Meet the Team

Gary E. Smith, MBA, ECCS, CB, HoF

Owner and CEO

Founder: Leisure Travel Benefits Specialist & C.E.O

Gary fell in love with cruising at 14 when he went on his first Caribbean cruise. At 17 he started his first business and eventually moved into the event planning business more than 25 years ago. He founded and grew a convention management firm from scratch to handling over 70,000 attendees annually, including a city-wide convention of over 20,000 each year. As an off-shoot of that work, Gary started doing events on cruise ships.

Gary is one of the few travel agents with both a meeting planner background and an incredible resume of leisure travel experiences and sales. This varied experience makes him uniquely capable of understanding the needs and desires of his clients.

Prior to re-branding as TravelPerks, Gary grew his leisure travel business to the largest of over 920 Dream Vacations franchises (now almost 1200) in the United States. Along the way, he has won virtually every award possible - including being named one of the top 25 travel agents in America for 2013. In 2018, he was named CLIA’s Elite Cruise Counselor of the Year, their top honor.

Gary loves cruising and travel of all types, and with 15 river cruises already completed, he is a wealth of information on this hot industry segment.

While running TravelPerks Dream Vacations keeps him plenty busy, he also finds time to travel with his wonderful wife Theresa. In addition, he is a college professor teaching small business management and mentoring over 100 small businesses in his community.

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Theresa Graham

V.P. of Retail Sales

Theresa has always loved to travel. At age 21, she spent three years at Clark AFB in the Philippines. Spending most of her early travel days in the US and Canada, Theresa enjoyed Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, Yosemite Park, Edmonton, Calgary, and many more!  She has one amazing daughter, Kathryna Hancock, who is a fashion photographer in Los Angeles.

Theresa's background and early career were in law. She worked in criminal law, business law, and personal injury law, assisting injured workers until 1998, when she began working with the Oregon Attorney General’s office as a paralegal assigned to parental rights termination cases. During her 17-year career, she was twice awarded the Department of Justice Outstanding Service Award for her work protecting children. Theresa worked hard on cases involving children harmed by alcohol, drugs, and domestic violence specializing in cases involving horrific abuse.

While pursuing her career in law, Theresa met and married Gary and so began her love of cruising. Learning more and more about the travel industry, Theresa began attending travel conferences and seminars, as well as assisting with marketing at trade shows. By 2014, TravelPerks had grown such that Gary and Theresa decided that it was time she make a huge career change and transition to their travel agency. Once the transition was complete, she never looked back! 

Since then, TravelPerks has grown to the second-largest franchise in a network of nearly 1200 agencies! Theresa's great love is talking to people about traveling and helping them realize their own dream vacations. As of this writing in Fall 2018, she has completed 24 Ocean Cruises, and 14 River Cruises, stayed at many all-inclusive resorts, and enjoyed several guided land tours, meaning she has a wealth of information to share with the potential cruise or land traveler! 

The Team

We have a wonderful team of travel advisors ready to help you plan your dream vacation. Call our U.S.-based travel agency and get ready to take the adventure of a lifetime  541-349-0036!

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Read All Reviews

From Our Clients...

Easy and Stress Free!

"I used TravelPerks to book a family vacation and had the pleasure of working with Theresa. She is very knowledgeable and goes out of her way to get you the best deals. I am a customer with lots of questions and she was extremely patient with me and was always prompt answering all my emails. I definitely recommend using TravelPerks for all your vacation needs and their bonus deals are a plus. Thanks Theresa for making vacation planning easy and stress free!"

– Linda - Sacramento, CA

Assistance every step of the way.

"Although I'm in Florida, Michael Teague assisted us every step of the way. From the beginning of the planning, through the coordinating with family members, getting excursions to fit different family members and even last minute changes to get the best out of this vacation, Michael has been key to us enjoying an amazing family (12) vacation. I will definitely seek him out again!"

– L.F. - March 2023

Once In A Lifetime Trip

I was talking about TravelPerks during our state presentation, and a member commented that they had booked cruises through TravelPerks and had a fabulous experience! They both said that you guys were super easy to work with and explained everything well and they felt cared for. It's not often we get members interrupting a presentation to put it out there that they had a great experience!

– FOP - Proud Partner

Booking a Vacation is FUN!

"In today’s environment, booking vacations is hard. Why? There are a million and one websites out there that all have information on them. You can look at peer reviews until you are blue in the face. Is this ship really that bad? Is it the best thing ever? Is the resort awesome? Was it an isolated incident? Who knows. And sorting through all of them and figuring out what is real and what is somebody making a mountain out of a molehill takes time.

Which is where Theresa comes in. We love working with her for our vacations. It generally involves a quick phone call giving her a budget and the vibe we are looking for. And then go on an awesome vacation. No pecking through reviews and pricing that should be written in hieroglyphics. Just straight-up advice and no-nonsense planning.

Prior to using Theresa’s team, I would spend hours planning and routing and reading. Now? I pick the phone up or I email the awesome team and they take care of me and we get to enjoy our vacation. If you are booking a large group or an intimate vacation, I highly recommend Theresa and her team. Awesome to do business with and they make vacations FUN!"

– Ben - Atlanta, GA

Ready to go again!

"Words can not explain the marvelous time we had on our very first cruise. Theresa is the best travel agent!! There was not a time when I called with questions that my questions went unanswered. Great customer service, very caring travel agents, always there to help, great prices, and last but not least, I'm ready to go again!!!! If anybody ever needs a travel agent this company will be the only one that I would recommend."

– Shanda - Essex, MD

Worry Free!

"You folks are incredible and your services outstanding! No one does it better."

– Robert C. - Celebrity Cruise, March 2023