Gayla Steeneck, Travel Manager, has a wealth of travel industry experience and has been with IES for seven and a half years.
“My entire career has been within the travel industry,” Gayla said. “First as a travel agent and then working 20+ years at Alaska Airlines in Seattle — reservations, gate agent, trainer, load planning and operations.”
But travel isn’t Gayla’s only interest. Her favorite hobbies include attending live music events and festivals.
“I am a huge music fan (geek) and appreciate many genres including rock, blues and alternative, even better live from the front row!” Gayla said. “My hubby and I normally attend at least two to three shows a month.”
“I love the ferocity of Dave Grohl and The Foo Fighters, the gypsy soul of Van Morrison, the New Orleans funk of The Revivalists, local legend and great tequila maker Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers and the all-brother local band Kongos,” Gayla said.
As a fan of the late Anthony Bourdain’s shows on CNN and The Travel Channel, Gayla naturally enjoys travel, food, and drink.
“My other passion is our local food and wine industry, getting to meet local chefs and winemakers and hearing their stories,” Gayla said. “I love to travel and explore new cultures, food, wine, and music. Our most recent trip was to Hilton Head, Savannah and Charleston with friends and it was fantastic.”
In addition to her passions for music, travel, and culture, Gayla enjoys volunteer work as well.
“My passion on giving back to the community is through donating blood to save lives, which is such a vital gift,” Gayla said. “Our first Vitalent (formerly United Blood Services) drive was last month. We were able to partner with American Airlines, and it was very successful. We are planning another event, so stay tuned.”
When Gayla began working at IES, she was the only person booking travel reservations, which she had to do individually on each provider’s website for air, car, and hotel. Talk about time-consuming.
“My goal was to upgrade how we book travel for the present and future continued growth at IES,” Gayla said. “The Travel Department has evolved from the early days of “stone and tablet” to book travel to our present Worldspan Global Distribution System Platform.”
The system allows Gayla and her team to easily research, price compare, and book cost-effective air, hotel, and car rental reservations. But that’s not the only new tool in her toolbox.
“Conferma Pay-It-Safe for hotel fraud prevention and Safe-To-Go, our traveler tracking system, alert us to flight delays, cancellations and weather/emergency issues.”
“I feel fortunate to lead such a great team,” Gayla said. “It is important to me that every traveler receives the best possible service.”
Through all of her passions outside of work and her one-song commute to the office (if she hits all the green lights), Gayla has been able to maintain a great work-life balance.
“I can honestly say I love my job!” Gayla said. “The people at IES are the best – my team, co-workers, and everyone I interact with is genuinely friendly, professional, and the heart of #OneIES.”