Leaders & Staff: Office Staff

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Victor Emanuel

Victor Emanuel started birding in Texas 70 years ago at the age of eight. His travels have taken him to all the continents, with his areas of concentration being Texas, Arizona, Mexico, Panama, and Peru. He is the founder and compiler for 50 years of the record-breaking Freeport Christmas Bird Count, and served a term as president of the Texas Ornithological Society. Birds and natural history have been a major focus throughout his life. He derives great pleasure from seeing and hearing birds,...


Margaret Anderson

Margaret Anderson (Tour Operations Manager) was motivated to embark on a career in travel & tourism following a transformative trip to China in 1993. She began in the specialty leisure market where she designed custom itineraries for independent travel and group tours throughout Mexico and Central America. Margaret joined the VENT office staff in 2011, after 14 years with a firm that provided management for worldwide conventions, meetings, and incentive trips for large corporations and as...


Mike Ard

Mike Ard (Corporate Controller) joined the VENT team in December 2013. Mike brings 18 years of corporate finance and accounting experience in the mid-sized business segment in both CFO and Controller roles, as well as management consultancy. His concentration has focused on organizational financial management, process improvement, accounting operations, and business infrastructure enhancement in order to afford organizations the economic and structural capacity to drive growth. Mike holds an ...


Connie Buck

Connie Buck (Receptionist/Staff Assistant) joined the VENT office staff in 2016.  She is new to the travel industry, bringing 8 years of office staff experience.  Upon graduation from Brigham Young University she taught high school. Later she was part-time “Mom” to six and full-time mother of two. Connie has lived and worked in California, Utah, New York, and Virginia.  When away from the office she enjoys reading, walking, yoga, service projects, and grandchildren....


TäV Garvin

TäV Garvin (Marketing and Publications) has spent the last 27 years functioning as Victor's assistant and coordinating the publication of VENT's marketing materials. Before joining VENT, she worked in the semiconductor sales industry and in emergency operations for the state of Texas. In addition to some wonderful human beings, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo helped spark her interest in birds in 1983. She enjoys birding, reading, music, gardening, and observing all forms of wildlife.  


Erik Lindqvist

Erik Lindqvist (Tour Operations Manager) is a graduate of Pepperdine University who joined VENT in 1997. A travel veteran, Erik has over 30 years of experience in the industry including stints in operations management, training, and marketing. He enjoys bicycling, outdoor activities, live music, and spending time with his wife, Lisa, and sons, Brad and Karl.


Greg Lopez

Greg Lopez (Tour Operations Manager) began working for VENT in 1990, and has since realized the importance of taking care of our environment through conservation, and gained an increased appreciation for what nature has provided for us. He enjoys traveling to locations where he is able to observe people and their lifestyles and cultures, and how they are affected by the environment in which they live. When not traveling, Greg enjoys spending time at his home in the Texas Hill Country with&nbs...


Barry Lyon

Barry Lyon's passion for the outdoors and birding has its roots in his childhood in southern California. During his teenage years, he attended several VENT/ABA youth birding camps, which ultimately led to his future involvement with Victor Emanuel Nature Tours. He holds a B.A. from the University of Arizona at Tucson where he studied history and political science, with an emphasis on environment and development politics. Barry joined the VENT team as a tour leader in 1995 and embarked on a tr...


René Shields

René Shields (Tour Operations Assistant) has worked in the recreational travel industry for most of her professional life. She is a native Texan with a business degree from the University of Texas at Austin. With her husband Gary, she enjoys foreign and domestic travel, bicycling around Austin and the Texas Hill Country, and socializing with other "cavers" at the UT Grotto meetings.


Patrick Swaggerty

Patrick Swaggerty (Tour Operations Assistant) joined the VENT staff in 2004. He began his career in 1984 organizing and leading adventure tours throughout Colorado for a family-based sports company. Warmer climates led him back to the island of Maui, Hawaii where he describes his lifestyle there as warm and easy. After traveling much of the world, Patrick and his partner, Ted, eventually relocated to Austin, Texas. Patrick enjoys experiencing new things, but says that he will always consider ...