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John M. Noel is the founder of Travel Guard and has built the company’s reputation upon unparalleled customer service and a values-based approach to doing business. As a result, John Noel was awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneurs of the Year, the University of Wisconsin Regent Partnership Award, and the State of Wisconsin's Exemplary Employer Award. He also was named recipient of the World Tourism Award in recognition of "Travel Guard's values-based approach to business and its philanthropic mission to give back to both the global and local communities it serves.”
John and his wife Patty established the Make A Mark Foundation in 1993 - a non-profit, humanitarian program focused on making a positive difference, both locally and globally. Through a network of partners donating their time, abilities, and finances, Make A Mark has built clinics, schools, and orphanages in developing countries throughout the world. Make A Mark is currently focusing on addressing the looming orphan crisis as a result of the devastating AIDS pandemic.
In 1996, John & Patty created the Noel Compass Scholarship Program, a privately funded initiative specifically targeted at low-income, high-achieving students of color from Wisconsin's urban communities.
In recognition of their many philanthropic endeavors, the Noels were presented with the Franklin Covey Humanitarian Service Award, given to "outstanding individuals who reach out to improve the quality of life for individuals, groups, or humankind." Noel is a graduate and facilitator of the Covey Leadership Center, based on Dr. Steven Covey's "7 Habits of Highly Effective People." A subsequent book by Dr. Covey entitled "Living the 7 Habits" includes a chapter written by Noel, where he shares the positive impact that the program has had on his personal and professional life. Noel earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and was recognized as the University's "Alumni of the Year" in 1999.