Sho Dozono has been in the travel industry for over 30 years and since 1987 has served as president and chief executive officer of Azumano Travel in Portland, Oregon. His agency is currently ranked by DiversityBusiness.com, the nation's leading multicultural internet site, as #1 in the State of Oregon among diversity-owned businesses, #39 in the nation among diversity-owned businesses, and #12 in the nation among Asian-owned businesses. Dozono has grown the agency from a small company with only a handful of employees into a multi-branch, multi-faceted enterprise whose combined staff now numbers 180 and whose revenues exceed $210 million in annual sales.
Dozono is also president of Premier Gateway, Inc., a subsidiary company that wholesales international airline tickets to retail travel agencies throughout the country. In business since 1987, Premier Gateway has repeatedly been ranked in the Index to Air Travel Consolidators as one of the nation’s outstanding consolidators and for three consecutive years was named AAA Travel Air Partner of the Year.
A strong advocate of diversity and equal opportunity, Dozono is a respected business and civic leader throughout the state, devoting much of his time in service to the community. Since 2008, he has served as co-chair of the Oregon League of Minority Voters and is a newly appointed board member of the US-Japan Council. Dozono is a past commissioner of the Port of Portland (1989-93) and was also chair emeritus of the Portland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce (2002) and the first minority to chair the Chamber in its 110-year history. He is a past president (1991-92) of the Portland Oregon Visitors Association (POVA) as well as past chair of the Japan America Society of Oregon (1993-95). In his capacity as board member of the Portland Schools Foundation, Dozono spearheaded the mobilization of 30,000 citizens in 1996 to participate in the March for our Schools, which succeeded in raising more than $11 million to save local teaching positions.
Dozono is committed to championing Oregon as both a travel and tourism destination and a fertile ground for business and investment opportunities. Promoting Oregon to Pacific Rim nations has been an important focus for Dozono, and his efforts yielded the production of a television series entitled “From Oregon with Love,” produced in conjunction with the Fuji Television Network of Japan. The series introduced the state to a large Japanese audience and has generated considerable Japanese interest in travel and tourism to Oregon.
In October of 2001, Dozono inspired millions of Americans by organizing 1,000 citizens, led by Portland Mayor Vera Katz, to take part in the “Flight For Freedom” to New York City as a show of support for the victims of September 11. The mission was undertaken in an effort to bolster the morale of New Yorkers and to show them—not by mere words but with actions—that Americans from as far as a whole continent away stood with them and, literally, beside them. These impassioned souls flew cross country, many in the face of fear, to personally connect with New Yorkers, to help jumpstart the local economy and get America moving again. A wounded New York opened its arms to the Freedom Fliers who included ordinary citizens as well as prominent business and government leaders from around the state. The week-long action-packed trip was a feat of incredible organization and passion, inspired by Dozono who proudly led the Oregon contingent as they marched in the Columbus Day Parade, carrying a vibrant Oregon ª New York banner.
Flight For Freedom garnered worldwide attention and publicity, and for their efforts Dozono and the Freedom Fliers were officially recognized by President Bush, Transportation Secretary Mineta, Governors Pataki and Kitzhaber, Mayors Katz and Giuliani, and many others. Flight For Freedom served as a springboard for future events of this kind in other cities and states and even inspired a whole nation, Canada, to launch a similar campaign a month later that brought tens of thousands more to New York City. The project also earned Dozono the prestigious American Express “Great Performers” award, the Governor’s Freedom Award, the Spirit of Portland Award, and the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Excellence Award in Community Service.
Not too long before that fateful September day, Dozono stirred the pot when he learned that the City of Portland had opted not to allocate the $20,000 for police escorts and other necessary services in order to have the Olympic Torch pass through Portland. “Nonsense!,’” said Dozono, who began a fund-raising expedition. The next thing anyone knew, a Portland stop was slotted for the Olympic Torch Relay and Dozono was selected to represent the Columbia River Region as a torchbearer. He couldn’t have known it at the time but the relay, whose theme was Light The Fire Within, was to hold special significance for all Americans this year.
As co-chair of the International Air Service Committee, Dozono helped lead an aggressive marketing campaign that included advance commitments and pledges from local businesses in the form of a “travel bank” to secure non-stop service between Portland and Frankfurt, Germany. The decision by Lufthansa German Airlines to begin daily service from Portland in March of 2003 was a tremendous boon to the business community in particular and presented a huge opportunity for both Oregon and Washington to establish closer ties with Germany and the rest of Europe. Dozono was also instrumental in Mexicana’s decision to begin non-stop service to Guadalajara in May 2003 and Northwest Airlines’ decision to commence non-stop service to Tokyo on June 10, 2004.
