About Thomas Jewsbury: Upon achieving his pilot license and graduating from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Thomas Jewbury began his career at the Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, Wis before embarking on a 28-year tenure with the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE). He now serves as the Executive Director of one of America’s fastest-growing commercial service airports, which offers nonstop service to 65 destinations and serves 2.4 million passengers annually.
I was born and raised in Brockport, NY.
My parents are both loving Christians. They raised my brother and I, worked at and retired from Kodak, and then moved from Rochester, N.Y. to Clearwater Beach in 1998. They have been married for 55 years and counting. They sacrificed a lot to send me to college and have acted as lifelong inspirations for me.
A formative childhood experience was my first flight in an airplane. My father’s good friend invited us for a flight in his single-engine Cessna airplane. It shaped the career I have today.
In my youth, I worked at Walt Disney World on the Jungle Cruise and also as a production assistant for MTV.
One of the greatest adversities I have had to overcome is originally wanting to be a Naval fighter pilot. My poor eyesight shaped my way toward a very different career path within the aviation industry. In 1994, I left the Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, WI to accept the position of Airport Operations Supervisor at the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE). I’ve acted as Airport Director since 2015.
Here in Tampa Bay, there is just so much to love. Whether it is sporting events, live performances, restaurants or visiting the numerous beautiful parks, there’s always something going on throughout the year. When visitors are here, without hesitation, I’ll take them to Frenchy’s for a grouper sandwich, visit the Dali, enjoy a fine local cigar, and then make our way to Fort De Soto Park.
Fortunately, for me, there is no typical day. Every day presents new challenges and experiences that make my career exciting and rewarding. Whether it’s developing our capital improvement program, financial planning or interacting with federal and state agencies to obtain grant funding opportunities, I enjoy it all.
The keys to my success are determination, respect for others, and continuing to learn from colleagues in the aviation industry. My fellow airport directors and colleagues have provided me with invaluable guidance and insight over the years.
My proudest accomplishment in my career is achieving the position as Executive Director at PIE and growing the airport to what it has become today, serving 2.4 million passengers annually and getting ready to embark on its largest terminal expansion in its history. The incredible staff at PIE also make things so enjoyable and rewarding.
The first commercial flight to ever take place in the world occurred in 1914 from St. Petersburg to Tampa. Today, the greatest challenges we face are attracting new air service opportunities, something we’re always trying to do. But, people may be interested to know that PIE is unique for its size, offering more nonstop destinations than most similar airports. We’re also home to the largest Coast Guard Air Station in the world.
One of the most ambitious goals I accomplished was achieving a position on the board of directors for the Airports Council International – North America and chairing the Florida Airports Council.
My favorite destinations to fly out of PIE are Syracuse, N.Y. and Dayton, Ohio to visit my family. I always make sure not to carry any liquids in my carry-on luggage so I don’t get pulled over by the TSA.
The best advice I’ve ever received was from my parents, who taught me not to judge others and always respect everyone I meet as an equal.
If I could give a piece of advice to young or aspiring leaders, I would say: Internships, internships, internships. The experiences, and learning from other leaders will open doors for future opportunities.
The greatest honor of my life is being the father to three wonderful children. Perfect days are spent with my family and friends. Whether it’s spending time on our beautiful Gulf beaches, going to a rock concert or heading to downtown St. Pete to visit some of our amazing museums.
Meet another important member from St. Pete, InterView: Kenneth T. Welch.