Few teenagers have the kind of brains, drive and passion it takes to earn an appointment to the Naval Academy. Even fewer turn that appointment down to pursue a dream of working in an airport.
But that’s exactly what Brian Rumble did.
“I had always loved aviation and everything connected to it,” Rumble said. “It wasn’t an easy decision but at the 11th hour I decided to go to Embry-Riddle instead of the Naval Academy.”
That was back in the early 1980s. Rumble has never regretted the decision. Coming from the suburbs of Cleveland to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach set him on a career course that eventually brought him to Tampa International Airport nearly a quarter-century ago.
His current position is manager of security administration for the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority. In that role, he manages the complex and constantly evolving legalities and practicalities of security in air travel.
But for the past year he’s also been overseeing the expansion and renovation of Airside F, a $27 million project that will ease the flow of passengers through security checkpoints and customs while accommodating the airport’s growing number of international passengers.
“It’s almost like having two full-time jobs,” Rumble said. “It’s a challenge and it keeps me very busy but that’s the way I like it. Every day is different. It really makes me look forward to coming to work.”
Rumble said he’s been fascinated by aviation all his life.
“I’ve just loved everything to do with aviation ever since I was a kid,” he said. “Aviation and boating.”
When he started at Embry-Riddle, he wasn’t really sure exactly what he wanted to do in the aviation industry. His eyesight isn’t great, and he’s color-blind, so being a commercial pilot was out. Then, just before his senior year, he landed a seven-month internship with People Express, the first of the low-cost, no-frills airlines. That helped him focus his career aspirations
“I did a little bit of everything,” he said “I’d be a flight attendant one month and I’d be working in dispatch the next. It was a great experience. It helped me decide that I was more interested in airport operations than airlines.”
He had taken a year off from Embry-Riddle to do the internship, so he went back to Daytona Beach to finish college. He paid his way through with a construction job, working for the company that was building the MGM complex in Orlando.
After he graduated, he stayed in construction, because the money was too good to pass up. He worked construction every morning, and then went to a job at Airborne Express every day from 1 to 9 p.m.
Then he heard about a two-year internship at TPA. It was, in a way, a long, paid tryout for a career at the airport. At the end of two years, there was no guarantee that he’d land a job, or accept one if it was offered. But Rumble and TPA decided they liked each other quite a lot and he’s been here ever since.
Rumble indulges his other lifelong passion, boating, on his off-days. He lives with his wife, Kimberly, near the water in South St. Petersburg.
He’s now been at TPA for 24 years, almost half his life. For someone who likes to keep moving, that’s a long time on one job. But Rumble said it doesn’t seem like it.
“I never would have thought I’d stay in one place so long,” Rumble said. “But it’s been a great 24 years and it’s just gone by so fast.”