Jeff Siddle, assistant vice president of planning and development, Tampa International Airport
Jeff Siddle has been involved in airport planning and development since college. When a case study project took him to Lambert- St. Louis International Airport, he had landed on his career. Now at Tampa International Airport – a longtime Skanska client – Siddle is managing multiple contractors as the airport embarks on a nearly $1 billion expansion program. We talked with Siddle about ensuring customer satisfaction, airport trends and what Tampa expects of its partners.
What’s your favorite part of working in aviation?
I enjoy being able to have a direct impact on customers’ flying experiences by planning, designing and constructing facilities that are focused on serving those customers. Flying can be stressful – here at Tampa we want to do our best to make it as unstressful as possible.
What’s a major trend you see with airports?
Diversifying revenue streams. With the ever-changing airline industry, you cannot solely count on airline revenue as much as you could previously. To solidify – and even increase our revenue – we’ve put a new focus on ensuring that the airport’s property is being used to its highest and best purpose. That includes commercially developing some of the airport’s outparcels, and making sure that we have high-performing concessions.
Any other trends?
Customer convenience and sustainability. When my adult daughter travels and she can’t find outlets in airports to charge her phone and iPad, she lets me know. We thought about that kind of experience as we were planning Tampa’s current terminal renovation and expansion project. We are improving seating areas, adding business centers, improving concessions – and even adding outdoor terraces. Also, sustainability is very important to us: Our community tells us they want us at the forefront of sustainability, so that’s what we’re doing.
Outside groups consistently give Tampa International Airport high marks on quality, service and passenger satisfaction. What does the airport do to uphold that?
We listen. We engage in conversations and ask questions so we can better understand the airport experience from a passenger’s viewpoint. We always want to have an open ear, and never take the position that we know better than them. This is the community’s airport and we treat it that way.
What makes a successful project team?
When an entity comes to work with us, it’s absolutely critical that they focus your views listen very intently. Cooperation, collaboration and stakeholder involvement – which are essential – are all dependent upon listening.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face in delivering capital projects?
When a project is still in the conceptual stage, the airport internally has to develop a solid scope supported by a sound budget and schedule. It’s critical that we get that information right so our executive management and board of directors can use it to make the best decisions. As the project advances and we bring on design-builders – such as Skanska – and other experts, it’s critical that these teams further set us up for success by understanding our need to always have the best information, and then providing that to us.
When a project reaches construction, customer convenience becomes even more critical. The expansion and renovation project will dramatically alter our terminal. At all times during that project, we have to keep our customers informed about what to expect before they get here, and then how to navigate when they are here. We’re counting on Skanska to help ensure we have absolutely no hiccups during that process.