About Us

The Reserve Direct team consists of highly qualified individuals who have come together to build, service and sell its unique services to the world. From development of its online platform, product acquisition and in-market presence to marketing and servicing the traveler, Reserve Direct staff members are dedicated to the success of the company, its travel partners, and its customers. A privately held company, Reserve Direct is based in Missouri with office in both St. Louis and Branson.

Management Team

John Johnson

President

John Johnson is a travel industry veteran with over 20 years of experience spanning from his first job as a bellman at Adventure Land Inn (Altoona, IA) to his current role as President of Reserve Direct. John has walked the line in the hospitality industry, holding a variety of positions in sales, marketing and management. His roles led him across the country, attending industry and trade shows and fulfilling direct sales with wholesale and group travel companies.

During this time, John also developed, sold and serviced a relational database application, Group Sales Pro, catered toward group sales management for the hospitality industry. Juggling his software upstart and his role as Director of Sales & Marketing for a national hospitality management company, John developed the original business plan for Reserve Branson, a destination-specific travel website. The project launched in 2001 and was followed by the formal development of Reserve Direct and multiple new markets over the following years.

John’s experience, both in the industry and his personal life, has revolved around travel throughout the United States. From major markets like New York City and Los Angeles to the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota, John has seen and experienced the American landscape. Of all locations, John and his four boys do favor the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Although, his two youngest would contend LEGOLAND is a close second. His development of Reserve Direct has afforded John the ability to share with people something he loves to do— travel.

Greg Brown

Director of Technology

Greg started his journey with technology back in 1982 with his first home computer and has been immersed in it ever since. After receiving his Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Missouri – Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology), he spent some time working for various technology companies before striking out on his own to be part of the up and coming World Wide Web. He has been involved in the development of Reserve Direct since its inception, and has had his hands in all the technology that it entails.

Being involved with Reserve Direct has allowed Greg to visit many of its destinations with his wife and two kids. Although his kids really enjoy the theme parks and attractions, he and his wife prefer to seek out the more laid back locations and relax while enjoying the views.

Kevin Weidemann

Director of Integrated Marketing

Kevin has been on the Internet since 1989 and on the web since it began. He went all-in online with a web development company in 1995, and has been bringing graphic and UX design, project management, marketing and development to Reserve Direct since its infancy in 2001.

Kevin lives in the fine little city of Saint Louis but loves to explore the world with his daughter. Of his travel so far, he most appreciates the diversity of landscapes packed into Costa Rica.

Business Development

Diana Coleman Kersh

Senior Market Manager

Diana has worked in the Travel and Tourism Industry for 18 years, in various facets, markets, and destinations, including Dixie Stampede in Branson, Missouri and Orlando, Florida. There, she served as Tour & Travel Sales Representative and Group Sales Executive. In 2004, Diana joined Reserve Direct as the Branson Market Manager where she handled account management and product sales for the company’s pioneer destination website, Reserve Branson.

Due to her breadth of industry knowledge and drive to make Reserve Direct a success in every destination, she was promoted to Senior Market Manager in 2011. She now manages each Market Manager, providing training, planning, and expertise across all Reserve Direct destinations. She is an active member in all Reserve Direct destination state and local chambers of commerce and hospitality associations.

Diana enjoys swimming, gardening, yoga, and hearing the steam whistle of the Showboat Branson Belle on Table Rock Lake. She is a proud US Military brat – traveling extensively throughout her childhood and instilling in her a love of travel.

Rodney Levy

Director of Business Development

Rodney has been involved in the tourism industry for over 15 years since graduating from UNC Asheville, and he has been with Reserve Direct for seven years. With a background deep-rooted in relationship building and customer acquisition, his role centers on national accounts and development of new market business relationships.

Rodney, who once played professional and semi-professional football (soccer), has a real passion for the sport which allowed him to travel extensively throughout the world. He is an avid Tottenham Hotspur supporter.