At the general session of ASTA’s 72nd World Travel Congress in Hawaii on November 4, 2002, Dozono received the American Society of Travel Agents’ (ASTA) 2002 Travel Agent of the Year Award. The annual award recognizes an active travel agent member who has made a great contribution to the travel industry and whose outstanding influence and professional activity have advanced the status of travel agents.
“Sho’s commitment and devotion to the travel industry and ASTA is evident in everything he does,” said Richard Copland, CTC, ASTA president and CEO. “I am extremely honored to present him with this award.”
The ASTA award followed a string of similar awards Dozono received in 2002 including the:
Tom McCall Leadership Award presented on November 1 at the Ninth Annual SOLV Citizenship Awards Banquet “for his years of service to numerous Oregon community and business groups and for his leadership in promoting Oregon’s economy and sense of civic pride to national and international audiences.”
2002 Oregon Association of Broadcasters Tom McCall Award, presented September 28 for “distinguished service to our state and/or to our nation.”
U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce (USPAACC) Excellence Award in Community Service, presented May 7 to Dozono and seven other Asian Americans around the nation in recognition of “significant contributions to their professions and service to their communities and for improving the quality of American life.” Another Northwesterner, Olympic Short Track Gold Medalist Apolo Anton Ohno of Seattle, was also among those receiving the organization’s highest honor this year. Previous honorees have included U.S. Secretary of Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, 1983 Physics Nobel Prize winner Dr. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, architect I.M. Pei, cellist Yo Yo Ma, golf champion Tiger Woods, Olympic Gold Medalist in Figure Skating Kristi Yamaguchi, Hotmail.com co-founder Sabeer Bhatia, WWII 442 veteran Rudy Tokiwa, and internationally renowned martial artist Jackie Chan.
In April of 2003, Governor Ted Kulongoski presented Dozono with the 2002 Governor’s Tourism Award for his “years of dedication to promoting Oregon as an international travel destination.”
In January of 2004 at a special tribute dinner at the Oregon Convention Center, the Volunteers of America Oregon honored Dozono as the 2004 recipient of the DePreist Award for Excellence, created to recognize individuals who “exceed expectations and whose leadership has helped to build our community, leaving a legacy for our city.” Dozono’s selection was based on his significant contributions as both a business and civic leader. Senator Mark O. Hatfield and James and Ginette DePreist served as honorary co-chairs of the event, supported by Judith Johansen, CEO of PacifiCorp, and Mark Dodson, President and CEO of NW Natural, who were the official co-chairs.
Dozono continues his work on behalf of the community, both locally and globally. In May of 2004 he was invited to join a group of entrepreneurs and philanthropists, led by Mercy Corps co-founder Ellsworth Culver, on a journey into North Korea. The trip was part of the Portland-based humanitarian organization’s effort to increase world food aid by fostering communication and understanding between governments.
In the aftermath of the catastrophic tsunami that struck South Asia on Dec. 26, 2004, Dozono launched a national, industry-wide “Flight Of Friendship” to Thailand. The project was a people-to-people effort designed to help jumpstart the return of tourists to the tsunami-affected areas by exposing travel industry professionals and other key individuals to an unembellished view of the situation and giving them a proper perspective. Flight Of Friendship received the endorsement and support of prominent officials and organizations, including Thai Ambassador Kasir Piromya, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith, American Express, American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), Hilton International, Northwest Airlines, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Portland Oregon Visitors Association (POVA), State of Oregon, and Travel Industry Association of America (TIA), among others.
Dozono finished the year as recipient of the Oregon Consular Corps Ambassador Extraordinaire Award "for outstanding service and leadership in the international community.”
In April of 2005, Dozono was honored by Basic Rights Oregon for his leadership in ending workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
In November, he was presented the 2005 Angel Award by the Cascade AIDS Project “in recognition for exceptional volunteer service.”
In December, Dozono was named 2005 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser by the Oregon Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in recognition of "outstanding and creative leadership in the field of philanthropy and community service which has significantly enhanced the well being of the institutions and the citizens of the state of Oregon and Southwestern Washington."
In February of 2006, the Torchbearer Award was presented to Dozono by the Equity Foundation in recognition of his “profound commitment to building a strong and diverse Oregon.”
In 2007, Dozono received the World Travel Market’s Global Award for his “remarkable contribution to the travel industry within the US Region” (nominated by Travel Weekly Editor-in-Chief Arnie Weissmann). That same year he also received the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Award in recognition of “countless contributions to friendly and harmonious relations between Japan and the United States.”
In 2008, he received the Drum Major Award for “Living the Dream” in the spirit of “Drum Major Martin Luther King, Jr.
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