16:33 PM

Meet TPA's biggest fan

(August 16, 2017) If there’s ever a TPA Master Plan trivia night, there’s one person you will want to make sure is on your team – and she doesn’t even work at Tampa International Airport. Ashley Durand

Ashley Durand, a Lutz resident and systems analyst at Moffitt Cancer Center, is one of the Master Plan’s most diligent students, bringing an insider-level knowledge of all things related to the Airport’s historic expansion.

Got a question about ongoing progress at the Rental Car Center or about the Phase 2 curbside expansion? Durand has the answers.

“It’s just turned into this little side hobby of mine,” she said. “One of the first things I do in the morning is check the website to see what progress has been made.”

Durand isn’t necessarily alone with her intense interest of new developments at Tampa International Airport. TPA’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts have devoted followers who watch up-to-the-minute flight schedules for new routes or airlines, ask questions about airfield grass length or take daily planespotting photos. Some are ramp workers, some are frequent travelers and some are simply regular folks who just love TPA.

But Durand is one of very few outside of the Aviation Authority with such a keen knowledge of the Airport’s historic expansion. 

Durand has attended TPA outreach and Board meetings and has made a point of studying any Master Plan documents she can get a hold of, dating back to the very first update in 2013.

 “This is a new thing,” she said. “It’s not like I have an overall fascination with airports – it’s just this project.”

She doesn’t remember quite how it started – perhaps when she was looking up flight information on Tampa Airport’s website. But she remembers seeing a blurb about the Master Plan and thinking it was cool how she could follow the updates on the Airport’s Follow Our Progress page. From there, her interest grew and she started skimming old documents. And then more documents.

“I saw the work that was put into the reports – how much thought was put into the planning – and I thought it was just really impressive,” she said. “I decided, ‘I’m going to pay attention to this.’ I want to see how well this goes.”

Durand’s fascination with the details is in her nature.

As a systems analyst, she works every day editing and formatting complex flow diagrams known as "clinical pathways" and then helping to integrate them into the electronic health record in order to help physicians determine which treatment is needed for a patient.

Durand is excited about the project and what is to come. She thinks the commercial redevelopment area and the focus on diversifying revenue streams is fascinating and forward looking. She thinks the new hotel, and especially the new office building, will be a big draw.

“It has a lot of potential,” she said. “Your clients can fly in, stay at the Airport, go to meetings, and then fly out. I really think that’s cool.”

In addition to her full-time Job and her Airport hobby, Durand is a mother of two young children. She enjoys shopping and attending sporting events.