Rodney lives in Saint Augustine Beach, Florida with his wife of 14 years and 6-year old daughter. He enjoys spending time with his family exploring new places and relaxing on the beach. His favorite travel destination is Lake Orta, Italy or a close second is Santorini, Greece.

Jacob Combs

Market Specialist

Born in Branson, Jacob loves calling the Ozarks home. He graduated, with a B.A. in History, from a small private college in southwest Missouri and then joined the Air Force. He spent the next four years forecasting weather. While in the military he found a passion for analyzing data and attending to details. Returning home to the Tri-Lakes area, Jacob worked for his Alma matter while attending graduate school at Missouri State, where he earned his M.S. in Administrative Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Project Management.

In 2015, Jacob joined the team at Reserve Direct and is excited to contribute as a Market Analyst. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys the great outdoors. He loves exploring nature and some of his favorite places are within the National Parks. Jacob enjoys riding his motorcycle through Ozark Mountains and canoeing with his dogs.

Joan Brock

Market Manager – Smoky Mountains

After moving to Sevier County in 2008, she found her true career calling in the tourism industry, working in marketing for a cabin rental company and later for two area theaters. In 2012, she pursued the opportunity to represent the entire Smoky Mountain region with Reserve Direct.

After moving to Sevier County in 2008, she found her true career calling in the tourism industry., working in marketing for a cabin rental company and later for two area theaters. In 2012, she pursued the opportunity to represent the entire Smoky Mountain region with Reserve Direct.

When not in front of the computer or meeting with clients, Joan enjoys hiking the trails of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and vacationing on the beaches of the Outer Banks, North Carolina.

Savannah Rhame

Market Manager – Myrtle Beach

Savannah has called Myrtle Beach home for the last 7 years. She was born in Wurzburg, Germany and grew up in Tampa, FL, Birmingham, AL, Orlando, FL, and Cameron, SC. Savannah graduated with a marketing degree from Coastal Carolina University. She has worked in various industries with her marketing degree. She most recently worked in sales & marketing at the Palace Theatre.

Savannah enjoys running, spending time outdoors, kayaking, and going to the beach any chance she gets. Her favorite places to travel are the Outer Banks and Germany.

Christie Shimabuku

Market Manager – Hawaiian Islands

Christie has worked in the hospitality and tourism industry for over 20 years, with a focus in reservations, sales, and revenue management. She held tenures as the Revenue Manager for Best Western the Plaza and the Honolulu Airport Hotels as well as Sales and Revenue Manager for the Waikiki Resort Hotel and Sales Manager at both the Best Western Coconut Hotel (Joie de Vivre Coconut Waikiki) and the Radisson Waikiki Prince Hotel (Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel).

Christie was born and raised on the island of Oahu. She truly believes that there’s no better place to call home than Hawaii. She lives in Honolulu with her son and daughter and a newly adopted Shih Tzu, named Hennessy. During her free time, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and spending time with family & friends.

“Let your dreams be bigger than your fears and your actions louder than your words”

Amy Wallace

Market Manager – Branson

An Ozarks native, Amy studied Hotel and Restaurant Administration at Missouri State University. Her career in the travel industry officially began with her Sales Internship – turned full time job, at the Radisson Hotel Branson.

After deciding to spend a few years at home with her children, the lure of travel and creating memorable experience for others, pulled Amy back to Branson. Her return to Branson would find her working in the Theatre Industry, where she found a love for entertainment. Amy served as Sales and Marketing Director and Promotor for many great artists and properties. She also managed Liverpool Legends, the Complete Beatles Experience for several years both in Branson and on the road. These experiences afforded her many opportunities for travel. A fan of both New York City and LA, she admits her most favorite place to visit was Whistler Canada for its exquisite natural beauty, flowing rivers and hiking trails.

Amy joined the Reserve Direct team in 2014 and brought with her years of sales and marketing experience in all facets of hotel, theatres and attractions. Her passion for travel coupled with her passion for creating memorable travel experiences gives her a great foundation for being the Branson Travel Expert.

