Fire Starter Brands LLC
innovative tourism marketing
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Our Team

With more than 40 years combined experience, Fire Starter Brands' team includes some of the travel industry's most knowledgeable and proven professionals.

 
Stephen Ekstrom

Stephen Ekstrom

Stephen Ekstrom, Founder

Stephen is one of the tourism industry's most influential leaders. He's served two terms on the Student Youth Travel Association’s (SYTA) Board of Directors, a committee member for the American Bus Association (ABA), and a long-standing participant in travel industry associations worldwide. 

Stephen's insight and understanding of industry trends, resources and buyer tendencies have produced creative marketing strategies for nationally recognized brands, local, regional and state destination marketing organizations. He’s been profiled by the New York Times, appeared on local and national television, a guest on popular talk radio programs, contributing author to and featured by numerous travel industry publications.

Stephen’s efforts have worked to increase visitation, brand recognition and profitability across all media.  He’s been called upon as a guest lecturer at Columbia University, workshop presenter, panelist and speaker for industry conferences and accreditation programs.

He's visited the Great Wall of China, taken an ATV expedition to the peak of Whistler Mountain, jumped out of a plane at 15,000 feet, ridden a 1,000 foot zip-line over old-growth rainforests and kayaked secluded beaches. He's also a collector of original contemporary art and has a few tattoos.


Aileen Echeandia

Aileen Echeandia

Aileen Echeandia

Perhaps the most experienced traveler on the Fire Starter Brands team, Aileen doesn’t miss a darned thing when she’s on the road.

An expert merchandiser, she knows how to communicate product offerings in a way that appeals to the buyer. On tour, she’s even been able to talk an entire group of cautious travelers onto camel backs to gain a unique perspective of the Giza Plateau.

Having visited more than 15 countries and 32 states, she makes a point to do it all! Some of her favorite experiences include visiting Tut’s tomb, the light show at Luxor, climbing ancient pyramids and pushing limits on the worlds’ longest zipline. She’s also visited two-thirds of the MLB ballparks with the rest on her personal bucket list.


Justin Buchanon

Justin Buchanon

Justin Buchanon

Justin is the newest member of the Fire Starter Brands team and the kind of person who puts his heart into his efforts.

Having led the extensive customer service and training programs for one of the nation's largest chains of caffeinated deliciousness, he's brings his understanding of customer needs to the table, helping craft the right mix of ingredients to satisfy even the most fickle marketing plan. He's currently working with industry suppliers and DMO's to develop marketing and outreach solutions that cultivate brand awareness, deliver calls to act, strengthen relationships and engage partners in ways that maximize the reach of each marketing dollar. 

Keep an eye out for Justin at upcoming industry trade shows and give him a call to test his knowledge of the products, services and solutions offered by Fire Starter Brands.


Match

Match

Match

More than just a company mascot, Match is also responsible for reminding members of our team to take time to rest well, to find joy in life's most mundane tasks, to approach each project with an eagerness and happiness that compares to his pursuit of tennis balls, squeaky toys and backyard lizards. 

Match was rescued in 2011 from New York City's Animal Care & Control shelter. He has logged more airline miles than most people, traveling frequently with Fire Starter Brands founder, Stephen Ekstrom. 

He's fiercely loyal and an avid runner who enjoys fresh carrots, apples & chicken treats.

Click here to find pets available for adoption in your area.


Dedicated Support Staff

Fire Starter Brands’ extended support team works tirelessly to qualify, validate and maintain our industry-leading database. Together, this group of professionals focus on managing our production queue, graphic design and mail house operations to ensure that each of our programs functions seamlessly.

Support services performed by our team include programming, reporting, lead management, distribution and fulfillment. Onsite interaction with leading referral providers, front desk staff and hotel concierges are executed by those who have once held these roles.