Tom Thalheimer, Director of Procurement
Negotiating lower costs to the point where we’re saving a million here and a million there – that’s very gratifying to me. Because that’s money you save to put toward the nice-to-haves and the what-ifs.
Director of Procurement Tom Thalheimer is often referred to by his boss as the “Chief Negotiator,” a nickname he shrugs off as an exaggeration. His negotiating skills, while sharp, are nothing compared to his father’s.
Thalheimer has memories of his dad, an Air Force veteran and electrical engineer for Honeywell, going into car dealerships with no intention of buying a car, just because he loved haggling for fun.
“He was really good at it,” Thalheimer said. “He loved a good deal and would run the salesmen ragged.”
Negotiating is a balance of money sense and psychology, and Thalheimer gets to do it for the Aviation Authority on some of Tampa International Airport’s biggest projects. Most recently, he negotiated design and construction contracts for the Main Terminal curbside expansion and new energy plant, among many other projects. He also oversaw the solicitation, selection and negotiation of the new SkyConnect office building – a process that took two years from start to finish.
Over the course of the Master Plan construction, Thalheimer has helped the Authority save millions thanks to his attention to detail and his understanding of construction work.
“Having a background as a contractor helps,” he said. “I’m able to understand the scope of the project and talk intelligently about the work.”
Born in St. Petersburg at the historic Mound Park Hospital (now Bayfront Health), Thalheimer grew up in Clearwater with a love of Florida life, the outdoors and playing sports. He went to the University of Florida where he got his bachelor’s degree in Building Construction, then went to work as a general contractor and project manager for several construction companies around Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.
He worked several years for Caladesi Construction before coming to TPA, working on projects such as the St. Petersburg Times printing press and plant’s distribution center. While working on a T-hangar project at Tampa Executive Airport several years ago, someone from TPA’s Planning & Development team suggested he apply for a position as a construction estimator. After some considering, Thalheimer applied, and in November 2006 he joined the P&D team, which would eventually branch off to form the Procurement Department.
Since then, Thalheimer has enjoyed working on hundreds of projects to improve, enhance or transform TPA, but the last few years have been the most exciting, and he expects it to get even better as Phases 2 and 3 of the Master Plan get underway.
“There’s just so much going on here right now,” Thalheimer said. “The way I look at it is I want to save the company my salary every day. Negotiating lower costs to the point where we’re saving a million here and a million there – that’s very gratifying to me. Because that’s money you save to put toward the nice-to-haves and the what-ifs.”
In his personal life, Thalheimer considers himself “cheap” but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy life. He’s been married to his wife Pat since 2003 and enjoys spending time with her, her four children and many grandchildren. The couple lives in Indian Rocks Beach in a tight-knit community of friends that get together and cook out, watch sunsets on the beach and celebrate special occasions together. He loves fishing and he is constantly hunting for deals on long weekend cruises for himself and Pat.
Thalheimer loves the simple life for lots of reasons, but one in particular:
“I love to save people money, mine and TPA’s,” he said.
Pictured below: In his free time, Thalheimer enjoys spending time with his neighbors and friends at The Cove at Indian Rocks Beach.