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TGA Honors the People Behind the Products at 2014 International Travel Goods Show

The 2014 TGA Awards Ceremony, a highlight of The International Travel Goods Show held March 11-13, 2014, provided excitement and accolades for the most influential people and philanthropic companies in travel goods.

The TGA Award is the travel goods industry’s most prestigious honor, recognizing outstanding contributions to the industry, the Travel Goods Association and the community at large.

Michele Marini Pittenger, president of the Travel Goods Association, was recognized for more than 25 years of service to the Association. In 1988 Pittenger joined what was then known as the Luggage & Leather Goods Manufacturers of America as editor-in-chief of Showcase, the Association's magazine. She was promoted to vice president in 1998 and became TGA's president in 2003. During her tenure she has expanded TGA's reach and influence to become a truly global organization that hosts The International Travel Goods Show, the world's largest trade show devoted to travel products; represented industry interests in Washington DC; and led TGA to the strongest financial position in its more than 75-year history.

Watch this video to learn more about Michele Marini Pittenger and the TGA Award.

The 2014 Community Service Award was presented to it luggage USA for its support of the Indiana Children’s Wish Fund (ICWF), a single-entity statewide charity that grants wishes to Indiana children diagnosed with a life-threatening or terminal illness.

At the 3rd annual Indiana Children’s Wish Fund Airplane Pull, “Pulling for Wishes,” it luggage staff literally used its physical muscle to tow a Boeing 727 airliner — approximately 100,000 pounds — to help raise $201,813, more than double the amount raised the first two years of the event. Over 40 Indiana children with terminal or life-threatening illnesses will have their wishes granted because of this fundraiser.

Additionally, it luggage has donated 860 pieces of luggage to ICWF for ill Indiana children and their siblings to take once-in-a-lifetime trips. Since 2011, it luggage, in partnership with its vendors, has donated nearly $150,000 to further the mission of ICWF.

Learn more about it luggage’s good works and the Community Service Award through this video.

Two Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented at this year’s TGA Awards Ceremony, recognizing two individuals for decades of service and lasting impact on the travel goods industry.

Richard Gibbs, founder of Ricardo Beverly Hills, was recognized for his lifetime spent working in the travel goods industry, beginning at the age of 18 as a sales rep before enlisting in the U.S. Marines in WWII. After his wartime service, Gibbs grew his regional sales operation into a large national agency before founding Ricardo Beverly Hills in 1978. He is still a very active member of the company’s board of directors.

Jean Mori, founder of Mori Luggage & Gifts, was also recognized for his lifetime of service to the industry. Mori opened his first store in 1971 in Atlanta, Georgia. Today there are 28 family-owned Mori Luggage & Gift stores operating in six states. In addition to serving as the company CEO, Mori is a former TGA board member, and has also been president of the National Luggage Dealers Association, chair of the Atlanta Kiwanis Club and executive vice president of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

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