Frontline Faces: Darryl Somrah
If you’ve ever been to an event or out-of-the-ordinary setup at Tampa International, chances are Darryl Somrah and his team were involved. As a Multi-Trades Worker II for the Aviation Authority, he plans, fixes, installs, moves and makes repairs, often on short notice and with only the materials available in the TPA warehouse.
In fact, Darryl was responsible for much of the logistics behind transforming TPA’s Main Terminal Event Space into a COVID-19 testing site, complete with a spacious waiting area, nurse stations for administering tests and plenty of draping for privacy. He has also helped set the stage for events such as TPA’s first virtual employee town hall and its outdoor Employee BBQ with a live band.
This is in addition to quickly repairing cracked tiles and ripped carpet, tending to plumbing issues and acting as a general fix-it guy for one of the country’s most well-kept airports.
“The people on my team do a multitude of things,” Darryl said. “You know how in Lion King Mufasa says to Simba, ‘Everything the light touches is our kingdom?’ Everything the light touches at TPA is ours.”
Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Darryl moved to New York when he was about 18 where he got into acting and contractor work, the latter which was more sustainable as a career. After the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, he and his wife decided to move their family elsewhere.
“It was very scary for us because I couldn’t reach my wife for four hours after the attacks,” Darryl said.
They looked into Florida and thought Tampa sounded ideal. They now live in the FishHawk area, where Darryl likes to ride his bike around the trails and read the Bible in the evening. Darryl is very active in his church when he’s not spending time with his wife of 25 years and their three daughters – 22-year-old Maria, 20-year-old Juliana and 17-year-old Edith – or their two dogs, Milo and Marley.
Darryl has worked at TPA for 12 years and has seen a number of changes during that time, not the least of which has been the changes COVID-19 has brought to his team.
“We were very scared and sad and worried at first,” he said. “Now we’re all very careful with washing our hands, spraying things down with alcohol, taking all the precautions to avoid getting sick or spreading illness. It’s become second nature now and the anxiety has eased up.”