Vice President of Marketing, Tampa International Airport
Bio: 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.
Philanthropic Efforts: 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.
Dream vacation: 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: Pork shoulder
Mentor/role model: Ray Bishop, a retired Air Force colonel that he helped me believe that I could do more than I what I thought I could.
Favorite movie: The Music Man
Favorite album: 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.