Make us your home page

Tampa International Airport fires air service development director

Tampa International CEO Joe Lopano has fired the airport's air service development director in a sharply worded critique of how she handled the job.

Trudy Carson, 46, was responsible for recruiting new airlines to TIA and persuading existing carriers to fly new routes. She had worked at the airport since 1997 and earned $96,782 a year.

"I have been dissatisfied with your performance and attention to detail in several areas," Lopano wrote in a letter Friday. He cited Carson's strategy for air service development and dealings with JetBlue Airways and German carrier Condor Airlines.

Some critics of the airport's meager roster of nonstop international and Caribbean flights questioned her effectiveness. Carson helped persuade AirTran Airways and JetBlue Airways to start nonstops to San Juan, Puerto Rico, this spring. She did not return a call for comment Monday.

Meanwhile, Lopano recently hired a former subordinate from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport for the newly created job of marketing vice president.

Christopher Minner oversees airline recruiting as an assistant vice president at Dallas-Fort Worth. That will be among his responsibilities at TIA. Minner will earn $170,000 a year. He starts work March 31.

Two more high-level executives are leaving Tampa International. Construction manager John Allen, 52, resigned effective March 31. Allen had conflicts with his new boss under Lopano's reorganization of airport management, said a memo in his personnel file from Al Illustrato, TIA's vice president of facilities and customer service.

A contractor complained to Illustrato he was "getting in the middle of something" between Allen and his supervisor. Allen began work at the airport in 1999 and became construction manager in 2004. He earns $114,269.

Earlier this month, human resources director Don Welch, 64, wrote Lopano that he will resign effective April 1. Welch, who earns $163,950, is dropping out of a state retirement plan that allows employees to accrue retirement payment during their final five years of work.

Steve Huettel can be reached at or (813) 226-3484.

Tampa International Airport fires air service development director 03/21/11 [Last modified: Monday, March 21, 2011 9:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Why are so few Tampa Bay houses for sale? They're being rented

    Real Estate

    Oreste Mesa Jr. owns a modest 40-year-old house in West Tampa just off MacDill Avenue. It's an area where many homeowners are hearing the siren song of builders and cashing out while the market is strong.

    Attorney David Eaton poses in front of his rental home at 899 72nd Ave. North. in St. Petersburg. He's among a growing number of property owners who see more value in renting out unused homes than selling them. 
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. Wanted: New businesses on Safety Harbor's Main Street

    Local Government

    SAFETY HARBOR — A green grocery store, a hardware store, restaurants, boutiques and multi-use buildings are all wanted downtown, according to discussion at a community redevelopment workshop held last week. And to bring them to the Main Street district, city commissioners, led by Mayor Joe Ayoub, gave City Manager …

    Whistle Stop Bar & Grill is one of the main stops on Main Street in Safety Harbor. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  3. Q&A: A business leader and historian jointly delve into Tampa's waterfront


    TAMPA — As a native of Tampa, Arthur Savage has always had a passion for his hometown's history. And as a third-generation owner and operator of A.R. Savage & Son, a Tampa-based shipping agency, his affinity for his hometown also extends to its local waterways.

    Arthur Savage (left) and Rodney Kite-Powell, co-authors of "Tampa Bay's Waterfront: Its History and Development," stand for a portrait with the bust of James McKay Sr. in downtown Tampa on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017. McKay, who passed away in 1876, was a prominent businessman, among other things, in the Tampa area. He was Arthur Savage's great great grandfather. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. Tampa's connected-vehicle program looking for volunteers


    TAMPA — Drivers on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway can save on their monthly toll bill by volunteering to test new technology that will warn them about potential crashes and traffic jams.

    A rendering shows how new technology available through the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority will warn driver's about crashes, traffic jams, speed decreases and more. THEA is seeking 1,600 volunteers to install the devices, which will display alerts in their review mirrors, as part of an 18-month connected-vehicle pilot.
  5. St. Pete Sculpture Museum announces move to Central Avenue

    Visual Arts

    Another museum is joining the mix in St. Petersburg's downtown Central Arts District.

    Sculptor Jon Hair with his 26-foot lion sculpture. Hair's St. Pete Sculpture Museum will soon move to a prominent spot on Central Avenue, Hair said. [Courtesy of Jon Hair]