Amy is a lover of music and dancing, of camping by the river and finding the next great adventure. Feeding her spirit is important to her and she does that through yoga, meditation, gathering of friends and family, and by always bringing a smile to others. Ireland is still a dream destination and she is certain she will, one day, experience its beauty.

Her words to live by; ‘if being good isn’t working, try being outrageous?’

Rosemarie Young

Market Manager – Central Florida

Rosemarie was born on the beautiful islands of the Philippines. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism at University of the Philippines Asian Institute of Tourism and began her travels in the Philippines and to neighboring nations that include Hong Kong, Macau, and China. She continued her journey and education in the United States in 2001 with American Hospitality Academy at Holiday Inn Club Vacations - Orange Lake Resorts and quickly became a certified trainer for AHA.

In 2002, Rosemarie honed her customer service, sales and marketing, yield management, and leadership skills at Clarion Hotel Maingate Kissimmee, Florida. She soon became Director of Sales and Marketing. In her 12 years with the hotel, her marketing strategies, relationship building and dedication helped increase hotel revenue year over year.

In 2002, Rosemarie continued honed her customer service, sales and marketing, yield management, and leadership skills at Clarion Hotel Maingate Kissimmee, Florida. She soon became Director of Sales and Marketing. In her 12 years with the hotel, her marketing strategies, relationship building and dedication helped increase hotel revenue year over year.

In November 2013, Rosemarie joined Reserve Direct, and her journey towards bringing travel and tourism to people has begun another chapter.

Being a Filipino-American citizen, her home of Palawan, Philippines is still her favorite travel destination because of its natural, crystal clear waters, and breathtaking sceneries.

Abby Samler

Market Manager – Greater Los Angeles Area

With a love for hospitality, people, and hotels (the latter inspired by a popular television series) Abby Samler has enjoyed a colorful career in the hospitality industry. She is a seasoned professional with multi-faceted experience that includes online travel, hotel sales and marketing, revenue management and team development.

A native of New York State, she braved the blizzards and sub-zero temperatures at Syracuse University where she received her Bachelors degree in Food Systems Management/Hospitality. In her quest to follow the dream of working in a glamorous hotel; Beantown was the next stop: the historic (1912) and iconic Copley Plaza Hotel, Boston, MA. She got her start in the reservation/sales office and soon realized that the adventures behind the scenes were quite different than "as seen on TV" and even so, she was really hooked. After two years in Boston, it was back to Syracuse as a Sales Manager for the opening of the Embassy Suites Hotel which officially solidified her foundation as a hospitality professional.

Fast forward and ready for a big change, (a 3000 mile swing ) Abby joined the team as Director of Sales and Marketing at an Embassy Suites hotel in Southern California. Successful in generating top line revenue, strategy and inspiring and leading a sales team, she enjoyed a number of years at different Embassy properties throughout the greater Los Angeles area.

Excited to learn more and jump over to the other side, Abby was in the first ever training class for the Travelclick organization. After a few years under her belt, Orbitz.com came calling and she spent the last decade, plus, working in the online travel field as an Area Manager for Southern California, before finding her next home and joining the family at Reserve Direct.

Travel is key to her happiness and she has an affinity for "off the beaten path" places traveled with her husband, three daughters, extended family and friends. We can't forget Brooklyn (the family Boston Terrier), pilates, half marathons, cooking, fashion and Dodger Baseball, as a few of her favorite pastimes.

Development & Marketing

Ashley Dickey

Destination Content Manager

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s Travel Expert, sharing travel tips, money-saving deals, inside information and current events to help customers stay in the know. She understands the needs and desires of travelers— cutting through marketing fluff and deliver honest, insightful commentary.

Passionate about all aspects of travel, Ashley is an avid vacation enthusiast. After catching the travel bug early, she had girlhood dreams of road tripping through the United States and filling her yet-to-be issued passport. Working for Reserve Direct has allowed her to see some of the best destinations America has to offer, as well as encouraged her to travel across the pond to Europe. Something about the Old World speaks to her, and the entire continent is a favorite place of hers. A recent trip to London currently tops her travel Top 10 List. However, the Hawaiian Islands have also captured her heart.

Ashley’s love of travel can best be summed up by a quote from Saint Augustine: “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

Ross Gill

Senior Web Developer

Ross joined the Reserve Direct team in March of 2009. Since then, he has been busy developing new web applications and spends his days working on both the front-end and back-end systems using today's latest technologies.

Prior to joining Reserve Direct, Ross worked at Maritz Research as a programmer, where he focused on data collection programming. Ross graduated from Columbia College of Missouri with a BS in Computer Information Systems degree.

Ross has lived in St Louis since 2004. His favorite destination is the Meramec River in Steelville, Missouri, where he enjoys canoeing down the spring-fed river with his family or just relaxing in the sun on the gravel bar.

Amanda Gilley

Web Developer

Amanda attended Missouri S&T (formerly University of Missouri - Rolla) for Computer Science and Computer Engineering. Upon leaving school, she worked at Lord & Taylor (Hudson’s Bay Company) as a programmer analyst on the store systems team before realizing her skills would be better utilized and she would have more on an impact as part of the Reserve Direct team. She joined Reserve Direct as a web developer in 2015.

Amanda has always lived in St. Louis but she tries to spend as much time as she can at the lake. Outside of traveling, she enjoys camping, motocamping, hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, hockey, baseball, kayaking, jet skiing, gaming, reading, and riding her motorcycle.

Amanda’s favorite travel destinations are Yellowstone National Park, Zion National Park, the Hawaiian Islands, and Germany. She wants to return to Germany to drive the Nurburgring Race Track. Other future travel destinations include London and Scotland. Amanda is working on her goal of making it to every national park in the United States.

Fred Sobel

Principal Architect

Fred brings over 20 years of experience developing elegant solutions for complex web applications. He’s worked on large multi-tenant and enterprise wide applications in e-commerce, insurance and document management for major St. Louis companies, where he honed his development, mentoring and leadership skills.

Fred joined Reserve Direct in 2012 to be key part of building the next generation of the company’s ecommerce platform and overall infrastructure.

Fred was born in Germany but grew up in North Carolina and Florida. He now lives in St. Louis with his wife Nancy and their two daughters.

Fred's favorite vacation spot is Muir Beach, just outside of San Francisco.

Kyle Smith

Front End Developer

Kyle graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Information Systems. He has an eye for detail with a passion for design, look, and feel. He excels with HTML and CSS and can also write JavaScript.

Kyle’s favorite travel destination so far is tied between Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. Both are vast and magnificent in very different ways.

Adam Thompson

Web & Graphic Designer

Adam has his Bachelors of Arts in Communication Design from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. His skills as a designer developed through school, and also through a lifetime interest and practice of many forms of art. His experience makes him effective in the development of visually compelling and functional graphics. He has a special interest in illustration, which benefits him with a unique perspective and approach to design.

Adam enjoys traveling to places that are rich in history. He particularly enjoys visiting art and war museums.

Marjorie Trautt

Search Marketing Manager

Marjie joined Reserve Direct in 2011 as the Search Marketing Manager. She’s responsible for managing all things search engine related, from online advertising to SEO. Marjie got her start in search engine marketing at a top global PR agency, but quickly realized she could have more of an impact working for Reserve Direct.

Since working at Reserve Direct, she’s also got to work on social media projects, email marketing campaigns, and content creation. Marjie’s favorite travel spot is San Francisco and is currently on a quest to visit all 50 states.

