Published December 3, 2014
Chris grew up in Bakersfield, CA. His grandfather was an airport director and took him on his first flight when he was about 4 years old. Chris instantly fell in love. After taking a job out of college at the local Oakland airport, he was recruited by current Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano to work at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. When Lopano came to TIA, Chris followed suit. In the past three-plus years, he’s helped Tampa get nonstop flights to destinations such as Cuba, Panama, Zurich, Seattle and England.
Chris is the Campaign Chair at United Way Suncoast. Since joining the organization, he has helped increase their donations from $17,000 to $70,000, a record for any United Way branch.
When I’m not in the office:
He’s traveling the world—for work, of course.
I’ve traveled more than I ever dreamed that I would. But of all the places that I love, I think Zurich is such a jewel of a place.
Where do you take out-of-town guests to show off Tampa:
We go to Fly Bar first. It centers me because we have a location in San Francisco. Boca is my favorite restaurant. I love the farm to table thing, and the ambiance created is like Napa/Sonoma. I love going to Busch Gardens. There’s more there than people expect. And I love taking people to Mise en Place and Columbia for local flavor.
Best meal in town:
Anything I have at Mise en Place
Best thing I can cook:
Ray Bishop, a retired Air Force colonel that he helped me believe that I could do more than I what I thought I could.
The Music Man
Leonard Cohen, I’m Your Man
Last book I read:
No Place to Hide Glenn Greenwald
Guilty mall pleasure:
William Dean chocolates
How we spend the holidays:
We fly family out to California to see the family. My wife and I are from the same town.
If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive:
Tony Jannus, the first person to fly a commercial flight. More than 100 years later, we owe our livelihood to him. He’d be a fascinating conversation. I’d love talk about the impact of what he did 100 years ago in Tampa and about what that was going to mean for the world.