The Aquila difference begins with our team of spirited, devoted professionals who truly love what they do. Each member of the Aquila team has the experience, dedication and enthusiasm to bring quality, value and fun to your Aquila experience.
- Beth Kelly Hatt
- Melanie Colpitts
- Danielle Timmons
- Jennifer Hay
- Samantha MacVey
- Lori Patterson
- Trina Forrest
- Kelsey Forbes
- Melissa Villarreal-Martinez
Beth Kelly Hatt, FounderBeth@aquilatours.com
Aquila’s founder, Beth is a passionate Acadian who has affectionately been nicknamed by the Aquila team as “Our Fearless Leader.” Mentoring and leading her team to become leaders themselves has been her life’s purpose.
Today Beth is deeply involved in coaching and mentoring partners Danielle and Melanie into their managing roles – and her succession – so she can spend time with passions such as new Aquila projects, as well as going kayaking with her husband Russ and playing with all their grandchildren. As Director of Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, she spends much of her time in the Caribbean and Central America coaching other Tour Operators and Tour Guides into the Best Practices of the cruise industry.
A visionary not just for her business, but for her industry and her community, Beth is also a leader in the tourism industry. She has been recognized with numerous awards and accolades, including being named one of 25 People to Watch in Atlantic Canada, and one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada. Aquila celebrated 35 years in business a few years ago.
Beth’s Favourite Thing about Working at Aquila: "Always... does not change... the energy of the team and how much fun we have together. It keeps me going and is so rewarding!"
Beth’s Most Memorable Moment while Working at Aquila (so far!): "Being able to see something that started from a seed grow to what Aquila is today, being recognized worldwide, but more importantly, to see people grow and change with us over the years, and now to see the success of the mentoring and succession planning giving Aquila a whole new life!"
Melanie Colpitts, PartnerMelanie@aquilatours.com
A member of the Aquila Team since 1992, Melanie has come a long way from her early days at Aquila as a student tour guide, complete with Loyalist dress! Melanie is now a managing partner with the company, playing an active role in Aquila’s strategic planning. She also spearheads our Center for Cruise Excellence, coaching and mentoring tour operators and destinations on providing service excellence to cruise lines. There is no mistaking her passion for Aquila and for the cruise industry, and we are thrilled to have Melanie as part of Aquila’s leadership team.
Mel’s Favourite Thing About Working at Aquila: “The fabulous girls I work with. They make me laugh, they hold me up, they help me see things in new ways, and they teach me so much – including things I never thought I’d need to know!”
Mel’s Most Memorable Moment while Working at Aquila (so far!): “There are so many! But I’d say one has to be the marriage proposal from the very wealthy Australian Sheep Farmer on one of my tours. Tempting offer!”
Danielle Timmons, PartnerDanielle@aquilatours.com
With her range of experiences and talents, including working with Aquila for over 25 years, Aquila is very fortunate that Danielle decided to return home to Saint John in 2004 with her husband Lance to start a family - both an Aquila family and her own family, Ben and Emma! Since returning she has become a partner in the business. We kindly refer to Danielle as our Jill-of-All-Trades as she runs the day-to-day operations of the shore excursion side of the business, manages cruise ships, books all the motorcoaches, and hears us calling her name whenever our computers stop cooperating with us. We'd be lost without her!
Dan's Favourite Thing About Working at Aquila: "My first favourite thing is definitely the team I get to work with. They're all spectacular women! Secondly, it would have to be that I get to try different things all the time, so this job is never boring!"
Dan's Most Memorable Moment while Working at Aquila (so far!): "Well, there are so many to choose from! In 1994, I was an Aquila Tour Director for a 3-week train trip from 'Coast to Coast' with 30 passengers. The whole trip was memorable, as we spent night after night on the train, cruising through the US and Canada. I especially loved going through the Rocky Mountains, as it was the first time I had seen them up close. And a couple of the passengers kept trying to set me up with the porters onboard the train!"
An Aquila Team member since 1993, Jennifer has a passion for learning and has always enjoyed the challenges and new opportunities that working for Aquila offers. Jennifer works hard at managing our cruise day logistics and has taken on a new role as an evaluator and student manager for all tour guides enrolled in Aquila’s International Tour Guide Excellence certification program.
Jen’s Favourite Thing About Working at Aquila: “After over 25 years, I have a lot of “favourites” to be thankful for, but it’s definitely the wonderful team of women who are my Aquila Sisters that make this job pretty special. Not to mention the fact that each day brings something new; this is definitely not a boring place to be!”
Jen’s Most Memorable Moment while Working at Aquila (so far!): “It’s a tie. It’s either ‘the Great Kidnapping of ‘01’ when we took Beth on a little birthday escapade, or our fabulous Caribbean Cruise! There are an awful lot to choose from!”
Sam joined the Aquila team in 2016 and is the HR Manager for our fantastic team of tour guides - recruiting new guides, helping with training, and scheduling some of the busy cruise days. She is also one of Aquila's four Cruise Managers organizing exciting adventures for our cruise guests visiting Saint John. Being a lifelong New Brunswicker, she has a passion for Saint John & the Bay of Fundy and loves welcoming people to our beautiful part of the world. Backed by her experience and knowledge of the tourism and customer service industries, Sam loves to motivate and support the team around her.
