WMU News

Guest lecturer looks at the future of travel and leisure

Sept. 26, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- In the past 100 years, Americans have gone from horse and buggy travel over weathered roads and wooden bridges to setting the car on cruise control and navigating bypasses, beltways and superhighways.

And that's just on the ground.

What's in store for the next century is the focus of "Travel Into An Uncertain Future," a free lecture being presented by AAA Arizona executive Jim McDowell at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 3, in the auditorium of the Western Michigan University College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The building is located at the University's Parkview campus in Kalamazoo.

McDowell's discussion is part of the WMU Centennial Scholar and Artist Series, a special lineup of lectures, performances and presentations planned for WMU alumni, faculty, staff and students and the Kalamazoo area community. Series participants are national and international achievers in the arts and culture, business, education, government, health and science. This event is being sponsored by the WMU College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

From planning vacations to visiting relatives, travel issues affect everyone, making McDowell's topic relevant and--with the holidays approaching--timely. The public is invited to attend as the veteran travel executive describes the contributions technology has made to the quality of life of the American people over the past 100 years, including how they travel and how leisure time is spent. The president and CEO of AAA Arizona also will draw on his 20-plus years in the industry to further examine the fact that changes in societal structures and people's attitudes have failed to keep pace with advances in technology.

McDowell earned a bachelor's degree from WMU in automotive engineering and technology, and received his master's degree in engineering administration from George Washington University. He also is a graduate of Harvard University's Advanced Management Program.

Prior to joining AAA Arizona, he was executive vice president and president and CEO of clubs for Affinity Group Inc. in Ventura, Calif., a group which owns the Good Sam Club, Camp Coast to Coast, Golf Card International and the National Association of Female Executives.

He also has extensive experience at the national, regional and local levels of AAA. As a former senior vice president for AAA's Association Services, he managed all lines of AAA business, including travel publishing, travel agency services, insurance and financial services, motoring services, marketing, information technology, and research and development. He also directed AAA's hospitality inspections and Diamond rating program for 39,000 hotels and more than 10,000 restaurants.

For more information about McDowell's visit, contact Cathy Smith in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at (269) 276-3253.

A complete schedule of Centennial Celebration events is posted to University's Web Site at <www.wmich.edu/centennial>. For more information about the series, contact Gail H. Towns in the Office of University Relations at (269) 387-8428 or <gail.towns@wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Gail Towns, 269 387-8400, gail.towns@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
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Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
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