For many employees, working at the airport is all about a love of aviation or desire to travel. For Jarvis Roney, it’s about the people.
As a University of South Florida graduate who studied communications with a focus on interpersonal relations, he always knew he would end up with a job that involved lots of talking and relating to people. Now a Property Control Specialist for Tampa International Airport, Roney gets to interact with a vast number and variety of people every day.
“Communications is a natural fit for me,” Roney said. “I love talking to people. Working in Procurement, there isn’t a place on the airport or a department that we don’t interact with. Everybody orders things and needs things, and every day is different.”
Roney has had a lot of experience building relationships and interacting with people. He originally thought he would go into a sports-related field, coming from a stand-out high school football career at Sarasota’s Booker High School. At USF in 2000, he earned a walk-on spot as a wide receiver.
After graduating in 2004, he saw his communications degree as a natural fit for his love of public speaking. But he always knew that whatever his career would be, it would have to complement his number one love in life: His family.
Roney started with Hillsborough County Civil Service through the Headstart program, first as a volunteer, then as an employee.
“I remembered how I felt not knowing my father growing up, and it stuck with me,” says Roney. “So I started volunteering at Headstart by reading in the classroom to spend time with my daughter.”
Roney says that the commitment paid off in the strong relationship with his daughter, and a temporary position with the organization that ended up lasting for a year and a half.
From the Headstart Program, Roney transferred to the Clerk of the Circuit Court, then to the Aviation Authority as a Public Information Officer in October 2006.
“When I came here, I knew that the Public Information Department would be a good job for me. I loved giving tours, speaking to the public and going to schools,” says Roney.
He transferred to the Procurement Department in 2009 and says that although he enjoys his current position as a Property Control Specialist, he is always looking for new challenges. Soon, he will begin cross-training in the Communications Department.
Married with three children, daughter Kaylah, 14, son Julien, 11, and baby daughter Kaylani, 17 months, Roney says that his time away from work is all about family, community involvement, physical fitness and some hobbies that he says may surprise some people.
“I like journaling and writing spoken word poetry. It’s a great outlet for me and I find it so interesting to incorporate music,” says Roney. “I’m a shopper too, I love shopping. The art of bargaining. I can always find the best deal.”
Roney says that the most rewarding time for him is spent with his church and finding ways to help others who can benefit from his experience and life-lessons. He dedicates several hours every week to his church by teaching the middle school-aged bible study group. He finds the time he spends talking to children and young teens rewarding, and he feels like it’s one of the best ways to put his communication skills to good use.
“They are a challenging group going through a difficult age, but I feel like I can share my life experience and help them make better decisions in life,” Roney said. “I know first-hand the dangers that are out there and what can happen when you fall in with the wrong crowd. And if I can use my skills to communicate with them, and help them, I feel like that’s a personal success.”