Peter Sontag has long been recognized as a dynamic travel industry leader among his peers and associates. For example, he has been selected four times by the prestigious Business Travel News publication, as one of the industry’s “25 Most Influential Executives, ” an annual award.
In 1978 he founded and built Gelco Travel Services of Minneapolis into a national network of 48 corporate travel agencies, from zero to over $200 million in sales, in five years.
He then established Sontag Annis & Associates as the leading travel consulting firm in the United States. His clients included over 50 Fortune 500 companies, 300 travel agencies and most major air lines and hotel chains. The business of Sontag, Annis & Associates was acquired by Citicorp in 1987.
Mr. Sontag established USTravel Systems Inc. in December 1986. In the five years since, the company has grown to the 3rd largest travel distribution company in the U.S. with over $2.6 billion in sales from 467 corporate owned agency locations and 247 franchise locations.
Mr. Sontag an Austrian native, at age 22 emigrated to the U.S. in 1965. He made his home with friends in Steubenville, OH. While working a full-time afternoon shift for four years in the mill at Weirton Steel, he worked his way through college and earned a B.S. (magna cum laude) in marketing and economics from West Liberty State College. He then did graduate studies at Columbia University, earning an M.B.A. in finance and international business. In 1991, West Liberty awarded Mr. Sontag with a Doctorate of Laws h.c. degree in recognition of his business achievements.
Mr. Sontag has a fondness for and interest in the Ohio and West Virginia areas that have played an important part in his life. He has established a second home in Steubenville and visits frequently, keeping that interest alive.