Customer Service / Administrative

Cary Aguilar

Accounting Manager

Cary was born and raised on the Northwest side of Chicago. After graduating from High School, Cary moved to Southwest Missouri to attend college at Missouri State University. Cary started at Reserve Direct as a call center agent during the 2004 summer. Half way through getting his Bachelors in Business Science in Accounting, Cary was offered to take over the accounting roles for Reserve Direct. Since then, Cary has graduated from Missouri State University and is currently working towards his 10-year anniversary with Reserve Direct.

Cary currently lives outside of Branson with his wife and seven pets and enjoys most any outdoor activity, but he tries his best to spend as much time on the beautiful Table Rock Lake.

Megan

Operations Manager

Megan received her Associate of Arts and Bachelors in Business from the University of Arkansas Fort Smith. After graduating, she decided for a change in scenery and moved to Branson to enjoy beautiful Table Rock Lake. After working several years in the hospitality industry for a local resort in Branson, she accepted the opportunity with Reserve Direct. She has been with the company since 2010, managing the customer service department. Her philosophy in promoting courteous customer service and positive vacation planning has increased sales and provided great travel planning experiences for customers.

Megan loves traveling and outdoor activities. She enjoys wakeboarding, volleyball and photography. Her favorite destination is Hawaii. She adores the island of Maui, which offers a wide variety of activities. She currently lives outside of Branson with her husband and seven pets, and enjoys the scenery and activities that Branson life has to offer.

Amber

Customer Service Representative

After ten years in customer service in the Branson area working in the hotel and theater industry, Amber began her career with Reserve Direct and has been with the company for over two years. With all this experience, Amber enjoys helping others by offering great customer service.

Amber loves the summer and being outdoors, soaking up the sun in her pool, rodeos, baseball, and concerts. She’s a huge fan of the southern charms of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee because of Country Tonite, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and, of course, shopping.

Amber lives in Branson and is currently is expecting her first child. She is excited to start the journey of being a Mommy.

Barbie

Customer Service Representative

Barbie moved to Branson, Missouri 12 years ago, from Santa Maria, California. She misses living close to the beach, but loves living in the Ozarks, especially during the fall. She has over 10 years of customer service experience from a variety of retail shops and theaters around Branson. She absolutely loves to travel and help people make travel plans.

Her favorite destination is San Diego or any place in California. She loves the beauty of the state, with it being such a diverse place and has something for everyone. When she is not working or traveling, she enjoys reading, writing, or being lazy with her roommates and dog Dexter.

Brianna

Customer Service Assistant Manager

Brianna graduated from Hollister High School and is currently attending Ozark Technical Community College, and has been working full time with the Reserve Direct team for over a year. She offers polite and professional customer service, and believes that having a positive attitude is a key attribute to her successful career.

She enjoys shopping, running and exercising, spending time on the lake and with family and friends. Brianna loves that Branson is family oriented with an emphasis on family fun, whether it be going to a family show or going to the Silver Dollar City theme park, or just enjoying the beautiful scenery and lakefront views of the Ozark Mountains.

Carla

Fulfillment Manager

Carla has been a customer service representative with Reserve Direct for six years. A native of Southwestern Illinois, she moved to the Branson area in 1991 where she studied at Lewis and Clark Community College. She has an extensive background in customer service, with nearly 30 years in the field. Since relocating in Branson, she has worked in the retail as well as theatre industry.

Her hobbies include crochet, knitting and sewing. She worked for seventeen years as a costumer as well as a performer in the Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama. She loves to create and spend time with her dog Rusty. She also enjoys time with family and friends. Carla loves the family friendly atmosphere nestled in the beautiful Ozark Mountains and the Great Smokey Mountains as well as Myrtle Beach. She uses her travel knowledge to assist customers with their travel plans.

Chelsea

Customer Service Representative

Chelsea worked in customer service for over 8 years at various retail stores in Branson before joining the Reserve Direct team. She graduated from Hollister High School and then studied Creative Writing and Psychology at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. She loves to read, write and project plan. Above all she enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends, as well as her fur-son, Scooby. Her favorite season is fall in Branson with all the changing leaves and preferred travel destination is Pigeon Forge, Tennessee with the beautiful Smoky Mountains.

