Stan Stephens, vice chair of the Alaska Travel Industry Association, presents the Denali Award to Charlie Ball of Princess Tours during the association’s annual meeting earlier this month in Anchorage. This award is presented annually to an individual for his or her outstanding leadership, professional excellence and personal contribution to the Alaska travel industry.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here are the comments of Stan Stephens as he presented the Denali Award to Charlie Ball, President, Princess Tours, during the Alaska Travel Industry Association’s annual meeting.

I am happy to talk to you about the individual receiving this award. I have never been too close to this individual, but I have always admired him throughout the many years he has been associated with the travel industry. When we are younger, we sometimes look up to an individual by what kind of car he drives, how much money he has, how important his job is, what position he holds and other things. This individual may fit all these things, but I see something far more than these.

When you get older, and I am getting there, you look deeper and judge an individual by who they really are as a person, not their materialistic values.

This individual knows who he works for and represents them well. He is the kind of person we would all like to have working for our own companies. I am amazed at his ability to represent his company and balance that with the needs of ATIA.

You can talk to him. He listens, he is always respectful and he communicates on all issues, not just those that pertain to his company.

The last couple of years the citizens of Alaska have made things difficult for his company and others. The State continues to push water quality issues that are so stringent there is no way the rest of the State can meet them.

This guy deals with the problem without showing resentment or anger, and still supports and works for the betterment of the Alaska Travel Industry.

I hesitated to bring this next subject up, but decided it needs to be understood to understand how great this guy is.

To be able to balance the needs of the cruise ship culture with the needs of ATIA is a large order. This guy does it with real professionalism. He works hard and is dedicated to his company and also to the travel industry. The culture of all big companies is bottom line, it has to be. What allows them survive is the people who work for them who can provide the close, human touch. ATIA is lucky to have such a dedicated, balanced individual to be part of us.

Throughout my years with the Travel Industry I have always asked for advice and admired the likes of Chuck West, Jim Binkley, Brad Phillips. This individual has my same respect and admiration.

As president of Princess Tours, he oversees the function of Princess land tour operations, including their five Alaskan wilderness lodges and the transportation infrastructure in Alaska, as well as the company’s growing worldwide cruise/tour operations. He also serves as a senior vice president of the parent company, Princess Cruises.

Appointed president in March 2001, he previously served as the company’s vice president of Alaska operations. A 22-year cruise industry veteran, he served in various capacities at Holland American Line-Westours before joining Princess, most recently as vice president of marketing and sales for Alaska cruise tours.

He is a member of the Board of directors for the Alaska Geographic Society which is a bookstore, publisher, educator, and supporter of Alaskas parks, forests, and refuges.

He also served on the Leadership Team for the Morris Thompson cultural & Visitors Center in 2004-2005. His efforts were instrumental again in making this facility a reality.

An active member of a number of travel industry associations, he is the current chairman of the United States Tour Operators Association. He is a past chair and currently serves on the boards of Northwest Cruise Ship Association, Alaska Travel Industry Association and Alaska Cruise Association.

He is a graduate of Whitman College in Washington with a degree in economics. He and his wife Maura, have three children.

It is my pleasure and great honor to present the Denali Award to Charlie Ball.

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