Dean Sivley, ’80
Dean Sivley has been on one wild ride in the travel business. When he was senior vice president and chief operating officer at Orbitz for Business and Alliance Marketing, the corporate travel arm of Orbitz Worldwide, he was part of a $500 million organization that just a few years earlier was literally nonexistent. In May 2009 he was named president and CEO of Travel Guard, a company founded in 1985 that today is the largest provider of travel insurance and assistance in North America.
According to Sivley, that amount of growth and change involves all sorts of rewards and challenges. "Ultimately, it is about people," he said, "and creating an environment where our employees are motivated, successful and providing the levels of service and innovation necessary for a company to grow."
At Kenosha Tremper High School in the late 1970s, Sivley had no idea that he would someday be responsible for an online travel business that boasts 2,000 corporate clients or the CEO of the largest travel insurance provider in North America. He did know that after Tremper, UW-Parkside would be his next step.
"In addition to being a local university, Parkside had the reputation as a solid business school," Sivley said. "Even at that time it had an advanced information technology program, one of the few to have an IBM 370 mainframe on which students could write COBOL."
The accounting classes provided Sivley with a solid business foundation. "The computer-related classes with hands-on experience were key in terms of having graduates well prepared for what they would face as they entered the business world," he said. "At Accenture (a management consulting group), right out of school, I was going head-to-head with graduates from every Ivy League school and yet I was able to handle the Accenture curriculum faster than all but one of the other 250 people in our new-hires class."