First in Service News

Agent Spotlight: Rich Pampinella, Master of a Good Time



With a ready smile and relaxed vibe, Rich Pampinella always wants to make his clients feel at ease, and more importantly, have a great time.

After all, his career has been built on making people happy. Early on, the professional DJ fell into the travel business by accident, filling in at an agency during the day while spinning tunes at night in the 1970s. The Brooklyn native says, “I worked at a mom and pop agency learning everything from soup to nuts. I’d handwrite tickets, do accounts payable, file brochures,  and eventually developed the art of selling travel.”

The love of music has never left him. In fact, it’s even stronger today and fuses his travels with music.  Every year since 1990, Rich travels to Trinidad for Carnival, the festive season before Lent. “The first time I experienced Carnival in Trinidad, I was absolutely blown away– the music, the freedom, the joy that people felt in expressing themselves,” he remembers. It instilled his appreciation of island life, a relaxed, care free approach to living. He now participates in various Carnivals about once a month.

Rich was also a pioneer in the travel world working for Kennedy Travel, one of the nation’s first travel agencies specializing in the needs of gay and lesbian travelers in 1988, and later buying it in 2004. Kennedy now exists as a First in Service affiliate.

Whether he’s helping a client with leisure, corporate, or group travel, Rich still feels “warm and fuzzy” when his clients rave about the trip he planned for them. Our rhythm-loving agent is excited about next visiting Cuba and South Africa – both countries celebrated for their musical heritage.


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