Sam's Favourite Thing About Working at Aquila: "My favourite part of working for Aquila is the incredible team! Everyone is so supportive and I’m always excited to learn from everyone. It’s such a fun group of amazing women!"
Sam's Most Memorable Moment while Working at Aquila (so far!): "There have been so many! I would have to say all of the new experiences I have had while working at Aquila. Going on my first cruise was amazing!"
Lori joined the Aquila team in January 2016. After gaining many years of her experience in law offices, Lori says she has finally found her dream job with Aquila!! She enjoys the Aquila family while being responsible for the Accounting and Payroll departments and takes pride in keeping things balanced!!! Lori can occasionally be seen pier side – holding signs or whatever she can do to pitch in on the busy cruise ship days!!! Lori loves spending time with her family and says that her all-time favorite title is “Grandma”!!!
Lori’s Favorite Thing About Working at Aquila: “Hands down it’s the wonderful people I get to share my work day with!! I have never experienced such genuinely loving, supportive and caring people in a workplace as I have here at Aquila. There is a true sense of family and friendship, and I really enjoy all the fun and camaraderie that comes along with that!”
Lori’s Most Memorable Moment while Working at Aquila: “Many things about working here at Aquila have been memorable and I can’t decide if it was the awesome week we shared at the Cruise Symposium in New York City or the fantastic Summer Fun Day driving with the top down in Beth’s red convertible and just enjoying the day – both top my list!!”
Trina joined the Aquila team in 2017 and is eager to learn the ropes from Danielle and Sam in her role as Cruise Manager. With a background in Customer Service Management, she is eager to share her knowledge and work with the team to ensure that all of our cruise guests have amazing experiences while on tour here in Saint John.
Trina’s Favorite thing about Aquila
“In such a short time these ladies have eagerly opened their arms and accepted me as one of their own in a very tight knit team, allowing me to learn and develop independently and at my own pace all the while showing incredible support and encouragement”
Most Memorable Experience
“My time has been short but my first Aquila Retreat allowed me the opportunity to get to know my new colleagues/friends on a personal and a professional level, this helped me feel so much more at ease joining the team”
Kelsey was born & raised in New Brunswick. Her core identity is a true east coast, maritime, Canadian. Her extreme wanderlust landed her a position in the Travel and Tourism Industry. Gaining close to 10 years’ experience travelling, working & living all over the Caribbean & Central America. Coordinating unique & memorable travel experiences for thousands of travelers from all over the U.S.A & Canada. Kelsey first started working with Aquila as part of the Pierside team and Transport team in 2018. She is now the newest addition to our Cruise Manager team and our Office Manager.
Kelsey’s Favourite thing about Aquila:
"So many things! The Aquila Family. Meeting and talking with people from all over the globe. Working towards showing off my hometown to tourists that visit our wonderful city!"
Most Memorable Experience:
"The very first time I got to go on a cruise ship, the captain of the ship found out I have never been on one before and he went above and beyond for me. It was fantastic! He even gave me a big chocolate model of his cruise ship which is now on display at my house and I refuse to ever eat it!"
Melissa joined the Cruise Excellence team as our Project Coordinator in March of 2020. Melissa is originally from Mexico, her husband is Russian and her two children are from the U.S. She loves to travel, learn, and meet new people. She loves places and cultures – having lived in Mexico, the United States, Germany, Calgary and now Saint John! She loves building relationships with the people she meets and cherishes new experiences. Her favourite quote about visiting new places is “there is no bad weather... only bad clothes!” She recently graduated from the Supply Chain and Logistics program obtaining the CIFFA certificate, and she has been a great addition to our team!
Melissa's Favourite Thing About Working at Aquila: “I am constantly learning and evolving. There is not a day that I have not learned a new thing... When they set something in mind, the team will achieve it! Everyone is so active and engaged, but they will find the time to help others improve as well. Everyone is so unique in their own way, with different skills that make the team stronger.”
Melissa's Most Memorable Moment while Working at Aquila (so far!): “The most memorable moment so far was my first interview: it was at a coffee shop and Beth told me that we will meet at a place that we could eat something because she knew it was my lunch break, and she did not want me to skip it... that meant a lot to me. She arrived with Danielle and Melanie - a great example of an Aquilamazing team!”
The Best of Saint John hosted by guide Marilyn was excellent. After several tours with good guides, she stands ahead of them all. Knowledgeable, prepared with photos, books, lobster gadgets, and more, she improved the tour experience. Very good with people and a bonus for the city of Saint John. Highly recommend this tour. It included the right mix and all the important things that a western Canadian wanted to see.
Aquila is one of the best tour operators that we work with anywhere in the world, and they are excellent models to which other tour operators can aspire.
Amilcar Cascais, Vice President of Tour Operations
Carnival Cruise Lines
Barb was informative, interactive and made sure we all had a great time. She was one of the top 2 tours we took. Kudos to her being on your team.
Heather was so informative on all aspects of the Bay of Fundy and as a yachtsman I was so absorbed with her most detailed explanation of the high tidal rise and fall of the water. The journey out to St. Martins was a delight and Mario was so helpful in taking a photograph of my wife and I together with my camera, I as the photographer are usually out of the shot! I cannot recommend Heather and Mario highly enough, they both were a joy to be with all day long, thank you, thank you. I look forward to being with you again in the future.