Airport executive John Tiliacos has some simple advice for anyone interested in a career in aviation: Go for it.

“Whether it’s managing an airport or it’s managing an airline or flying for an air carrier, it’s an extraordinarily exciting and great field to be in,” said Tiliacos, vice president of operations and customer service at Tampa International Airport in Florida.

Tiliacos grew up captivated by aviation. When it came time to pick a college, he chose Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, which has been preparing aviation professionals for almost 50 years.

“I had a great experience in my four years at Florida Tech; great instructors,” he said. “And what really impressed me about the curriculum at Florida Tech was it was a very diversified curriculum. It didn’t only focus on aviation-related courses.”

After graduating with his bachelor’s in aviation management, Tiliacos began a successful career that over the past three decades has brought him a progression of roles in airline and aviation management, including 22 years with American Airlines. He has overseen food and beverage operations, and cargo services, as well as directing cabin design projects.

He joined Tampa International in 2012 and also has responsibility for operations at the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority’s three General Aviation airports.

“The sky’s the limit,” Tiliacos said of a career in aviation, with “lots of opportunities on the horizon, especially in the management arena.”

Watch or read our interview with Florida Tech grad John Tiliacos to learn more about his career path and his responsibilities as Vice President of Operations and Customer Service at Tampa International Airport. 

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