18:31 PM

Employee Spotlight: Fred Blaylock, Payroll Coordinator

A self-proclaimed foodie, Fred Blaylock can be found in Tampa International Airport’s Human Resources Department handling anything and everything to do with payroll and finances. His official title is Payroll Coordinator, however, he calls himself the “Vanna White of Payroll.” Working at National Car Rental for three years and TPA for 20 years is just a small part of Fred’s life and has given him experiences he could never have imagined.

The Airport, as Fred puts it, is living. It’s alive, and it’s magical, he said. Fred and his wife have been married for 35 years and they have two daughters, Lauren and Jordyn. They met at Julian B. Lane park when Fred was working for National Car Rental while his wife, Robin, was employed by United Airlines and they have been in love ever since.

When reminiscing on some of his favorite trips, Fred said, “I never dreamed I would ever go to Europe, and in fact, I never left Tampa until I was 21 years old.”

Growing up in West Tampa right outside of the Airport with his mother and seven siblings, Fred attended Plant High School and played basketball during his time there. Those few blocks from Howard Avenue to North Boulevard were his whole world and everything he needed was there. His first trip out of state was with his wife on their honeymoon to New York City. While the experience was nerve-wracking, he loved it and eventually came into his own when traveling.

As a result of Fred’s tenure in the aviation industry, his family has been able to experience the world. Europe, Bermuda, Spain ... if you can name a place, they’ve more than likely been there. Food is how Fred remembers and plans each trip.

“I remember flying to Chicago for a hotdog," he said. "We flew to Wisconsin for a hamburger.”

The food defines the trip, and each dish has a memory tied to it. The list goes on, though, with many more trips planned and restaurants to visit.

Besides his love of food, another one of Fred’s hobbies is bike riding.

“I ride 15 to 20 miles a night easy, and that sounds like a lot,” he said. His favorite route is down Bayshore Boulevard to Ulele, a popular contemporary restaurant in Tampa. Right across the river from that spot is West Tampa where Fred grew up. Looking back on that brings a lot of nostalgia.

His favorite part of working for TPA?

“Being around people," he said. "And not just the customers but the employees, too.”

Fred is always smiling, and his coworkers know he’s the one to talk to about all things food and flying. But Fred has seen Tampa Bay grow tremendously throughout his life as a Tampa native and his experiences are truly one of a kind.

Fred’s next trip? He has his sights set on London.