When the weather heats up in Tampa, it's Daniel Duncan's job to help keep things cool at Tampa International Airport.
It’s also his job to keep visitors and passengers comfortable when there’s a chill in the air.
“It's really all about customer satisfaction,” says Daniel, a senior heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician at TPA. “I take care of a lot of the trouble shooting in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, as well as control problems for the airport, which reaches out to every point of the building. You don't quit until you find out what the problem is.”
The problem could be related to plumbing, electrical work or something else. It’s a big job: TPA has hundreds of air conditioning units.
There’s a lot of variety, too.
One day Duncan may be working on an air conditioning unit or heating systems. The next day, he might be on top of a cooling tower replacing a motor.
The job is all encompassing, he says, and sometimes it requires working odd hours. Calls can come in the middle of the night to take care of an issue.
The career is also physically demanding. HVAC technicians often contend with extreme temperatures and cramped quarters. Patience is key, Daniel says. Customers can get stressed out and testy if they are uncomfortable and believe something isn’t working properly, he says. But, he adds, his greatest job satisfaction comes from knowing that at the end of the day, he made someone happy because he took care of a heating or cooling issue.
“It's really about customer service,” he adds. “That's the most important part of my job. We want to make sure our customers are always happy. We listen to all of their concerns and take care of the issue. And we always follow up with them.”
Born in Nova Scotia, Canada, Daniel lived in Campbellton, New Brunswick until he was 10. His family moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where Daniel enlisted in the Naval Reserves. He served 28 months active sea duty and the remainder of his enlistment doing reserve duty. He attended the New England Appliance Service School and later the University of Massachusetts using the GI Bill. He married, had children and moved to Vermont.
When he and his wife, Jean, decided they wanted to live someplace warm, they chose Florida, one of their favorite vacation spots.
“We always loved the climate and the beaches here,” he says. “We'd fly into TPA, rent a car and go to Siesta Key.”
The Duncans still enjoy visiting Siesta Key, working in the garden and tending to their golden retriever, Sasha.
Daniel begins each morning with a 5:30 a.m. workout at the airport gym before heading to work.
When he was visiting TPA, he always thought it was clean and nice, with no surprises.
Now, as an employee of an airport undergoing a major expansion, he enjoys the daily challenges his job presents.
“They've invested a lot of money into this airport. There are a lot of moving parts and things that need constant attention,” he says. “I look forward to coming to work here every day and being a part of it.”