Brownell History



1887 – Walter A. Brownell founds Brownell Tours and takes first 10 guests on archeological tour of Switzerland

1900 – Dr. George Brownell and his wife Jennie take over operations

1931 – George G. Brownell, Jr. takes over operations with his mother Jennie

1937 – Brownell takes 53 groups and 938 clients to Europe

1946 – Brownell incorporates under the Brownell name and opens an office in Birmingham

1948 – Brownell clears the $1,000,000+ revenue mark


1954 – George G. Brownell leads the ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) Committee that forms the ICTA (Institute of Certified Travel Agents), an educational institution designed to promote professionalism and ethical standards in the travel industry

1958 – New company record, 4,020 Brownell clients travelled to Europe, Latin America, Hawaii and Alaska

1989 – A new group of investors bought the company

1990 – Sterling Travel opens its doors in Atlanta, GA with owners Betty Fuller and Margaret Shirley

1993 – Troy Haas joins as president and shareholder

1995 – Brownell Travel merges with Destinations Travel. Meg McGriff North becomes partner and Executive Vice President of Leisure Travel

1999 – Betty Fuller and Margaret Shirley sell Sterling to Martha Gaughen and Betty Case

2000 – Recognized in Conde Nast Traveler as one of three leading leisure agencies in country, and consultants among the 100 best in the nation

2001 – Established Brownell operations in Mobile, led by industry veteran, Bowden Sarrett



2003 – Implemented ClientBase Plus, a leading customer relationship management tool, enabling consultants to capture client preferences and travel histories to better know and service them

Sterling Travel merges with Personal Travel Consultants and Rebecca Willson stays onboard to lead and grow the IC hosting program

2004 – Brownell merges with Sterling Travel in Atlanta to create the leading luxury travel powerhouse in the Southeast. Martha Gaughen joins as partner and Vice-President of Leisure Travel

2006 – Brownell recognized as one of the top 5 producers of luxury travel in the nation by Virtuoso. Sterling Brownell Mentoring Program launches. First in the nation of its kind.

2012 – Brownell undergoes re-branding in celebration of 125th anniversary and launches Discover More – a new practice for communicating with clients and planning dream vacations.