Employee Spotlight: Nick Desiano, Senior Project Payables Administrator
Nick Desiano's career has followed a winding path, from the steady hum of tattoo needles to the thunderous roar of airplanes.
That journey began as a child growing up in Tampa, where he spent many of his early years visiting TPA to watch planes take off and land.
“I was always fascinated with them,” Nick said. “My family and I would come to the Airport and spend hours watching them rocket into the sky.”
Nick had no idea that, as an adult, he’d end up working at TPA as Senior Project Payables Administrator in the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority’s Finance department.
His knack for art and graphic design was very apparent at a young age and was integral to his early life. He grew up admiring his father’s tattoos, which inspired him to draw and eventually hone his own tattoo skills. After learning from a mentor, Nick began to tattoo others, even one of his own family members.
“One of my most memorable tattoos was actually on my brother,” Nick recalled. “He had an existing tattoo with our family name down his back and he wanted me to fill those letters in. I spent hours nervously working on that tattoo and we’re still on speaking terms if that tells you anything about how it turned out.”
He was able to put his drawing skills to use as a caricature artist at Busch Gardens, drawing pictures of park-goers for hours on end.
Eventually, Nick earned a degree in commercial art, working as a graphic designer in the early and mid-1990s. The field began shifting dramatically, as the internet and digital art exploded in popularity. Nick preferred to do his art by hand, so after deciding not to go back to school to pursue a career in digital graphic design, he began looking for jobs outside the field.
“I decided to make art my hobby, my side hustle," Nick said. “I really wasn't sure where I'd end up, but I didn't want to be a starving artist for long.”
Nick landed a temporary job at the Clerk of the Circuit Court as an administrative assistant, a position that would prepare him for his role at TPA. While unorthodox, his choice to take a leap from artist to administration was one that Nick doesn't regret.
“I'm really glad I made that choice, ” he said. “Not only did I meet my future wife [who still works there] while working there, but that job set me up to be successful at the Airport.”
When he decided to make another step in his career, Nick learned about an opportunity at TPA. In 2001, he joined as a clerk and eventually worked his way up to his current role as Senior Project Payables Administrator. He recalled that the last 22 years at the Airport have provided him with dozens of interesting and fun stories.
“It's really like a family here,” Nick said. “They're not just coworkers. They're my friends and I really enjoy spending time with them outside of work.”
While in the office, Nick periodically takes creative breaks.
“There's a giant whiteboard near my desk and it's really a tempting thing,” Nick mused. He often wanders over to the whiteboard and begins drawing, remarking how rewarding it can be to fill a blank whiteboard with colorful pieces.
In his free time, Nick continues to dabble in art and graphic design, recently finishing the design for a skull featured on a motorcycle (pictured on the right).
Nick loves spending time with his family and plans on trekking around the world with his wife in the coming years.
“I really can't wait to start traveling everywhere, from Australia to Italy to Hawaii,” Nick said. “Oh, and I never plan on giving up art.”