As a kid entering college, Chris Giokas wasn’t sure what kind of career path he would choose. He knew he liked social sciences –psychology, anthropology, sociology, any sort of study of human behavior. He majored in criminology at the University of South Florida and worked security for the now-closed Clorox plant in east Tampa, wondering if he should go into law enforcement.
Then, in his mid-20s, Giokas came to work at Tampa International Airport and suddenly saw all of his social science studies put to action. Starting out as a public safety dispatcher working in the Airport Operations Center, Giokas enjoyed helping the millions of passengers resolve their issues by thinking and acting quickly and being the liaison between the problems and the problem solvers at the airport. He worked his way up to Training Manager and is now an Airport Operations Center Manager.
“We’re the hub of most of the communication at the airport,” Giokas said. “We handle everything from overflowing toilets to heart attacks.”
Giokas said he enjoys working with the Tampa International Airport Police Department because it’s more “community-based policing” than your typical urban law enforcement agency. While the operations center and airport police handle their share of dramatic and dangerous situations, the focus tends to be more on keeping people moving along to their destinations and being as accommodating as possible to those who need help.
“The good thing we do here is we always approach things from a customer service aspect,” Giokas said. “It’s more of a helpful environment than one that deals only with criminals on a daily basis.”
Giokas comes across as a simple easy going, quiet guy who likes to do his job, go home to his house in Land O’ Lakes and work on his Subaru or read books in his free time. But he has one passion that some may not expect from such a soft-spoken and well-mannered gentleman.
He loves metal.
Hardcore metal, heavy metal, experimental metal, mathcore metal, screamo metal – Giokas loves all metal. He is soothed by the screaming, the growling, the caterwaul of bands such as Glassjaw, Deafheaven, Poison the Well, The Dillinger Escape Plan.
He even plays metal, sort of. Giokas played in a garage rock band in high school and still likes to shred around on his electric guitar at home, just for fun.
“I don’t think a lot of people would expect that from me,” he said.
Giokas spends a lot of time listening to new bands and reading magazines about music, and recently went to Orlando to see Modest Mouse – not metal at all, but Giokas said he enjoys seeing all kinds of bands play live.
Giokas was born and raised mostly in Boston but moved to Florida to live with his father when he was 15, graduating from Riverview High School. He is extremely close with his sister, Kate, who is two years older and lives in Leesburg working as a finance director for the Lake County Sheriff’s Department.
“She has always been there to support me,” Giokas said. “I really owe a lot to her for always being there for me and listening. She’s really awesome, she’s not only a role model for me, but one of the most important people in my life.”