter of the travel industry, Michele has actively served the National Tour Association on various committees and has volunteered in many roles since 1988. She served on NTA's board of directors and was Chairman in 2009. She also served on the Best Western Tour Advisory board, and has served on the Amtrak Tour Advisory board. She was also appointed to the National Park Service’s Concessionaire Management Advisory board and served as the Tourism representative from 2010 – 2015. Michele has also received her designation as a Certified Tour Professional in 1991.
Shawn Horman - Senior Vice President
Shawn started as a Japanese-speaking tour guide with Western Leisure in 1988. During his second year of college at the University of Utah, he started working as a Japanese speaking ski guide and took the Tour Guide development class taught by Keith Griffall. He spent the next summer taking Japanese groups all over the west and fell in love with the tour business. He joined the office in 1990 doing sales for the Japanese department. After one season away in 1994 working at a guest ranch in Southern Utah, he returned to Western Leisure and has been here ever since. Active in the industry for over 25 years, Shawn speaks fluent Japanese and is an expert on tours in the Western United States. Shawn has served on various committees and has volunteered in many roles to promote tourism to the western U.S. In 2006, he was invited by the Utah Governor’s office to represent the travel industry during an inaugural trade mission to China. He also served on the Steering Committee and as head of the Pre & Post Tour Committee for the 2006 annual NTA convention in Salt Lake City. Recently he served 4 years as Vice President of Marketing on the Travel Alliance Partners (TAP) board of directors. He has participated in panel discussions and is consulted by private and government agencies as an expert in his field.
Julie Burton Ray - Director of Operation
Julie started with Western Leisure in 1983 as a local tour guide after taking the Tour Guide Development Class at the University of Utah where Keith Griffall was the professor. Julie went on to work as a tour director for Tauck Tours from 1986-1989. She returned to Western Leisure in 1990 as Sales & Operations Manager in their Conventions & Meetings department. She left in 1997 but returned again in 2003 to work as Director of Operations in the Domestic Tour Division where she's remained ever since. She served on the Local Tours Committee for the 2006 annual NTA convention in Salt Lake City. Julie is a member of the Utah Tour Guide Association and served on the Board of Directors from 2004-2010, four of those years as Chairman.
Mayuko Davidson - Director of Operations
Mayuko started as an intern at Western Leisure while attending Brigham Young University in 1996. She was hired to work operations and was a tour guide with the Japanese market. She was hired full-time as an operations manager for the Japanese department when Western Leisure decided to expand that market in 1998. In 2004, she took over Japanese sales and ran the Japanese department until 2010. In 2010 Western Leisure decided to concentrate our efforts on customized group tours and Mayuko is now working as Operations Manager in the Domestic market. Mayuko is a Japanese national and Western Leisure supported her working visas since 1998 until she finally obtained a permanent resident status in 2008.
Chris Vander Wilt - Group Specialist/Tour Director
As the 2002 Winter Games came to life in Salt Lake City, Chris began his career in the industry as a driver/guide for All Resort Express, where he quickly earned the respect of VIP Guests including Kristi Yamaguchi, Paul Mitchell, an even the band Styx. He was promoted to be an exclusive SUV Driver in 2005 while working for Canyon Transportation. He has successfully completed over 400 transfers annually (2002-2015). This unique opportunity continued to give him the background and scope necessary to create a truly specialized customer experience, when he began his guiding career for Western Leisure's guests during the summer of 2013. Since then he has directed over 20 custom tours throughout the western United States. The 'Crossroads of the West' come to life as he allows each tour to unfold a kaleidoscope of history, culture and local lore. When Chris is not on the road leading a tour for Western Leisure, he serves as their group specialist in the marketing and sales department. Chris is currently President of the local Utah Tour Guide Association.