As a child, David Potter remembers going to Tampa International Airport with his mother to pick up his father who was in the military and traveled a lot. He would ride the shuttle during the pre-9/11 security days and watched The Simpsons on the little TVs attached to the airport chairs.
The third-generation Tampa native even thought it would be cool to one day work around all those airplanes, but as he got older, he leaned more toward an information technology career and figured he’d always work in computer shops or stuffy businesses that needed tech support.
Fast forward a couple decades later, and David is now a Programmer Analyst in Information Technology Services for the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority.
“I guess you could say I’m living the dream,” David joked.
Known for being friendly and helpful, no matter how big or small the project or problem, David said “can’t give you an answer” to why he wound up in IT, though it’s safe to say he came by it honestly. His father, also named David Potter, is an IT manager and his younger brother is a freshman in a computer security program at the University of South Florida.
“If you get the three of us together, you definitely know we’re related,” David said. “We all look the same: all have glasses, all have the same big head and features. We talk about IT stuff.”
Growing up in south Tampa, working with computers, gadgets, programming and other techie things always came easy to David. He also liked working. He worked at a local movie theater in high school then worked for Best Buy in the computer department while getting his bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems at USF.
It was there that he met his wife, Erin, in a Roman Civilization class his junior year. David recalls bringing a Starbucks coffee to class and Erin asked, “How come you didn’t bring me one?” The next class, David brought her a Starbucks, too. A few years later, they were married at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg.
After David graduated, he continued working for Best Buy, mainly doing computer repairs, and then left shortly after to work for Hewlett Packard. “I wanted to get into real IT work, like development and support,” he said. “And being married, I wanted to have my weekends off.”
After three years at HP, David came to the Authority in July 2013 and has loved the challenge of being the point person on various projects with all departments, from the redevelopment of TPA’s website to creating in-house applications for Operations and Police to creating an online voting system for General Aviation’s Planes, Trains & Automobiles event.
“There’s just a lot of opportunity for the IT department to help make things work more efficiently, both for the airport and for customers,” David said. In his free time – what little he has in between work and helping Erin raise their 2-year-old daughter, Lola Grace – David loves watching movies and often recites what he thinks are famous quotes from his favorites, usually met with blank stares from co-workers.
He also enjoys brewing his own beer, and plying his adventurous friends and family with the fruits of his labors.
He used to play a lot of paintball before Lola was born, he said, but now he enjoys going to Disney World with his wife and toddler. He and Erin were Disney fanatics even before they had children, and they can’t wait until their daughter is old enough to spend more time there.
David and his wife are also huge animal lovers. They have what they call a “Fatillon” – a fat Papillon – named Vegas and two cats named Toe and Jam. They hope to adopt another dog soon.