Jordan Biegler was a 12-year-old boy living in the tiny town of Coloma, Michigan, when his family took a trip to Europe to visit relatives. It was Jordan’s first time flying. He was fascinated as he walked through the massive Chicago O’Hare International Airport and wrapped his head around the idea of landing in another country after eight hours.
“The size of the airport, the planes, the whole experience was really cool,” Jordan said.
Several flights, graduations and jobs later – including the past two years at Tampa International Airport – the Airport Operations Manager still hasn’t lost his enthusiasm for the concept of air travel. After spending most of his teenage years wanting to be a pilot, he got to Western Michigan University and realized the tough job market and lifestyle may not be for him. Instead, Jordan studied Aviation Science and Administration, with his sights set on working at an airport one day.
He also fell in love with an exchange student from Japan named Satoko, now his wife. After graduation, he went with her to Tokyo, where he spent two-and-a-half years teaching English to Japanese businesspeople, politicians and actors. He eventually returned to the States, where he got his master’s degree at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, specializing in Aviation Management. He interned at Denver International Airport before eventually landing a full-time job as an Airport Operations Officer at Pensacola International Airport.
After two years there, he was hired as an Airport Operations Specialist at Tampa International Airport, which immediately impressed him.
“This airport is set up so well, and you can just tell everything was planned out to operate smoothly when it was built,” Jordan said.
He became an Airport Operations Manager about a year ago and manages several projects, including Wildlife Hazard Management – not an easy task at an airport surrounded by seagulls, coyotes and cattle egrets that like to follow the grass mowers around the property. Like many on the Ops team, Jordan is known for his calm demeanor in hectic situations, such as when he approached and detained a man who climbed over the airfield fence earlier this year.
When he’s not working, Jordan enjoys spending time with his wife, Satoko, and their 6-month-old son, Isaac. He cooks and “noodles around” on acoustic guitar, a hobby he enjoyed in college when he accompanied a friend who sang. He also runs quite a bit and completed the Chicago Marathon 10 years ago and a half-marathon a couple of years ago.
“I never really enjoyed running,” said the former high school track athlete, “but I was always good at it.”
Jordan recently received his American Association of Airport Executives accreditation, which took several months of preparation, testing and interviewing. He also has several certifications in airport safety and security programs. He hopes to continue adding to his responsibilities at TPA and looks forward to the challenges of helping operate an airport undergoing so much growth and development in coming years. “It’s not every day you get to work somewhere going through so much change,” Jordan said. “When I first started here, the ticket level was just getting finished up and that posed a lot of challenges. Operating the airport during the Master Plan construction is going to be a learning experience.”