21:55 PM

FDOT names TPA CEO Joe Lopano and Tampa Executive Airport as best in state

Lopano was named FDOT’s 2021 Aviation Director of the Year while Tampa Executive won General Aviation Airport of the Year.

The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority scooped two big wins this past weekend as the Florida Department of Transportation named Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano its Aviation Director of the Year and Tampa Executive Airport won General Aviation Airport of the Year.

The FDOT awards recognize the state’s best in airport management, aviation safety and outstanding contributions to Florida’s aviation community.

Despite the many challenges COVID-19 had on the industry over the past year and a half, Lopano displayed strengths as a leader as TPA rolled out the TPA Ready program designed to keep passengers and employees healthy, as well as launching the country’s first COVID-19 testing site to offer both PCR and antigen testing to any departing or arriving passengers. He also helped the Airport navigate a steep drop in business by tightening finances and budgets across all departments and keeping his employees informed through the use of video messaging and a virtual town hall. TPA has seen a faster-than-expected business recovery at a rate that is higher than many around the country.

Lopano said in an announcement to his staff that the award is “an honor that belongs to all of us.”

“While all Florida airports navigated an extremely tough past year together, our entire TPA team’s response, ingenuity and dedication to recovery was what set us apart from the rest,” he said.

Tampa Executive Airport (VDF), which operates near the I-75/I-275 corridor, recently finished millions of dollars in facility renovations and airfield rehab, as well as hosting extra operations in February for Super Bowl LV. The airport, formerly known as Vandenberg Airport, has a wide range of tenants including Global Pilot Academy, Tampa Avionics, Hillsborough County Mosquito Control and the Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit and Civil Air Patrol.

VDF is operated and serviced by Skyport Aviation, which became the airport's fixed-base operator in 2014. Since that time, VDF has tripled its economic impact on the region.