Cody

Customer Service Representative

Native to Northwestern Arkansas, Cody moved to Branson, Missouri to attend College of the Ozarks. He currently works part-time on the college campus and at Reserve Direct, while working towards his Bachelor’s in Business.

He loves to spend time with family and friends back home in Arkansas, as well as play music, hike and fish. His favorite destination is Branson, with the natural beauty that the Ozarks and the great outdoor activities available to all who visit.

Dawn

Customer Service Representative

Dawn came to Reserve Direct in 2007 after working 10 years in the Forsyth High School library and as assistant manager in home décor retail, affording her the opportunity to assist people with research, assistance with decision making and planning. Her people skills and attention to detail have rewarded her.

Traveling, meeting people and learning new cultures make Dawn’s job interesting and rewarding. Dawn is from Colorado and loves the mountains, the West and Myrtle Beach.

Evan

Customer Service Representative

Evan has lived in Branson his whole life. Though he has traveled in and out of the country many times. One of his favorite places to visit is Hollywood Studios at Disney World. Evan loves being active and spending time with his family. Some of his hobbies include: reading, writing, lifting weights, running and hiking. Evan believes in hard work before play. "If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. It's the hard that makes it great." Evan has been with Reserve Direct since 2014 and since then, has been able to expand is knowledge in the travel industry.

Heather

Customer Service Representative

Heather has worked in customer service for several years before joining the Reserve Direct team in 2015. She was born in Branson, Missouri and is currently attending Ozark Technical Community College to further her career in Business Management. Heather has traveled to most of the states south and west of Missouri. Her favorite vacation destination is Gatlinburg, TN. In her spare time, she enjoys fishing, hunting, canoeing, camping, exercising, dirt track races, and spending time out doors with her family. Her favorite quote is “In a world where you can be anything, be yourself.”

Jamie

Customer Service Representative

Jamie has been a customer service representative with Reserve Direct since 2010. She moved from Texas to Branson 20 years ago and attended Ozark Technical Community College and has worked in the Theater and Hotel industry, giving her the knowledge and experience in travel planning.

While she has been with Reserve Direct, Jamie has had the opportunity to learn about different places and been able to work with people around the world in helping them plan the perfect destination for their vacation.

Jamie’s favorite travel destination is Pigeon Forge, Tennessee because of the family atmosphere, rafting, hiking, shopping, and shows, indoor and outdoor activities— and that almost every block has a pancake house.

Morgan

Customer Service Representative

Morgan was born in Eureka Springs, Arkansas but has lived in Branson for the most of her life. She graduated from Branson High School, and is currently studying at Ozark Technical Community College to be a Dental Hygienist. She started at Reserve Direct in summer of 2015. Working there has helped her gain new knowledge and appreciation for traveling. She loves talking to all the different people that call, and helping them build the perfect vacation.

Her favorite travel destination to book for is Orlando, Florida because of the different theme parks and warmer climate. Morgan enjoys being out in nature, doing hot yoga, swimming, exploring her artistic abilities, going to Silver Dollar City during the Christmas season, shopping, and spending time with her family and friends. She looks forward to continuing her experience with Reserve Direct, and further expanding her knowledge of our different destinations.

Samantha

Customer Service Representative

Samantha was born and raised in Branson and has remained in the area to be close to family and friends. For the past 10 years, she has worked in many retail and office related jobs in Branson. With her area knowledge, she has been able to contribute her experience for travel planning in the Ozarks while learning about other destinations.

She has a great love for many animals and enjoys being around them. Her two dogs, Rosie and Pumpkin, are like family and she spends most of her time with them. Winter is her favorite month and she enjoys traveling to Florida for some sun and attraction fun. This year, Samantha is expecting her first child in September and excited to start her new journey as a mom.

About Us Image
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
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