Meet Our Staff



clientuploads/Logos/Sandals Specialist.pngNeelie Kruse, Owner, CTC - Neelie is the president and founder of Cary Travel Express.  She has been in the travel industry for over 40 years and started Cary Travel Express in 1989, making this her 30th year in business.  Her favorite destinations that she has traveled to are Hawaii, all over Europe, Canada, Iceland, Africa, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Morocco, Dubai, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji  and Tahiti. She has sailed on 68 cruises. She is a Sandals Certified Specialist (Lifetime Goldmember since 1998), a Destination Weddings Specialist, AM Resorts Master Agent,  Collette Vacation Specialist, Disney Specialist, Royal Caribbean and Uniworld River Cruise Specialist, Ireland Specialist and a Globus/Avalon River Cruise Specialist.  Neelie attributes the 30-year success of her agency to the small town atmosphere and friendly people of Cary and Fox River Grove. She was honored with the MAST Top Agent Award for the last 15 years and was named by Travel Agent Magazine as a "Top 25 Travel Agent 2013"!  Neelie's staff brings personalized service and personal travel knowledge that their clients find very reassuring.  Neelie served as a director of the Cary Grove Chamber of Commerce for 22 years and is the past Chairman of the Board for MAST. "Even after 40 years in this business, I still LOVE to go to work each day and help create wonderful memories for my clients."  Neelie lives in Cary with her husband and is grateful that her two married sons and daughter-in-laws live close by with her two grandsons! Contact Neelie at :


clientuploads/Logos/RCCL WOW.pngMargaret Merz, Travel Consultant - Margaret is a native of the Cary/Fox River Grove area.  She has been with Cary Travel Express since February 1989.  Her specialty is leisure vacations, honeymoons and cruises.  She has traveled to Hawaii, Costa Rica, the Riviera Maya, Cancun, Ixtapa and Huatulco in Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada, Las Vegas, Alaska, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Cuba and most recently Ireland. She has taken cruises on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess, and a UniWorld cruise on the Danube.  Margaret holds the following certifications:  Carnival Cruises, Princess Commodore Agent, Sandals Certified Specialist, Royal Caribbean University Expert Certification, Aruba Certified Agent, Outrigger Resorts Specialist, Apple Vacation Specialist and Destinations Wedding Specialist, Palace Resort Specialist, AM Resorts Master Agent, Hawaii Specialist, RIU Resorts Specialist, UniWorld River Cruise Specialist,  Louis Cruise Line Specialist,  Rocky Mountaineer Specialist, Collette Vacation Specialist, Tauck Specialist, Paul Gauguin PEARLS Specialist and a Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Master of Adventure. Margaret is also a 12 time recipient of the MAST Outstanding Travel Agent Sales Award. Margaret says "Over  the past 31 years of being a travel agent I have traveled the world and have brought my first hand experience back to my wonderful clients". Contact e-mail:


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Gail Timmer, Travel Consultant - Gail Timmer has been a travel consultant for 33 years.  Gail has traveled to the Canadian Rockies, Cancun, Riviera Maya, Punta Cana, Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco, Aruba, Antigua, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Italy, New Zealnd and Costa Rica.  She has traveled extensively in the U.S. to Key West, the West Coast, Disneyworld and Hawaii!  She is a Sandals Certified Specialist, and has been to Sandals St. Lucia, Royal Bahamian, Royal Caribbean, Emerald Bay & Beaches,Turks & Caicos and Ocho Rios.  Gail has a son who is an Eagle Scout. Gail is a six time recipient of the MAST Outstanding Travel Agent Sales Award. She would like to add "I enjoy finding people their perfect dream vacation"! Contact e-mail:

  Dana Prichard, Travel Consultant - Dana has been in the travel industry since 1999.  Her travels have included Cancun, Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta, Aruba, Jamaica, Punta Cana, Disney World, Las Vegas, Cuba, Australia, Ireland, Dubai, Africa Safari, a French River Cruise, Thailand and Caribbean cruises.  Dana can help make all your vacation dreams come true.  Many of her clients are repeat customers and referrals who have had the time of their lives while on vacation.  Dana can customize any vacation package to the latest and greatest "hot" destination.  Dana also has a great deal of experience working with brides and their destination weddings.  Dana is a Sandals Certified Specialist, AM Resorts Master Agent, Hawaii Specialist, Disney Specialist, Australia Specialist, RIU Resorts Specialist, Destination Wedding Specialist, Avalon River Cruise Agent, Uniworld Cruise Specialist and a Melia Resorts Agent. Dana grew up in Cary and attended Cary Grove High School.  She and her husband have five grown daughters, two grandsons and five granddaughters, and resides in Woodstock.  Dana adds " I know there is a little 'exploration' in all of us and I like to help people find and 'explore' what they are dreaming about and turn it into a reality. come and 'explore' the world with Dana!" Contact e-mail:

 Ursula Mata, Travel Consultant - Ursula has worked in the travel industry for 17 years.  She was born/raised in Switzerland, and now lives in Elgin with her husband and two cats!  One of her passions and specialties is Hawaii.  She concentrates on helping clients find the best island paradise dependent on their desires. She enjoys recommending “off the beaten path” restaurants and activities to make their vacation truly memorable.  Besides Hawaii, she has traveled extensively to Mexico, and has vacationed in the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Turks & Caicos and Panama. Ursula enjoys the historical and WWII sites in Germany, France, Italy and has cruised the Rhine and Seine rivers in Europe. She recently cruised the Mediterranean from Rome to Athens. She is a Hawaii Destination Specialist, a Sandals Certified Specialist, as well as completed specialist programs by royal Caribbean, Avalon River cruises, Viking River Cruises, and has earned the designation of "Kenya Authorized Travel Specialist".  Contact e-mail: 

 Jessica Kruse, Travel Consultant - Jessica is a resident of Cary where she lives with her husband and Office Mascot Murphy. She has traveled to Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Alaska,  many of the Caribbean Islands, Dubai and Africa. Jessy's favorite destination is France and she really enjoys the river cruise experience. Her favorite tropical vacation activity is scuba diving. She is a destination wedding and honeymoon specialist and planned her own destination wedding to Punta Cana! Jessy is a Princess Commodore Agent, Disney Specialist, AM Resorts Master Agent, Norwegian Cruise Line Specialist, Avalon Waterways Specialist and a Sandals Certified Specialist. Jessy is a first time recipient of the MAST Outstanding Travel Agent Sales Award for a million dollars in sales for 2017. Jessy was recently recognized as 30Under30 by Travel Agent Central. Contact email:

Jamie Jones, Travel Consultant- Jamie has been in the travel industry for over 33 years, specializing in planning vacation travel. Her areas of expertise include Mexico and the Caribbean, Northern California, the Hawaiian islands, Big ship cruises, River Boat cruises, Honeymoons and custom European Vacations.  She loves the excitement of helping clients discover things that they never knew existed. Jamie has traveled throughout the U.S, Europe, the Caribbean and Mexico, Costa Rica, South America and most recently a life changing African Safari. Her favorite places to visit are the Hawaiian Islands, Italy, and Northern California. Jamie is a certified Master Agent for AMresorts, Disney Travel Planner, a Sandals and Beaches Specialist, a RIU Resorts Specialist,  a Viking River Cruise Specialist,  an Uniworld River Cruise specialist and a Hawaii Destination  Specialist. Jamie is a remote based agent working most days from her home in Wauconda, but is available by appointment in the Cary office. Please contact her at (847) 526-0254, or at In addition to being passionate about travel, Jamie is passionate about Animal Rescue.  She has been a volunteer for Save-A-Pet in Grayslake for 5 years, and helps run the PetSmart Adoption center in Vernon Hills.

Kay Light, Travel Consultant- Kay Light started in the travel business in 1987 and has enjoyed working in an office as well as doing outside sales.

A Cary resident, she and her family recently returned from living in Ireland for 2 years and had the opportunity to become personally familiar with the country. "My favorite destination is always home, to where my heart is, Ireland! Let me help you explore the magic of the Emerald Isle!"  While living abroad Kay visited Prague, Rome, Paris, Barcelona, London, Edinburgh, Dubrovnik and Malta, and has enjoyed cruises, Mexico, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Morocco, Kenya Safari and Hawaii. Kay can be reached at

Cheryl Krueger, Travel Consultant- Cheryl has been a travel consultant for 13 years. Cheryl enjoys personalizing travel arrangements for her clients and makes sure they have the best experience on their vacations. She specializes in travel to Costa Rica, Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska and Disney.  Cheryl also enjoys planning romantic tropical honeymoons, family group travel, customized trips to Europe, and European river cruises. Cheryl is a Sandals Certified Specialist and has been to Sandals resorts in St Lucia, Antigua, Nassau, Great Exuma Bahamas, and Beaches Turks and Caicos. She is also a AM Resorts Specialist, RIU Resorts Specialist, Hawaii Destination Specialist, Costa Rica Destination Specialist, US Virgin Islands Specialist, Aruba and Dominican Republic Specialist, Globus Family of Brands Specialist, Uniworld River Cruise Specialist, Scenic Cruise, CIE and a Disney Specialist. Cheryl has recently traveled to Alaska, Scotland, Ireland and an European river Cruise starting in Amsterdam to see the tulips! She looks forward to helping you plan your dream vacation. Contact email:

Lacy Tischer, Travel Consultant- Lacy has been passionate about travel her whole life. She has traveled to France, Italy, Germany, Holland, Spain, England, Ireland, Peru, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, China, Japan, Mexico and Alaska.  Lacy and her husband love to hike and be outdoors so most of her trips revolve around visiting as many national parks as possible. Her favorites are Glacier, Zion, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Arches, and Canyonlands in the U.S. and Banff and Jasper in Canada. She recently got back from hiking Half Dome in Yosemite and hopes to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in the near future. Lacy has recently visited Kenya, Croatia, Greece, Montenegro and Morocco. Lacy is a Royal Caribbean Master Agent, Disney Specialist, Outrigger Expert Agent, Princess Commodore Agent, AM Resorts Master Agent, Aruba Certified Expert, Viking River Cruise, Holland America Certified Agent, Aussie Specialist, Norwegian Cruise Line Master Agent, Celebrity Five Star Travel Agent, Avalon Waterways Specialist and Viking Danube River Cruise Specialist.  Contact email:

Abby Glaysher, Travel Consultant- Abby graduated from Winona State University with a degree in recreation/tourism and a minor in adventure tourism. While studying at Winona State she participated in an eight week program in New Zealand and Australia where she spent five weeks traveling all over New Zealand and three weeks in Australia. During her stay in New Zealand, Abby was busy bungee jumping, skydiving, white water rafting, swimming with dolphins, hiking, camping, kayaking, hanging out with locals and learning about Maori culture. Abby has also cruised with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and visited Haiti, Jamaica, Bahamas, St. Kitts and St. Thomas. In her childhood she spent her summer vacations in Ontario, Canada and a couple of weeks in Italy for a summer soccer camp. Next on her travel bucket list is visiting Iceland and Spain, both destinations she has dreamed about visiting since high school. Abby recently visited Punta Cana, Cancun and will be experiencing a Greek Island cruise in the fall. She is an AM Resorts Master Agent, Riu Hotel & Resorts Specialist, Hawaiian Islands Destination Specialist, Jamaica Travel Specialist, Bahamas Specialist, St. Maarten Specialist,  Disney Specialist, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line University and Princess Cruises University. Contact Abby:

Grace Heavey, Travel Consultant- Grace lives in Crystal Lake with her husband and two sons. Grace and her family love spending time outdoors and exploring our National Parks. so far they have visited Acadia, Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, Rocky Mountains and many others planned for the future. She has been Germany, Czech Republic, Canada and many cities through out the United States. She has also traveled to many beach destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean. Grace is an AM Resorts Maser Agent and recently completed a certification course on Mexico and the Caribbean through the MAST Travel Network. Contact Grace:

Liisa Gunter, Travel Consultant- Liisa recently joined Cary Travel Express and loves to travel! She enjoys planning her clients' trips and paying close attention to details.  She has been in the travel industry for over 30 years and is proud to be an AM Resorts Master Agent. Lisa has been to almost every AM Resorts property in Mexico and the Caribbean. Liisa can be reached at:

Kathy Kadlec, Marketing Manager/Travel Consultant- Kathy is Marketing Manager & Travel Advisor at Cary Travel Express. Kathy has over 30 years experience in marketing, retail sales and management.  Her passion is promoting Cary Travel Express’ brand and our expertise and knowledge in planning the perfect vacation for our clients!  Kathy loves to travel to warm, sunny destinations and has been on many past Spring Break Trips with Cary Travel Express. She has traveled to Hawaii, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, British Virgin Islands, St. Barts, Tahiti, Great Britain, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Croatia and Montenegro. Her favorite beach destination is Cancun for its ease in getting to and Bora Bora for its exoticness!  She is a Velas Resorts Expert, Club Med Expert Agent, Aruba Certified Expert and an AMResorts Master Agent. Kathy is married to John Kadlec and they live in Cary.  Contact e-mail:

 Maureen Brommel ,Travel Consultant/Bookkeeper -Maureen has worked in the travel industry on and off for over thirty years and is currently the bookkeeper at Cary Travel Express. She has traveled to Mexico, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, England and Ireland. Her favorite city is London and Ireland her favorite country because her parents were born and raised there and she has many relatives still living in Ireland so it feels like home! Contact e-mail:

 Jan Calahan, Travel Professional -  Jan is a Travel Professional and Assistant at Cary Travel Express. She lives in Crystal Lake with her husband and has two daughters. Jan enjoys traveling to Las Vegas, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Hawaii, Disney and cruising. Jan recently cruised on a seven day Mediterranean Cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line and visited Barcelona, Rome, Pompeii, Florence, Cannes, Monaco and Monte Carlo. She also visited Washington DC during Cherry Blossom Week which she thoroughly enjoyed and Napa Valley for wine tasting. Jan recently completed training at Walt Disney World and is a Disney Travel Planner! She is an AMResorts Master Agent and an Uniworld River Cruise specialist. Jan also experienced a river cruise through the Bordeaux region of France on Uniworld and enjoyed sightseeing in Paris!  Contact e-mail: