Fifty years ago, the civil rights movement and Vietnam War were at their peak, the U.S. launched the first manned Mercury rocket, and John F. Kennedy was assassinated. That’s the year that Rudy Berg launched his company, which started out as a leisure travel agency. “There were many insurance firms based in the area, and he figured the executives would use his company to book their personal travel,” says Mary Bussone, senior vice president–event management. The insurance industry was one of the first adopters of incentive travel, and soon the company was managing and operating incentive trips.

Fifty years later, ITAGroup, which has been employee-owned since 1987, has just moved into a shiny new headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, gone through a rebranding, and just held a celebration for its 500 team members and their families. The new office is very open, with lots of glass and light, a design that Bussone says mirrors the company’s culture. “All of the senior leaders sit in the middle of the building. We turned everything inside out.”

Bussone will celebrate 35 years with ITAGroup in 2014. “I have such love and commitment for the people I work with,” she says. And the fact that everyone is a co-owner, she continues, has created “a culture of empowerment and accountability, and a strong work ethic. ” She believes that ITAGroup’s success also comes from its customer and client relationships. “We’ve enjoyed an amazing 50 years of expansion and growth by insuring that we really listen to them and offer solutions.”

“Driven by loyalty” remains the mission. “Our clients want loyal team members, loyal customers, loyal salespeople. We design programs that support that.”

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